The Bell Soaps: Realization and Representation

The Bold and the Beautiful: The week begins with Liam receiving some brotherly advice from Wyatt. While the two are hanging out together at the cabin, Wyatt can tell that something is bothering his brother. Liam tells him how Hope wants him to go back to Steffy. Wyatt takes a moment to digest the information and then asks Liam if he agrees. Liam avoids the question and just tells Wyatt that he needs to be there for his wife. Wyatt doesn't say much more but Liam can tell by his facial expression that Wyatt may agree with Hope. Liam eventually tells Wyatt that he is not going to abandon his marriage.

At the end of last week, Katie invited Hope to Bikini Bar for some fun. Lo and behold, Flo bar tends there. Flo is working behind the bar as Hope retells the awful night of her daughter's death to her aunt. Flo eavesdrops as Hope tells Katie everything and then drops a glass when Hope recalls, "Dr. Buckingham did everything he could, but…" Katie leaves to go pick up Will and Hope hands her credit card to Flo. Upon seeing the name on the card, Flo introduces herself to Hope and tells her that she has something to tell her. Just as Flo is about to tell Hope the truth about her baby, Zoe comes over and quickly interjects that Flo is Phoebe's birth mother, stopping Flo from revealing the truth. After Hope leaves, Zoe scolds Flo for almost revealing the truth, Flo and Reese could go to jail if this gets out. Flo reveals that she thinks maybe Reese should go to jail after what he has done. Zoe begs Flo to leave LA and to not reveal the truth, she doesn't want her father to go down for this.

Hope returns home and immediately tells Liam that she has met Phoebe's birth mother. Hope tells him how she felt like them being in the same place at the same time was fate. When Hope tells Liam that Zoe was the one who revealed this information to her, Liam is confused. He wonders how Zoe knows Phoebe's birth mother. Hope did note that there was some tension between the two women.

Later on, Flo and Wyatt run into each other. The pair discuss how long it has been since they have last seen each other and Flo recalls that Wyatt just up and left Vegas with no warning. Wyatt updates Flo on the last few years of his life. How he no longer works with his mother, how he has found his father, and how he is now Wyatt Spencer. Wyatt asks Flo if she has kids to which she responds that it never happened for her. Flo tells Wyatt she needs to get back to work but not before telling him that she did love him. She kisses him and tells him how much she's missed him. Wyatt tells Flo that he is living with someone but then invites her to his and Sally's dinner party that night. Wyatt wants her to meet his brother. Little does Wyatt know, Flo has already helped to steal and sell his brother's baby.

Back at the beach house, Wyatt apologizes to Sally for inviting a last minute guest but she doesn't mind, she is glad to learn about his past. Flo arrives and Sally and her hit it off. Hope and Liam arrive and Wyatt introduces Flo as an old friend. Hope is very quick to blurt out that Flo is, in fact, Phoebe's birth mother. It takes a moment for Flo to realize that Hope is Wyatt's sister-in-law. Wyatt blurts out that Flo was his high school sweetheart, news to Sally, and asks why she lied about having children. Flo tells them that Phoebe isn't actually hers. They begin to discuss the night of Beth's death. Flo finds out that Steffy is Liam's ex-wife. Hope becomes visibly upset when discussing Beth and Flo begins to talk about regrets. Flo asks the room not to hate her. Wyatt tells Flo no one is judging her and she responds, "yeah, it's about Phoebe."

Unfortunately, Flo does not reveal the truth as we expected her to. She plays it off like she is so upset because she regrets putting Phoebe up for adoption. Hope tells Flo about how Phoebe brought her joy in one of the darkest times of her life.

The Young and the Restless: The trial begins and witnesses are called to the stand. The week begins with Mariah being questioned by Michael. She tells him that the video was sent to her anonymously and Michael begins to dig deeper. His prying questions begin to overwhelm Mariah and Sharon whispers to Brittany to do something. Later, Nick asks Michael why he was being so hard on Mariah and he tells Nick he needs to lay the groundwork in case it becomes necessary for him to expose the blackmail. Mariah and Tessa worry that if the truth about the video comes out, they are both going down.

Nick steps out and as Phyllis arrives. Phyllis promises to try her best to put an end to this. Her intention is to explain how terrifying the night was for all of the women. Phyllis is confident that she will be able to explain to the jury how this murder was purely self-defense.

