‘The Bold and the Beautiful’s’ Return Comes With Criticism Over the Show’s Lack of Diversity

When news of coronavirus (COVID-19) spread across America first hit the headlines, people weren’t quite sure what to do with it. Industries across the globe were hit hard by mandatory shutdowns and fearful consumers who didn’t want to venture too far from home. The entertainment industry was not spared from these consequences, and what started out as temporary delays soon spiraled into real questions about which projects would be able to sustain the crisis. Among the hardest and earliest hit in the entertainment industry were soap operas. 

The Bold and the Beautiful was among the daily soap operas that had to come up with creative ways to keep fans invested in the story when they ran out of new episodes and production came to a halt. The show was briefly able to create some new material, but now they’ve opened themselves up to fresh criticism over their lack of diversity in casting. 

(L-R) Darren Brooks, Kelly Kruger, Reign Edwards, Heather Tom, Don Diamont, Katherine Kelly Lang, Rome Flynn, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood and Pierson Fode pose with Head Writer and Executive Producer Bradley Bell
(L-R) Darren Brooks, Kelly Kruger, Reign Edwards, Heather Tom, Don Diamont, Katherine Kelly Lang, Rome Flynn, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood and Pierson Fode pose with Head Writer and Executive Producer Bradley Bell of The Bold and the Beautiful | Sean tSabhasaigh/Getty Images

‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ ran out of episodes

At first, when it looked like the shutdown might be short-lived, soap operas turned to a reduced schedule to make their existing stock of filmed episodes last as long as possible. Traditionally, soap operas film quickly and often, so that store of recorded material didn’t last long. Like many other daytime soap operas navigating the new reality, The Bold and the Beautiful turned to reruns to keep their fans happy. 

These throwback episodes have given fans the chance to relive some of their favorite — and most hated —  moments from the series’ long and storied past. Having been on the air since 1987, there have been plenty of past moments to choose from. This approach has definitely kept fans interested, but the desire for a return to the unresolved plot lines that abruptly ended amid the shutdown has been palpable. Viewers are ready to see what happens next. 

A brief return for ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’

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It’s hard to overstate fans’ excitement when they found out that new episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful were headed their way. Starting July 20, fans were rewarded for their patience with brand-new episodes. The five-episode arc included two episodes that were shot before the shutdown and three newly-filmed episodes that followed social distancing and safety practices on set. 

Of course, a soap opera without intimacy isn’t much of a soap opera, so the show’s creators had to get innovative about how to keep actors safe while still capturing the up close and personal moments they needed to bring sparks to the screen. “We’re really trying to highlight at this time family and intimacy, love and connection at a time when the world is disconnected through social-distancing,” one creator explained. One way they’re achieving this is by inviting the actors’ actual romantic partners onto the set for scenes that involve closeups and touching. Creative camera angles will help bring a seamless experience for viewers at home. 

The show’s return sparked controversy over representation

The momentary return to filming was halted again when coronavirus (COVID-19) tests came back positive. The network’s representatives insist the problem is with the lab and that there are no actual confirmed cases of the virus among the crew, but the precautions dictate another shutdown until it can all be cleared up. Since the show is being used as a “test case” for other potential returns to filming, it’s extra important that they get it right. 

Speaking of getting it right, not everyone is happy with the return. One fan took to Twitter to complain about the lack of diversity in the show’s casting. “When are you gonna cast BLACK ACTORS and KEEP THEM ON LIKE YOUR PETS?!?!?!” the tweet asked. The poster went on to give more details in the replies: “And we are suppose to believe [there] aren’t any AA or POC in LA???? Won’t be watching until they stop using us as props!” Perhaps when filming starts up again, the creators can do more to ensure that characters of color are around for more substantial, longer storylines.