In this month's Busted to Blissful, Soapdom's Lesleyann Coker has a bone to pick with the Bold and the Beautiful, but couldn't be more pleased with the way things are going on As the World Turns. What has busted her bubble, and what's put her in bubblicious bubble bliss? Read on!
Ramifications of Stephanie’s Fake Heart Attack on B&B
The Bold and the Beautiful’s initial revelation that Stephanie faked her heart attack in order to reunite Ridge and Taylor and keep Ridge away from Brooke, was well done. However, the storyline began to unravel in the aftermath of Stephanie’s confession.
The buildup to the pivotal scene was suspenseful with Jackie using all of her feminine wiles to catch Dr. Mark McClain on tape admitting that he’d been paid off by Stephanie to lie about the severity of her condition. When Jackie and Brooke cornered Stephanie, the fur flew between the women as Stephanie realized she was backed into a corner and would have to tell her family the ugly truth. The serious moment was unintentionally lightened by the women trading slaps back and forth.
The credibility of this story took another hit the moment Stephanie began to spill her dirty secret to the entire Forrester clan assembled for Nick and Bridget’s umpteenth wedding. Even though Stephanie and Brooke are mortal enemies, it doesn’t justify Stephanie blaming every little thing in her life that’s gone wrong on Brooke. Stephanie is far from a saint, as her son Ridge’s true paternity can attest.
Stephanie believes Brooke has destroyed her family by sleeping her way through the Forrester men, including Stephanie’s husband Eric, and her two sons, Ridge and Thorne. While Brooke certainly is no angel, it would be wise for Stephanie to assign some of the blame to the men. It takes two to tango. Brooke didn’t have sex by herself after all.
Once Stephanie finished her anti-Brooke rant, she tried her best to spin her current predicament as a response to her prior Brooke-inflicted pain, but her family wasn’t buying what she was selling. The story became even more convoluted when Eric reacted by professing his love and admiration to Brooke and dipping her into a passionate kiss, immediately after Stephanie spilled her guts. Eric’s action was out of left field to say the least.
Other strange responses included the ones by Ridge’s two wives. After Stephanie came clean-- and in the span of one episode -- Brooke went from practically begging Ridge to come back to her and the kids, to deciding they were better off without him. One second she was pleading for a commitment, and the next second she said she was out of his life for good because he couldn’t make one. When Ridge said, “But I haven’t said anything definitive,” and Brooke responded with, “And you probably never will,” it was the understatement of the year.
When Ridge came home, Taylor had his bag already packed, after deciding to send him away until he resolved his feelings for Brooke. It was long overdue for these two strong women to kick Ridge to the curb for acting like an over grown version of The Bachelor, but the sudden timing didn’t work. Taylor and Brooke’s spontaneous decisions appeared underdeveloped and rushed, especially in Brooke’s case.
To make matters even worse, Eric showed up at Brooke’s house the next morning and proposed to her! The last time I checked, even if you’re mad at your wife, it doesn’t give you license to propose to another woman. Not only was it out of character for Eric to say the best times of his life were when he was married to Brooke, but it was revisionist history. Brooke spent most of her marriage to Eric pining for Ridge, until she ultimately cheated on Eric with Ridge, thus creating the whole debacle of Bridget’s paternity.
When Brooke announced to Eric that she wasn’t going to depend on a man to take care of her anymore and that she wanted to be alone, Eric applauded her courage. Brooke hasn’t been without a man for 18 years, so we’ll see how long this newfound “courage” lasts.
Brooke is going to need a lot more than courage to deal with her current situation, as her young daughter Hope became another unfortunate casualty of this storyline. Dante and Nick fought over the latest aborted wedding attempt for Nick and Bridget, while they were supposed to be keeping an eye on Hope. Instead, the little girl’s hair became caught in the hot tub’s drain after her “swimming wings” fell off. It was one of the most disturbing sequences I’ve ever seen in daytime, as the child happily bobbed up in down in the water playing, before we saw her head being sucked closer to the drain. Soaps should be entertaining, maybe even frustrating, but never traumatizing to watch.
All of these storyline beats were an indirect result of Stephanie’s confession, but most of them didn’t make sense, and one was downright inappropriate.
ATWT’s Baby Switch
I use to not care about the character of Gwen and her unborn baby on As the World Turns. She was introduced as a day player waitress, and then we learned that she’d had an off camera one night stand with Casey Hughes, one of the most annoying -- if well connected -- teens in daytime.
All of that changed however, when Gwen became caught in the center of the big umbrella baby switch storyline. Craig switched Gwen’s baby (whom he and his wife Rosanna were adopting) with his biological son with Jennifer, and the ramifications will ultimately touch almost every character on the canvas, none more so than Gwen.
Unbeknownst to Gwen, her premature baby has died, and it’s Jennifer’s baby that survived. Jennifer thinks just the opposite, and we’ve watched her painful grieving process for the son she never even got to hold.
The storyline literally kicked into high gear when Rosanna pieced together the truth and decided to tell Paul. Unfortunately for Rosanna, but fortunately for viewers who have been the beneficiaries of the fallout, Craig ran her car off the road, and she’s now in a coma, with no one any the wiser as to Craig’s secret. That could change however, as Paul is determined to find out what Rosanna wanted to tell him on that fateful night.
The cast has acted their hearts out in the wake of the two premature births, one baby’s death, and Rosanna’s car accident. Even the teenage set has stepped up to handle the challenging material, though I won’t be sorry to see the character of Celia leave Oakdale. What an unworthy receipt of Casey and Will’s affection she turned out to be. I look forward to Will discovering the gem he has in front of him in Gwen. She’s really a diamond in the rough.
My admiration for the character of Gwen is due in no small part to her fierce portrayal by soap newcomer, Jennifer Landon (the late Michael Landon’s daughter). She took a thankless role, and through the sheer force of her screen presence, became an integral part of the show. Landon is never better than when trying to hide Gwen’s pain and loneliness, whether over giving up her baby for adoption, or losing the affections of her best friend Will to the insipid and far less deserving Celia.
Another heartbreaking performance has come from Jennifer Ferrin as her character Jen deals with the loss of her baby. Her rawness and grief were palpable when she learned her baby had died. Luckily, Jen has Dusty to help her pick up the pieces, and Ferrin and Grayson McCouch (Dusty) have wonderful chemistry together. It’s high time this independent woman stopped being Mike’s doormat and had some fun of her own. Dusty’s just the man for the job in spite of his dalliance with the slutty nuMeg.
Hopefully, the writers will take their time with this story now that the babies have been born, since Gwen and Jennifer had the fastest pregnancies in history, at four months. If paced right, this story could go on for years, with viewers waiting with baited breath for Gwen and Jen and all of Oakdale to learn the truth. That would be the mark of a great storyline indeed.
Lesleyann Coker is a contributing columnist for Soapdom.com, and co-author of Boob Tube, a satiric novel currently being shopped to publishers that examines what really goes on behind the scenes of the soap opera industry. She is a former reporter for Soap Opera Weekly magazine, and has interviewed over 200 daytime and primetime actors during her career.
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