(WARNING: much actual sincerity ahead.)
Full disclosure: today was going to be it. My revisits to both B&B and GH were going to end after today. GH because today is the last live episode and other than that novelty and the now-concluded Nurses Ball, it's clear the show is All Mob All The Time, which doesn't interest me in the least (more on GH in another post later!). B&B because I'd become so hopeless that they were going to find a way to tell Maya's story with any real sensitivity. So far, we'd heard her get misgendered a thousand times, watched her dead name get brought up repeatedly, had her trans status played for laughs by other characters with not-so-clever innuendo and outdated "she's a he!" jokes, sat around while the show perpetuated the dangerous myth that transgender people are somehow out to "trick" other people, and listened to the laughable notion that somehow a trans model would somehow rock the L.A. fashion scene, since Forrester Creations seems to be a fashion house hovering someplace in a small town in the 1950s.
There were glimmers of hope: some characters showing compassion, Ridge mentioning that he knows several transgender models, bringing on an actual trans actor and activist (Scott Turner Schofield, who is very cool) and, most of all, that Maya's own dialogue actually made me believe someone was doing some research. She never used language like "used to be a man" or "born a boy," and did get several scenes where she told her story in a compelling way.
And look, I get it. It had to be soapy. And moreover, even in a city and industry where this is hardly a shocking thing to come across, not everyone is going to be accepting. We don't live in a fantasy land of Kumbaya. Some people aren't going to get it, some people aren't going to like it, some people would make jokes. Characters having ignorant or thoughtless reactions to it doesn't mean that's the voice of the writers or the point of the story, of course. (Obviously Bill is going to be a dick about it, for instance. Bill's a dick. Ergo, Bill will be a dick about it.)
(Following that logic, we all also knew who was going to be a waffling, spineless douchenozzle about it, and was going to have the heart to see the problem with using that information against someone, but was not going to have the backbone to stop it.)
But the GIANT SKY FULL OF CASCADING ANVILS which was Rick's constant blathering on and on and on about how Maya was the world's ultimate example of femininity and, mostly, how she was as pure as the driven snow and would never tell a lie and INTEGRITY HONESTY ETC blah blah blah... well, add that to the fact that Rick is a megalomaniacal asshole to everyone else on the show, and basically we all assumed we were being giftwrapped Rick's Big Downfall complete with a frilly bow. Rick was so awful and annoying that they were setting the audience up to want him to totally freak out and melt down and just be completely humiliated by the news about his girlfriend.
So I was uncomfortable. I hated Rick, too, and wanted him to get taken down a hundred notches. But not like this. I even fantasized about how they could handle this in a way that might actual cement Rick and Maya as a real love story and actually give the story a surprising and refreshing turn. And suggested that, perhaps, this revelation and this new bond between Rick and Maya could humanize both of them and lead them to try to treat everyone else with a little more kindness. You know, growth!
But I was so sure. And I was pissed. And you know what? Feeling sanctimoniously outraged when watching a soap SUCKS. It's a soap! What a ridiculous thing to actually have festering moral anger about! It's supposed to be fun! I hate when I get all self-righteous. It's boring and it gives me a headache, and of course nobody else wants to hear about it.
So I was going to stop.
And then today happened.
Let's review. Bill... says some gross things and publishes the story outing Maya, because Bill has no morals or ethics to begin with so of course he does that. Nick (Maya's friend) goes to talk to Ridge about Maya's situation. Maya tells Rick in approximately 35 different ways that she was assigned male at birth, and finally Slick Rick gets it. He stares at her for a while. She knows why. Of course she knows.
Maya: It's okay to look at me. I know what you're looking for. But there's no boy here, and I was never a man. I did have what they call a tracheal shave, to reduce my Adam's apple. My forehead is smaller. My eyebrows are higher. They softened my jaw. I've always had this chin and this nose, and my voice has always been high. And there are other things too, that you don't need explained. [Thanks, show, for not stooping to that. --Ed.] All of that was important to me but it... it didn't turn me into a different person. I am still exactly who you thought I was an hour ago.
Rick: The person I knew an hour ago would have told me when we first met. [Oh Rick, you mean how YOU were so honest with her when you first met? Ha. Haha. Hahaha. --Ed.] Why didn't you?
Brooke and Eric talk about their worries. Brooke feels just terrible that Rick keeps being "betrayed" by the women in his life (well, he's drawn to women that remind him of Mommy?). Bill's employees are uncomfortable about the story, and one of them quits. "Maybe I'd like to work for an actual human being." Yes! That random awkward dude is my hero!