Deep Soap: ‘The Bold & The Beautiful’ Breaks Ratings Records

by | February 3, 2012 at 5:01 PM | All My Children, Deep Soap, One Life To Live, The Bold & the Beautiful

America really wanted to see Bill’s (Don Diamont) lies about Steffy’s (Jacqueline Woods) medical condition on”The Bold & the Beautiful‘” get exposed. The soap had its highest rated week in two years the week of January 23rd. The show averaged a strong 2.6/8 in Households, its highest since the week of February 4, 2010. In the all important Women 18-49 demo, it averaged 1.3/8, the show’s best numbers since the week of February 16, 2009. This defiance of the law of daytime ratings gravity proves that executive producer Brad Bell knew what he was doing when he shifted the show’s focus to the love triangle between twenty-somethings Hope, Liam and Steffy. B&B also seems to be the beneficiary of the cancellations of the ABC soaps. ABC’s entire daytime line-up has been down since “One Life To Live” ended. Though B&B airs against “The Chew” which is doing nearly as well as the final year of “All My Children,” not the disastrous “The Revolution,” it is now the only soap on its time period.  B&B is making a strong case for its continued existence and proving that soap ratings can rise even when a show is not in immediate danger of cancellation.

While the months of characters obsessing about Hope’s (Kimberly Matula) virginity were tedious, the past two weeks have been great soap.I was blown away by Wednesday’s confrontation between Liam (Scott Clifton) and Bill.   I was dreading watching months of  Liam staying with Steffy because he was afraid that her head would literally explode if he broke up with her. Instead, the truth came out in a matter of weeks after Katie (Heather Tom) became suspicious and showed Steffy’s faked MRIs to a doctor. Script writer Patrick Mulcahey crafted the rich, sophisticated, emotional scenes that both made me shout, “Hell yeah!” and gave me insight into both men’s characters. Liam told Bill to back off — that he wanted, “Less of everything — less manipulating, less lying, less bullying, less B.S., less acting like you are entitled to me — because you’re not — less trying to “make a man” out of me, because men are not made the way magazines are made… If you have something you want, if you have something you have to say to me, then let’s hear it. Otherwise, you can drive back to town in your shiny black car and come back when you find some humility.”

Bill finally explained why he was so obsessed with Liam’s relationship — other than his own sublimated desire to sleep with Steffy. “My father couldn’t stand the sight of me, either… I did resent it at one time that there was nobody to teach me how to be a man, that I had to figure that out for myself of course, it’s hard to teach yourself something that you’ve never seen… To me, it’s like the deepest, best part of me that I never knew is up and walking around with scruffy hair and a patchy little beard calling itself by your name… I want to protect it and keep it safe because that’s what you are to me, the most important man in the world, and the only good reason that I exist.”

That is the sort of deep, thoughtful dialogue that I don’t expect to see on a show that features a woman trapping her rival in a ski gondola. It comes as no surprise that Daytime Emmy winner Clifton was great in those scenes. But Diamont, who has long been regarded as more of a pretty boy than an actor has truly come into his own as the slimy yet charming “Dollar” Bill. B&B’s wardrobe department also deserves kudos for Bill’s man jewelry and shirts that always have one to many buttons unbuttoned. He embodies a type of image and youth obsessed man that roams the west side of Los Angeles.

Thursday’s episode, in which Liam summoned both Steffy and Hope to tell them which lucky lady he had decided won the ultimate prize of being with him. That was a Dollar Bill move. Steffy and Hope stood there like puppies hoping to be adopted. They’re both young, beautiful and rich. They have a lot of other dating options.

“General Hospital” Tackles Menopause

I am conflicted about “General Hospital’s” menopause storyline. On the positive side, it gives one of my favorite characters something to do. Nancy Lee Grahn seems enthusiastic about tackling a subject that is rarely addressed on television. Done right, it could be a thoughtful exploration of how menopause impacts a woman’s self-image, particularly since Alexis is single and looking for love. But so far, the story has been played for comedy with Alexis complaining about being hot all the time and wacky background music. That seems superficial and slightly insulting to the character. Then again, it did lead to the line of the week, when Diane (Carolyn Hennessy) suggested that menopause was great because it meant Alexis would never have to worry about getting pregnant again. “Even the mighty warriors of Sonny Corinthos can not impregnate you,” she enthused. Ha! It’s funny because it’s true.