The Bold and the BeautifulSoapbox
The Many, Many Reasons Liam Sleeping With Steffy Has Bold & Beautiful Fans Ticked Off — Plus, Grading November Sweeps
Howard Wise/JPI (2); CBS screenshot
It’s kinda normal to sometimes get angry at soap characters. But this week, I did something I haven’t done in a very, very long time: I literally shouted at the screen. Multiple times. And as I sit here writing, I can’t decide if my frustration with The Bold and the Beautiful as a whole — and the Liam/Steffy hookup in particular — is a good or bad thing. So let’s talk it out, shall we?
Liam Spencer Is the Worst — Period
I love Scott Clifton. I think he’s one of the best actors on daytime television and have long believed he should be starring in a primetime sitcom. I can’t say enough good things about the guy. That said, I’ve officially reached my breaking point with his alter ego, Liam.
I unequivocally despise Liam at the moment. Like, throw-things-at-the-television-and-rant-on-Twitter level despise. His actions this week went from boneheaded to bad to downright deplorable. I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to listing all the ways in which his behavior was unacceptable.
Do we start with the complete and utter lack of faith he showed his wife? Or maybe that he got drunk with his ex — who has addiction issues — and then slept with her? Or that the next day — fresh from having sex with Steffy — he went on and on about how he could never, ever forgive Hope for having kissed Thomas?
“You of all people know how much I love Hope and how much my marriage to her means to me,” he told Steffy. Think about that for a moment. Think about what he’s saying and to whom he’s saying it, not to mention that he’s doing so only hours after having said to her that he’d “never not loved” her. It is cruel beyond measure and the fact that he doesn’t even realize it makes it even more so.
— David Roberts (@morfair71) December 4, 2020
What Happens Next?
To be fair, Steffy is not entirely blameless in this literal affair. She shouldn’t have been drinking, given her recent (if incredibly short-lived) addiction issues. Even drunk, some part of her should have known better than to fall for the same crap she’s fallen for before where Liam is concerned.
I’m going to give her full credit, however, for not waking up moony-eyed and doodling Liam’s name on her sketch pad. If anything, Steffy’s attitude seemed to be more one of the “OK, not ideal, but that happened” variety.
If you were on social media at all this week, you saw an explosion of people who were furious over the Liam/Steffy tryst. Many of them even vowed to never watch the show again. But I can’t help remembering something an NBC executive told me years ago. We were discussing Luis and Sheridan on that network’s former sudser Passions. The couple had once again been torn apart by some incident or another, and viewers were livid.
“That’s OK,” the exec told me. “When people get angry and say, ‘If you don’t put so-and-so back together, I’m never watching again,’ I know they’ll never stop watching. You only get that upset about something you really, truly care about. And that means you’ll keep coming back, because you want to see your couple end up together.”
But this is slightly different. This isn’t an audience being upset because a couple isn’t together or even because one is being torn apart. This is people upset because a show has made one of its leading characters wildly unlikeable. They’re also ticked that by having Liam sleep with Steffy over a misunderstanding, the show is going back to a well it’s already visited often enough to drain it dry. Take away the mannequin, and this is well-trod territory for Bold & Beautiful.
I have to step away. I just can’t watch this again. The saddest/most frustrating part to me is there are some excellent actors in this mix. I have to imagine they are desperate for some fresh and intriguing material. 🤦🏼♀️
— MJK (@becoreageous) November 30, 2020
On the Plus Side…
If there was a standout moment this week, it had to be Wednesday’s scenes in which a horrified Hope watched Thomas battle against the mannequin’s evil influence. Annika Noelle had the unique challenge of playing a confused but increasingly concerned Hope as well as the manipulative Fauxpe. It’s been a blast watching Noelle get to stretch her wings, and I can’t help but hope (pun intended) it inspires the writers to give her further opportunities to do so.
But these scenes belonged to Matthew Atkinson, who did the impossible by making us actually feel sorry for Thomas. It was the kind of stunning performance you want to show all of your soap-hating friends before challenging them to find you its equal on their current primetime favorite. It should make him an Emmy frontrunner, although I fear the camp factor of the mannequin will factor against him.
• Brooke and Ridge have been reduced to flirting with each other (from a social distance, of course) and fretting about their kids. Tell me again why the show was in such a rush to end his relationship with Shauna? Was it really just so that they can butt heads again over Hope and Thomas, which is clearly coming down the pike?
• Steffy talks a good game when it comes to expressing concern about Thomas. Yet when a ticked-off Liam took off for her brother’s house, she didn’t do squat to protect him. “I would have gone after him,” she told dad Ridge, “but Kelly is sleeping.” If only there were some magical device over which she could have reached out to Thomas in order to communicate her concerns…
• This week was the end of November sweeps, and boy, was Bold & Beautiful a roller coaster… by which I mean there were a lot of ups and downs. Not everybody has loved the mannequin story, but I’m all for something that’s new and different on daytime.
Unfortunately, as often happens with this particular show, there was a complete lack of balance in the storytelling. Occasionally, we’d get two or three stories at once — the Shauna/Eric/Quinn or Carter/Zoe/Zende/Paris stories as well as Thomas’ downward spiral — but then they’d go right back to the one-story-per-episode format for days on end. In fact, the Thomas-centric story was literally the only one to play out this entire week.
For my money, I’d have to say Bold & Beautiful was the most uneven of the four remaining soaps, earning itself a C+. (It still fared better in my estimation than sister soap The Young & The Restless, which has really struggled to hold my attention for a while now. Based on her Soapbox column this week, it sounds like Candace is having the same issue.)
That’s my take on the week’s events. Want to share your thoughts? Hit the comments to let us know what you think is and isn’t working. Then join us in looking back on some of Bold and Beautiful’s classic love triangles by clicking here.