With so much to celebrate over the last few years, The Bold and the Beautiful has had its share of cake parties. Perhaps that's why when faced with the landmark 6000th episode, the show decided to direct attention to battling smoking and lung cancer, instead of basking in the glow of success.
Yes, there were cupcakes and some healthy basking at the Monday February 7, 2011 celebration, but as with the landmark episode, the chatter was all about the N-word and the C-word – aka nicotine and cancer.
"We are trying to encourage people to stop smoking, within the drama of the show," showrunner Brad Bell explained. "We'd love it if worldwide, we could get 1000 people to stop smoking. We're trying to change some lives. Part of what inspired this story is knowing the reach we have in France, Italy, Africa and around the world, where smoking is more prevalent than it is here. We're trying to get the word out: It's going to kill you."
In the 6000th episode of The Bold and The Beautiful, Stephanie Forrester (Susan Flannery) gave cigar smoker Nick Marone (Jack Wagner) her own brand of intervention, with testimonials from lung cancer survivors Kathryn Joosten ("Desperate Housewives"), Dr. Michael Weitz, Meryl Bralower and Zheng Cao.
"We had no scripts, which is groundbreaking," Jack Wagner recounted. "The testimonials were real, and then we had to respond in character. It's a nice change from beauties and babies."
Emmy winner Joosten found the episode a nice change, as well, but for a different reason. "I have been very vocal about the fact that I've had lung cancer twice," Joosten said. "I'm healthy now and I am so frustrated that I can never get the word out, beyond, 'Did you smoke?' which doesn't make any difference. It was a thrill for all of us. Various groups have gotten in touch with me to say, 'We're excited this is going to finally be explored.' Brad, you did a fantastic job. Thank you."
"I have experience with recovery, in general, and smoking is just a form of the battle," Wagner said. "It's not alcohol or drugs: It's common and gives you a quick, five minute break, so it's tough. The bargaining and negotiating [Nick has been doing] are a big part of addiction." If you'd like to find out what issue he would like to see the show tackle next visit Michael Fairman's Jack Wagner Interview.
While Soaps.com eyed those tasty Sprinkles cupcakes, Brad Bell revealed that in addition to inspiring the anti-smoking story, the landmark episode has had him looking back to the past – literally!
"I've been watching the first year. I just go back with YouTube," he confides. "I watched episode 1 again last week. It was cool! I remembered dad's [creator William J. Bell] style of writing was so few words and Ridge was so provocative. It was totally his vibe. Looking back the '80s has inspired me. I've been using that as a bit of a guide for the next generation. It's been a cool experiment."
"I'm putting up some of my behind the scenes of "B&B" there now," Moss says. "Little snippets. Everyone seems to be enjoying that and I'm excited to be doing it, because I have 24 years of video!"
Bell isn't past having his cupcake and eating it too, by the way. While he was happy to share the spotlight with a worthy cause, he was also wowed by "B&B's" big number.
"It feels wonderful," Bell shared. "I remember 24 years ago, reading The Young and The Restless scripts 3000 and 4000, and thinking that was such a big number. Here, The Bold and the Beautiful has hit 6000. It's just crazy."
"I think we can look forward to even bigger milestones," concludes Moss.
Amen! Congrats to "B&B" on another rocking PSA storyline and the big 6000th episode!
More photos from B&B's 6000th episode event will be posted here.
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- Deanna Barnert