The Bold and the Beautiful: Sadism in the Afternoon

Bridget

Thinking Fans Comment Update July 19: Purple Haze questions Bridget’s sanity … Levi says the whole story is unrealistic … renee has a new definition of B&B … and more.  See Comments below.

____________

By Marlena De Lacroix

In college or on DVD,  did you seen the cult movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)?  There’s a sweet. funny  character called The Black Knight (played by John Cleese), whose simple duty it is to guard a bridge in Medieval times.  In a battle one day, his right  arm is cut off.  Then later, he is shorn of his left arm. He says happily, “It’s only a flesh wound.”  In another skirmish, he loses a leg and, still cheerful, hops around on one leg.   And then on another day, the Knight loses his left leg, but not his optimism.  His torso is seen hopping wildly across the landscape, as he whistles happily.           

That  to me is the character of Bridget Forrester on The Bold and the Beautiful.  Even in a medium where it’s an expected practice to cause heroines  heartbreak, the degradation of Dr. Bridget is reaching the outer limits of  human torture — and viewer tolerance.

Bridget (Ashley Jones) has already lost her husband Nick (Jack Wagner) once to the erotic and martial charms of her own mother, the mighty man-stealer Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang).  Bridget had just miscarried her child with Nick, a fetus named Nicole, whose name she repeated over and over again in the endless scenes in which she mourned the child and her marriage.  Time passed.  Then earlier this year,  Bridget got back with Nick.  What woman on the Planet Earth would go back to a man who left her for her mother?  Perhaps like the Black Knight,  Bridget considered losing him to her mother “just a flesh wound.”

Because, that’s exactly the kind of woman Bridget is!  And here’s the rub:  This perhaps has been the excuse to set up the rest of the pathetic Katie story that is to come.   Maybe what happens to Bridget hurts me and the rest of the audience so much   because  she’s always been the purest of the pure heroine, with a Mary Pickford-esque goodness and innocence.    Plus, she never, ever fights back, unlike her mother the Mighty Brooke. Incredibly, she’s a professional woman, a doctor no less!  She is the Perfect Victim.

B&B trioConsider what happened to her next: A courageous doctor, she encouraged her aunt, the young Katie Logan (Heather Tom) to get the heart transplant she needed, and then when Katie’s body was about to reject the heart, Bridget spent all night on the Internet, coming up with a successful cure (oh puleeze).   Meanwhile, Katie  and Bridget became close platonic friends — so close that her aunt Katie went behind her back and fell in love with Bridget’s new fiancé Nick.

Nick took Katie, with Bridget’s permission, on a fake date to a prom the night Katie was expected to die, where they smooched and showed their illicit  love.  Then, in the most manipulative moment I have seen on a soap, Katie, who isn’t a minister, was chosen at the last minute to officiate at the Nick and Bridget wedding. Never saw that on a soap before!

Ouch!  Ouch!  Ouch!  How much more pain can B&B inflict on poor Bridget? And on us, the audience? I know a soap has to  exaggerate a bit these days to vamp audiences.  But please, viewers like me know when  the characters they follow are being humiliated.   At the same time, we the viewers are being humiliated!

“They’ve always enjoyed being cruel (in their storytelling)” says a colleague who covered  the two Bell soaps,  B&B and The Young and the Restless, for soap magazines for years.Monty Python

Macy and Taylor are two heroines out of B&B history who have been humiliatingly pulverized over the years. Macy’s dead now, and Taylor has been the victim of the Mighty Brooke more times than I can count.  But no one in B&B history has been as tortured as poor Bridget. Is it because she never fights back? I literally get the shakes now anticipating how long it will be until Katie runs off with Bridget’s new bridegroom, Nick.  Nonsensically  Nick, normally a very smart guy, has been rendered totally oblivious to the wrong  of hurting Bridget again with Katie.  I’ve written before that Nick is the only man in B&B history to have balls; now, I wonder where they’ve gone.

Mr. Bell,  I don’t watch soap operas because I enjoy being a voyeur at the games of the Marquis De Sade.

Comments

  1. Purple Haze says:

    Bridget is probably the soap character that most embodies the 12-step program concept of “insanity” — performing the same action over and over again and hoping for a different result.

    Given how her mother Brooke has consistently humiliated and betrayed her, it is not surprising that Bridget has internalized such low self-esteem that no matter how accomplished and brilliant she may be in her career, she thinks of herself as insignificant and seeks the comfort-zone of men who value her as little as she, regrettably, values herself.

    Perhaps when Bridget witnesses Katie and Nick succumbing to their passion, she will finally hit bottom and cast aside the people in her life who have treated her so disgracefully, starting with that sorry excuse of a mother she has. And then she can aspire to something other than “doormat” status with a lover.

    Marlena says: Hazel, what a smart chick you are! With your insight and understanding, you may have given our dear Damon, a.k.a. The Soap Shrink, a run for his money here.

  2. Levi says:

    This storyline is too unrealistic. Nick isn’t a stupid man and we as the audience know he likes Katie now but Bridget (and unfortunately Nick) are being oblivious.

