The Best in Soaps 2010

Best Soap: The Bold and the Beautiful

How can one show be both gloriously uplifting and dirty as hell? That's the marvel of B&B! After back-to-back Emmy wins as best soap, this CBS serial should make it three in a row thanks to its daring lung-cancer plot involving big mama Stephanie Forrester (Susan Flannery) who nearly chose death over life. Episodes with Stephanie visiting the homeless on L.A.'s Skid Row, and giving them a chance to tell their life stories, made for important and transcendent TV. At the same time, B&B shocked us silly with its trashy, oh-no-they-didn't scandals — young Oliver accidentally shtupping Brooke (his girlfriend's mother!) at a masquerade party; Brooke's slow-burning attraction to her stepson Thomas — and that made us realize how dreadfully safe and sane other soaps have become. B&B is not without its problems, and they are major. Executive producer-head writer Brad Bell has a horrible habit of casting his young stars for sexiness, rather than acting chops — in fact, some of the kids on this show are achingly, gaspingly bad. Bell also fails some of his finest actors, most notably Emmy winners Heather Tom (Katie) and Sarah Brown (Agnes), by giving them little to do that's meaty and worthy of their talent. But we forgive! This mind-imploding mix of the sacred and profane is fresh, freaky, dazzling entertainment. We can't ask for more than that.

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