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The Bold and the Beautiful Just Rushed Through Months’ Worth of Story In a Single Week
Image: CBS screenshot
It was a tale of two soaps where this week’s episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful were concerned. The beginning of the week brought us stunning performances and big drama as Steffy’s addiction story reached its wildly premature climax. The tail end saw Ridge and Shauna preparing to sprint down the aisle so quickly, we got whiplash just watching them pass. So much happened so fast that by Friday, we were left with only one burning question: What the heck’s the rush?
Just Give Her the Dang Trophy
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood should probably spend this weekend contemplating where to put her next Emmy, because the performance she gave when Steffy finally acknowledged her pill addiction will prove next to impossible to beat. There were a million problems with this storyline — from Steffy’s insta-addiction to an intervention which didn’t involve her brother or mother — but all was forgiven when the character fell to the floor, tears cascading down her cheeks as she repeatedly muttered, “I’m addicted… I have a problem.” When tweeting about the soaps, I often say things like, “I’m not crying, you are!” to indicate how emotional a scene was. Rarely, however, am I actually shedding a tear. This time? I was a mess.
It’s important here to recognize that the reason viewers were so moved had very little to do with the actual story as opposed to Wood’s performance. The fact that she was able to make us feel so much despite the material having not supported our investment speaks volumes about her skills as an actress. Because this really was a case of the payoff being far greater than story which preceded it. The pieces were all there for this to be a fantastic, months-long arc as Steffy slowly sank into a morass of lies which put herself and everyone around her in danger. Instead, after she popped a coupla pills and passed out on the couch, many viewers were left to wonder if somehow they’d missed something — like about a month’s worth of beats — because we’d already begun the intervention.
Where’d Everybody Go?
Now let’s talk about that intervention. Liam, Ridge and the doctor Steffy made out with once were on hand to beg that she get help. Taylor was mentioned in passing, and Thomas was over at Hope’s place looking buff and concerned yet not, upon hearing what was unfolding at the beach house, rushing to his sister’s side. Sure, Hope said too many people pressuring Steffy would only make the situation worse, but I’ll tell you what: If someone told me there was an intervention being held for my drug-addicted sister, I’d be there quicker than… well, quicker than this story wrapped up, which was pretty darn quickly.
“At least,” I thought, “we can look forward to watching Steffy deal with her addiction, maybe go through some intense therapy to get to the root of her problem.” Heck, I even speculated that during these sessions, Steffy might reveal a shocking secret — like that Bill, not Liam, is actually Kelly’s dad! But instead, the day after Steffy confessed her addiction, Ridge said his daughter was in a facility and doing swell enough that he could focus all his attention on the next plot point his wedding.
No Time For Second Thoughts!
With that, we were off to the races, with Ridge ready to gallop down the aisle with Shauna despite everyone — and I do mean everyone — suggesting that maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t the best idea. Even the always affable Carter was downright snarky about the nuptials (which, of course, he was asked to officiate, as usual). Twice, Eric came right out and said what was painfully clear to everyone: “You’re still in love with [Brooke].” Repeatedly, Ridge admitted that yes, he’d always be in love with Brooke… but wait, hold the phone! Why? Because we just got breaking news from our Hypocrisy Alert desk!
You’ll recall that just two short weeks ago, Ridge decided he was going to stick with Shauna after he heard Brooke say that a part of her would always love Bill. Now yes, we made plenty of jokes about exactly which part that was, but what’s important here is that Ridge didn’t even quantify his confession the way she did. He didn’t say a part of him would always love Brooke, he said flat out that he would always love Brooke, adding “that’s not going to change no matter what happens today.”
The whole thing sort of made me realize just how perfect Brooke and Ridge really are for one another. Each is oblivious to how their actions impact other people, and neither is capable of existing as an individual. Both base their self worth on whether or not another human being is willing to commit to them. I’d suggest they each simply adopt dogs and be done with it, but we all know they’d wind up handing the pooches over to Liam and Hope three weeks later.
Truth and Consequences
Of course, the entire thing was being orchestrated by Quinn. As a fan of Rena Sofer’s, I’m always thrilled to see her get material. But this storyline did her alter ego no favors. Quinn is at her best when she’s being sly and subtle, and there was none of that to be found here. Quinn practically cackled and rubbed her hands together while urging Ridge to make sure Brooke knew about his plans to marry Shauna immediately. The would-be bride and groom were far less invested in the ceremony than was Quinn, which gave the audience little reason to root for Ridge and Shauna, who’d once had so much potential as a pairing.
In the days leading up to the wedding, Quinn and Shauna endlessly spoke to one another about the way they’d manipulated Ridge in Las Vegas, so it was inevitable that their conversations would be overheard. Were this back in the days when rich people on soaps had servants, it might have been fun to have a maid use the info to blackmail the scheme queens. Instead, it was Katie who happened to be at the right place at the right time (largely because poor Heather Tom has had nothing to do for a while now).
Before we move on, let’s take a moment here to talk about exposition. It’s a necessary evil of the genre, given that viewers who may not watch every day need to be kept up to date. But there’s nothing more cringeworthy than dialogue which awkwardly recounts plot points in order to further another plot point. Case in point? As Katie hid behind a door, Sofer had the unenviable task of trying to make the following lines sound natural: “No one is ever going to know our secret! So what that we took Ridge’s phone and pretended to be him and told Carter to file Brooke and Ridge’s divorce papers. And maybe he wasn’t coherent enough to marry you on that evening!”
Who talks like that? Nobody. In the real world, you would simply say, “We need to keep our big yaps shut,” knowing full well that the person on the other end of the line knew what you were speaking about. But this was a case of a plot needing to lurch forward by any means necessary. That may sound harsh, but I’m all about the dispensing of tough love. As a lifelong fan of this incredible, awesome, sometimes exasperating genre, I — like most of you — want nothing more than for our shows to be the best they can be. So when we see them violating the basic tenets of good storytelling, we call it out.
Here Comes The Fallout!
Why Katie took this information to Ridge instead of her sister, I’m not really sure. Had she walked into the Forrester office saying she was looking for Brooke, we’d have bought it. Instead, she said to Ridge, “Oh, thank God you’re still here!” In any case, the stage was set for the truth to be told and the fallout to begin. As next week’s spoilers indicate, there will be huge consequences as the ill-fated wedding gets underway. Confrontations will be had, relationships will be tested and viewers will be entertained. Because when it comes to playing the big beats, The Bold and the Beautiful does it better than anyone.
But that also means that by the time I sit down to write next week’s column, the two hottest stories on the show — Steffy’s addiction and the Ridge/Shauna wedding — will have largely run their course. This being a soap, there will obviously be other tales to take their place. But I can’t help wondering why a show that is, by its nature, a perpetual motion machine which must constantly be fed insists on burning so rapidly through the stories which sustain it. Legendary soap scribe Agnes Nixon lived by the creed, “Make ’em laugh, make ’em cry, make ’em wait.” While The Bold and the Beautiful is great at the first two, it seems to have forgotten the importance of the third.
That’s my take on this week’s L.A.-based action… now hit the comments to share yours. Then click here to check out our photo gallery of The Bold and the Beautiful’s all-time greatest characters and see if you agree with the order in which we ranked them.