The Bold & the Bountiful - a subtle nonsense of ‘smell-the-fart-acting’

Article published on Feb. 3, 2015
Article published on Feb. 3, 2015

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

Though not many admit to watching The Bold and the Beautiful, it is difficult to deny that without it our Polish reality would be just as awful as vodka drank without a chaser. The Bold and the Bountiful, a parody of this full of suspense soapy, is written in the spirit of Mrożek's absurd tales that tell us all about Ridge's and Brook's life. We speak to its creator – Łukasz Wojtczak.

The website’s (modanasuknie.oessu.pl) authors use a funny phonetical pun in their motto: "Nie ridge (ryczeć – sob), gdy wyrzucą cię na brook (bruk – pavement)" (do not sob when you get kicked out). 

CB: Who are you? Who's behind The Bold and the Bountiful's dialogues?

ŁW: I assure you, that the author of its texts is just a completely normal guy. I am a freelance graphic designer, living and working in Warsaw. My interests change very dynamically. Just a few years ago I was a war-staging reportage photographer. Today, I mainly take pictures of my dog. Therefore, I have switched from war reportage to landscape photography in a blink of an eye.

CB: What about the history of The Bold and the Bountiful?

ŁW: A few years ago the Polish Radio Three (Trójka) has announced a competition for the best recorded audition titled Household Stories. So, along with my three friends, one of whom is a voice-over actor, we've started our work on the project. Long story short, the husband is fed up with his wife watching The Bold and the Beautiful and complains that their life has actually started to resemble it. After a while, he starts talking some complete gibberish, like: “I don’t even know if you’re my wife anymore. Maybe you’re my daughter, and besides our prodigal daughter have left the house and never came back.” At first, we have won the award of the week and later the finals. The award of the week was a drill, and that has pushed us into an even higher level of absurdity. That little episode led us to a reflection – The Bold and the Beautiful is such a sluggishly-rotten soap that it’s just a perfect material for a parody.

In the past I was sharing a flat with two girls so, in a way, I was forced into watching some pretty stupid Polish soap operas. While staring at the TV I was automatically coming up with, sort of, a “contra dialogue” to an existing one. This is how the idea, of trying to do the same with some other film, was born. 

Eric to Stephanie: “Take those cats and the squid and get lost! Or else, I’ll tell your mother everything and she’ll share it all with your math teacher and you’ll be screwed in geometry!”

CB: And what about the dialogue? There is a vast range of topics used in the conversations – it sometimes feels like reading an excerpt of a Physics textbook. Ł.W: Those are just echoes heard somewhere in the background. For example, a while back an episode about an owl came into existence, only because of a silly game played during work – my colleagues and I were watching online an owl sitting in its nest. As to Physics, well it was one of Lucifer’s ways of making us suffer at high school therefore, after so many years I finally had to get it out of my system.

CB: And what about a phrase “we’ve been lying here since the interwar period”?

Ł.W: Someone has already asked me before why are the episodes numbered after the dates of the World War II. Well, it reflects my passion. In the past I was interested in the history of the Second Polish Republic (Interwar Poland).

CB: The Bold and the Bountiful’s dialogues are grotesquely absurd. They create an unreal, almost simply Dadaist collage with the moving picture.

Ł.W: You could say that the dialogues for the original episodes were created, almost, on cue. But while writing new dialogues I was always, subconsciously, trying to create as absurd texts as the original ones.

CB: You were also messing around with the typical overlong close-ups of The Bald and the Beautiful’s characters’ faces.

Ł.W: Yep, and then we wanted the face to say something completely ridiculous, like: "the curtains try to steal my cheddar cheese".

"After an exhausting day at school, Ridge is attacked by a giant moths swarm. His step-grandmother is concerned about her son's grades and decides to put on a startled face for the next 145 episodes."

CB: Don't you think that after our country's transformation, The Bald and the Beautiful became a big part of Poles' reality? Ł.W: I've never thought of it before. Somehow, I never got hooked on this particular soapy, probably because it's hard for me to take it seriously. I only know the episodes that I've spoofed. It seems to me that back in the day people watched it because there was nothing else on TV. The show started to run in the late 80's so having to watch an American show at all was a pleasure on its own.

CB: I wonder whether in Poland The Bold and the Beautiful is a similar phenomenon to that of Hugo Boss' ads – something that is portrayed as exotic and "rich".

Ł.W: Yes, at some point in the past, Dynasty and The Bold and the Beautiful were something that people looked up to. Both of these TV shows were like parallel universes. They both portray very similar worlds to each other. By the way, ads seem like a great material for a parody.

CB: The Bold and the Beautiful has recently ended. What do you have to say about that?

Ł.W: Yep, a little bird told me the news and, not long after hearing it, I spoke to my friend Adam - the voice-over actor. We both came to a conclusion that something needs to be done about it – we can't leave the public hanging like that. We're thinking of reactivating The Bold and the Bountiful. I have to admit, I miss it a little.

CB: Was there anything that you've gained from working on The Bold and the Bountiful?

Ł.W: It was a very interesting experiment. We've suddenly, completely by chance, gained virtual fame – because, at one point, we were very well known. Of course, it's not only down to luck because if we didn't create good parodies they would never see the light of the day. At some point, I've started to notice people using phrases from our parodies. One of them I've even heard on one of TVN's soap operas. It was all a very interesting sociological experience - it showed us how today's world works. You can basically create a butterfly effect by making some completely irrational move. What I’m trying to say here is that anything can happen, but unfortunately you also need to be very lucky. Today's world is merciless - it can move you up to the top and then suddenly drop you right back down.

CB: Yes, but then your work always managed to defend itself because it’s not just a cheap, vulgar, childlike parody. Can we safely say then, that good quality stuff will never get lost in the whirl of the internet?

Ł.W: Yes, it is true and it was also the reason why we've started to elaborate The Bold and the Beautiful. I had a feeling that the virtual world was missing something. Most of YouTube's contents are funny videos, but to find something that will make me laugh is almost next to impossible.

CB: If it’s even be possible to say that someone has a “poker voice” then the Bold and the Bountiful’s voice-over actor can definitely say so.

Ł.W: It's a hard work and the fruit of many attempts. Sometimes it's impossible to work because there's a hilarious excerpt of the parody and we know that we are going to laugh. When recording we can see, just by looking at each other, that the moment is coming and that an explosion is near. Sometimes, the voice-over actor has to record something separately and send it off via e-mail because we simply cannot bear it anymore.