Hope Floats

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!):

YouTube link

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:

YouTube link

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.


4 thoughts on “Hope Floats

  1. Not surprisingly I feel the same way about Hope. I liked her far more than Bo back in the day although thatnwas primarily because she was so supportive of Steve and Kayla. When I started watching again in 2006, I couldn’t stand her. It was way too much FancyJudgmentalFace.

    Then there were a couple of years when i loved her. She and Bo were cute and schmoopy and she was a great friend to Kayla and Steve.

    Then suddenly it back to FancyJudgmentalFace again. I am glad that Hope has taken some responsibility for her actions and I hope they delve more into why she did what but I’m not holding my breath.

    I totally agree about Hope’s death. There was some good emotion, but the “effects” were ridiculous.

  2. The Zack storyline was not a good reintroduction to Hope after so many years. It started out well, and KA knocked it out of the park showing Hope’s devastation. But then it got so silly with all the stuff about Chelsea. I remember when Chelsea suddenly became a computer hacker and intercepted Bo and Hope’s emails to each other and changed what they said. And then of course the whole WTD thing with Patrick. It could have been a great story about two people struggling with the fallout from the death of their child, but it just became FancyJudgmentalFace plus scheming third parties (with Patrick, Chelsea, Billie AND Kate). What a waste.

  3. 1. Well, it is Kristian Alfonso, not Kristian Alphonso. It’s F as in Fancy Face! 🙂 For most actors, they don’t care if you like them or not, just get the name right. 🙂
    2. Those special effects were from 1990, after all. Of course they will look bad. Have you watched Earthquake, Towering Inferno, or any of the Airport disaster movies? We are so spoiled by the CGI of the 2000s, that of course we will shudder at early-90s attempts. And the actor playing Ernesto Toscano was not ezactly Emmy-Worthy either. His brutally awful performances were the worst part of the entire storyline. Everyone on that set knew he was no Joe Mascolo.
    3. As storylines go, the whole Cruise of Deception was rather well-executed, including some rather impressive water scenes/stunts that likely cost a bundle. What’s most unbelievable about the whole thing is that the drama was re-crafted 10+ years later with Swamp Girl Greta being swapped out for Hope Willians Welch Brady at the last moment, leading to Greta’s “acid scars” and to Hope being traded off to Stefano+Celeste as a perfect double for art thief Princess Gina von Amberg and amnesiac Puzzle-Box-Solver Gina.

    I don’t worship at the Throne of Hope, but that Hope-Bo chemistry is remarkable. The actors fought it for years, but I am glad they finally realized their careers will be forever linked.

  4. dooldooldool—thanks for the correction! I have fixed Kristian’s name now.

    You are right that special effects are much better now, but this scene doesn’t even stack up with other stuff Days was doing back then. All they needed was some darker lighting, some faster cutting, and maybe some slo-mo and a shot of Bo screaming “Noooooo …” That’s all I expect!

    I have heard about Greta and that storyline, though I haven’t seen it. Days writers have never been shy about stealing from themselves, have they?

    Thanks for commenting!

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