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Friday, March 23, 2012

The Bold and the Beautiful

There was once a time in which soap operas dominated the block of programming known as daytime television.  Between the hours of eleven in the morning and four in the afternoon, millions of people would tune into their “stories” and be captivated by the affairs, the romance, the mystery, and the scandal that would be broadcast five days a week for 30-60 minutes at a time.

That’s why it’s almost shocking to know that there are only four American soap operas currently on the air.

Over the last four years, soap operas have been disappearing from the airwaves at an alarming rate.  In 2009, we said goodbye to “Guiding Light” after 72 years (57 of which were on television).  2010 was the year the world stopped turning on “As the World Turns”.  In 2011, we said farewell to “All My Children”.  And, just this past January, we saw the last flicker of life go out from the soap opera “One Life to Live”.

So, to say that the genre known as daytime drama is in danger is an understatement.

However, the four soap operas that have managed to survive are still holding on.  “General Hospital” is currently the soap that has been on the longest, and currently the only ABC soap still on the air.  “Days of Our Lives” have been keeping the sands in the hourglass filled since 1965.  And, “The Young and the Restless” has been the #1 daytime drama on television since 1988!

But, for today’s look back on television pop culture, we’re going to be talking about a daytime drama that has exploded in popularity all over the world.  And, as it so happens, today happens to be the show’s silver anniversary.

Twenty-five years ago today, this daytime drama debuted on CBS after the cancellation of another soap opera, “Capitol”.  At the time, it was one of only three half-hour soap operas that aired (the other two were “Ryan’s Hope” and “Loving”, both of which are now cancelled), and the concept of the program was unlike many of the other soap operas at the time.  Focusing on the drama and the trials of a fashion conglomerate, the show was the second daytime creation of William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell.  Their first creation was the popular show “The Young and the Restless”, and they had hoped for success with a second daytime drama.

Little did anyone know just how successful this soap opera would become.

The show, of course, is “The Bold and the Beautiful”.

Debuting on March 23, 1987, “The Bold and the Beautiful” initially focused on the fashion business known as Forrester Creations, which was responsible for some of the glitziest, classiest, and elegant fashions for the sophisticated Los Angeles socialite.  As a result, it wasn’t uncommon to have scenes set in executive boardrooms, fashion shows, and photo shoots, in addition to the prerequisite bedroom and hot tub scenes.

Over the show’s twenty-five year history, there have been countless actors and actresses that have come onto the show.  Some of them became famous after appearing on the program, and some celebrities even had cameo roles in the program.  But, we’ll get to more of that a little bit later.

Since 1987, the revolving door of cast members has been constantly spinning.  Despite this, four cast members have been on the program since the show’s debut.  Those four characters are...

Stephanie Forrester (SUSAN FLANNERY)

Eric Forrester (JOHN McCOOK)

Brooke Logan Forrester (KATHERINE KELLY LANG)

Ridge Forrester (RONN MOSS)

TRIVIA:  Ronn Moss was in the band, “Player”, who had a huge hit in 1978 with “Baby Come Back”.

From the very first episode, we’re introduced to these four players in a big way.  For the record, because I am very dedicated to this blog and making sure that I have all of my facts straight, I did a lot of research on this show, just so I could make it as accurate as possible.  That being said, if I do make any inaccuracies, please let me know, as I don’t make it a point to watch this show.

Anyway, when the show began, we’re first introduced to Ridge (and for that matter, who the heck would name their child after a type of potato chip anyways?).  Ridge is the son of Stephanie and Eric (despite the fact that there is only a seven year age difference between the actors playing Ridge and Eric in real life), and he is every bit the apple of his mama’s eye.  In fact, some might say that the relationship between Stephanie and Ridge is a tad creepy.  But, I’ll leave that up to your judgment.

Ridge is set to marry Caroline Spencer (Joanna Johnson).  With a new bride, and his job as vice president and head fashion designer of Forrester Creations, 1987 was looking like a great year for Ridge Forrester.  The wedding was to have been the biggest spectacle of the whole year, and because of Ridge’s playboy past, many wondered what was so special about the woman who finally made Ridge settle down.

One of these women was Brooke Logan.  Brooke, a chemistry student at a local university, hailed from a working class family, far removed from the glitz and luxury that Forrester Creations was known for.  As it so happened, Brooke’s mother was once the sweetheart of Eric Forrester, which probably kickstarted the on-again, off-again feud that Stephanie Forrester and Brooke Logan would have throughout the show’s 25-year history.  At some point, Brooke ends up falling in love with Ridge, and this leads to one of the biggest on-again, off-again romances seen in the history of daytime drama.

