B&B: Does One Show-Eating Storyline Work?

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman

Bradley Bell has been trying a bold soap experiment the last three quarters of a year on The Bold and Beautiful, featuring one storyline, the Hope-Liam-Steffy triangle, almost to the exclusion of most others.  And he’s been succeeding — the ratings are still comparatively healthy. So I ask B&B viewers: are you smothered by this storyline?

I’ve always said you can watch this story with the sound turned off, the soap “types” are so obvious. There’s the blond heroine, Hope (Kim Matula); the dark (and sexy) villainess, Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood), and the boy, er, I mean man they
both love — LiamScott Clifton(Scott Clifton).  Does anyone ever remember a soap character who has been more of a wuss?  (Write in, darlings.)  It’s too bad, because while  Clifton delivers nicely here, he’s an excellent actor who is capable of so much more.

Of course Liam has to be a wuss to swing back and forth between the two women so easily.  But Bell has also done some nice things with this story — the recent beautiful Italian remote, and Steffy’s  scenes full of hot vibes with Liam’s scheming, villainous father (and future lover?)  Bill Spencer. Jr.  (Don Diamont).  Veteran B&B viewers, do you remember James Storm as the ultra-nasty Bill Spencer Sr.?  As the character is written by Bell and played by Diamont, Junior really seems to be his son! Steffy, too, is the rare soap villainess who has matured nicely, even graciously, letting Liam and Steffy proceed with their recent wedding, when it was more than clear that Liam still loves her, and of course that she loves her ex-husband.   Does anyone remember the columns I wrote complaining that most soap characters (like my beloved Erica Kane on All My Children) never grew up very much emotionally as they got older?

What help to fill out this storyline are the support scenes of the women’s mothers, those old rivals Brooke and Taylor. Katherine Kelly Lang is ever passionate as Brooke, but why does Hunter Tylo play Taylor’s scenes without much energy?  These two are quite the contrast.

So, darlings, does this show-eating story hold your interest or not?


  1. Marlena, thank you for finally putting in your own two cents on B&B’s screen-hogging Liam/Hope/Steffy storyline! I just can’t stand this storyline, and I’m totally being smothered by it, and believe me, I’m not alone in that sentiment! Brad Bell should have NEVER broken up Bill and Steffy! Don Diamont has more chemistry with Jacqueline MacInnes Woods than he does with Heather Tom (who plays Bill’s current wife Katie Logan Spencer)! Unfortunatly, it looks like Steffy might be pregnant with Liam’s baby, and Katie is pregnant with Bill’s baby (Heather Tom is also pregnant in real life, and Brad and his writers had to write in her pregnancy into the show), so a Bill and Steffy reunion is very unlikely!

    Also, what do you think of the Karen/Danielle lesbian storyline? I loved those scenes where Karen came out to Bill, and Bill told her that he accepted Karen for who she is, and also welcomed Danielle as part of their family! Too bad the actress that plays Karen Spencer (who also is a lesbian in real life too!) is leaving the show again, due to the fact that she’s only available for short term recurring stints so that she can pursue her full-time career as a tv executive producer who produces both “Covert Affairs” on the USA network and the upcoming new medical dramedy series “Emily Owens M.D.” on the CW network! I think it’s great that B&B FINALLY has a gay storyline on the show!

    Marlena says: Of course, Steffy must be pregnant because Liam and Hope just got married. This is soaps! I don’t know if I can stand months and months of the pregnancy with when will Liam find out and then when how Hope feel, blah, blah, blah, etc. etc. Perhaps then Hope will find she can’t have children. And maybe they’ll name the baby Hope, two or too. Here we veteran soap triangle viewers go again! Sure was surprised when nasty Bill turned out to be supportive of two women in love. I love Karen, as Joanna Johnson has always been so natural and genuine on this show even back when she played Caroline. I, too was looking forward to seeing more of the Caroline and Danielle story and was saddened to hear Johnson had to leave so soon. But hurrah for her coming out and hasn’t she made a fabulously successful primetime career for herself?

  2. Well, I must say that I’m having a difficult time with this storyline. I still have 3 episodes from last week waiting for me in my laptop (I’m from Israel so I dload the episodes). In fact, for the first time in years, B&B is behind Y&R on my laptop. Y&R is more interesting.

    It’s not that the actors are doing a bad job. On the contrary. But I feel that I need a vacation. I can’t stomach this triangle anymore. Mainly because of the flashbacks. They kill me. But on the other hand, I want to see Steffy pregnant etc. because it’s the next generation of the soap. So confusing.

    I try to remember if Brooke/Ridge/Taylor was the same and I think that the answer is no

    Marlena says: You’re right, and the first big triangle Brooke-Caroline-Ridge wasn’t given this much time or focus either. I also agree the actors are doing a good job. Notice how nearly everyone on this half-hour soap has a least a foot in this story. The other current story is the Katie/Bill pregnancy and “Aunt” Katie is a minor player and Big Daddy Bill is a major player also in The Major Triangle. Then there’s shared Daddy Ridge, “grandma” Steph …. How I wish they had more Susan Flannery on this show again!

  3. Chere Marlena,

    As much as I have hated this triangle for hogging so much screen time when characters I care about are wasting on the vine (Thorne, Stephanie, Pam), it has grown on me.

    The Italian remote was so nicely done and somehow managed to suck me in Now, I find myself, gasp, actually caring about the characters. The three involved have all grown as actors, especially Wood.

    Now, that said, I would prefer there be a balance in the storytelling. Just let this triangle be on three days a week and give the others some storyline. But I also know that’s unlikely to happen. Brad Bell’s never been good at balancing storylines.

    I must also add that Don Diamont seems to have found his role. He’s so good as the nefarious Bill that I often forget he was ever Brad Carlton. That’s no small feat.

    Also enjoying the Karen-Danielle storyline. Hope B&B can work out a deal and get Joanna Johnson in the studio on the occasional Saturday to film some scenes. I understand she has a full time career that comes first, but would be a shame to see this storyline dropped just as its getting going.

  4. I just started watching this show to see the Italy remote (pretty pictures, but the background music drove me crazy) and I’m still watching, although I’m not sure why. Must have too much time on my hands…or extra space on my DVR.

    Anyway, I too agree that this triangle is boring to the extreme. I like Steffy, but Hope and Liam are so white-bread, I can hardly stand it. I’ve liked Scott on other soaps so it’s hard to believe that this wimp is the same guy, but like you said, he has to be in order to switch his “love” from one woman to another at the drop of a hat.

    From the little I know about this show, hasn’t it always been about the Brooke/Ridge/Taylor triangle? And since they are getting “older,” they must feel they need a “kiddie” version for the younger viewers. Whatever, it is boring as hell.

    If the show doesn’t start featuring some of their other wonderful cast members soon (do they really go months at a time without half of the cast showing up?), I’ll just have to delete this soap from my DVR.

  5. How did you all know Steffy was pregnant? I just tried to inquire if she were in real life because her face is very full lately. I think she is terrific and am sooooo bored with Hope pure and simple!!! Let’s have some excitement and that comes from Steffy and I love Stephanie soooo much and will be so sad she is leaving; loved her ever since she died in the Towering Inferno!!!!

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