I can never decide if I am a Hope fan or not. Back in 1983 or so, I had a bit of a girlcrush on Kristian Alfonso, mostly because of her eyes and beautiful, beautiful skin. (It was actually Bo I didn’t much like! But I love him now.) I also admired her curvy, lush figure. Nowadays when I see those old clips I find her enormous 80’s hair something of a distraction, but I still think she looks great. She is still a very beautiful woman here in 2010, but so painfully, painfully thin. I miss that voluptuous siren look.
I love the chemistry that Peter and Kristian have together. I love the role Hope played in the early Steve and Kayla story. I love the “Fab Four” dynamic Stephen, Mary Beth, Kristian, and Peter had in the 2000’s.
So what’s not to like? Well, to me Bo and Hope represent the so-called Supercouple Problem par excellence. They have been on the show almost continuously since 1983. How many times, how many ways, have they broken up and gotten back together? How many third parties have schemed to break them up? And above all, how many times has Hope unfairly blamed Bo for something and then left him? Just as the merry-go-round of breakups and makeups makes me somewhat cynical about their supposed Great Love, the constant use of this same story has taken its toll on the character of Hope.
It would be fine—even fascinating, perhaps—if they explored this tendency of hers as a character trait. But I’m never sure how the show expects us to see her, when she’s in FancyJudgmentalFace mode. It seems to me that the show is presenting her as a sympathetic figure. (Keep in mind I’m not talking about message boards here, just what is presented onscreen. I know there has been lots of Hope-hate floating around on the boards.) And I generally do sympathize, regarding Zack’s death or Ciara’s kidnapping or whatever the trigger was, but that doesn’t make me feel she’s not being unfair to Bo. I would love to see Hope ponder why she does this—why, when trouble looms, her reaction is to blame Bo. Maybe, when things go wrong, she needs to have Bo chase after her and to hear him talk about their great love and precious marriage. It’s like a drug, something she needs in order to feel safe and loved. In that case, it would make perfect sense that when Bo eventually gave up this time (in 2010) and moved on with Carly, it sent her over the edge. Well, maybe not perfect sense, but it would be an explanation. When I was watching nighttime Hope douse Bo with gasoline, my expectation was that she was going to get off scot-free because “the pills made her do it” and “Bo made her do it.” I was wrong about that—I’m glad she took the blame for her crimes, when she found out the truth. But I have a feeling that however Bo and Hope get back together—and I think we all know that’s going to happen eventually, right?—the issues we’ve seen onscreen between them (and I do include Bo here too, it’s not completely one-sided) will be glossed over and we’ll just hear more about their Big, Great Love.
But, maybe I’m wrong. Hope springs eternal, right? 😉
Anyway, back to 1990. Days in this time period was just dealing with the supercouple problem for the first time. There were a lot of established couples on the frontburner: Steve/Kayla, Shane/Kim, Justin/Adrienne. Jack and Jennifer and Roman and Isabella were taking some of the pressure off, but now Peter Reckell wanted to return. What do TPTB do after Bo’s happiest-of-all-happy endings with Hope? Bring him back and say “Oh, Hope and I have been having some problems”? Bring him back as Bo’s long lost twin brother? What they did—the only time they ever did this to my knowledge—was to bring Hope back with him and then kill Hope off after a short stint. If you weren’t following behind-the-scenes stuff back then, and so didn’t know that Kristian Alphonso only came back for a limited appearance, her death must have come as quite a shock. But, it’s hard to see what else they could have done. They did give them some problems to deal with, so they could have broken them off and sent her off that way. Given how Days has become such a joke with all their back-from-the-dead returns, maybe that would have been better. But this way their fans get to see Bo and Hope be mostly happy during her short return. And they were very generous with the loving, happy scenes (and yes, this is the same cave where Jack and Jennifer had sex. Let’s hope they gave it a thorough washing, hee!):
However, I cannot say the same thing about the Austin Powers-ish way they handled her death. I had heard about the infamous Vat of Acid but had never seen it until now. I have to say, it was so much worse than I ever imagined. Judge for yourself:
SOOOO STOOOOOOooooooOOPID. First of all, a cage over a vat of acid? Austin Powers has ruined whatever suspense these elaborately staged threats may have once had. And I don’t expect a lot from my soaps in the way of special effects, but the stage managing here is terrible. We’ve got the cage ominously … jiggling just a teeny tiny bit as Hope screams “Booooo!” over and over again and everyone just stares at her. Finally Bo makes a move, and Roman wrestles him back from some itty bitty explosions. Then a not-much bigger explosion, and it’s all over. It all falls very, very flat. They needed to shorten it up, turn down the lighting, have everyone rushing toward the cage, add some cheesy slo-mo, and leave the rest to our imagination.
I do think Kristian Alphonso does well with Hope’s heartfelt goodbye to Bo. And given my issues with the character’s judgmentalism, it’s nice to hear her explicitly say that even though the last few months have been hard, never to think that she had any regrets, that loving him was the great joy of her life. Very, very nice.