B&B KEEPS IT IN THE FAMILY OVER AND OVER AGAIN
The Bold and the Beautiful is a half hour show, but does that mean the characters have to keep sleeping their way through entire families? Is the time constraint so different from the hour shows that it causes Executive Producer/Head Writer Brad Bell to have difficulty writing romantic storylines for anyone who is not related?
Nick is in love with Brooke, yet sleeping with Brooke’s daughter, Bridget, all while lusting after Brooke’s sister, Katie. Who does he think he is – the male version of Brooke? After all, Brooke is notorious for having slept (and married) her way through a trifecta of Forrester men.
Brooke is also known for stealing two of her daughter’s husbands. Now the sanctimonious Taylor, who has always pilloried Brooke for her behavior, is in the middle of her own indiscretion. The good doctor has just slept with Rick, her teenage daughter Phoebe’s, ex-boyfriend, who just happens to be Brooke’s son! Got all of that? The hypocrisy and incestousness of it all is hard for even long time fans who know the characters’ tangled histories to follow.
And I haven’t even mentioned Brooke’s ex-husband, Eric, who is now engaged to her sister, Donna. The character of Eric has always been the voice of reason on this show, so it’s disappointing to see his credibility damaged by his tawdry sex scenes with a Barbie doll half his age.
B&B is in desperate need of an infusion of new characters - characters who aren’t related to anyone else in town, or who haven’t already slept with other characters. Ashley and Ridge had the potential to be a breakout couple in this regard, until Bell tainted Ashley by giving her a lurid past with Rick - Ridge’s pseudo half brother and step-son. Couldn’t Bell have been satisfied with Ashley’s previous history on Y&R and not made up a new one on B&B? There was absolutely no reason to introduce a previous affair between Ashley and Rick, other than to ignite Rick’s previous penchant for older women (his teenage affair with his babysitter Amber comes to mind). This has manifested itself again by his out of left field attraction to Taylor.
Not only has the pairing of Rick and Taylor been abrupt to say the least, but it makes no sense. Hunter Tylo (Taylor) and Kyle Lowder (Rick) possess not an ounce of chemistry together, and their characters have never really interacted before. Sure, Rick was once Taylor’s step-son, but even then they didn’t cross paths much. All of a sudden we’re supposed to buy Rick as Taylor’s good friend and protector, when he has never been established in this role before? Let alone we’re supposed to believe he’s harboring a secret attraction to her that just happened to develop into full blown love in a matter of weeks.
I suppose if the show continues on the path it’s on, there will be no one left for Brooke to sleep with but Ridge and Taylor’s son, Thomas. Unless of course, a newly SORASed “Little Eric” (Deacon and Becky’s son that was raised at one time by Rick) comes back to town. Brooke could be all over him, without ever giving a thought to the fact that he was once raised as her grandchild!
No relationship on this show seems sacred anymore. I’m a fan of a good love scene and romance as much as anyone, but enough with the one degree of separation perversion of relationships on B&B. The show has become the defacto Jerry Springer of soap operas.
GL’S NEW LOOK
When Guiding Light debuted its new “Life Happens Here” look after much fanfare, it was hard to imagine it could live up to all the hype. Other shows had tried using hand held cameras before without success, so what was the big deal? However, the combination of shooting an entire show with hand-held digital cameras and using three dimensional locations, instead of taping with a stationary camera inside a studio set with three walls, has brought a radical and much needed change to the show. Even though there are a few little kinks that still need work (the sound), for the most part, it’s a vast improvement.
When non-soap watchers think of soaps, they think of cheesy sets and bad acting. GL had already conquered the later, and now it has single-handedly remade the former.
It’s been exciting to watch a soap opera use real houses instead of faux houses with three walls. A lot of primetime shows don’t even have this luxury. It gives everything a heightened sense of reality, which makes the scenes more tension filled and believable.
It’s been a treat to watch the cast contend with using the real appliances in their real homes (running fridges stocked with real food, real showers with real water pressure) and drive real cars instead of cars that never seem to go anywhere with the driver turning the wheel frequently.
The outdoor scenes have been enhanced right along with the indoor ones. The recent scenes in the cemetery (visiting Tammy’s grave, burying Gus) have felt eerily life like. Usually when a character is in a cemetery, you don’t have a visceral response because the tombstones and grounds look fake. When all of a sudden you have actors standing in an actual cemetery everything takes on new meaning. You almost feel as if you’re eavesdropping on someone having an intimate conversation at their deceased loved one’s grave.
Considering the fact that most soaps rarely give a shout out to seasons (women wearing sundresses and strappy heels in the middle of winter, couples picnicking on the beach, etc.) it has been nothing short of refreshing to watch actors bundle up in coats and hats and gloves, and see their cold air breath during outdoor scenes.
The entire atmosphere of the show has done a 180 and instead of watching a daytime soap opera you feel like you’re watching a home movie. Yes, the angles from the new hand held cameras are close, but isn’t it nice to see soap actors look like normal people for a change and not ethereal beings bathed in the warm glow of soft focus lighting?
The actors exude an energetic vibe as if they’re enjoying the new challenges. You almost get the feeling they’re ad-libbing sometimes in reaction to their surroundings. They have to cope unexpectedly with noise from passing cars or wayward birds or curious people in the background, which they’ve never had to do before.
After watching the new GL for six weeks, it makes the other soaps less fun to watch. It’s as if GL has suddenly discovered color while all the other soaps are still stuck in black and white. GL’s innovation has made me eager to tune in to see what they’ll do next. And really, isn’t that the point of a good soap opera?
Lesleyann Coker is the co-author of Boob Tube, a forthcoming novel that goes behind the scenes of the soap opera industry. She was previously a reporter for Soap Opera Weekly Magazine.
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