Credit: CBS, Howard Wise/JPI (3)

The soap has in Grace a golden opportunity to change how viewers feel about Ms. Popularity.

Maybe you’ve heard, but we’ve been flummoxed for some time by The Bold and the Beautiful and the way that it has written Paris. One minute, she’s dreaming of a life in the cookie-cutter mold of former crush Finn and his family. The next, she’s telling Zende that the last thing she wants is to settle down when she’s still, you know, young and restless.

And if we have to hear one more character on the canvas go on (and on) about how amazing Paris is, how sweet Paris is, how lovely and engaging and did we mention how amazing Paris is, we might have no choice but to plunge a couple of the Spencer men’s sword pendants in our ears.

paris finn Tanner Novlan, Diamond White"The Bold and the Beautiful" SetCBS Television CityLos Angeles, Ca.08/24/21© Howard Wise/jpistudios.com310-657-9661Episode # 8610U.S.Airdate 09/23/21

Above: “Wow, you’re really good at applying suntan lotion and everything you do, Paris.”

Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

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But the show could make it all make sense. The show could make us adore Paris as much as all of her acquaintances do. How? By not making mom Grace one of her fans. By not making her think the sun rises and sets on her daughter. By not making her sickly sweet but… actually kinda witchy.

Think about it. Were Reese’s ex to show up and drag down Paris, we might actually start to feel for her. “I see you’ve done it again,” Mommie Dearest might whisper. “You’ve managed to convince a whole new group of fools that you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. Wonder if they’d still think so highly of you if they knew the truth.”

AS THE WORLD TURNS, Cassandra Creech, 1990s, 1956-2010. ph: Lorenzo Bevilaqua /© CBS /Courtesy Everett Collection

Above: Cassandra Creech (Grace) is gonna fit right in with the glamazons of Bold & Beautiful. This pic, though, is from an As the World Turns costume party.

Credit: CBS/Courtesy of the Everett Collection

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What is the truth? Maybe Paris stole Mom’s last boy toy; we know that as firmly affixed as Paris’ halo is, she’s not opposed to removing it long enough to kiss someone other than her beau. Maybe that’s why she was so drawn to Finn — she secretly likes the challenge of enticing other women’s men. But of course, she fights that urge, which is why for so long she insisted that all she wanted was to settle down like Steffy and her husband. Paris, we could learn, is torn between her real personality (wild and carefree party girl) and the one she wishes was her own (devoted family woman).

Or maybe Mom subscribes to revisionist history. Maybe she remembers only that Paris killed the man who helped mend her broken heart after Reese, not that Paris killed him because he tried to get more from her than a stepdaughter’s embrace. That, too, would explain why Paris is so all over the map personality-wise. All this time, she’d tried to walk the straight and narrow toward a nice, simple life. But, were it not for that shattering experience in her past, she’d have a far easier time admitting that, “You know what? I don’t want to be an old married lady in my 20s! I do want to play the field! I do have wants and desires and cravings and… Oh! Hi, Carter’s abs!”

Carter, paris B&B

Above: “You keep undressing me with your eyes, I’m gonna have to start wearing extra layers!”

Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

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In any case, having Mom serve as a sharp-tongued counterpoint to all the characters who regularly sing Paris’ praises would go a long way toward making us see her less as an “idea” and more as a “person.” If we were allowed to understand why she is the way that she is, we might even join the chorus of her admirers. (Bonus: If Mom isn’t exactly the nurturing type, it would also help explain why Paris’ sister Zoe similarly careened, in her case from crazy cat lady to Thomas’ innocent patsy to the ficklest fiancée this side of the Forresters.)

Moreover, if Grace isn’t as thoughtful and kind and loving and amazing as Paris, having her around would just be a blast. She wouldn’t be self-righteous and judge-y like the Logan sisters. She wouldn’t be “Ma’am, where’s your straitjacket?” crazy like Sheila. She’d be fierce and fabulous and just plain bitchy in a way that daytime hasn’t seen since the heyday of Young & Restless’ Jill and Tracy on General Hospital.

yr, jess walton, jill abbott, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, Jess Walton, ec

Above: “A character as bitchy as moi? I don’t think so!”

Credit: CBS/Courtesy of the Everett Collection

What do you think? Couldn’t Mom help put in perspective the mystifying character of Paris? And wouldn’t it be a hoot to watch her seduce her way through L.A., striking up an innocent “friendship” with Eric while accepting booty calls from Bill and casually suggesting to Carter that he’d be wasting his time with a girl like Paris when he could be keeping company with a grown woman? On your way to the comments, stop off at the below photo gallery, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of a promising soap’s debut with a pictures that recall its highlights and missteps.