Has your week been bold and beautiful? Did you look up "hypocrite" in the dictionary and see a picture of yourself? Did everyone argue about you when you weren't even in the room? Did you get more mail of the black variety? These and more situations faced the Forresters et al this week!
Opening with Bill and Katie's ripping game of chess (half-naked or not) was a perfect metaphor for this week's events, since there was a lot of strategy and rather intricate plots and moves going on -- so let's set up the board and put on that old "One Night In Bangkok" song (even if it's only peripherally about chess!) and see where the pieces moved over the last five episodes!
First piece to be captured: Nick. How appropriate is it for a sailor to have finally jumped the shark? I like Nick, but I've never felt B&B knew what to do with him: He's a bearded sailor! Wait, he's the clean-cut mogul of a shipping empire! No, he's running a fashion house! Let's put him with Brooke! No, Bridget! Felicia! Katie! Taylor! I've managed to just go with it since his 2003 introduction, but his attitude toward Bridget now has killed it for me.
It's natural he'd feel angry and betrayed upon finding out his wife slept with his mother's husband -- an episode of Jerry Springer if I ever saw one. In any other situation, divorce would not be an unreasonable course of action. But Nick has cheated on almost every woman he's been with -- married to them or not -- and has no room to talk now that karma has bitten him in the butt. Even Bridget had a more mature reaction when Nick knocked up Katie! I'm at least glad there was some tenderness in the scene where Bridget asked Nick for another chance, but his inability to see where he's done the same thing has made this character unredeemable in my book. Time to put Nicky on the Shady Marlin II and set him on a course to find Massimo. Or maybe the Bermuda Triangle!
Besides, Nick calling a business meeting just so he could humiliate Bridget by exposing her baby's paternity was just beyond cruel. Did he care what that would do to his mother? Where does Nick get off saying he can't raise someone else's child? Isn't that exactly what he did when he helped raise Hope? R.J.? Even Jack, since Jack's biological mother wasn't Nick's then-wife? And, oh, Aggie…I know you looked happier than a pig in the brown stuff when Nick asked you to dinner, but the "REBOUND" stamped on his forehead is clearer than the "Sally Says Recycle" sign!
So, Donna now has 12½% of Forrester. Not bad for someone who was nowhere near when it was awarded! Oh, I know Jennifer Gareis was on maternity leave at that point. But to go through with this arbitration storyline and then have Donna not be there because she's "too distraught"? That was just weird. And, admittedly, I don't know much about arbitration, but do arbitrators really make house calls? To say anything of letting the people he's there to referee just pop off with anything they want to say? I had to smile when he noted that the Forresters and Logans were two families in conflict and crisis and that none of that would be resolved any time soon! Twenty-three years in, truer words have never been said, buddy!
And I still have a problem with the whole rationale for the arbitration. It's one thing to try to get Donna to relinquish her claim on Eric's stock. But Stephanie didn't have a leg to stand on from the get-go in using Stephen's imprisonment as a bargaining tool. What exactly was Stephen's crime? Trespassing, Stephanie says. No -- Stephanie kidnapped Pam, and Stephen only came to the cabin because Pam asked him to. Attempted murder? Hardly. I'm looking at Wikipedia right now and it says "attempted murder is when one physically tries to kill someone…simply pointing a gun at someone would not be attempted murder." Stephanie is the one who committed attempted murder by shooting Stephen! So that whole part of the story was really contrived. Stephen would be well within his rights to press charges against La Forrester!
Silly as the whole thing was, it really brought out some interesting story points and performances. The Logans now have a champion and his name is Dollar Bill Spencer. Sure, everyone from Brooke to Stephanie to Eric knows that Bill is helping Donna obtain her stock so he can regain his foothold on Forrester. But I was never left with the feeling that he was doing it solely for his own selfish purposes. There's also a genuine feeling that Bill cares about his in-laws and relishes the challenge of protecting them from Stephanie.
