Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bones Episode Review - 3.14: 'The Wannabe in the Weeds'

I don't want to do a full story recap. Fox does a great job of that on the official site. This is more opinion and perspective from a fan, as well as how I think it fits into the greater Bones landscape. When season 3 ends I plan to review all the previous episodes over the summer, starting with the 'Pilot'.

Master list of all episodes and links to my reviews can be found here.

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Okay. I tried to keep an open mind about this episode and enjoy it. I can't rate it as highly as the recent fare, but it did okay. It had some annoying moments, some flat moments, some mediocre ones and some amazing ones. I'd give it 3.5-4 out of 5 stars (or Bones/Bodies/Skeletons if you will).

What I didn't like:
This @#*&!#^$ American Idol bit. That just ran all over me. Ace Young played his part well but I'd have much rather seen some unknown do it. It screamed stunt and while I'm sure it was good for both shows it just irritated me. Brandon Rogers has a much better voice but got far less publicity than Ace. Grrr. Okay, hopefully that's out of my system.

The Checker Box. It was just odd. The set itself was what bothered me. All grey and brown with nothing to focus your eyes on. It felt like a closet. I think a seedy looking bar would have been much better and appropriate.

What was okay:
The case. It wasn't stellar but they did do the red herrings well. We went from Pam, to Chris Calabasas, to the manager, to Dax, to Jason and then finally to the real killer. That's a lot of jumps and high marks for that. Even after they found the murder weapon, in general idea, it still jumped from a guitar string to a fitness wire of some sort before finally resting on the clay wire. I love the misdirections in Bones and they did that well with this case.

I was a little let down by the actual killer. It's more fun when the killer gives you a reason to hate him/her. When the killer is just plainly unstable it's a bit of a mixed bag. You can't quite get on the 'he's bad' bandwagon well when the killer just gives you the willies and provokes sympathy.

What I liked:
The Bones/Booth interactions. There were a few great moments. It wasn't top of the line but it was good.

What I loved:
Pam. That was a good creepy villain!

Cam and Zack together seem to have replaced Brennan in the lab. Cam does the leading and the sheep herding and Zack does the solid science bone work. My husband doesn't like this change at all. He wants Brennan back in the lab being the smart chick hero. I, however, love her evolution though, and I think they always intended for things to unfold as they are. Brennan is still a hero but she's forever evolving and forever reaching toward her full potential. While she excels in her field, she is more than just a scientist now. Zack is what she once was and we can't have two of them. Zack fits well into that role she has vacated and I think because of that we probably won't see a lot of character development for him (more's the pity).

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Okay, on to the character breakdown!

Pam
I'll just go ahead and start with Pam, played by Jennifer Hasty. Her site is here. I don't plan to often highlight the guests, but she deserves it. This is possible the richest single-episode villain they've ever had. And she wasn't even guilty in the case! We have to be catching on her way up. She played that so well. Who wasn't creeped out when Booth touched her shoulder and she got that sly look? And at the end? "I'm doing this for us!" and the pure evil when she began to try for a second shot...If it wasn't absolutely necessary for Brennan to drill her, she could have made a great freaky return.

Cam
She had a few things I loved this episode.
Zack: "I am deceptively strong."
Cam: "I'm deceived."
There are people out there who want to see Zack and Cam get together, even for a one night stand. I just can't see it. They are so completely different it would be like an asparagus and a chicken breast trying to mate. I love how they play off each other.

Cam: I bet he was hot. (as the camera pans up his gruesome remains)
Angela: Yeah, well, now he's totally not.
It's amazing to think anyone could see his remains, get a bit of stats on him and think of him as 'hot'.

Zack
I loved his description of working out. "I am deceptively strong." I can just imagine him robotically exercising. Somehow I see him doing it in complete silence, just counting out reps. He'd probably have it down to very specific times. Weights reps take 12 minutes, the treadmill takes...

"high degree of robusticity." I don't know why that line struck me as funny. Maybe anything like that coming from Zack would strike me that way.

