The Lost and the Frightened!
Am I crazy or has The Bold & the Beautiful had the occasional serious uptick in the quality of the scriptwriting lately? I'm not saying every episode has had spectacular dialogue, but there's usually a couple of them each week now. (Is this due to Michele Val Jean's new gig on the scriptwriting staff, or have there been other changes as well? I'm not as in-the-loop on the CBS behind-the-scenes stuff.)
Because seriously, yesterday? Those scenes between Liam and Bill were fabulous. I mean I finally started to understand the depths of these two characters in their confrontation about all of Bill's machinations.
Bill: Why don't you simplify everything? Call your wife and ask her to come back.
Liam: My god. Is this the only way you know how to have a conversation with me? Making demands? Criticizing before you even know what's going on? I'm done with that relationship, Dad. So we're either gonna have a new one, or we're not gonna have one.
Bill: I don't understand you. You're my flesh and blood. You're my son, and half the time I don't understand you.
Liam: Okay. Okay, you don't understand me. That's one true thing you've said.
Bill: You're angry at me. You hate my guts. Just bottom-line it for me. I'm better that way.
Liam: Hey, you came to me. You on a fact-finding mission, or you got something to say?
Bill: Oh, come on, you know why I'm here. I want to know what you intend to do.
Liam: Why? So you can hire somebody to stop me? [Ha! --Ed.]
Bill: You know what? (Exhales deeply) What do you want from me?
Liam: Less, Dad! 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. And in any case, it's too late for that. And, and do not -- do not come knocking on my door demanding to know what I want from you. What the -- what the hell is that? 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. [Damn, boy, you tell 'im! --Ed.]
Bill: I'm sorry.
Liam: You're not.
Bill: No, I'm not. I don't know what I'm doing. It's like I am in quicksand, and I don't know how to get out, and I don't like the feeling.
Liam: Look, something brought you here, some outcome that you're hoping for. So what is it?
Bill: I want you to realize that you and Steffy can still work through this.
Liam: No, no, no. No, stop. Stop. Who I'm married to, who I sleep with, who I am in love with -- these cannot be items on your wish list. I'm sorry.
Bill: It's - it's wrong that your happiness is important to me?
Liam: What - what - what does that even mean? Yeah, it's wrong if it means filling up my life with things that make you happy, like Steffy.
Bill: Tell me you don't have feelings for her.
Liam: Tell me you don't. Try this...
Liam: I am not you. Now I know how you want to hear that. You want to hear it as a - an excuse or a complaint or a declaration of failure. It's not. It's a fact. I'm. Not. You. Most of the things that inspire you, that make you happy, that excite you, they do nothing for me -- the way you dress, the way you walk, the stuff you buy, the things you think. But that's okay, because I want you to be happy. I want you to have the things that you want. Hell, I want that for everybody. So why can't you want that for me? Because I'm not a son to you. I'm a construction project. You get to take your own bad life and rebuild it, only on a smaller and more manageable scale where you're totally in charge.
Bill: I got news for you -- my life doesn't suck. And neither does yours, Mr. Minimum Wage Intern Until You Found Me. [Charming parenting. --Ed.]
Liam: Look at you. You got a sister who barely even speaks to you, a wife who keeps on walking out on you because she can't deal with the things you do, a son who used to think that you were a god and now can't stand the sight of you. But hey, no, that's -- you know, that's --that's cool. That's okay. You've got your yes-man Justin and a whole bunch of people who you pay or bribe to tell you what you want to hear. And this is the happy life that you want for me? Nah, no, no thank you. It's all yours. [This may or may not be the point at which I gave Liam a standing ovation. --Ed.]
Bill: You can't stand the sight of me?
Liam: Well, so far, it's better than the sound of you. (Chuckles)
Bill: My father couldn't stand the sight of me, either, for the mere fact that I existed. Thankfully, that skipped a generation. 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. So, yeah, it - it's possible that I have a completely screwed-up concept of what that is. 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. And I want to be close to it. I want to know it inside and out. 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.
[Now see, here's the part where I panicked that Liam would be super-moved by that statement and they'd have a touching moment of bonding and we'd be back to the status quo. But no! No! It got awesome again! --Ed.]
Liam: (Sighs) Oh. Wow. (Sighs) I can't be that for you, dad. Get a dog. I can't handle that much of your messed-up attention. I mean, you -- you have awesome powers of focus, but until you exchange your priorities for an actual set of, I don't know, morals, ethics, then whatever is number one on your list is gonna be the number one target of your craziness. And like I said, no, thank you. So instead of-- instead of trying to find new ways of operating me by remote control, why don't you rummage around in the dark recesses of your head and see if you can't find your own operating manual? Because believe it or not, you are messing your own life even worse than you're messing up mine.
Bill: I suppose I'm also asking you the wrong question. Do you think you can ever forgive me? Eventually?
Liam: I don't know. I don't... I don't even know if it's a matter of that, because now that the curtains have been drawn and I can see the machinery that you've put in place, I can begin undoing the damage, you know? And I -- I trust myself to do that with a minimum of additional misery to all those involved, but I can't see you the same way again. I mean, do -- do children ever really just brush off the lies that their parents tell them? Even the innocent ones? You were my hero. Do you know that? My hero. I wanted to be just like you, except... (laughs) except with better manners. But you're not a genius, and you're not a giant. You're a rich man with a very tiny idea of what life is about. You're generous... when it benefits you. But when you tell somebody you love them, if they knew, if they really knew what that meant, they would take off running. So even if I can forgive all of these things, Dad, I can't not know them.
I mean hot damn that's some sparkly dialogue, and dead-on, I might add! I know we're all familiar with those months-long arcs in soaps when people are telling other characters about themselves and often how amazing and sharp and admirable they are and we're all thinking, "Oh, is this character on another show, too, where he is all of these things? 'Cause not on this show!" So it was incredibly refreshing to see someone get called out for their actual characteristics in such an insightful manner -- and by someone who counts.
Liam has hardly been my favorite character since he's spent the past six months being a waffling douche (does that make him a douchewaffle?), but I have to admit yesterday gave me a brand new respect for him -- and serious hope for his character's potential.
And kudos to Don Diamont and especially to Scott Clifton -- he more than proved why he's got an Emmy back home by his performance in yesterday's episode.
These terrific scenes plus some of the fun stuff going down at Forrester Creations (Rick's line to Ridge, "How much deference does that ego of yours need?" was awesome) have made me foolishly optimistic that this actually means a shift in the status quo moving forward.
What did you guys think? Were those scenes as good as I thought or do I just have soap opera Stockholm Syndrome brought on in part by grief over the loss of my favorite show? Might there be hope for the future (ugh, no pun intended) that something new and better is ahead?