Deep Soap: ‘Bold & the Beautiful’s’ Katie Declares Her Independence

by | July 5, 2013 at 8:06 AM | Deep Soap

Katherine Kelly Lang, left, and Heather Tom of "The Bold and the Beautiful" (Photo: CBS)

Happy Independence Day, Katie Logan

If you are looking for the perfect Day-After Independence Day activity, then you must watch Monday through Wednesday’s episodes of “The Bold & the Beautiful.” They were the recipe for the perfect soap cocktail: two parts scandalous secrets exposed, one part big family gathering, one part decades-long rivalry, three parts epic tell-off, one part marriage destroyed. It was unabashedly melodramatic and emotional. It was every single reason that people watch soaps. If you gave up on B&B because you got tired of the unending Hope/Liam/Steffy triangle or you left with Ronn Moss, check back in this week. Heather Tom’s portrayal of a woman scorned has a good chance of winning her another Daytime Emmy.

Here is the situation: Taylor (Hunter Tylo) figured out that her lifelong rival Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) recently miscarried Bill’s (Don Diamont) baby.  By figured out I mean violated her Hippocratic oath and sneaked a peek at Brooke’s medical files. She decided that Bill’s wife Katie (Tom), who happens to be Brooke’s sister, had a right to know. So naturally she confronted Brooke and Bill at Brooke’s birthday party in front of Katie and her entire family. Happy birthday, indeed. What happened next was amazing. Brooke, who really is just a fool for love, could not deny it. So Katie let them have it.

Katie: You’re too old to get pregnant.

Bill: How does that matter now?

Brooke: I thought it was menopause.

Katie: I guess you’re just so virile and fertile –

Bill: Oh, stop it, Katie. That little life that never had a chance is not to blame. It is a separate sadness, so leave it alone.

Katie: I think it was lucky. It never had to love the two of you.

But Brooke and Bill had a defense: Katie drove them to have sex. When she had post-partum depression, she decided that Brooke would be a better wife and mother than she would and did everything to push the two of them together. Because this is a soap, it worked and the two of them became attracted to each other. Then, after she recovered, she discovered that Bill spent the night at Brooke’s house and wrongly concluded that they slept together. (He was just crashing there after getting drunk and literally crashing his car.) She flung her wedding ring in their faces and announced her marriage was over. So Brooke and Bill had no choice but to sleep together about five minutes later. It’s classic soap logic. It almost makes sense, until you think about it in real-world terms. If your mentally ill sister told you to sleep with her husband, would you do it? Heck, are there any circumstances under which you would have sex with a sibling’s spouse?

Bill is a fascinating character because he always owns up to being a total d**chebag, even if in his mind it’s just being a “real man.” So he doubled down. “You know, all this talk of shame and disgrace, I did what I did. I had my reasons, it didn’t happen in a vacuum. You can’t threaten me with the end anymore, Katie. You’ve done that too many times. I’m not going to play that game with you again.”

In fact, though I am on Team Katie, both Brooke and Bill were right in that her actions did set off a chain of events in motion that ultimately led to their one-night stand. Each character was, in his or her mind, completely right. That’s the beauty of slow, daytime soap storytelling. Everyone’s point-of-view is established. No one is all right or all wrong. Scenes that seem dull or repetitive, like Bill and Brooke constantly flashing back to a kiss they shared, actually turn out to be important beats in a story. The plot was carefully structured with the inevitability of a Greek tragedy that led to a most satisfying denouement. What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than with artfully choreographed fireworks.

How Not to Tell a Secret

The revelation that Jack (Peter Bergman), not Nick (Josh Morrow), is Summer’s (Hunter Haley King) father on “The Young & the Restless” should have been even more explosive than Brooke’s humiliating birthday on B&B. This is a secret that has been festering for years. It has repercussions for numerous characters. Nick lied about Summer’s paternity because he was grieving the death of his daughter. Jack was once again denied the opportunity to raise his child. Instead, it has been all about Phyllis’s (Michelle Stafford’s) bizarre machinations to break up Summer and Kyle’s (Hartley Sawyer) relationship since they are half-siblings. The obvious way to end this fledgling romance is to tell them the truth. But Phyllis and Nick decided that they weren’t ready for Summer to know. Given Phyllis’s penchant for schemes, there are a million things she could have done from the benign (sending model Summer on a European promotional tour) to the diabolical (getting Kyle and her hated sister Avery drunk in the hopes that they will have sex and photoshopping them if they don’t.) Instead, Phyllis picked attempting to seduce Kyle, even though she just moved in with Jack. There’s no good reason why she would risk her relationship with the man she loves. When she planted a kiss on Kyle, there was a good chance that he would go straight to Jack. It was writer fiat that he instead opted to break up with Summer without telling her why. Kyle and Summer’s so-called relationship was the least interesting aspect of the story. The two have only been out on a handful of dates. They are hardly star-crossed lovers. Summer is, in my opinion, a spoiled brat who is never held accountable for her actions. The actor who plays Kyle has only been on the show for a few months and has not established a personality for the character. The heart of the story is its impact on Jack, Nick and Phyllis. I realize that given Stafford’s decision to leave the show, the writers had to come up with some reason why Phyllis would depart Genoa City. Surely, they could have come up with something better than Phyllis doing her best Mrs. Robinson impression.