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Bold & Beautiful Warned Us It Was Coming, But We *Still* Weren’t Prepared For the Mannequin Story

BB thomas hope dummy head in box

CBS screenshot

Liam apologized, Zoe sang, Carter advised… but what we really want to discuss regarding this week’s episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful is that moment when Thomas opened that box and the entire Internet said, “Oh no they didn’t!” Oh yes they did, and we are ready to talk about that shocking moment and, since we’re here, the other stuff which took place among the Forrester Creations staff. Ready? Let’s dive in! 

Thomas and the Real Girl

First, kudos if you “get” the movie referenced above, which was the very first thing which came to my mind when Thomas unpackaged that Hope mannequin. Lars and the Real Girl is a 2007 romantic comedy in which Ryan Gosling’s character falls in (platonic) love with a sex doll named Bianca. The movie was a sweet, lovely tale — you can check out the totally innocent, downright charming trailer below. Mind you, this is clearly not what The Bold and the Beautiful is going for… thank goodness.

Sometimes, it’s dangerous to judge a story too quickly. We assume we know where it’s going to go and start prematurely criticizing or praising it (but this being the Internet, mostly criticizing). So when Thomas opened the box on Wednesday and we saw what was inside, I was giddy but tried to tamp down my enthusiasm. “They’re not going to go there,” I told myself.

Apparently for a hot second there, I totally forgot what show I was watching. Of course they were going to go there! And this being The Bold and the Beautiful, they’d be doing so full-steam ahead! By Thursday, the mannequin was hanging out on Thomas’ couch and not only talking to him but saying, “I want to be with you. I know you want that, too.”

bold beautiful thomas mannequin crazy story

Too late, Thomas realized he probably should have tidied up the place before he brought his new girlfriend over.

I have absolutely no doubt that some viewers said, “Nope, that’s it… I’m outta here!” I’m equally sure that everyone at the show knew that some would have that reaction. But they also knew that there would be memes and GIFs and late-night talk-show hosts mocking the story, all of which would generate the kind of buzz that soaps typically can’t buy… and that it would result in new viewers tuning in to see it for themselves.

What Has to Happen Next

This is a major opportunity for The Bold and the Beautiful and one the show needs to capitalize on. How? By making sure that viewers who tune in to see Thomas and the talking doll get much more than they bargained for. Come for the cray cray, stay for the swoon-worthy romances, epic catfights and big-time drama.

More: Don Diamont shares a heartbreaking loss 

Frankly, what should be playing opposite this is the story the soap failed to tell two weeks ago: Steffy’s struggle to kick the pain pills. Based on the work we saw Jacqueline MacInnes Wood do during Steffy’s insta-addiction, I can only imagine what she’d have done with scenes in which the beautiful heiress lashed out at family members, broke down in therapy sessions and confronted her demons. Why the show opted to rush every beat of this story (and several others) remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of 2020.

Two Men and a Lady

To give credit where it’s due, The Bold and the Beautiful is actually telling several stories at once, which it rarely does. Unfortunately, I can’t say that the Zende/Zoe/Carter triangle is particularly great soap. Why? I blame new hire Delon de Metz, whose Zende is so ridiculously charismatic that Carter doesn’t stand a chance! Perhaps had Carter and Zoe’s budding romance been given more time to develop before a spoiler was introduced, this would be playing better. Instead, I just feel sorry for Carter and kinda wanna take Zoe to task for stringing the dude along.

“Do you think I should move in with Carter?” Zoe asked Zende flirtatiously, clearly wanting him to say something along the lines of, “Of course not, because I want you for myself.” These two were basically undressing one another with their eyes when in walked Carter, once again completely oblivious to what was happening literally in front of his eyes.

More: Is *this* why a B&B couple moved so fast?

If there’s one thing that amuses me about this trio, it’s Zende constantly trying to horn in on his rival’s dates. When Carter told Zoe he had a special evening planned, the designer chimed in, “I’m assuming this isn’t, like, a group thing.” Played slightly differently, they could easily convince the audience that Zende is attracted to both Carter and Zoe, and that would spice this story up immensely!

The End of an Era?

One thing that caught me a bit off guard this week — in the best way possible — was Hope taking a stand where her husband’s involvement in Steffy’s life was concerned. Rather than simply sit back and watch as Liam spun out over the possibility of Steffy finding happiness with someone other than him, Hope actually sat him down for a long-overdue conversation.

bold beautiful liam office screenshot

“It’s not like they’re going to talk from me talking about Thomas not being sane to him doing something totally insane!”

“Shouldn’t you be happy about this, that she’s found someone?” Hope asked. “Unless that’s what’s really bothering you — that deep down, you don’t want Steffy to move on with any man who isn’t you.” Better still, when her arguments continued to be met with the brick wall that is Liam’s inability to see his own oafish behavior, Hope put it in terms even he could understand. “If you continue to just run after Steffy trying to rescue her from a man that she is happy with? That is not only disrespectful to her, it is disrespectful to me. And I really, really hope that you can see that, Liam, especially given our history.”

The only misstep here was the change in tone between Monday and Tuesday’s episodes. In the first, Hope’s approach was forthright but casual. She was speaking tough truths but doing so in an almost playful, laidback manner. She was seated on the couch, her body language completely at ease. But when we picked up the scenes Tuesday, everything had been amplified, from her tone — which was now frustrated and angry — to the fact that she was standing, her entire body tense.

Even the dialogue itself was inconsistent, with Hope going from stating in no uncertain terms that she had full faith in the strength of her marriage and the stability of her and Liam’s family on Monday to saying Tuesday, her voice trembling, “It makes me a little worried about our family.” But the writers apparently felt that the only way Liam would change his behavior was if he feared losing Hope. Because it was this moment that prompted him to apologize to Steffy and Finn for having interfered in their relationship.

This being The Bold and the Beautiful, Finn and Steffy — who haven’t been on so much as a single date (unless you count him visiting her in rehab) — had of course declared their love moments before Liam arrived to give his blessing. Which of course means it’s probably time to reveal that Finn really is a bad guy, allowing Liam to yet again ride to Steffy’s rescue and begin waffling between her and Hope all over again.

Random Thoughts

• Were you as stunned as I was when Kiara Barnes’ Zoe crooned to Zende? Talk about some serious Corinne Bailey Rae vibes. Yeah, I’d buy that album!

• It was probably a mistake to show Carter kiss what was clearly a mannequin in the same episode during which Thomas was being hit on by one.

• In order to keep actors socially distanced, characters now simply walk into one another’s houses (as opposed to someone having to open the door, which would put them in close proximity). But it was kind of ludicrous that first Thomas and then Liam both barged right into Steffy’s house between her make-out sessions with Finn. Maybe instead of worrying about Finn’s influence on Steffy and Kelly, Liam should fret about the fact she never locks her door!

• Where is the real Julius Avant? Because the guy who showed up to tell Zende they were cool, no matter what went down — and then chat with the younger man about his girl problems — was not the man we know. Clearly, the visit between the two men was designed to serve one purpose: tell the audience, through Julius, that it was okay to like Zende. If Julius could forgive him for whatever went down at Forrester International — and clearly, as with Maya and Rick, we are not going to be told — then we can, too. Why the show has twice now taken the easy way out where Avant marriages are concerned, I can’t begin to guess. But doing so violates one of the biggest rules in soap opera storytelling by choosing the least dramatic option possible.

Now it’s time to share your thoughts — and oh boy, do I know you have thoughts — about this week’s episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful in the comments below. (And yes, this means I’m dying to hear what you think of the Thomas story! Then visit the gallery below to revisit some of the Forrester heir’s previous antics.

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