‘The Bold and the Beautiful’: How the Pandemic Has Impacted the Show’s Storytelling in a Positive Way

As far as production in Hollywood returning to normal, the soap operas were the first to head back. More specifically, The Bold and the Beautiful was the very first show to restart production. In a new interview, head writer Brad Bell talked about how the impact pandemic has had on the show’s storytelling.

Scott Clifton and Annika Noelle practice social distancing while filming 'The Bold and the Beautiful'
Scott Clifton and Annika Noelle practice social distancing while filming ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ | Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images

Brad Bell’s comments when the show was first beginning to head back went viral

The Bold and the Beautiful returned to production in June safety guidelines in place. The show had to rethink the way they did intimate scenes (especially sex scenes) that required actors to be close together.

Bell made comments in two interviews that spread like wildfire. In an interview with Forbes, Bell said, “We have some life-like blow-up dolls that have been sitting around here for the past 15 years, that we’ve used for various other stories — (like) when people were presumed dead. We’re dusting off the dolls and putting new wigs and make-up on them and they’ll be featured in love scenes.”

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In a second interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he also explained that the real-life partners of the actors will also be used when they can. “We’re also bringing in, in some cases, the husbands and wives of the actors as stand-ins for their [characters’] significant others,” he said. “So if you see hands touching faces in close proximity from a wide shot, instead of a stunt double we’ll have a love-scene double, where it will be the husband or the wife doing the actual touching. Then when we edit it together, it will look like our couple on-screen.”

Bell later stated that he wasn’t expecting his comments on this temporary era or romance and intimacy on television to blow up the way that they did.

He talks about ‘advantages’ to the ‘new normal’

According to TV Soap magazine (as reported by Daytime Confidential), Bell said that story-wise, the pandemic has assisted in the show’s storytelling. “Yes, I think there are advantages to our new normal now,” he said. “We use a smaller crew and cast and fewer people in scenes, which allows for an intimacy that you can’t get into in group scenes. That’s part of the reason I’m very excited about our upcoming shows.” 

Because of the production restrictions, there will be less group scenes, allowing the show to focus a bit more on the interpersonal relationships that the characters have. Bell explained, “We’re playing out the intricacies and complexities of interpersonal relationships. That’s more of what soap operas have always been about. That’s not to say we won’t have [group scenes]. We have a big meeting about a remote location we’re planning to shoot in the next year. But we will have fewer group scenes in this time of COVID-19, which I think could work to our advantage.”

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However, if you expect the pandemic or COVID-19 to be addressed in the series, don’t hold your breath. Bell says that they aren’t going there. “I’ve made the decision for now not to write it into the show,” he said. It’s everywhere we look when we turn our TVs. B&B will be a break from that, an escape, which we’ve always tried to provide.”

The Bold and the Beautiful airs weekdays on CBS.