On the stand, Phyllis describes the night and JT's abuse. She explains how Nikki was heartbroken and angry upon learning of her daughter's abuse, as any mother would be. Christine goes over how the women heard JT in the house and then asks if Victoria has ever hit JT before, to which Phyllis responds "I do not recall." After being reminded that she is Underoath, Phyllis starts to tell how she and Sharon stood in the room shocked and frozen after walking in on JT threatening Victoria. Nikki acted instinctively, picking up the fire poker and hitting JT with it. Christine forces Phyllis to get up and act out what Nikki did to JT the night of his alleged death.

It is more than obvious that Phyllis is struggling and upset as she is forced to tell and show the jury how JT was facing away from Nikki, making no threat to her personally, when she hit him with the fire poker in the back of the head, supposedly killing him. Phyllis argues that it was self-defense because JT was an intruder. Christine retracts with the fact that JT did live in the house and perhaps he avoided the front door because he saw Nikki's car in the driveway. Phyllis screams that Christine is twisting everything. Christine tells the jury that Nikki did not tell JT to stop before hitting him. She also recalls how the women buried the body in the park. Christine yells to the court that that is not self-defense, it is murder.

Michael's cross-examination does not go much better. He makes Phyllis admit that she hates Victor Newman. Michael then suggests that perhaps Phyllis wants to send Victoria to jail to assure she doesn't get back with Billy. While Brittany is questioning Phyllis, she quickly goes over her past with Sharon (*spoiler alert* it is not a good one). Brittany suggests that if Sharon is sent to jail, then Phyllis will be rid of two rivals. Phyllis is free to go and quickly exits the courtroom as Summer follows her out. She did not plan for this to happen. She did not expect Christine to twist the story in such a way. Back in the courtroom, Victoria, Sharon, and Nikki learn that Phyllis' testimony may have made it worse for them. Michael tells the ladies he is tired of their lying and that if they want any more help from him they are going to have to tell him the whole truth about that night.

Michael comes up with a plea deal for Victoria and Sharon. Michael tries to get Brittany to persuade Sharon into pleading guilty, he believes she will be acquitted. Brittany refuses the offer but tells Michael he would do the same thing is she was in his place. Later, Sharon tells Brittany that Rey confessed his feelings for her. Brittany suggests that Rey tricked Sharon into telling him the truth but Sharon denies that he would do something like that to her.

The following day, Michael calls Tessa to the stand. She knows that this isn't going to go well. Michael questions Tessa about the video and asks her if she used to blackmail his clients. Michael tells Tessa that he has evidence and she breaks down and comes clean. Michael tells the jury that if anyone deserves to face criminal charges, it is Tessa. Michael suggests that Tessa was responsible for JT's death as well as brings up her sketchy past. Tessa and Mariah fear for the worst.

Rey and Sharon's love is revealed when he is called to the witness stand. To add to the drama, Mia is in the room as well. Rey recounts for Brittany what happened that night, stating that the only reason he went to Sharon's house was because they are friendly coworkers. Brittany reminds Rey he is under oath and after a bit more picking and prying, Rey admits he went to Sharon's to tell her he loved her. Brittany accuses him of admitting this to try and coerce Sharon into a confession and Rey denies it. Brittany then observes aloud that despite being a "happily" married man, Rey must actually be in love with Sharon. She then reminds him that he can't have it both ways before concluding her questioning. Mia angrily confronts Rey during the recess but Rey is summoned to the station so he must go.

Victoria is called to the stand. Michael asks Victoria to tell the jury about her relationship with JT. She recounts when they moved in together and when he began the abuse, both emotional and physical. She goes over the night of the murder, how violent JT became when she threatened to call the police. She testified that her mother acted spontaneously and never intended for JT to die, just for Victoria to live. She then tells how Phyllis forced them to cover it up and Michael makes a remark on the irony, which I have to agree with. Christine questions her and accuses Victoria and her mother of killing JT because he was working with the Genoa City Police investigating Victor. Victoria tells the court that if her mother had not intervened that night, she would be dead.