Of course Zack had to be the victim again in another murder re-enactment. At least this time he had a valid reason for being the victim since both he and the victim are singers. Another nice point of that scene was a rare moment of everyone together and then they turn around and do it again at the end for Brennan's moment.

There was a lot of speculation as to whether the character would sing and a lot of desire to see it. Great choice in having the Vulcan sing about love. The gathering of most of the lab was priceless, as was watching Cam and Angela rooted to the spot in amazement and awe.

Eric Millegan is an accomplished vocalist who began his musical career at age 7 and since then he's done everything from Jesus Christ Superstar to Harold and Maude.

Hodgins
Hodgins had a few quotable moments but he really shined in the interrogation scene.
"You're totally going to be cleared."
To be so worldly, he can occasionally be clueless. Or possibly it's that he just doesn't care. His intellect and his money both give him a sense of entitlement and pure 'rightness' that lend him a tendency to be overbearing. Not only does he bust in on an in-progress interrogation but he continues to push further and further into Booth's space. Booth even says "This is my place." but Hodgins doesn't stop. He tries to touch the case file on the table and even picks up Booth's pen as a prop. I loved the humor in that scene.

However funny that scene was though, it highlights one thing I don't like about Bones. They have serious secrecy issues when it comes to case details. They give out very vital information in front of people who shouldn't be privy to it. At best the infractions are with people like April (The Man in the Mud) and at worst they are in instances like this where the information is given in front of a possible suspect. This even happened in the actual interrogation room, no less. I know it's a TV show and they do take creative license but this is too much, in my opinion. They have to work with suspension of disbelief but with this repeated occurrence they take it too far.

Angela
She was very much a background character, on par with Cam. I guess it's understandable since they was fairly central in The Verdict in the Story and is likely to be important again next week in The Pain in the Heart. There will be some hard issues, I think, next episode and who better than earth mother to comfort everyone? (Especially Brennan). I know it's impossible to give everyone solid face time. To do that they'd have to air a new episode every weeknight and while many of us could happily watch that the actors and the rest of the production crew do have lives!

Angela was definitely cute in the scene where Zack sings. It fits that she would be enamored with his love song and ability. She often seems like a proud parent where Zack is concerned. (Zack/Angela romance anyone? I could see that more than Zack and Cam.)

Sweets
This poor man-child. He so wants to be a cool kid and he's sooooo not getting close. He tries to interact with both Booth and Bones and meets varying degrees of failure. He does prove his worth in the case. He gives them good advice about Pam that, unfortunately, goes unheeded. He tries to do the guy shoulder pat with Booth and gets firmly rebuffed and intellectually spar with Brennan where he sometimes is rebuffed and sometimes eagerly debated. I would say he's getting further with Brennan than with Booth but she still doesn't respect him anywhere near the level he desires. She hates his field and thinks him immature but she does respect his intellect and his credentials.

He definitely shows that his advice is worthy of respect, even if that knowledge is only gained in hindsight. He is weary of Pam's mental state and instantly realizes the mistake Booth has made by touching Pam. He has given Booth and Bones everything they need to know about Pam on a silver platter but they disregard it and pay the price. In the future I'd imagine they should learn the lesson from that but because the messenger is Sweets they are very likely to continue to often disregard it.

Funny quote:
"Mocking will not change my opinion. I've been mocked many, many times before. That...came out wrong."

Brennan
Boy they really put her ego on display here. She even got to add a new item to the list - singer! (Or 'Diva' as Booth said)

I think that there were a few good scenes for her, mostly talked about in the joint section below, but that this episode is a setup for what she'll have to deal with in the season finale and beyond. She's killed, again, and again to save Booth. I hope she has to deal with that a little. It would seem callous, as much as it affected her before, if they passed it over like she didn't even care the second time around. It should matter that she's killed, no matter who ate the bullet. Both of her kills were of people who fully deserved it but as Booth said to her before: there's always a cost when you take a life, and it's high.

