The Bold and the BeautifulSoapbox
Did The Bold and the Beautiful Do a Time Jump and Forget to Tell the Audience? Because That Would Explain a *Lot*
Image: Howard Wise/JPI
This week, The Bold and the Beautiful violated one of the most important rules of soap-opera storytelling, which is that you must always show the audience, not tell them. The unwritten follow-up to that rule is that if for some reason you decide to do the opposite, make sure that what you tell them isn’t more dramatic than what you showed them. Unfortunately, the CBS sudser broke that rule, too! On the plus side, we got to see Liam knocked down a peg or two — always a plus — and Carter got a swinging new pad in which we suspect he’ll soon be nursing a broken heart.
Addiction? What Addiction?
At one point this week, I literally checked the DVR to make sure that I hadn’t somehow skipped a week’s worth of episodes, or maybe a crucial line of dialogue in which it was explained that the show’d done a time jump a la Days of Our Lives. After all, that would have explained both Steffy kicking pills as quickly as she’d gotten addicted and Carter suggesting that Zoe move in with him. Maybe, I thought, those same missing episodes included scenes in which Zende explained why he’d come back to Los Angeles without his wife and child.
As it turned out, neither of the excuses I was willing to make to explain these things was true. Yet we were repeatedly told how hard Steffy had worked at her recovery. To be clear, all we saw of the process was her hanging in the visitor’s lounge of what we can only assume was a high-priced rehab center (she is, after all, a Forrester!). Oh, we also got to see her make a PSA for her followers in which she talked about how difficult the whole affair had been. She probably then posted it to social media with the hashtag #thestruggleisreal.
None of this, by the way, should be seen as us making light of addiction. If anything, that seemed to be the show’s approach. At one point, Steffy watched a video in which an older gentleman told of his struggles with addiction. Listening to his tale, all I could think was that we now knew more about what he’d gone through than what Steffy had supposedly experienced. By the time Steffy was home cooing over her child, I was left asking, “What was the point of this story?” Best I can tell, it was to create friction between Liam and Finn, which it did in spades. But it was hard to invest in the posturing of the men when every accusation they hurled at one another referred to an addiction and recovery we never actually saw play out on screen.
Crazy in Love
Meanwhile, Carter somehow remained completely oblivious to the fact that his supposed girlfriend spent every minute of every day flirting with Zende… often right in front of him! There were some genuinely funny moments — such as when Carter told Zoe he had a surprise, and Zende chimed in, “I love surprises!” — but they mostly left us wondering how Carter would feel when he’s inevitably asked to officiate at their wedding.
Just when we thought things couldn’t get any more awkward, Carter went and asked Zoe to move in with him. Oh, and where would they be living? Glad you asked. In the love nest formerly occupied by Ridge and Caroline. You remember, the loft… with that big, circular bed in the living room that looked like it had been lifted right out of an ad for a cheesetacular honeymoon resort in the Poconos. Poor Carter not only got a hand-me-down set, but we learned that Ridge had left “dishes, pots and pans, silverware.”
That’s right. The new Chief Operating Officer of Forrester Creations would be eating with his employer’s former flatware. Call me crazy, but a guy Carter’s age should definitely have his own plates. That alone was reason enough to support Zoe’s decision to pump the brakes rather than throw caution to the wind and move in.
Welcome to the Bubble Zone
This next topic is a bit… touchy. For several years, daytime television has been called out for its lack of diversity. While this has been true for all of the soaps, The Bold and the Beautiful has been an interesting case because every couple of years, it tries to address the situation but never quite hits the bull’s eye. Characters are introduced (Marcus, Dayzee, Justin, Reese, Xander), given big storyline and then… well, when’s the last time you saw any of the folks I just mentioned?
Perhaps the most egregious example of this is Maya, about whom we’ve written quite a bit of late in light of her portrayer revealing that she was no longer with the show. (To be fair, this wasn’t exactly news to those of us watching!) Maya was a Black, trans woman who was popular and who drove several years’ worth of story, only to be rather ignominiously hustled off the canvas, never to be seen again.
With that in mind, it’s tough for viewers to get overly invested in the Zende/Zoe/Carter storyline, especially given that it’s been hastily cobbled together and is completely lacking in genuine emotion. It’s also worth noting that the characters exist almost entirely in a bubble. When the show was focused on Ridge and Shauna’s insta-wedding, we went from scenes of Shauna and Quinn plotting to scenes of Brooke discussing her rivals with her sister to scenes of Ridge talking about Brooke and Shauna to whomever happened to be available. And this would all take place in a single episode.
Now, one could look at the episodes which aired this week — most of which featured both the Finn/Steffy/Liam storyline and the Zende/Zoe/Carter storyline — and say, “Hey, why are you complaining, Richard? You’ve been on the writers for ages to tell two stories at once!” And while that’s true, the real problem is that they can’t possibly cut from, say, Zende and Carter to people talking about them because these characters have no strong connections on the canvas. Sure, Carter’s officiated more Forrester weddings than there are dresses in Ridge’s latest collection, but he’s not genuinely close with anyone in the family. Zende could talk to Maya, but… well… we’ve already addressed that particular issue.
Who knows? Maybe this triangle will prove the exception to the rule where this show’s diversity record is concerned. But given that The Bold and the Beautiful exists in a fashion world in which gay people don’t exist, I’m not counting on it.
• Last Friday’s episode ended with Eric storming out on Quinn, who was left alone in that big mansion with only her portrait to keep her company. I was really looking forward to seeing how she’d fight for her man or lash out at Brooke, but we didn’t get a single glimpse of her all week. We were also given no clue as to how Shauna was handling the end of her relationship with Ridge… although we did come up with a few ideas as to what her next move should be!
• I’ve struggled with Liam’s waffling between Hope and Steffy for quite a while, so I’m sorta loving the current story in which both of the women are becoming increasingly fed up with his crap. Other guys have gotten involved with Steffy and Hope over the years, but Finn is the first to feel like an actual threat. (Sorry, Wyatt!)
• Viewers who are still hoping that Steffy and Bill wind up together someday — I see you, #Still fans! — have to have had their ears perk up when the publishing magnate talked about how much he cared for and would always love Steffy. That wasn’t an ex-father-in-law talking about the woman who’d married both of his sons, if you ask me. I still say the show will eventually pull the rug out from under everyone by revealing that Kelly is actually Bill’s daughter.
That’s my take on this week’s episodes… now let’s hear yours. Hit the comments to share what you think is and isn’t working, then to check out photos of Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy) and more of your faves in scary movies that are perfect when you want to Netflix and get chills, just click here.