Congratulations are in order for Summer and Kyle on their engagement...or are they? After finding out that Summer's liver is a match for Lola, Kyle tells Summer he will do anything to get her to donate, including marrying her. Summer is taken back by the offer but then begins to consider it. Summer can live with Kyle knowing he is in love with Lola, she believes she can make him just as happy, if not happier than Lola did. Summer accepts his offer and proposes that they stay married for a year and then divorce if they are not in love and happy. Summer tells him that she wants absolutely no one knowing that she is the one donating the liver. Then, in true Summer fashion, she forces Kyle to get down on one knee at the club and actually propose to her. Guess we'll see where the beginning of this crazy storyline goes.

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Performer of the Week: Although she did not have too much screen time until the end of the week, Amelia Heinle as Victoria Newman takes the cake as the performer of the week. Her ability to display the range of emotions as she recounted her year of abuse at the hands of the deceased JT was gripping and real. That performance alone in testimony episode alone was enough for her to snag this title this week!

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Special Diversity Report: Last February, an article written by Ashley Dionne on TV Source, posed the question “Does CBS Daytime Have a Woman of Color Problem?” The article discusses why characters of color always seem to be background characters on Y&R and B&B. The writer calls out B&B for being at the bottom of the list regarding diversity in the soap world. While her writing is an opinion piece, it unfortunately does  seem accurate. 

B&B has almost no characters of color. Aside from Dr. Reese Buckingham, his daughter, Zoe, and her boyfriend, Xander, there are no other characters of color. Not only is representation almost nonexistent on this show, but the writers made Reese Buckingham, a doctor with a lot of potential, a gambling criminal. While Zoe is a little more likable than him, the fact that she knows about his crime and not doing anything to help is annoying and makes the viewer dislike her character as well. Xander really is not prominent enough on the show for me to form an opinion about him, so it is hard to rate his character as likable or not. In addition to the only characters of color not being very likable, they are only really used to assist the plot of the main (white) character's storylines. Dr. Buckingham was only used as a pawn to move along the story of Hope losing her baby and Steffy adopting her. That is the main storyline. What happens to Reese is secondary at this point. Being set in LA, the show really should be more diverse, it is only realistic. The show really does nothing for me in the diversity field.

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The Bold and the Beautiful: B&B has almost no characters of color. Aside from Dr. Reese Buckingham, his daughter, Zoe, and her boyfriend, Xander, there are no other characters of color. Not only is representation almost nonexistent on this show, but the writers made Reese Buckingham, a doctor with a lot of potential, a gambling criminal. While Zoe is a little more likable than him, the fact that she knows about his crime and not doing anything to help is annoying and makes the viewer dislike her character as well. Xander really is not prominent enough on the show for me to form an opinion about him, so it is hard to rate his character as likable or not. In addition to the only characters of color not being very likable, they are only really used to assist the plot of the main (white) character's storylines. Dr. Buckingham was only used as a pawn to move along the story of Hope losing her baby and Steffy adopting her. That is the main storyline. What happens to Reese is secondary at this point. Being set in LA, the show really should be more diverse, it is only realistic. The show really does nothing for me in the diversity field. RATING: D-

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The Young and the Restless: Back in the 90's and early to mid 2000s, Y&R was praised for being one of the most diverse soap operas on TV. With strong, rich, powerful black families, this show was all for diversity! Unfortunately, as the years went on, we are only left with the pathetic aftermath of these powerful black families. We have Lily, who is currently in jail. A common place for a person of color on television to be. Because Lily is in jail, we almost never see her. We might get a glimpse of Lily every few weeks, but that's it. Then we have Devon and Ana. Ana, a black woman who is incredibly talented and hardworking but has a white man taking credit for her work. Not a good look Y&R. While I do understand that this may have not have been intentional, the writers should have taken the fact that a white man was going to be taking credit for a black woman's work into consideration. Aside from that, we also very rarely see Devon and Ana. They went this whole week without showing them once. Not a good look Y&R.

We have some Hispanic representation on the show in the Rosales family but it is not always positive. The Rosales' are much poorer than the other main characters on the show and the brothers are often portrayed as bad boys from the wrong side of the tracks. When Victor Newman finds out that his daughter is engaged to Arturo Rosales, he immediately asks Arturo to sign a prenup, not something he asked of any of his other children's many spouses. Mia and Lola are the only two Hispanic women on the show and Mia's character is so awful and annoying that she is impossible to like and Lola has been in a coma for the last two weeks. It is hard to feel as if the Hispanic representation is any better than black. RATING: C