I have a confession to make. It’s a little embarrassing, although it shouldn’t be, because clearly I’m not the only one on the planet to look forward to my daily dose of cheese. No, I’m not talking edible fromage; heaven knows I’m not impartial to a nice nibble of French Morbier, or a chunk of English Cheddar after dinner. I’m talking about cheesy entertainment. You see, I’m addicted to “Top Models”, better known throughout the world as ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’.
There, I’ve said it. It’s out. And I’m grinning, even though many of you are probably rolling their eyes and thinking “you poor, sad person.” But I don’t care because I’m equally sure there are plenty of you sighing with relief, having been afraid I was about to confess to something way more icky. In fact, some of you might be grinning along with me, thrilled to have found a cheesy kindred spirit. Hello, “Top Models” fans! Gimme five!
I’ve been watching “Top Models” since it first aired here in Switzerland back in 1987. In my twenties at the time, I came across this never-ending show somewhere in between rushing back from work, getting changed, and rushing out again to paint the town red with my friends. Maybe I was tired, maybe I’d just had my heart broken by some imbecile, or maybe I was coming down with some mind-numbing bug, but for whatever reason, on that fateful autumnal evening, I switched on the television instead of the turntable and my daily schedule changed forever. Because there they were, the Forrester family, having their first problematic evening reunion, being served by a pretty blonde girl from the wrong side of the valley called Brooke Logan (played by Katherine Kelly-Lang). Back then, who’d have thought that the lovely Miss Logan (and the rest of her messed-up family) would wreck such long-term havoc upon those unsuspecting neurotic Forrester souls? Who’d have guessed that, twenty-two years later, they’d all still be nursing variations of the same problems and insecurities, still bitching, conniving, swapping partners, and generally pulling rugs out from beneath one another’s expensively clad feet?
On an even crazier note, who’d have thought that, after all this time, I’d still be tuning in, night after night? I mean, I know I’ve got it bad because whenever I can’t make that 6.15 TV appointment, I make sure it’s taped so I can watch it later. There have even been times when I’ve come back from holiday looking forward to two or three weeks worth of “Forrester Problems”, as my son Gregory calls the show. I also get pretty miffed when, for reasons beyond my control, I’m prevented from watching “Top Models”. Take last night for example. There I was, sitting comfortably, enjoying the first few minutes of my daily fix when the bloody Cablecom box conked out mid-B&B introductory theme song and the screen went blank. I was not amused.
Basically, I just love plopping down in front of the television at the end of the day with a nice cup of tea and being whisked away to Forresterland for twenty minutes of mindless entertainment. People know not to phone me at this time of the day; experience has shown that if they do they know I’ll be a) annoyed, and b) too distracted to listen to what they have to say. When my children were younger, they’d both been fed by the time the show aired. Well trained, they’d sit quietly on my knee or in their bouncy chairs, jiggling in time to the familiar theme tune. Nowadays, even the dogs recognize the “Top Models” music; I know this because when the daily episode comes to its cliffhanging end and the music soars, they automatically jump out of their baskets, knowing I’m going to get up and move onto more important things, such as checking my emails for the trillionth time, or getting started with the dinner. Pavlov definitely knew his doggy stuff.
Can I embarrass myself any more, you wonder? Well, actually, yes I can. You see, many years ago, in the days when Thorne was played by Jeff Trachta (we’ve been through quite a few different Thornes…), and when the long-suffering Macy, played by Bobbie Eakes, was still alive, there was a whole musical sidekick to “Top Models”. Back then, Thorne and Macy were pursuing scripted singing careers, and if I remember rightly, Eric (John McCook) and Sally Spectra (Darlene Conley) also duetted episodically on the show. So, sometime during the mid-1990s, the producers decided it would be nice for all of them to go on a real “Top Models” worldwide concert tour. Which is how it came to pass that, on December 20, 1997, (albeit without Eric and Sally Spectra), Thorne and Macy performed at Geneva’s Arena. And guess what? I bought three tickets, one for my friend Asa, one for my sister Victoria (who is never going to forgive me for revealing this mortifying moment of her life), and one for me. Yes, I went to a “Top Models” concert!
Hey, don’t think I can’t see you, sitting there in front of your screen, with that little smirk on your face! I know what you’re thinking, but I don’t care, because it was a once in a lifetime experience. You see, the Arena, which has hosted massive stars such as Ricky Martin (would you believe I actually missed him when he performed there? Still kicking myself over that…), Brian Adams and Sting, was PACKED. People (mostly elderly ladies…) came from far and wide to see Thorne and Macy croon their soppy duets, supported by the authentic “Top Models” orchestra. In fact, the concert actually opened with the “Top Models” theme song, and everyone in the venue went wild, la-la-ing along. As for when Thorne and Macy sauntered onto the stage, well the crowd simply went beserk! I must confess that, at that point, I was a little embarrassed by the lack of “retenue” demonstrated by my fellow “B&B” aficionados; it was somewhat disconcerting to see all these little old Swiss ladies leaping out of their seats, wiggling their botties and squealing with delight. But at the same time, there was something refreshing – moving even - about this heartfelt show of enthusiasm. This wasn’t a “cool” concert; there were no special effects, no big screens, no sophisticated graphics to blow our minds or rev our pulse rates. This was just a little orchestra and two soap-opera stars belting out the likes of "Everlasting Love", "Especially for You", and "What’s Forever For", but it was wonderfully entertaining in the cheesiest kind of way.
There was even an intermission during which many of the little old Swiss ladies rushed down to the front of the stage to get Thorne and Macy’s autographs, something Asa and I didn’t partake in so as to avoid my increasingly-mortified sister from committing hara-kiri on the spot. I did, however, buy a Thorne and Macy CD on my way out. And although they’ll never admit it now for fear of committing social suicide, both my kids were thrilled and wanted to listen to it all the time. That CD is still sitting around here somewhere, squashed in among hundreds of other old albums deemed far more... -how should I put it? - socially acceptable, maybe?
I experienced another unforgettable “B&B” moment recently when my daughter Olivia came back from a trip to the local shopping centre with a sparkle of wicked glee in her eyes. “Guess what they’re selling in Manor?” she chuckled, one eyebrow cocked, baiting me.
I was stumped. They’re always selling loads of stuff in Manor; it happens to be one of Switzerland’s biggest department stores.
“A box-set of the first few years of ‘Top Models’!”, she exclaimed, wide-eyed. Then she threw back her head and gave in to a fully-fledged fit of the giggles.
I guess I know what Father Christmas will be bringing me this year. In fact, I hope he does, because I’ve quite thoroughly enjoyed trawling through YouTube today, searching for snippets of Bold and Beautiful memorabilia to share with you. I hope you’ve enjoyed them too, or at the very least, I hope they’ve made you smile.
But I’ve got to leave you now. Because, you see, it’s almost 6.15.
It’s “Top Models” time.
xx Francesca Prescott
"MUCHO CALIENTE! - Wish upon a Latino Superstar"
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