However, I don't think she'll be focused on that at the start of next episode. Her partner has been shot. Is he dead? Is he alive? Is there a time where she might think he's dead or likely dying? That's some heavy baggage for her to deal with and it's emotional and Brennan hates emotions, especially hers. Nice foreshadowing from Sweets about her dealing with emotions and how it's painful. I don't think she'll react well, sadly. I just hope she lets Booth help her put the pieces back together.

I'm not sure what I think about her Pam conflict. In the past Brennan has been completely intolerant of weight issues yet she seems to bristle at the crazy artist calling Pam 'Fatpam'. Is that simply because it's incorrect? The initial impression is that she thinks he's insensitive but on a re-watch I'm starting to think she's far more offended in the name of accuracy than sensitivity.

She did seem a bit sensitive about the singers when they confronted the manager and the fake talent scout. "You lied to them. You exploited their need for attention. That's cruel!" and there was a lot of emphasis on 'cruel' from Emily Deschanel. I don't mind Bones being sensitive it's just a bit odd to see. She doesn't often care about the emotions of people who aren't clearly disadvantaged and somehow touching her (like the little boy foster child in The Boy in the Bush.)

All that seriousness aside, there were some great funny parts for her in this episode.
"How does a former sniper have a grass allergy? I mean, wouldn't a sneeze give away your position?"
"There is a fine line between health and vanity."

She's totally clueless on modern pop culture references.
Bones: "Who's Kelly Clarkson?"
Booth: "American Idol...Because of You..."
Bones: "Because of me?"

It's subtle but there's a fine line of divide. She seemed to have been a normal teenager with friends who kept up with pop culture while her parents were still around but after they disappeared she became a serious-minded scientist with blinders on.

Booth and Sweets: "That's not funny." (as Bones snorts)
Bones: "Then why did I laugh?"

Booth
Still saving the Booth/Brennan moments for below...Booth had a few things of his own to deal with in this episode and they weren't at all light - you'd think stalker alone would be enough of an issue but, oh, yeah, he gets shot trying to save his partner!

Booth sorta sets himself up for the tragic ending here. He likes to identify with witnesses, especially those he perceives as vulnerable women. Sometimes he loses his 6th sense for people's true natures and in this instance that, plus his kind heart towards Pam nearly gets them both killed. Parts of him are very aware that Pam is a psycho nut-job but it's either weakness, or pride in his own abilities, but he continues to let her ride the Crazy Train until a nightmare happens. I can imagine him having a few nightmares about failing to protect Brennan. (I feel a fanfic coming on right there...) He starts to see it when Pam insists on meeting him alone: he steps protectively in front of Parker's picture and he even points out that it's inappropriate. But he still doesn't realize how truly insane she is.

It was odd to hear him call her 'Pammy' and more than a little disturbing. I'm not sure they meant that he was making fun of her or that he was too close to her. I hope they meant the first but they really should have had a different tone of voice. It sounded intimate and therefore very wrong and out of place.

While I really, REALLY want to see Booth and Brennan as a couple I like that they don't forget he's a man. And a man who hasn't 'gotten any' in a long time. The ogling shots in the gym fit perfectly into that. On the flip it's funny to watch him be so shy about sex. He can't even say it when interviewing someone, instead making a bunch of hand motions until Brennan steps in and asks the question.

He had a few great lines, like calling Brennan a "Diva." and:
Bones: "Hey, break down the door."
Booth: "It hurts my shoulder when I break down the door." How anti hero! And how awesome!

More of a funny line from PsychoPam but straight man matters too.
Pam: "P A M, do you know what that spells?"
Booth: "Pam..."

"One more show tune and I was gonna start shooting."

"I'd say you're kidding but I don't think you know how to kid."

"Why, because it cut the cheese?" He's such a little boy at times. It's a good character trait.

"Okay, I'm just going to break you two up. (Drags Sweets chair to the side) You're giving me a headache. You keep this fighting up and no one's getting desert."