    But if Nick does be with Katie he is going to go to Brooke once again I’m sure. Brooke is the be all end all event where Nick is concerned. The balls he had are now gone. He is Brooke’s doormat.

    The Logans are taking this show over and have left the Forresters out in the cold — with a show that’s company is FORRESTER CREATIONS, not Logan Creations. I love B&B but when I don’t see Susan Flannery on my screen I wonder what’s up.

    But back to the article: Bridget needs some balls and some backbone and should start kicking some ass as far as I’m concerned. She has been the doormat for too long and she needs a brand new character to be with. If you can bring on Owen, bring on some other hotties, too! There are more men than Nick and Ridge I must say — LA has many many men. B&B needs some new men, period — that way Bridget won’t be a doormat and no more waffling between a select few of men.

    If Brooke ends up with Nick again, why should I care about this triangle?

    Marlena says: I wonder how Jack Wagner feels about all these storylines?

  3. renee says:

    B and B is barf and bowels. Sorry, decimation isn’t a b word, although I didn’t think of another one. The only thing that makes Katie palatable for me is she’s Heather Tom. The amazing indestructible always delivers Heather Tom, and personally I’d dump Ashley Jones for her to. Nevertheless, as usual Marlena is right on the mark in her analogy of John Cleese/The Black Knight and Ashley Jones/Bridget Logan, and I hate Monty Python. Never got why it was funny. And Bridget isn’t funny. But she’s meant to be the perpetual victim because B and B needs a young victim as Taylor is the old victim. It’s balance. And there aren’t enough men on B and B to go around. It’s always 2 degrees of separation on a half-hour show.

    Marlena says: Moose, the very strict copy editor at this site is NOT going to be happy with your opening sentence. But I agree with the thought!

  4. Damon says:

    The Soap Shrink agrees with Purple Haze — this is a very astute and sensitive observation. Seen in this perspective, Bridget’s negative “core beliefs” about herself seem to lead her to repeat the same mistakes over and over.

    p.s. — The Black Knight is featured in the Broadway musical “Spamalot,” currently playing in many metropolitan areas. It is a laugh riot, especially now if you think of him as a metaphor for Bridget.

  5. JONNYSBRO says:

    Marlena I have not watched B&B in years but I have caught Ashley Jones here and there and she totally misses in the role. Jennifer Finnigan who won three emmys in a row embodied everything about Bridget Forrester. She was a rising star and a wonderful actress. The character was really never the same once Jennifer exited the show. Of course she is never coming back because she has had success on primetime. Did you notice the decline in the Bridget character since Jennifer left the role?

    Marlena says: Oh, Jennifer Finnigan was amazing as Bridget. But I really like Ashley Jones. With those big, brown eyes and her innate sweetness she does a really good job projecting Bridget’s vulnerability. I think she’s a terrific recast. You should watch the show more, Jonny.

  6. Jason says:

    Bridget is far from the most tortured soap heroine! Ever heard of Bianca Christine Montgomery on All My Children?

    Marlena says: I never said Bridget was the most tortured soap heroine of all time. Bianca was more than tortured by sadistic writers. Going back the 70s on Another World, Alice Matthews Frame was tortured quite a bit, too. Out of all of these, though, I’d only rate Bridget pathetic!

  7. Cherry Ames says:

    I watch B&B only sporadically these days. Good grief! It’s just my own humble and jaded opinion but I find this soap to be nearly as out of touch with what women really want as GH. The really strong female character on B&B is Stephanie and she’s almost a little psycho. Is she still in love with her own son, Ridge? I suppose the poor dear always will be. And poor Brooke. She is used and abused and discarded and she still comes back for more.

    Bridget is a woman in a male dominated field, ie. medicine and to get where she has gotten to ,she really shouldn’t be such a sniveling ninny. I wonder if Brad Bell really doesn’t like women very much.

    B&B is so behind the times! Soaps-B&B and GH most specifically-need to knock it off with objectifying women. Just like the Peter Finch character in the film Network, when I watch most soaps these days I want to open my window, lean out and shout: I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!

    Marlena says: Cherry, baby, I couldn’t agree with you more on all of this! The ending of my column was supposed to be that B&B is turning into GH, but I never got there. However, I think Brad Bell is a quality guy, not like Guza, who is so arrogant these days. I think if Bradley didn’t have to vamp up his show for the ratings and the competition he wouldn’t depict women as awfully as he does. But he’s doing it!

  8. Bridgetfan says:

    Beautiful article! I adore Ashley Jones and her portrayal of the beautiful Bridget Forrester. Finnigan was never “quite” Bridget to me. Jones has the fanbase and has certainly made the role her own.

    Great job Marlena! Bridget is certainly worth rooting for and Ashley Jones is a talented lovely lady. Bold got the recast right but little else in story line for this young beauty!

  9. Giada says:

    I believe every soap writer needs to be a little bit of a sadist at times. But I also agree with the fact that enough is enough. I consider Tess of the d’Uberville the model of all these poor beaten down characters, good and pure no matter what. I applaud the idea of keeping characters decent and humane despite what life throws at them. I only wish they showed more how much it is conscious on thier part and how much it costs them at times.

Speak Your Mind