Can Stephanie be any less likeable these days? Six weeks ago, she was all ready to make peace with Brooke and now suddenly she's saying that if the Logans don't accept her offer, she'll prosecute their father to the fullest extent of the law? If Sally were here, she'd tell Queen Stephanie that she's just plain being Queen Bitch. I hate that B&B reverted Stephanie to form as soon as she returned to Forrester. She was much more interesting over at Jackie M! Why would Eric even want to be with this woman?
But Stephanie has a new conscience, and by golly, it's Pam! Of course Bill is manipulating Pam -- and who can tell for sure if Stephen is manipulating Pam? (I still think his feelings for Pam have become genuine, but I love that the line is so blurry that it isn't obvious one way or the other.) Could anyone argue Pam's point when she told Stephanie she understood Stephen's grief because "I know crazy"? Noting the second chance she was given, she told Stephanie "Maybe you forgot what it's like to be treated like a villain." Wow. The character of Pam has really matured in a very short time, and I like it.
She's right -- Stephanie's need for vengeance is no different than Stephen's need. And Stephen had a much more immediate reason for it! As I mentioned, Stephanie's case was so weak that you didn't need Pam's testimony to upend it, but pitting the former anti-Logan Pam against the Forresters is absolutely inspired. Especially because Stephanie is being as abusive to Pam as their father was to Stephanie!
This week's lemon bar references: 4. Fail! Make…it…stop…
Don't, however, stop the intriguing overlaps of storylines and combinations of characters. Despite events still happening way too fast (I'd estimate twice as fast as they used to in "the good old days"), Jarrett is finally being given interesting things to do, and even Justin had more to do this week than months' worth of his "hey, baby" looks at Donna. And is anyone else fascinated by the forming team of Bill and Stephen? Stephen's a string and Bill's pulling it, but their next move of convincing Donna to sell her 12½% of Forrester to Bill sounds like a winner to me.
Don't get me wrong -- I've been rooting for the Forresters since 1988. (Like poor Thorne, who deserves more than a one-day visit to the Forrester Sky Lounge! Where was he during the arbitration?) It's just that Stephanie and Steffy, in particular, have become such one-note villains that anything that knocks them down a few pegs is putting a smile on my face. Make them act like human beings and the whole conflict would be such a richer tapestry. Hell -- even Ridge seems to be siding with "the Logans" these days!
Which brings me to the whole problem I have with the Forrester vs. Logan storyline that's dominated 2010 so far. Steffy again crowed about making the company "Logan-free" and putting it back "in the hands of the family." But, as someone on the B&B Facebook group pointed out, Rick and Marcus are "Logans" -- why aren't they being driven out? To that end, Rick, with Eric as his father, is a Forrester. Taylor, who isn't even married to a Forrester anymore, is considered "family" -- yet Brooke, who is currently married to a Forrester (and has been several times!), isn't considered a Forrester. Huh?
Both Brooke and Taylor, having been married to Ridge and being the mothers of his children, are family. Steffy's view is completely warped. Never mind the fact that, due to the paternity switcheroo with Massimo (one of the dumbest moves on daytime), Ridge isn't even a Forrester by birth, and therefore neither is Steffy, making her even more of a hypocrite than Nick, if that's possible! Since Ridge is still considered family -- and a Forrester -- then Brooke should be, too. Yes, this war that Steffy's crusading is full of great drama. But it's completely groundless.
Besides, Steffy isn't exactly a doe-eyed innocent. What would "the family" say if they knew that Steffy offered Bill her body to get Forrester back? Ridge and Brooke know -- I can't remember if Taylor knows -- but I think that definitely gives Brooke some ammunition to fight back with. Why isn't she using it? Talk about awesome conflict -- should she risk hurting Katie to save herself?
Brooke and Oliver have given in to the demands of Steffy's blackmail. But how does any of it actually accomplish what Steffy is trying to do? She shipped Hope off to college so she could force-date Oliver. Say what? Oliver may go out with Steffy to fulfill the blackmail, but does she not realize that any interest he might have had in her was surely killed by her threats and extortion? Is she so stupid that she actually thinks Oliver will ever fall for her after this? And how does getting Brooke out of the company get Brooke out of her life? Brooke is still married to her father, after all. What's next -- "divorce my Dad or I'll tell the world about you and Oliver?"