I love how Booth tries to be so off-putting to the guys who want to be close to him. Sweets tries so hard to become best buds and Booth puts him off every time. The look he gives Sweets at the end when Sweets has his hand on Booth's shoulder...classic. And the scene with Hodgins is well played by both of them - Hodgins comes in, Booth pushes him away. They both play physical comedy nuances off each other well, hearkening back to the byplay in 'Two Bodies in the Lab' in Season 1.

Booth/Brennan
There are some pretty good BB interactions here but I think the real point of this episode is to set up for what's ahead. I think these two are truly at a crossroads. They are so close to crossing his relational line (see 'The Man in the Cell') that they will either have to cross it or have something happen to that causes them to temporarily step back. You can't keep that tension forever. I think it will be option 2, for a time.

The fact that the normally episode-ending diner scene was in the middle this time should have been a big sign that something else even more important was going to take over the ending. The dinner scene was great. They alternately bickered and fished for compliments. They both got to glow that the other person admires them which was sweet and it's always good when Brennan says something nice about Seeley. We see very powerful looks from David Boreanaz but with Bones we need to hear the words. She rarely seems to do it without qualifications like "Well, objectively, I'm more intelligent...in certain areas." but it's nice when she does it, no matter how she finally gets out things like 'superior mate' and 'superb agent'. Booth may be an a-typical hero but he still needs to hear that he's heroic especially from her.

Booth calls Bones 'well adjusted' and doesn't reassure her in the first scene with Pam because he's told her before that she's well constructed and such. I want him to step up and defend Bones more than he defends Pam but I think it's been well established how he views Bones and he doesn't feel that he needs to say it.

The setup at the end is very intimate. You don't do something like that for a casual friend. That's what a mate does and only a mate would realize how important something like that could be. And he is definitely her biggest fan when she gets on that stage! He's giddy with excitement and dancing in his seat. The lighter was a great touch It's an amazing and powerful scene to see such intimacy between them and such happiness and then go to such high drama and fear. He set this up as a gift to her and finishes with the biggest gift anyone can give: laying down his life for her. He stepped in front of Pam's gaze when she looked at Parker and here he again puts his body in front of what he loves to shield. He's not stepping up to talk Pam down, he's drawing his gun to kill her and in that split second it takes him to do that he's put his body up as a shield for Bones. If he'd had time to think it wouldn't have changed anything. He may be a-typical but never doubt how heroic he is.

Random cuteness:
Booth: "Nevermind. Just stay here (with him, focused on the case), not up there." (ignore the singing)

Sweets: "The corrugator muscles are..." (pointing to his forehead)
Bones: "We know"
Booth: "I don't know. I don't know that."
It's cute that Brennan is sure that they would both know that and at the same time very anti-hero of Booth to say that he doesn't know it.

"Diva!"
~*~ ~*~ ~*~

I'm just going to cut myself off there. I could find so may bits in this episode to talk about that are significant, despite my general blah attitude about the episode as a whole. This is already far too long. Just draw your own conclusions! I eagerly await next week's season finale and fully expect it to be one of my favorite episodes.

18 comments:

ADDhole said...

Hi, Evi (Lance, taking up your invite to check out your blog)
The whole Gormagon thing... remember when the Usurper was attacked as he put away his jacket? Was the face we saw the new apprentice or allegedly Gormagon because he was thin with dark, curly hair..?
I just don't see Zack as such a character anymore than I can see Cam and Zach together. I see her as being very nurturing toward him - like a big sister sort of thing.

I could easily see a tryst between two couples - Zack & Angela and Hodgins & Cam because Hodgins does a lot of tush kissing when it comes to her - and he doesn't have any cause to behave in such a way especially due to his "Question Authority" persona. He has a Dominatrix sort of groove going with her.

I also believe that there are going to be some professions beyond admiration between Bones and Seeley but then they will pull back and get absorbed in the work. The partner bond is now even stronger with the blood spilled now that Booth did what everyone including Brennan always knew he would do - take a bullet for her.

