The Bold & Beautiful Character Similarities using Word Embeddings

By Longhow Lam

(This article was first published on R – Longhow Lam’s Blog, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)


I often see advertisement for The Bold and The Beautiful, I have never watched a single episode of the series. Still, even as a data scientist you might be wondering how these beautiful ladies and gentlemen from the show are related to each other. I do not have the time to watch all these episodes to find out, so I am going to use word embeddings on recaps instead…

Calculating word embeddings

First, we need some data, from the first few google hits I got to the site soap central. Recaps can be found from the show that date back to 1997. Then, I used a little bit of rvest code to scrape the daily recaps into an R data set.

Word embedding is a technique to transform a word onto a vector of numbers, there are several approaches to do this. I have used the so-called Global Vector word embedding. See here for details, it makes use of word co-occurrences that are determined from a (large) collection of documents and there is fast implementation in the R text2vec package.

Once words are transformed to vectors, you can calculate distances (similarities) between the words, for a specific word you can calculate the top 10 closest words for example. More over linguistic regularities can be determined, for example:

amsterdam - netherlands + germany

would result in a vector that would be close to the vector for berlin.

Results for The B&B recaps

It takes about an hour on my laptop to determine the word vectors (length 250) from 3645 B&B recaps (15 seasons). After removing some common stop words, I have 10.293 unique words, text2vec puts the embeddings in a matrix (10.293 by 250).

Lets take the lovely steffy,

the ten closest words are:

    from     to     value
 1 steffy steffy 1.0000000
 2 steffy   liam 0.8236346
 3 steffy   hope 0.7904697
 4 steffy   said 0.7846245
 5 steffy  wyatt 0.7665321
 6 steffy   bill 0.6978901
 7 steffy  asked 0.6879022
 8 steffy  quinn 0.6781523
 9 steffy agreed 0.6563833
10 steffy   rick 0.6506576

Lets take take the vector steffyliam, the closest words we get are

       death     furious      lastly     excused frustration       onset 
   0.2237339   0.2006695   0.1963466   0.1958089   0.1950601   0.1937230 

and for bill – anger we get

     liam     katie     wyatt    steffy     quinn      said 
0.5550065 0.4845969 0.4829327 0.4645065 0.4491479 0.4201712 

The following figure shows some other B&B characters and their closest matches.

If you want to see the top n characters for other B&B characters use my little shiny app. The R code for scraping B&B recaps, calculating glove word-embeddings and a small shiny app can be found on my Git Hub.


This is a Mickey Mouse use case, but it might be handy if you are in the train and hear people next to you talking about the B&B, you can join their conversation. Especially if you have had a look at my B&B shiny app……

Cheers, Longhow

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