The Bell Soaps: Not Such A Pleasant Surprise

The Bold and The Beautiful: The news of Caroline Spencer's death hit hard last week and this week we are feeling the aftermath. We find out that Caroline's death was caused by some sort of blood clot, but we don't get many more details. We watch as everyone grieves and makes funeral arrangements and we witness a very heartfelt scene between Hope and Caroline's son, Douglas. While the two are in the kitchen cooking together, Douglas recalls how his mother told him she'd never leave him and asks about heaven. Hope tells Douglas that her daughter is in heaven too, but they will not know what it is like unless they are there. Douglas tells Hope that he hopes Caroline and Beth meet and the two embrace as Douglas cries for his mother.

Taylor continues to push Steffy, as well as others, onto the idea that Steffy should get back with Liam. When Steffy tells Taylor that is no longer an option, Taylor decides to try and take matters into her own hands. While at Brooke's house, Taylor insists to Ridge that Douglas needs a mother and Hope needs a child. When Ridge reminds Taylor of the fact that Hope is married, Taylor states that she believes Liam should be with Steffy and the girls. Taylor encourages Ridge to step in and push Liam to get back with Steffy. She also uses the argument that she thinks Hope should be with Thomas, that way she can be there for Douglas. Taylor's really out here trying to rewrite everyone's entire lives. The two begin to argue and Taylor becomes emotional. She tells him that she never stopped loving him through tears and kisses him. Ridge rejects the advance and tells her that they need to put the conversation and the kiss behind them. Little did Taylor know, Brooke saw they entire exchange and tells Taylor that while she understands emotions are running high, kissing her husband is not acceptable.

While at Spencer Publications, Bill talks to Katie about how hard Caroline's death has been for him. It has helped him to realize how fragile life is. In another room, Sally talks about how Bill has been a rock through this and Wyatt, Liam, Justin, and Donna all agree. Donna starts to talk about how she would love to see Bill and Katie get back together.er.

The Young and The Restless: The week was cut short due to March Madness but that didn't mean it lacked in drama. We find out that Nikki, Victoria, and Sharon are being sent to Lakewood Correctional Facilities where they are set to begin their sentences. Billy and Nick don't believe that J.T. is dead and they go to Rey to tell him about it. They tell him about the person living in the walls who they thought was J.T. Nick tells Rey that the women may have injured J.T., but he is still alive. Nick and Billy want to find him and Rey agrees to help.

The van pulls over and the guards escort the women out. Confused, they tell him that this is not where they're supposed to be. They look over and see Nick, who assures them that everything is going to be okay. Billy and Rey are at the Abbott cabin, where Nick brings the ladies. Nikki, Victoria, and Sharon are all very confused but Nick explains that they are going to say there was an accident and that the girls escaped. He thinks this will be the perfect trap for J.T.

Victoria still isn't convinced that J.T. is alive but Nikki is ready to go out and find him. Nick has to remind his mother that they are escaped fugitives and cannot be seen. Billy assures Victoria that this plan won't fail but she is worried. She doesn't think the plan will work at all and she's worried to get into even more trouble with the law.

A nervous Kyle and Summer show up to the hospital on the day of the surgery to Dr. Nate who assures them that everything is going to be fine. He tries to explain the procedure to them but Summer does not want to know details. Arturo arrives at Lola's room and she immediately asks where Kyle is. Unfortunately, Lola still doesn't know about the wedding and Arturo does not tell her.

At the hospital, Kyle runs into Abby. She asks him why Summer would allow him to delay their honeymoon for Lola's surgery. Abby guesses that Summer is the donor and that she blackmailed Kyle into marriage. Kyle insists no blackmail was involved, that he and Lola were just too different. Abby doesn't buy it. Arturo appears as this conversation is taking place and tells Kyle he would respect him a lot more if he found out he married Summer to save his sister. He still denies it.

While at the penthouse, Devon watches Ana place an envelope of cash into her purse. She tells him that she has a meeting with a new client and quickly leaves. Suspicious, Devon follows her to a sketchy motel and he starts to worry for his sister's safety. He knocks on the door of the room Ana entered and a strange woman opens it. After much debate, Ana finally comes to the door, furious that Devon followed her. Once inside, Devon realizes he is in the presence of R&B singer, Jet Slade. In a shocking reveal, we learn that Jet is Ana's father, and he has fallen ill and Ana has been helping him to pay for his treatments.

