It's the saga of the gorgeous, heir apparent to a SoCal dynasty, caught between two women. One is blonde, one brunette. One noble and virtuous, the other brazen and not above using her scorching sexuality to get what she wants. One of the women shares a scandalously-inappropriate connection to the scion-in-question's father, driving that man's wife to fits of jealousy. While I could easily be describing the triangle of Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang), Ridge (Ron Moss) and Taylor (Hunter Tylo), which has dominated storylines on CBS Daytime's The Bold and the Beautiful for much of the soap's almost 25 years on the air, I'm actually talking about another entanglement — one involving their children!
The week of Jan. 23-27, B&B reached three-year highs among total viewers and among women 18-49 and a two-year high in households, as the medical machinations of publishing czar Bill Spencer (Don Diamont) (He bribed a doc to falsify brain scans to make it look like his son's wife would stroke out if he left her!) were revealed by his icy wife Katie (Heather Tom). This move once again altered the dynamics of the fresh-faced Hope/Liam/Steffy (Kimberly Matula, Scott Clifton and Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) love triangle on the frothy, hit international sudser. This begs the question, as it prepares to turn 25, has B&B finally found their Generation Next?
For most soap fans, it is generally sacrilegious to compare a newer generation to one from the past, the common belief being that the latter can never hold a candle to the former, but as the Hope/Liam/Steffy storyline continues to pick up steam, I can't help but see the potential — not to mention the parallels. How many times have we watched Ridge's parents, Eric (John McCook) and Stephanie (Susan Flannery), at odds over who their son Ridge should be porking? Now its Ridge and Brooke at odds over kids' love lives.
Eric, who was once married to the luscious Logan, and fathered two children with her, has wanted Ridge to be there for Brooke ever since the Forrester patriarch divorced his college sweetheart's daughter. It's as if Eric wanted Ridge to serve as a stand-in, allowing him to live vicariously through his son's relationship with a woman neither man will ever forget.
A decade and a half later, we have Bill Spencer going to great lengths to orchestrate his son Liam staying faithful to Steffy, a young woman Bill's marital vows to a fragile Katie caused him to give up on. On the other end of the spectrum, there's Hope, a child born from one of Brooke's many sexual scandals. In a unique twist, Hope is more demure and modest, almost akin to Brooke's arch nemesis Taylor. Meanwhile, Dr. Hayes' own daughter is the Second Coming of Brooke. Whether or not these three newbies ever reach the icon status of their parents, they definitely have my interests piqued, and that of over 3.6 million viewers!
B&B's sister soap, The Young and the Restless lost almost 100,000 total viewers over the previous week and dropped one-tenth of a point in households. Y&R managed to hold steady among W18-49 and W18-34, however.
In story, Victor (Eric Braeden) and Nikki (Melody ThomasScott) proved they still have it, when the supercouple made red-hot love, after Victor confessed he'd only pushed her away to protect her during Diane's murder investigation. Sharon (Sharon Case) and Adam (Michael Muhney) also had a reunion of sorts, as Victor's dingbat daughter-in-law-turned-wife sold him out to the man who kidnapped her kid and let her think she was dead.
As I've said before, Shadam's chemistry is undeniable, but Sharon continually screwing over everyone else in her life, to protect someone who has done such unspeakable things, is ruining the character. As much as Holly (Maureen Garrett) still ached for Roger Thorpe (Michael Zaslow)—despite all the dastardly things he did to her and others on Guiding Light—she never condoned his actions or cloaked his sins. Y&R could have a great anti-supercouple on its hands with Shadam, but they have to give Sharon her brain back first.
Ronan aka Detective Dipshit (Jeff Branson) arrested everyone who didn't bust Diane Jenkins over the head with a rock, citing obstruction of justice. As much as I adore me some Nina (Tricia Cast), I hope we've seen the last of her CSI sons. Genevieve (Genie Francis) became a slightly more viable character by snatching up Beauty of Nature, but I am still counting down the days until Maria Arena Bell mercifully lets Francis go home to General Hospital, where she's so desperately needed.
Elsewhere in town, an amnesiac Jeffrey Bardwell (Ted Shackelford) made his way back to Genoa City in sequences that paid homage to Y&R's premiere episode. Impressive, Ri Ri!
Days of Our Lives saw a small increase in total viewers, but dropped one-tenth of a point to tie its all-time low among W18-49. In households and among W18-34, DAYS held steady.
I have to say, this was the first week since the reboot that DAYS sorta lost me. Watching John (Drake Hogestyn) and Brady (Eric Martsolf) almost come to blows over fashion ad campaigns was excruciating. While it's fun to have a re-launched Countess W going up against Mad World, I don't want to see DAYS become a poor man's The Bold and the Beautiful, with everyone in Salem acting out wonky fashion/cosmetics storylines. That isn't what DAYS is. DAYS is action/adventure, high romance and family drama, with the occasional supernatural cray-cray.
