Deep Soap: Shocking Recast on ‘B&B’: Will Fans Buy the New Ridge?

Tale of Two Ridges: Thorsten Kaye (left) will take over the role of Ridge Forrester, which was played for many years by Ronn Moss on "The Bold and the Beautiful" (Photos: Getty Images)

“The Bold & the Beautiful” has made a truly shocking recast.

Thorsten Kaye,  best known as Zach on “All My Children,” will take over the role of romantically fickle fashion designer Ridge Forrester in December.

Ridge was the show’s true romantic lead from its premiere in 1987 until 2012, when the actor who played him, Ronn Moss, departed.

Kaye is talented and has a huge fan base. But his persona is pretty much the exact opposite of Moss’s.

Kaye is a well-read manly man with a bad-boy edge who brings theatrical intensity to his roles.

Moss is a metrosexual pretty boy whose acting style could be charitably described as minimalist, which I would argue actually worked for a character who was more or less a blank slate onto which Brooke and Taylor projected their romantic fantasies.

(I think the similarly fickle Liam, aka “Ridge: The Next Generation” is so dislikable because of Scott Clifton’s excellent acting. Liam is a beta male geek who, thanks to his long-lost rich dad, suddenly found himself a millionaire mogul who cannot decide between the two beautiful women who want him because deep down, he’s still the nerd who couldn’t get a date for the prom and he feels like he’s making up for it now. But he rationalizes his behavior as an attempt not to hurt either girl’s feelings. By contrast, Ridge was just a rich guy who changed his mind a lot.)

Watch the latest episode of “The Bold and the Beautiful”:
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One more thing: Kaye is Irish. It will certainly be interesting to see how the show explains how Ridge, a native Californian, picked up a brogue during his year in Paris.  The other burning question is whether Ridge will exchange his (and Moss’s) trademark man-scarves for Kaye’s preferred Red Wings jerseys.

Ridge is a character whose true defining relationship was with his domineering mother who micromanaged his love life. Now that Stephanie’s been dead for a year, a Ridge 2.0 could be plausible.

Given that Ridge’s probable new storyline will involve him in a love triangle with his former wife, Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang), and her new fiance Bill (Don Diamont), it’s easy to envision the new Ridge being very similar to the ultimate alpha male Bill. Will it work? I have no idea. But I look forward to finding out.

“The Young & the Restless” Kills Yet Another Abbott

This week’s episodes of “The Young & the Restless” have been hard for me to watch even though I can appreciate the craft that went into their creation. A child, Delia, is dead.

Executive producer Jill Farren Phelps decided to remake — nearly shot-for-shot — a death storyline involving another youngster, Jake Spencer, that she produced previously when she worked on “General Hospital.” Little Jake was struck by a hit-and-run driver on “GH” in March 2011 and died soon after.

Watch the latest episode of “The Young and the Restless”:
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Once again, a parent took their eyes off of a child for just a moment, only to have them mowed down by a hit-and-run driver who was not technically aware that he hit anyone. Once again, the dead child’s organs will be donated to another child on the show. Once again, the police will investigate. Once again, we will witness weeks of grief and mourning.

The first time “GH” did this storyline, back in the 1990s, when BJ died and her heart was donated to Maxie, it was a powerful umbrella story that generated years of plot and still has repercussions today.

But now it has been repeated so many times on so many shows that it has become as much of a soap cliche as amnesia. Each time it is copied, it loses some of its power and humanity.

The performances have been uniformly excellent. Elizabeth Hendricksen, who has been relegated to a supporting role for a while, did some of her best work as Chloe vacillated between grief at the loss of her child and anger at Billy for leaving Delia alone long enough for her to run unobserved into the middle of the street.

Billy Miller will definitely get an Emmy nomination, especially since last Friday’s episode, in which Billy fantasized about watching Delia grow up as he watched her dying, seemed crafted to be his Emmy reel. Everyone else involved will surely get their own moments in the spotlight. There’s something cynical about the way “Y&R” is presenting this as a collection of scenes that will make you cry, dammit, rather than as a cohesive storyline,

Delia’s death was particularly galling because her organs won’t even save an actual life. Adam (Michael Muhney) and Chelsea’s (Melissa Egan) baby, an infant who needs a cornea transplant.

Unlike most organs, corneas don’t have to be tissue-matched, so any cornea will do. Though Adam and Chelsea were told there were not any corneas available at the exact moment that their son was diagnosed, corneas are easy to come by. The typical wait is 2-4 weeks, less than the six-week window the couple had on the show to find a donor.

Contrary to what was implied by the dialogue, adult corneas can be transplanted into infants. I learned these facts in five minutes thanks to Google. I assume the writers figured soap fans wouldn’t care about medical accuracy. So the show’s implication that Adam and Chelsea are in a race against the clock and in need of a miracle is ridiculous. So was Adam’s plan to buy black-market corneas. That crook must have laughed about all the money he was making because Adam didn’t know legal corneas were plentiful.

Yes, we will get months of drama out of Delia’s death. Adam will be accused of killing her, though it may turn out that someone else actually hit her. Billy and Victoria’s marriage will probably suffer, as might Chloe and Chelsea’s friendship. But will any of it actually be entertaining no matter how well-acted and well-written it may be? Will the show get more out of it than it would have gotten from having had Delia — an Abbott with a Newman for a stepmother, whose grandmother owns the Chancellor estate — grow up, have scandalous teen romances and deal with her complicated family? I say no.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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