Back to the Season 3 Finale - the teaser preview makes Booth and Zack conspicuously absent... But, Zack is not a widows son. We've met his very large family. That brings us back to, Sweets, who just seems too young and not the one capable of the gee-wiz gizmos of technology needed to thwart the Jeffersonians security. Reality has never been a hindrance to this show before, however. Angela's statements in court, as she was escorted out for contempt, would never have been uttered in the real world as just the most recent example.

Evi said...

I find it hard to talk too specifically about the finale without revealing what I've learned from the spoilers I stupidly read, but I'll try.

I believe we saw an apprentice jump out of the Corrupter's closet. It looked like a very young guy. Gormo's apprentice died in jail so I guess he wasted no time replacing him.

I believe the reveal in the finale will be the actual gormogon. That's how they're billing it at least. We may find out who that apprentice is but I'm not sure that's the point or what we will care about.

However, there is 'betrayal' mentioned in the promo and also what looks like Cam walking out of a hospital room saying 'I didn't expect that'. Is that Zack's room? Booth's?

I could see them professing something to each other then burying it...but that's beyond teasing to the audience. I could more see her shutting herself down emotionally and trying to push Booth aside.

David Boreanaz does such a good job with his face and his demeanor that we have no doubt that Booth loves Brennan. It's written clearly on his face in so many scenes. But it's much harder to see the reverse. I don't know if it's intentional in the writing that she take longer to come around or if it's a limitation in Emily Deschanel (sorry!), but with Bones we're going to have to hear exactly how she feels. And I'm not sure they've developed her to that point yet.

For awhile IMDB showed Jonathan Adams credited on Baby in the Bough but at air time he was absent and then he was taken off the credits. Now they shortened the gormogon story down because of the stroke and I'm wondering if the character is somehow connected. I will be very very upset if he turns out to be Gormogon. That would take a lot of explaining, but I want to say he has to be involved somehow. Or I guess he could be involved in another storyline that fell victim to the strike.

My official guess for Gmonster is Bancroft. I've seen no spoilers or anything leading me to that. It's purely a guess based on characters that could acceptably be twisted into that role and people who could make every security camera fail at a vital moment.

ADDhole said...

Wow. What's not to love about Bancroft as the villain? I like that a lot.

I actually had to view the little video clips on the Fox, Bones site to get a feel for what are the actor's limitations and what may prove to be deliberate vagueness in the portrayal of Brennan's emotional depth. Emily Deschanel has more sparkle and warmth. I don't believe her on-screen persona is from a lack of ability to project. Now, compared to David Boreanaz's ability, most would pale in contrast. I have to admit that I never succumbed to, "Buffy," and therefore by extension, "Angel;" so I had no existing fanaticism toward his abilities prior to this show.

For me (I don't know if it's a male bias, or quite what explains it) it is seldom that I distinguish an actress from her work but I seldom see an actor as anything other than himself. David is now on a short list of actors who I remember as their character and not merely as a guy I recognize as an actor.

I enjoy what Jonathan Adams contributed to this series, as well. If they turn him into a monster I will be very caught off guard.

Now, Evi. How can you read the spoilers? It's obviously a rhetorical question as your blog is entitled "OBSESSED with Bones," however,that's poison to the whole tree of forbidden fruit.

I am sure I am not alone in preferring that the story lines were extended into next season instead of truncated due to the strike. I would much rather endure the hiatus and see those stories fully develop. I'd also like to see a continuing friendly, although adversarial, relationship develop in trials where Dr. Clark Edison makes many returns for opposing counsel.

I think that the tension in the central partnership needs some expanded space in which to be exercised. Temperance, must start to recover some of her emotional components as Booth and her family continue to exert encouragement for her to step outside the safe boundaries of cold, hard evidence and reason.

I think we are all as hungry as Booth to hear Brennan really make some admissions from the heart. She is terrific at just allowing that the unspoken should be obvious and does not see the need to reinforce or encourage Seeley's trial balloon hints for validation of their importance to one another.

