Credit: CBS screenshot (4)

How many characters can the show possibly tarnish with one storyline?

First, let’s give credit where it’s due: The cast of The Bold and the Beautiful could sell Frosty the Snowman on the idea of a Miami timeshare. But for the love of Stephanie Forrester, can the show please stop asking them to?

Watching the September 13 episode was like stepping into an alternate reality in which grown-ass adults can sit around discussing a wife swap as casually and cheerfully as if they were debating which color backsplash to install in the kitchen. It was just… weird.

Thomas face B&B

“Well, this is awkward. Typical… but awkward.”

Credit: CBS screenshot

Can you imagine hanging with your divorced parents, reading Dad’s absent wife for filth — to his face — and all but daring him and Mom to go play seven minutes in heaven? Either Dad would disown you, Mom would turn shades of red too bright to ever be captured by a crayon, or both. It’s a scenario that strains credulity to well past the breaking point.

And honestly, we could probably accept the absolute bizarreness of Steffy and Thomas deciding once again that, despite Ridge and Taylor’s umpteen divorces, they belong together. (We did mention that Thorsten Kaye and Krista Allen sell the bejesus out of the silliness, right?) That is, we could accept it if it wasn’t for one thing…

Taylor Thomas B&B

“Hmm. What would an internationally renowned psychiatrist say about this?”

Credit: CBS screenshot

It’s trashing everybody in the room. Well, maybe not Thomas; once you’ve made out with a mannequin, the only way is up. But Ridge comes off like a jerk for making googly eyes at his former wife, Taylor is left to look pathetic when she’s anything but (especially since Allen stepped in), and Steffy sounds like she’s been possessed by her late grandmother. Would the strong-minded heroine who once demonstrated the resolve to remove herself from her never-ending “marry”-go-round with Liam and Hope really choose to enthusiastically condemn her mom to an infinite love triangle with Ridge and Brooke?

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Don’t think so. The Steffy that we know and love would be pointing out to Taylor that she’s not only a world-renowned psychiatrist but the hottest of hot tamales — and the rare one who also knows how to belly-dance. The Steffy that we know and love would be parading past Mom every handsome and eligible executive at Forrester Creations. The Steffy that we know and love would be protecting Mom from being hurt again — and, angry with Dad for being the glutton for punishment that he is, suggesting to him that he deserves what he’s gonna get: a broken heart and an empty bed.

Be careful to avoid getting whiplash as you review Ridge’s long history of ping-ponging between Taylor and Brooke (and Caroline and Ashley and Morgan and Caroline 2.0 and Katie) in the below photo gallery.