Ronn Moss, for those of you living under a ridge, played Rock.
No, wait. For those of you living under a rock, he played Ridge, the most wonderfully foolishly named character in a show full of wonderfully foolishly named characters (Thorne, Storm, Whip, Bill).
In reacting to this bombshell, I certainly went through the five stages of grief. And I did it in true soap opera style:
It may surprise, nay, horrify you, dear readers, to discover that I am in fact a secret Bold fan.
But before you judge me, sit down and hear the tale of how this program can entrance even the most cynical of hearts.
In Australia, Bold screens at 4:30pm on Channel Ten, just before the 5pm Ten News.
For us journalist types - and for other news groupies - an evening of news-watching begins with the 5pm Ten bulletin. It means TVs start being flicked over to Channel 10 around the 4:55pm mark - just in time to see the last few moments of The Bold and the Beautiful.
For me, this means around ten years of casually dropping in on the glamourous world of fashion, around which Bold revolves. The brilliant thing about the soap format is that the last five minutes is more than enough to give you comprehensive character and plot information. A few of these every week sees you starting to learn characters' names. A few months of this, and you might start working out the incredibly complex and close-to-incestuous nature of the relationships. Brooke, for example, has married Ridge at least 14 times; and also had children with his father; and with her daughter's husband.
Oh yes, my friends, when Shakespeare coined the term "tangled web", he was foreseeing a Bold future.
Of course, I kept this habit under wraps, not even admitting to myself that I might be flicking over earlier and earlier. Soap opera magazines in the supermarket may have indicated that Bold had a very popular following; but I was a sensible, clever media type. I didn't watch soap operas, I'd tell myself as the square-jaw of Ridge Forrester started flashing up onto my screen at 4:45; 4:35pm. "It's just important to be ready to watch the Proper News."
|Very few people can pull off a turtleneck.|
Ronn Moss is not one of them.
However, over the past year, and thanks mainly to Twitter, I've discovered I'm not alone in my habit. The hashtag #5minutesbeforethenews brought a whole bunch of secret Bold fans out of the designer closet. And for the more hard core, #ohbrookeohtaylorohbrooke is a feed of fans live-tweeting each episode as it airs in Australia.
And now I know why there are so many of us out there - intelligent, hard-working people - who revel in the hot goings-on at Forrester Creations.
Did you ever hear the reason why the jokes in Christmas crackers are so appalling? It's because while everyone's idea of a good joke is different, everyone's understanding of a bad joke is immediate and shared. At a time like Christmas, it's far better to engender a spirit of goodwill and fraternity by uniting against the bad jokes; rather than dividing opinion because Auntie Gina didn't think it was funny.
The Bold and the Beautiful is the daytime soap opera version of this.
We all KNOW it's bad. The plots are unbelievable, the dialogue corny, the timelines wobbly, the love triangles maddening, and the use of extended close-ups egregious. But when we all share in its ridiculousness, we bond as a community, a family. Our gentle mocking of lame facial hair and botoxed leading ladies (Oh Taylor, why did you do it?), and our delight in over-the-top displays of emotion allow us to feel superior together. The affection that springs from our negativity turns the whole experience into a positive one.
And the best part is, it's a community that demands nothing of you. I'll be travelling overseas in September and October, and will happily go about my business without a Bold vision, safe in the knowledge that a flashback or a few tweets on my return will be more than enough to fill me in. So much TV these days demands your undivided attention, lest you become lost in intricately-laid plots and machinations. I love that kind of TV - but sometimes it's nice to know you don't have to follow obsessively; because the show will keep you in the loop.
So goodbye and God bless, Ronn Moss. I don't know how the clan Forrester will fare without you. But at least for now, the social media commune will savour the Bold.