Of course, not everyone was thrilled with the idea of Brooke and Ridge finding their happily ever after.  Their biggest obstacle, as I said was Stephanie Forrester, and one thing I will say about her is that you don’t want to mess with this woman, for she is capable of doing much damage to her enemies.  Take a look at the clips below to see what I mean.

Of course, Brooke wasn’t exactly Little Miss Innocent in the series either.  In fact, I’m kind of surprised that she isn’t wearing a permanent scarlet letter around her neck for some of the things she’s done over the years.  Oh, sure, she’s made a name for herself in the fashion world, inventing a non-wrinkle fabric innovation called BeLieF, and starting up several lines for the company, including a controversial lingerie line.  But, it’s just a shame that her personal life has overshadowed these legitimate accomplishments.  Let’s open up Brooke’s closet and see what pops up.

Between 1987 and 2012, Brooke Logan has...

-      Gotten married to Ridge countless times

-      Gotten married to three of Ridge’s family members (Brooke was married to Eric Forrester, and Ridge’s two half-brothers, Thorne Forrester and Dominick Marone)

-      Had an affair with her daughter’s husband, resulting in the birth of her daughter Hope

-      Married at least two other men (Whip Jones and Grant Chambers)

-      Accidentally slept with her daughter’s boyfriend during a masquerade party

-      Was lead to believe that she had slept with her stepson after ingesting strange berries

I only WISH I was kidding about those last two storylines, but alas, they really did happen.

Oh, but don’t think that Stephanie was entirely innocent either.  Not only did she lie about Ridge’s true paternity for forty some years (his real father was some guy named Massimo Marone), but she also had just as many sordid scandals as Brooke did.  Stephanie indirectly caused Brooke to get raped.  Stephanie almost murdered Brooke at a mountain cabin (though to be fair, she had just broken Thorne’s heart at the time).  Stephanie even lied about having a heart attack to break up Brooke and Ridge!  And, I found the aftermath of that storyline down below!

Of course, one can say that Brooke simply brought out the worst in Stephanie.  At least Stephanie could always count on her frenemy, Sally Spectra (Darlene Conley) to be there for her.

Or maybe not.

Oh, but she also has the support of her ex-daughter-in-law Taylor Hayes Forrester (Hunter Tylo) too, right?

Actually, scratch that too.

Oh, wait, there’s her friendship with Jackie Marone (Lesley-Anne Down).

You know what, FORGET IT!  J

By all accounts, the show does appear to be a bit messy, don’t you think?  It’s campy, it’s unpredictable, it’s’s almost like you’re watching an episode of Jerry Springer, only all the guests are decked out in Armani suits and dresses by Stella McCartney.  However, it is a formula that has proven to be wildly successful all over the world.

“The Bold and the Beautiful” is the most-watched daytime soap opera in the entire world.  With an estimated worldwide audience of 26 million people on any given day, the program can be seen in well over fifty countries, and is translated into several different languages, including French, Spanish, Italian, German, Greek, and Swedish, just to name a few.

TRIVIA:  The show is reportedly so popular in Italy that the show has filmed on location there several times.  Ronn Moss even competed in the Italian version of “Dancing with the Stars”!

The show has also been successful in its home country as well.  It’s consistently scored at the #2 most watched daytime drama for years, and has won thirty-one Daytime Emmy Awards during its 25-year history, including the award for Outstanding Drama Series for three consecutive years in 2009, 2010, and 2011!

“The Bold and the Beautiful” has had some crossovers with its sister show “The Young and the Restless”.  Several characters have crossed over to both shows at some point.  Sheila Carter, Deacon Sharpe, Amber Moore, Lauren Fenmore, and many other characters have once called both Y&R and B&B home. 

And, believe it or not some famous faces have popped in on the show to play roles as either themselves or as someone else.  Mario Lopez and Lark Voorhies from Saved By The Bell both had contract roles on the soap at one time.  Phyllis Diller has made several cameos on the program for years now.  Wonder Years star Alley Mills currently plays Stephanie’s whacked-out sister, Pam Douglas.  Finally, television’s it-girl, Betty White once played the role of Stephanie’s mother, Anne.  Here’s proof below.

So, whether you like soap operas or hate them, one thing is clear.  With shows like “The Bold and the Beautiful” going on strong for twenty-five years and counting, clearly there is still an audience for programs like this. 

Though, even I admit just by watching clips for the sole purpose of writing this blog, the show itself is wacky and unbelievable.

Although, I suppose that’s the point of soap escape the humdrums of daily life to a fantasy world.

Or, in the case of “The Bold and the Beautiful”, a world where the decisions that other people make on the show somehow make you feel a lot better about your own levels of intelligence and common sense.

Happy birthday, B&B!

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