Sayonara, Stephanie Forrester?
If any of you have been checking up on your soap gossip online over the last week, you will probably have stumbled across the rumour that the great Susan Flannery – aka, Stephanie “don’t mess with my family or I’ll run you over with a herd of stampeding elephants” Forrester is gearing up to leave The Bold and the Beautiful.
The source of this rumour was US TV Guide’s Michael Logan, who recently sat down with B&B show-runner Bradley Bell to discuss Stephanie’s upcoming controversial cancer storyline, only to score a scoop when Bell revealed that there is a “possibility” that the marauding matriarch will not survive her disease! (For the full article, click here: http://www.tvguide.com/News/Bold-Beautiful-Shocker-1023296.aspx)
Before we start sticking pins in voodoo dolls of Bradley Bell (for contemplating killing off Stephanie) and Michael Logan (for revealing that Bradley Bell is contemplating killing off Stephanie), let’s pause and think of the bigger picture here, and that is a B&B without Stephanie Forrester.
Can you even imagine it? It’s like picturing a sky without a sun, or the cast of Home and Away without their radioactive fake tans – it’s just a completely alien concept. If Stephanie leaves B&B – who will keep Eric’s eye from wandering? Who will remind Brooke of her past sexcapades? Who will give Ridge a spine?
Aside from the loss of a fantastic character and actor, the biggest problem with Susan Flannery’s possible retirement is that the show itself really isn’t ready for Stephanie to leave.
Every soap opera is built around a matriarchal character that is there to metaphorically (and occasionally physically, if everyone is being really naughty) whip their kids, grandkids, maids, dogs and dining room furniture into line. On most soaps, there are back-up matriarchs, for whenever the primary matriarch is unable to fulfil her butt-kicking duties (like Days’ Maggie, Kate and Caroline or Y&R’s Nikki and Phyllis).
B&B, however, have not been grooming any of the their other leading female characters to step into the alpha role, once Stephanie has vacated it. It’s long been established that Brooke is a flake, Taylor is weak, and Felicia is… non-existent. The only character who could potentially step into Stephanie’s enormous shoes is her namesake, Steffy, but she is too busy pointlessly chasing Hope’s boyfriends to undertake the task of being a rallying-point for her family.
While we would like to think that Bell’s pronouncement is a way of scaring up ratings as the show moves into its November sweeps period, there’s no escaping that although Stephanie (and the rest of her soapy companions) is never a day over 45 on B&B, her portrayer is now 71 years old, and has made no secret of her desire to retire.
We can only hope that either a) Susan Flannery decides to remain with B&B until she’s 125, or b) Brad Bell finds some way to clone Susan Flannery so that she stays with the show forever, as a B&B without Stephanie would be a very dark (and very quiet) place indeed.
What are your thoughts on the (possible) end of Stephanie Forrester’s reign? Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org