Soapbox

Taylor Launched Not One But Two Sneak Attacks, and We’re Here For It — Plus, the Mixed Bag That Was Bold & Beautiful in 2021

December 20-24, 2021

B&B mashup taylor ridge brooke steffy finn

Credit: Howard Wise/JPI (3)

To be honest, when I heard that The Bold and the Beautiful planned to have Sheila spend the holidays with Finn and his family… well, let’s just say I did a whole body eye-roll. But after watching it play out, I had to tip our hat to the writers. Read on so that we can discuss the soap’s sudden infusion of smarts and my personal take on the storylines this show told in 2021. And yes, that means I’ll be lamenting the loss of my beloved poor, dead Vinny. Ready? Let’s do this! 

Brains and Beauty

I love when soaps allow a character to be smart. And in the case of the newly-returned, badly-bewigged (promise, that’ll be the only mention!) Taylor, the writers actually allowed her to be smarter than… well, if not the entire audience, certainly me. Because when I read the teaser saying that she would urge Steffy to invite Sheila over, I guffawed. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” I thought (and maybe said aloud). “Taylor would never!”

bold beautiful taylor steffy finn HW

Above:“Trust me, kids, I have a few tricks up my sleeve… not to mention what’s under this wig!”

Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

More: Tanner Novlan shares a magical first with his daughter

And then, on Thursday’s episode, Taylor explained the logic behind her move, which essentially boiled down to: “Keep your friends close and your psychotic, baby-napping, relative-shooting mother-in-law closer.”

Friendly Fire

As Taylor was explaining to Steffy her theory about Taylor, I realized that she might well be using the same thought process where Brooke’s concerned. I loved the conversation between Brooke and Taylor that stretched out over two episodes. It not only gave us more insight into Krista Allen’s version of Taylor, but the scripts were actually really solid. There were references to their complicated and storied past, and the whole thing felt like the characters were dancing on a minefield.

bold taylor brooke finger HW

Above: Clearly, these two are terrible at rock, paper, scissors.

Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

More: Brooke vs. NuTaylor — rating their first showdown

By the time Brooke left, she and Taylor had essentially struck an uneasy truce. Could they be friends? “I’d like to think so,” said the brunette. And in that moment, I thought she was sincere. But then, after hearing her talk about how important it was to basically play Sheila, I couldn’t help but re-evaluate what had gone down.

“Hold up,” I said, “is Taylor setting traps for both Sheila and Brooke?” Sure, her motives are different in each case, but I’m intrigued to see how each scenario plays out. And that, kids, is the kind of fun you can have with smart characters.

Well, That Happened…

Hard to believe there’s only one week left in 2021, isn’t it? While most people save their nostalgia-tinged looks back for New Year’s Eve, I’m gonna get it out of the way now. (Plus, next week I’ll be looking forward as I wax poetic about my hopes and dreams for Bold.& Beautiful in 2022.)

If this were The Real Housewives of Los Angeles, we’d all be gathered around a table (despite not really liking one another) and after about drinking way, way too much, someone would have the brilliant idea of playing “roses and thorns.” You know, where you go around the table and each person says what their rose (or good thing) and thorn (or bad thing) of the year was. Since I’m the only one at this particular table, I drank all the wine and am ready to play. So let’s do this!

Real Housewives of NY Dorinda Bethany Tinsley

Above: Bethenny knew better than to get involved when Dorinda and Tinsley started the whole “Brooke versus Taylor” debate.

Credit: Heidi Gutman/Bravo, Courtesy of The Everett Collection

More: Krista Allen admits, ‘We know the wig is terrible!’

• I’ll start by putting a dozen roses on the grave of my beloved Poor, Dead Vinny. He had so much potential — y’all know that I spent a bit of time hoping they’d do a Beauty and the Beast type story with him and Steffy — and wound up roadkill.  But I have to follow that up with a thorn to the writers for the whole “Vinny loved Thomas so much he threw himself in front of a car so his buddy could be with Hope” mess. Worse, they tried to sell it as a “murder” mystery which… yeah, it wasn’t.

• Like a lot of people, I was stoked when Bold & Beautiful announced Kimberlin Brown’s return as Sheila. Unfortunately, the one-time master villain was reduced to pining over an emoji from her son and sexually harassing Deacon. Maybe now that Taylor’s playing a potentially dangerous game with the woman who once killed her (and only on soaps can you be “temporarily killed”), things will get more interesting. But as we head out of 2021… sorry, Sheila, here’s your thorn.

• This one’s gonna get me in some trouble, but I’m giving a rose to the Eric/Quinn/Carter story. Or maybe I should say I’m giving a rose to the idea of the story. What we actually got was a bit of a mess with more than a few problematic issues. But as a big believer that daytime needs to tell more daring storylines involving sex and sexuality, I have to applaud the effort, even if the execution was flawed.

Katie, Carter hold hands B&B

Above:“Carter, I just feel I need to say this: No matter how many times Eric urged you to boink his wife, you didn’t actually have to do it!”

Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

More: Would Jacob Young return as Rick?

• Is there something that exists between a rose and a thorn? Maybe a stem? If so, I’d like to extend that to Paris. Diamond White is a beautiful, talented young woman who lights up the screen with her smile. But the writers have absolutely no idea what to do with her. That hasn’t stopped them from pushing the character as aggressively as a used car salesman, but until they give her an actual storyline, it ain’t working. (And no, having people gush about how awesome Paris is is not a storyline.)

• The writers earn a big ol’ thorn for completely and totally wasting so many characters the audience loves. How in the world does Bill Spencer — one of the most dynamic character on daytime — spent months without a story? How has Heather Tom — she of the gazillion Emmy awards — wind up playing a glorified under five who has nothing to do but prop Brooke? Where are Wyatt, Flo, Shauna, Justin… you know, the characters who actually populate this world?

Bold bill hands on hips hw

Above: “What’s a guy gotta do to get a storyline around here? I’m richI I’ll buy one!”

Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

• Matching roses in gorgeous vases to Sean Kanan and Krista Allen, whose Deacon and Taylor have proven real bright spots since their late-in-the-year returns. I’d actually forgotten how wonderfully smarming — that’s smarmy and charming — Deacon can be thanks to the perpetual twinkle in Kanan’s eye. As for Allen… I honestly expected a massive backlash upon hearing that the show was recasting Taylor. But damned if Allen didn’t waltz right in and say, “I got this. Calm down, people.” (If you’re not following her on Twitter — @KristaAllenXO —  you’re really missing out and should correct that immediately.)

I’m going to stop there and open the floor to you. Because I can’t wait to read the comments section and find out to what or whom you’re going to hand your rose and thorn. (Remember, the game is far more fun after a few glasses of wine… especially if that wine happens to be, as in my case, tequila.) So share with my your thoughts on the year’s highs and lows (all of which we’ll recap in far more detail next week). Then — in honor of Bold & Beautiful‘s new Taylor — check out the gallery below in which we rank the 30 all-time best recasts. See if you agree with who landed where!

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