by KATE LEAVER
Soap opera fans are in mourning, because one of the most chiseled chins in the business is retiring. The chin belongs to Ronn Moss, who has played Ridge Forrester on The Bold & The Beautiful for 25 years. Apparently he was asked to take a pay cut, and it’s not clear whether the character of Ridge will be struck off, recast or conveniently written out of story lines.
We can only speculate on how his character would be culled – A yachting accident? An overdose? A fatal dramatic pause? - and we can only hope his onscreen loves Brooke and Taylor find peace, or a pool boy.
He may well return in years to come as Ridge’s evil twin brother, but for now it’s Goodbye Mr Forrester, and thanks for all the soliloquies.
In honour of Chiseled Ron’s career, I’d like to reflect on the meaning of soap operas. You see, I come from a line of soapie stars (“We’re actors, Katie, not soap stars,” my mum says, with a flip of her still-pretty-gorgeous hair). My darling Grandma played Helen Gordon on the long-running soap Young Doctors, and my mum starred in Sons and Daughters, Waterloo Station and Young Doctors. They were babes, the two of them, with ‘80s coifs and tears on-call.
My mother’s character, Samantha, was once nearly blown up by the guy she was dating because she suspected he had killed her sister, but balding psychic led her mother to the cliff she had fallen down in time to save her life. My mum, as a result, has endless patience for the stories I tell her.
I like to think that my Soap Opera heritage explains some of my character. At the very least, it explains my habit of talking to myself when no one else is around, quiet but suspenseful. That, and my hair.
And so, to mark Ridge’s retirement and honour the generations of drama in my lineage, I give you – Life Lessons You Can Take Home From Soapies.
1. Life is precious. At any time, you could fall down an elevator shaft, be struck by lightning, find yourself marooned on a desert island with your sister’s husband, or consumed by an illness only a very handsome doctor can cure. Death can be anywhere – all you have to do is piss off whoever’s writing your life script.
2. Life is complicated. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the twists and turns of plots – but at the same time, very little changes. The same scandals happen over and over, but the players change. The same news, different nouns. Try to keep up with your own story line.
3. Age is an illusion, but ultimately you must choose between youth and authenticity. If you want to, you can look 25 for decades, and nobody will question it. Look at Taylor, Ridge’s smooth-faced love interest, who hasn’t aged a day in years. But as a consequence, her facial expression is set to ‘mildly surprised, utterly unmoved’ for the rest of her life. Eternal beauty or the ability to show your emotions? The choice is yours.
4. Marriage, and love, can be fickle. Look at Ridge, whose affections and alimony flitted between Brooke and Taylor, back to Brooke, once more to Taylor, at some point Brooke’s daughter, perhaps Taylor’s sister, then back to Brooke.
5. Monologues can be cathartic. Talking to yourself in the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom is a very effective way of sorting out your feelings. Sometimes you are your own best therapist, and talking out loud about your troubles like Ridge Forrester & co. can offer surprising clarity. Try it.
6. Melodrama is a convenient distraction from truth. Sometimes behaving dramatically is a helpful coping strategy when you’re feeling down. The bigger the emotional outburst, the clearer your solution can be. As evidence of this, think of every soap opera scene ever made – do you think those actors are ever in any doubt what emotion they’re feeling?
Don’t miss this brilliant video from Ridge Forrester here. It’s worth the click
What have you learned from soapies? Will you miss Ridge?