It is more probable that another betrayal inside her "House of Reason" will cause her to retreat and establish distance as part of her bull works and fortifications. Whenever she allows herself to get close to someone she risks being abandoned, again. That Booth was nearly taken from her should most likely cause her to become even more introverted; if that's possible.

Evi said...

I've sworn off the spoilers as of this morning, read "Spoilers - is there a patch?" :) I thought I wanted to know but I realized that I'd far rather speculate and then enjoy the revelations as they unfold.

I'll respond more fully tomorrow. Enjoying the debate!

ADDhole said...

Terrific! Here's some fuel for tomorrow's fire:

I agree with your husband - there needs to be more of Brennan back in the lab. She needs to show her chops. Yes, the grunt work and daily grind stuff should be covered by others, but, I don't need Brennan to be Wonder Woman (except at Halloween). There needs to be His, Hers, and, Ours space. Brennan spends more and more time in Booth's world and too little in her field of expertise.

I have many little pet peeves to introduce in future comments.

I'd also love to see more interaction between the similar personalities in the series. The Booth/Angela teaming; or the continued play on how badly the squints suck at deductive reasoning, motives, and gut feelings.

We definitely need more Addy/Hodgins lab experiment comic relief moments, too. The pig in the wood chipper or the explosive fiasco are just two prime examples.

The whole "boys are dumb, girl power rules!" thing that Angela and Camille have going is a lot of fun, too.

I have the "advantage" of time on my hands, these days. I am a displaced Yankee now living in the Southwest, so I have a leg up on you in time zones. I grew up in Baltimore; and, high school and my twenties were spent in New Jersey and some in New York. I had a few close friends that were Philly boys and very similar to Booth's character. There are particular phrasings and sentence structures unique to Northeast area which I spent my life avoiding. I cringe at how often they are used in the dialog for Booth and Bones.

The distinctive but grammatically incorrect placement of pronouns immediately after the noun can be forgiven for Booth, but not for Dr. Brennan. Example, "The FBI they call that motive."

This was particularly galling to me when Brennan was chosen to confront Dr. Aldridge, because of his confidence in his superior intelligence, and then the dialog provided to her for his interrogation failed to stack up.

Yeah, yeah. Picky, picky, I know. But, important. Put her back in the lab until she smartens up . . .

Evi said...

It's too bad I don't drink coffee. My brain feels wooden, but here you go.

You are probably right about Emily's abilities vs the writing, but I had to consider the possibility. David is just so amazingly expressive everyone else does indeed pale in comparison.

Don't go back to Buffy and Angel. I went back because my husband has been after me for at least a year and when I became a huge DB fan he used that to sucker me in. I nearly quit a few episodes in when it became painful to watch David. He is so talented now that it was nearly too much to take.

David has grown a lot since then. In Buffy they didn't give him the writing he deserved and his character is wooden, shallowly developed and emotionally weak. It's partially writing and partially his shortcomings early in his career. He began to stretch his wings with Angel (pun intended or not, you decide!) and you can see his abilities developing but the writing goes downhill and takes him along with it. I've recently ordered a few of his movies so I'm going to get a fuller picture of how his skills have been honed over time but I don't expect him to shine like he does as Booth.

Blog title - part truth, part cunning. I well know how to make my posts search-engine relevant and getting the keywords right matters. Additionally...obsessed with bones is catchy! Especially with all those 'you know you're obsessed with bones when...' threads out there.

I don't think I was clear on what I said about the strike. I much prefer they remove story lines as needed and then later give them the full treatment they deserve. My lament is more that it had to happen at all. I read that originally this season was supposed to be a monstrous 26 episodes but then we had a strike and we lost 11. Next season should be interesting with Booth's family and hopefully the return of the Gravedigger and his/her demise and I hope that with the careful planning of Bones filming through the end of the current contract and getting a lead on next season we won't have as big a problem with losing episodes.