When I think of John Black at his best, it's as the international man of mystery of the late 80's. Why not have Basic Black be a front for John to recruit his hotheaded son into the ISA? John Black is supposed to be Jason Bourne in Salem, not Ralph Lauren in the town square.
Staying on the fashion stuff—and why it isn't working for me—why does every single Salem youth have to suddenly become a fashion model? How boring is that? It would be much more interesting seeing these kids explore varying interests, career and personal goals. Why not do more with Abigail (Kate Mansi) as a budding, young journalist?
Abby could nab an internship at The Spectator (Which Jack could buy back!), much to the chagrin of some jaded city editor, who made it through school on scholarships, and resents Abby for for getting the gig based on her last name. Or why not have Abby flying in the face of her dad's old school journalism sensibilities by suggesting The Spectator go totally online?
This leads me to Jack and Jennifer. Matt Ashford and Missy Reeves should be in more story together. I commend DAYS on giving Jack and Marlena (Deidre Hall) an episode featuring real-life war veterans discussing PTSD. I'm equally grateful for Abe and Lexie (James Reynolds and Renee Jones) having a storyline, but what excited me about Jack and Jenn being back in Salem, was Jack and Jenn being back in Salem... I became giddy thinking about watching one of my all-time favorite supercouples bickering, snarking and reporting their way back to each other. So far, DAYS hasn't made good on that particular promise.
Why isn't Jack investigating the race for Salem's mayor, therefore becoming a thorn in Jennifer's side? Why isn't he ribbing her and calling her a sellout for trading in journalism for political PR? Where are all the witty barbs and smart, romantic comedy that made this couple, ya know, super?
Can't say I'm enjoying the contrived nature of Carrie (Christie Clark) and Rafe's (Galen Gering) involvement either. Rafe has never stricken me as a character who would even consider looking twice at another woman; especially Sami's sister. A bunch of silly "coincidences" don't change that for me, nor does a busted thermostat and dressing up like fairytale characters, a forbidden affair make.
Now for Gram's Box 'O Secrets. Yeah, I'm over this too. I don't believe Alice Horton (the late Frances Reid) would carry on all these secret dealings with Stefano (Joe Mascolo) and not tell Hope (Kristian Alfonso) or Jenn. One secret was a nice nod to Alice and Maggie's (Suzanne Rogers) history, but a whole Pandora's Box covered up by Mrs. H is hokey at best. Bring back Shawn D, divorced from Belle, to give Bope and Jarlena an organic reason to mix it up. Both couples could blames the other one's kid for what went wrong in the marriage, and square off over what's best for the granddaughter they share; that makes a lot more sense than where they're going with this story.
The one story on DAYS I am thoroughly enjoying is Will Horton's (Chandler Massey) volatile descent into rebellion. The closeted gay teen, who walked in on his mom literally screwing up their family with EJ (James Scott), has become DAYS' Must See Character. Watching Will's face light up after pissing off Sami (Alison Sweeney), by taking Sydney to see EJ and Nicole (Arianne Zuker) on her birthday, reminded me of how much fun it was to watch Sami stick it to Marlena all those years ago. If the other DAYS' stories were this interesting, we'd have ourselves a ballgame.
General Hospital went up 91,000 total viewers over the previous week. The soap also went up one-tenth of a point in households and among W18-49. Among W18-34, ABC's sole daytime soap held steady.
While I have a few gripes about DAYS that could easily be fixed, GH has become utterly unwatchable, which is highly unfortunate, because now is the time everyone should be watching the activities in Port Charles, NY like never before. Let's see, where do I begin? Scrubs argued over Robin (Kimberly McCullough)—a doctor and AIDS researcher—flat out lying to her husband—also a doctor—about her viral load, and plans to just up and disappear because of it. JaSam awaited test results to see if Jason (Steve Burton) was the father of Sam's (Kelly Monaco) baby, or if the worst stunt casting in soap history, Franco (James Franco), had sired the kid via rape. Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) moved in with NuMaxie, while NuKate went into business with Jax (Ingo Rademacher), behind Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Carly's (Laura Wright) backs.
Elsewhere in town, everyone was all distraught over Lulu (Julie Marie Berman) sitting around drinking ripple and muscatel in her housecoat; Tracy Quartermaine (Jane Elliot) married a circus clown and mopey, dopey Michael (Chad Duell) was still pestering the day player cops about the crime rate against strippers in Port Charles. I wish the Cassadines had been able to freeze Garin Wolf's laptop before we got to this point. Frank and Ron better hold a tent revival and send up burnt offerings of chickens and baby goats, 'cause they're gonna need Soap Jesus to fix this mess. See you next Ratings!