Although we didn't get our cliffhanger Friday, I would say cliffhanger Wednesday was just as good. We find out just before the week ends that while Lola's surgery went well, Summer's did not. In a terrifying moment at the cabin, we see J.T., alive and well, dressed as a cop and peering in a window at the women. A bone-chilling scene.

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Performer of the Week: While he was barely in the show at all, I think that Thad Luckinbill as J.T. has my vote for the performer of the week. His single scene this week was one of the most captivating and you know that the storyline that is about to begin from this scene alone is going to be a good one.

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Special Diversity Report - Women’s Edition: When thinking about the target audience for soap operas, for the most part, people assume it is women. Women in the 18-49 demo who just can't miss their soaps. Knowing that this is the target demographic watching, you would assume that there would be proper representation of women. You may be thinking to yourself that of course, women get representation on soaps, there are plenty of strong, female leads on the shows. But are they really strong, female leads or is every woman on these shows a cookie cutter copy of each other?

In 2015, Erin Blakemore wrote an article titled "Coming Clean on Gender in Soap Operas." She discusses how at the peak of soap history (the 1980s) two-thirds of viewers were women. She also discusses how soap operas were real-life models of what it looked like to live the American Dream. It was the first genre of television to turn housewives into a mass audience and made the characters seem like they were "trusted friends," rather than just characters on a TV show. These "trusted friends" pushed boundaries and challenged gender norms and made it seem normal and cool. I will be examining The Bold and The Beautiful and The Young and The Restless to see if the female characters really do have their own storylines and purposes or if they are just cookie cutter copies of soap women's movement past.

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The Bold and The Beautiful: B&B has what seems like a plethora of female characters but are they really that diverse? While I did discuss this in an article a few weeks back, I'd like to retouch on the fact that the women in this show are almost entirely rich and white. We see no representation of your everyday, average girl, and if we do, they always have some sort of secret and troubled past.

While it did seem like B&B was taking some steps in the right direction back in 2015, when they introduced a transgender woman of color to the show, it was short lived. The character of Maya was a character that was described as "love to hate." It also took years to reveal that Maya was trans, they treated it like some horrible, awful secret that she should be ashamed of. In order to represent women in a positive light, soap writers need to remember that this goes for ALL women, including trans women. While I do applaud them for being the first daytime drama to introduce a trans character, they really should have made her a little bit more likable, that way they didn't paint her and themselves in such a bad light.

Don't get me wrong, there are women on this show who show a great deal of strength and should be used as role models. In a current storyline, we have Hope grieving the loss of her stillborn baby. While this may not feel empowering, having a strong female character that is going through that loss may help a woman going through it herself. Seeing Hope strive to heal every day might just be what someone needs to heal themselves. Rating: B+

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The Young and The Restless: Just like B&B, the women of Genoa City are predominately white and rich. I would say that currently, the four main women on the show are Nikki, Phyllis, Sharon and Victoria. Nikki is a classic case of a woman who needed to be "saved" by a man. She was a stripper whose life changed for the better when Victor Newman swooped in and swept her off her feet. Since then, Nikki has worked a bit here and there but doesn't really have a solid background as a career woman on the show. Her daughter, Victoria, on the other hand, is a very independent, career woman. She has a high-ranking position at Newman Enterprises and is also a single mother. Not only that, but she is also a survivor of abuse. Just like with B&B, a woman watching the show struggling with the same issues as Victoria may relate to her and see it as a sign to get help. The connection that people make to their favorite television characters is very important to note when evaluating the representation on the show.

Sharon seems to be a jack-of-all-trades. She owns a cafe as well as apartments that she rents out and she also works part-time at the police station. She is being painted as a strong, independent woman who doesn't need anyone after her split from Nick and that is definitely positive, especially considering Sharon's past. Phyllis is also painted as a strong, businesswoman. She is the CEO if Jabot (for now) and it is without a doubt a woman with career goals. Seeing the evolution of Phyllis and Sharon from young girls into these strong, independent, career women is something positive indeed.

While there does seem to be some strong female characters on the show, more diversity of these female characters would be really nice to see. We had Kerry for a little while, a strong, smart, woman of color, but with her character going on hiatus we have basically no one. Rating: B