Brennan does not see the need to express what she feels. To her, Booth should just *know* but I sincerely hope someone points out to her that he does need to hear it. They come close with a few of her diner admissions but she is definitely holding back. I think she'll give in now, or next season at the latest and say what she feels but most likely then immediately retreat. I think she still feels that she doesn't need another person emotionally, not realizing or admitting to herself, that she's beyond needing Booth in exactly that way. They are a part of each other in ways that many long term couples want and many others are so far from they don't even comprehend it's possible.

My true guess with Jonathan Adams was as a victim, or some sort of consult on a case. (His latest show has been cancelled. Can we bring him back please?) I can't reconcile the family man, church decon of Season 1 with anything vile but my curiosity is piqued as to his listed, then removed, involvement in this Season. I've not seen a word about it. Hopefully it's a storyline that's been postponed and we'll see him in Season 4.

Do you think the mistakes in speech, like Brennan's, are intentional or adlibs? I agree that Brennan should speak in a manner true to her exacting and thoroughly accurate nature. Grammatical mistakes would simply be another error she would not tolerate. "Thanks for trying to help me and Booth work together." really grated on me in 'The Verdict in the Story.'

I can see what both you and my husband are saying about where Brennan should be but the romantic in me just loves Booth/Bones so much! In addition to your suggestions I like Booth poking his head into the lab. I personally want more Booth/Zack. Those two are further apart than even Booth and Brennan were at the start and the possibilities are endless for humorous pairings.

I think you have more than a timezone and time leg up on me; age and experience come to mind. Now I must work!

Until next time...

ADDhole said...

Hopefully, you'll get flagged there's yet another comment under yesterday's post and catch this.

I am going to insinuate the interviews you posted for May 14th were directly influenced by my referencing I had sought out something on Emily's personality in order to make contrasts to her character's emotional run of the gamut from "A," to "A, and a half." Nothing like a desperate attempt at recognition to kick off a conversation, huh?

I believe that because the series is located in Del/Mar/Va, as we locals like to refer to D.C. and the surrounding area, that some care was actually given to the common speech quirks of that region. Every time I am back in that area I am flooded by the accumulated little ripples of colloquial speech, phrasing, accent and structure. There are probably writers for the show that are from those areas. (The choppy structure of that previous sentence is a fine example - there's a sort of tic-toc cadence and sing song to conversation.) I know that some of the quirkiest,most out-of-the-box, thinkers hail from places like Baltimore. Two examples are Edgar Allen Poe and Frank Zappa. So, Yes. I believe that influence has been deliberately baked into the Bones cake.

Maryland and Virginia are a very odd economic-political climate; A little fiefdom. Maryland behaves like a southern state; being right on the Mason-Dixon line, but has the infamy of having allied with the Union during the civil war. Baltimore was the thriving metropolis until after the War of 1812 and then that focus shifted to New York. There is a strange and convoluted identity for people living in that area. They are the cradle for the federal government and enjoy a steady influx of politically savvy and quick-witted repartee (which is also a fundamental component of the show) but, for the most part, the populace is ignored by the rest of the country. The lifestyle is very agrarian and blue collar. The industry is fixed in the systems of the 1800's - export and import.

That is another reason why Booth is such a vital character. His Philadelphia upbringing - likely, South Philly (very important), military service, and blue collar career makes him the total package to represent the common man in the Northeast. His whole persona is believable - down to the misplaced pronoun after the noun speech pattern.

The other quirk is the odd breath mid-way through sentences that every character in the show employs. I don't recall that being a common element of conversation. It always makes me curious why that pause is encouraged so often in the flow of the dialog?

And, a personal favorite was the whole back and forth about "concrete." It took me years to stop referring to it as "cement" because that's the only way people in that region identify it. Of course, they call it "sea-ment."

So, the fact that Dr. Brennan has adopted such simple grammatical errors as part of her speech is certainly incongruent with her exacting nature and education. I can allow for that if she has fallen into those habits because they are so much a part of everyday conversation with people that she has become familiar and let her guard down. Then it works.

