The problem isn’t with Lena, who courted, wooed, sacrificed, put up, understood, bent over backward, waited and unconditionally loved Bianca until it hurt. The problem has always been with the object of her slavish devotion, a young woman not used to reciprocating her subjects.
When “BAD GIRLS” came out the week of January third, vilifying yet again the good girl of AMC’s Bianca Montgomery, I received only four e-mails as feedback, all four vilifying me for such ghastly mischaracterization.
One e-mail posed a valid argument, that my including Binks setting fire to her mother’s home constituted past irrelevance. True, the 20-something Binks has matured beyond her spoiled-brat tendencies, she’s learning to think of others and find non-criminal ways of getting her point across, oftentimes, just walking away (that’s half her problem, though).
If anything matured Bianca, it’s surviving a brutal rape and resultant pregnancy, choosing life for her unborn baby and the hope of forgiveness and healing. That much I know; it’s what got me through the baby-switching story mostly on her side (except the end).
What kept me from sticking with her, however, is the feeling I keep getting that she isn’t so much interested in becoming a mother (now, a reunited mother to her miracle baby), as in passively benefiting from the status of the wronged Madonna.
The crux of my inability to like Bianca for long is this passivity of hers (perhaps why portrayer Eden Riegel always fails to live up to Daytime Emmy expectations). She lets loved ones tend to her, worry about her, defend her, subject themselves (as in the cases of Erica and Kendall) to proverbial self-mutilation for her profit, without lifting a finger.
Only when she struck up an inexplicably instant best-friendship with Babe of all people did Bianca begin to actively participate in life, sticking up for her ne’er-do-well pal to all comers, even her own family, joining her scheming pal in a plot to overthrow JR into a confession, giving her duplicitous pal the benefit of the doubt, jumping to a huge conclusion in her pal’s favor and joining in yet another hare-brained scheme down in Florida.
As misguided and based on a pack of lies as Bianca’s devotion to Babe was, it saved her in my eyes, proving this former spoiled brat could care about someone other than preserving her goddess reputation amongst her followers.
Yet, in the aftermath of Babe’s full confession – that Bess, cooing in a playpen just three feet away, was Miranda – Bianca reverted to form, turning to and turning on her former best friend in what seemed to me nothing more than a regurgitation of some of the online fans’ best one-liners, the fire and brimstone fans expected at the audacity of failing such a town-proclaimed, self-accepted saint.
There could’ve been more human reaction, less OH, LOOK AT ME! I’M DOING WHAT YOU DEVOTED FANS HAVE BEEN DYING FOR ME TO DO FOR NINE MONTHS! There could’ve been more interaction between the mother and child reunion, as I’ve mentioned before.
Practically everybody in the soap community patted Eden Riegel on the back for giving it – in character – to Alexa Havins’ Babe, about due. They cited Riegel’s powerful, ferocious, righteous anger, especially the part that turned my stomach most, a needless tit for tat, “Cry? You’re going to cry? I dare you, Babe. After all you did to me, go ahead and cry.”
Once again, Riegel made a sceneworthy performance that had boards buzzing . . . only it was about the deception and betrayal against only her, a HOW DARE YOU TAINT MY GODDESS REPUTATION, MAKE ME WASTE MY PRECIOUS TIME MAKING ME LOOK BAD WHEN I COULD’VE BESTOWED MY MERCY ON SOMEONE MORE DESERVING? attitude, which in small doses blended with the rest of the expected human emotions, would’ve made sense.
Except with Bianca – who would do well to live up to her saintly generosity (she is not, she does nothing without expectations of further worship and the person she’s lecturing to sin no more according to her dictates) – a lot more concern about immediately bonding with her baby, missing and presumed dead for so long, and with understanding why Babe (hardly the monster of a Ray Gardener) would do this to her could’ve helped the character walk the talk immensely.
A saint would’ve listened. A saint would’ve tried.
I also can’t help but feel that the baby is merely a prop for Bianca to further her martyrdom in that blindly worshipping town. Out of Riegel’s mouth, the words carry little weight, they’re pretty, gracefully uttered, every hair in place, but there’s little of the weathered experience her character’s supposed to have endured, or the growth. To me, she’s mouthing a bunch of platitudes, hardly powerful or fierce. When she tells Babe of how deeply, secretly she suffered in the dark with her madness at the loss of her baby, I don’t believe her capable.
I’ve reiterated for way too long on this déjà vu subject already when I want to touch on why Lena is better off staying in Poland (and her erstwhile portrayer Olga Sosnovska thriving in a second annual spy series based in Britain) – without the Bianca idol worship.
Anyone remember back when Lena and Bianca were hot and heavy, before the Michael Cambias rape? How much of the romantic pursuit came from Lena, after Bianca up and kissed her at the airport then sadly walked away (a Carly Corinthos from GH or a Natalie Buchanan Vega from OLTL would’ve stuck around to force the issue)? How after the rape, Bianca pushed Lena away – typically true enough for soaps and real life – but the distancing grew to uncomfortably sophomoric levels, as Maggie and Bianca jointly acted like pledge sisters icing a concerned Lena out of their secret club (a kind word to Lena, a cautionary alert to Maggie to step off the possessiveness would’ve been in order)? Even when Bianca began to tell others and start healing, Lena was mostly left out in the cold, left to figure out and fend for herself (and receive a Kendall reaming alone after overdosing in despair).
I remember. Passivity strikes again.
Bianca expects potential lesbian lovers likes Lena, family and friends, to come to her, do for her, jump through flaming hoops in her name, turn themselves inside out according to her specifications.
Babe was turning out to be the exception, a blessed exception, until Bianca lashed out at her in the Florida hotel room in her mealy-mouthed, milquetoasty, delicate sensibilities manner.
So, I figure, if and when Maggie finally buys a clue about Jonathan being an abusive, attempting murderous and poisoning dick, turns to her bested friend in the whole wide world, saint Bianca for comfort. . . she won’t have to do all the work this time.
Maybe, just maybe Bianca will have learned a few lessons from the Babe affair, too.
I wouldn’t book money on it, though.