CBS Daytime's The Bold and the Beautiful continues to push the envelope with edgy storytelling. The half-hour soap opera is following up a groundbreaking romance between a black transgender woman and a straight white man with a love triangle exploring the dicey issue of sexual consent.
Fashion designers Thomas Forrester (Pierson Fodé) and Caroline Spencer recently had sex on the daytime drama. Caroline, reeling from a breakup with Thomas's father, had taken someone else's anxiety medications before drinking heavily. Thomas went to her hotel room to comfort her and they two ended up having intercourse.
The next morning Caroline was horrified to find herself in bed with Thomas. He tried to explain his perspective on their tryst. Thomas said he was comforting her—following her ugly bust up with Ridge (Thorsten Kaye)—and asked if he could "show her" how much he cared. So far, flashbacks to the night in question only reveal Thomas gently kissing an inebriated Caroline, who appears to be receptive.
Caroline insisted she didn't want sex with Thomas and said she was under the influence of drugs. She screamed for him not to touch her, definitely giving off the impression she'd been raped.
Thomas said he had no idea Caroline had taken medication before they hooked up. However, he did knowingly get smashed with his father's very emotional lover and climb into bed with her.
The storyline has sparked heated debates on social media over the issue of sexual consent. Did Thomas violate Caroline by having sex with her while she was impaired — even though he didn't know about the pills? Or, is Caroline merely regretting sleeping with the son of the man she loves, now that she and Ridge are reunited and he's consented to having a baby with her?
The topic of sexual consent is being discussed at colleges and high schools across the nation, which makes B&B once again on the pulse of things. California and New York have adopted affirmative consent legislation.
According to The Guardian, California, where The Bold and the Beautiful's fictional storylines take place, was the first state in the U.S. to require all state colleges receiving public funds for financial aidto use a “yes means yes” standard when investigating sexual assaults.
While the characters of Thomas and Caroline aren't college students, they are part of the soap's growing 20-something scene. It will be interesting to see if B&B's writers revisit the night in question as more than a plot device concerning Caroline's desire to be a mother.
Once Ridge reconsidered his stance on starting a family with Caroline (His insistence on not wanting more kids led to their overnight breakup), she told Thomas no one could ever find out they were together. She also said she believed him when Thomas desperately claimed he didn't take advantage of her.
Unbeknownst to Caroline and Thomas, Ridge secretly had a vasectomy while living abroad. Since this is a soap opera, if/when Caroline suddenly becomes pregnant the sordid secret of that night will come out.
When the truth does comes out, will Ridge see things the way Caroline initially did and accuse his son of violating his fiancée? Ridge is no stranger to this sort of incestuous, rapey predicament. He once climbed into the bed of his brother's drunken wife and made love to her. He also had sex with Brooke Logan (Katherine Kelly Lang) while, like Caroline, she was high on anti-anxiety medications.
How do you think The Bold and the Beautiful should play out the Ridge/Caroline/Thomas triangle? Should the issue of sexual consent play a larger factor? Sound off in the comments!