That wouldn't be a surprise, given how Steffy reneged on her deal this week with new blackmail threats against Brooke. I should have seen that coming -- I honestly thought Steffy would keep her word -- but it just goes to show how low this character has sunk. However, I admit it's great interweaving to have Steffy use Donna's acquisition of the 12½% as her next anti-Logan ploy. This is what I mean about chess this week -- it's a very intricate set-up, and one move is more complicated than the next. Plausibility is practically out the window, but the plot layering is very watchable -- despite the fact that Steffy has gone back to being a cartoon character. Two blink-and-you-missed it moments of vulnerability (the seemingly genuine moment during Hope's goodbye and telling Brooke "I need this") isn't enough to offset the one-dimensionality of this girl. She actually had the nerve to tell Brooke "I'm not trying to cause you unnecessary pain"! Please. She's loving it. Brooke looked ready to bitch-slap her, and the way Oliver grabbed her arm, he seemed to be next in line.
Even Hope is smart enough to realize on some level that Steffy is pulling all the strings. No one confirmed it, but she figured out that Steffy was behind Brooke's resignation at Forrester. Looks like she'll do quite well in college, but answer me this: why would Hope leave for college in the middle of summer? More importantly, the "Hope For the Future" line has been heavily promoted for months -- there have been photo shoots, press conferences, a web presence, and clothes have been designed and manufactured. The line can't just be suddenly pulled because its spokesmodel decides to become a co-ed. That would put Forrester at a tremendous loss. And Steffy, Miss PR herself, should know this better than anyone -- yet she orchestrated it! Amazing that new CEO Ridge hasn't handed his daughter a copy of Business For Dummies.
That, of course, leaves us with the biggest chess move of the week -- Brooke doing the right thing and telling Ridge what happened with Oliver. It truly was all she could do; Steffy would only keep blackmailing her if she didn't 'fess up herself. But would it be checkmate for "Bridge"? I admit to a certain level of trepidation watching Brooke's confession -- I know many of you would like to see Ridge with Taylor, but what B&B absolutely does not need ever again is another permutation of the Brooke/Ridge/Taylor triangle. The '90s are over, and let's leave it at that! But I digress…
Ridge sat very patiently and listened as Brooke tried to get the words out of her mouth. Wasn't it great that he looked so confused? I think it only spoke of the storyline itself, which, when you explain it in one paragraph, is as "far-fetched" as Ridge said it was! Ridge was almost laughing as he tried to comprehend his wife's "terrible mistake"... and I just about soiled myself when he actually said, "Oh, Logan…what am I going to do with you"! On so many levels, that makes sense -- they've been through everything the last 23 years; why would this latest hurdle be any more outrageous?
Given that Ridge has dumped Brooke (and Taylor) for far less serious transgressions than this, I think it actually showed a level of new maturity on his part that he would stand by Brooke now. Still, for as much as I was amused by his "this only happens to you" attitude, I was also slightly bothered -- um, your wife slept with someone else, regardless of who it was or what the circumstances were! Maybe, unlike his half-brother Nick, he realizes he has no room to talk, only last year boffing Taylor while hopped up on anti-depressants, so he's taking the high road. Anyway, no matter how you slice it, Ridge getting his queen out of danger certainly defuses Steffy's bomb, doesn't it!
And, with Steffy so happy thinking her plan is working, getting a new office and shiny jewels to boot, you know that's soap-speak for "I'm heading for a great big fall." I personally can't wait for Ridge to tear into her -- and I have a feeling it isn't going to end there. In the meantime, doesn't Whip have any more vests besides that gray one? Will Amber get something to do besides take in scandals at Jackie M? And, no offense, Jason Castro -- I liked your music -- but B&B needs more stunt casting like it needs a hole in the head, especially so soon after sitting through a week of Daddy Yankee. Three "celebrity" guests in less than six months is more than enough -- give Thorne the airtime instead!
At least this chess game hasn't been boring. Now it's your move -- talk about it on the soapcentral.com message boards, or comment and tell me what piece you'd capture next. Who will win: black or white? Gotcha -- it's never as black and white as that! Keep watching, be alert, and most of all, be bold!