And I was married to a real life Dr. Brennan - at least, the emotional part. She was every bit as emotionally detached and her mechanism for validation was very masculine, to immerse herself in her work. She sought approval through recognition of her achievements and relationships were tools to enhance performance of tasks. Everything was a meritocracy. It was never manipulative but the feminine charm only came out as a means to communicate satisfaction with the direction something was going or the desired result. She was so focused and pragmatic that it visibly frustrated her to have to elaborate upon anything that she perceived to be "obvious." To the uninitiated this appeared to mean she was cold and kept people at arms length but she really needed to be affirmed in all of the ways she didn't see needed expressing to others. It was very easy to treat her as "one of the guys" and not focus on giving her the emotional support and strokes one would contribute with "girlie" women.

Meanwhile, Booth is everything I tried to be but just not consistently or successfully. And I was the "girl," just like Booth's and Brennan's role reversal. I was the one bringing heart into the mix and trying to remove her from her sterile environment. My wife viewed the world as dead and I was examining the living.

So, you can see that for me, watching Bones is a chance to live my relationship over - although vicariously through Booth.

I just hope Seeley doesn't trip, like I did, and lose her back into herself once he's pulled her out of her shell.

Evi said...

My blog is still new enough that I am set to receive notification of any comments posted. I welcome the day I get so many comments that becomes overwhelming.

Hate to burst your bubble though on one thing: I've had those articles since yesterday. But another rule I hold myself to is spreading out the content so I'd intentionally held onto them until today. Sorry!

You definitely have insights that I do not into the characterizations on the show. I am a southern girl, Tennessee born and bred. However, I do think people can and often do transcend their environment though. This area is so rife with conversational affront and yet I can manage to keep from saying things like "I was learned", "I know you was", and such. Brennan holds herself to an extremely high standard and things like that stand out in her speech when they are easily forgiven in others.

I noticed the pauses in Brennan's speech but attributed them strictly to the character/actress. I will go back and look again at other characters when I have a bit of time as I didn't notice it anywhere else.

I believe we will see some hard missteps between Booth and Brennan in the future but I think the master plan will show us in the end that everything was important and only made them stronger in the end.

What do you think about the idea that Booth is a man and no matter what he should be bouncing from bed to bed? I personally think that's a shallow generalization and I posted a little bit about it in the comments where we first sparred.

I'm all about not focusing on anything I should today - paid work or personal writing work. I welcome more distractions! (And as I go to hit post I see you found my other blog...)

ADDhole said...

Booth is a real man. A man has urges and desires but he disciplines all areas of his life if he is to demonstrate the proper exercise of masculine strength. A man's strength is not only the external definition of muscle but also the internal definition of heart. A man defines and adheres to a standard.

There was a billboard in a very poor and dysfunctional part of San Antonio, a few years back. It's imagery and message were simple but they gripped me. The billboard showed a shirtless man holding a baby and the caption read, "A Man Shares His Strength."

That's Booth. His convictions, beliefs and values are stronger than his libido because he has also exercised his will to evaluate and prioritize what is most important. Most women are not immediately aware of how men are developed by external rather than internal forces. Our Creator made some very poetic and symbolic ties between our physical structures and our emotional makeup. Men are externally defined and are very aggressive in their presentation whereas women are hidden away under layers and only revealed in secret and with calm and patience. A woman has an internal barometer to govern her self awareness and identity but a man models himself after the dominant influences during his formative years. It is no accident that rigorous institutions have developed over the ages. The military, prisons, the work place are all structured and rigid mechanisms for policing male behavior. Men that choose to rebel against such structures or remove themselves from such governing influences generally wreak havoc in their society. If they do not subscribe to the notion that a family structure is a necessary control of their self-absorbed nature in a similar way then they are more prone to take on a predatory nature.

Men understand that boys and men respond only to force or the threat of force. The first method of force is that of reason but if someone elects not to respond to that, then escalation occurs until a means of satisfactory containment is found. Ultimately, the greatest demonstration of force is the termination of a life. Booth hates such an ultimate conclusion but recognizes the need.

Booth operates at the high end of male discipline and self control. Rather than force and pandering to basic instincts, he places value, a higher value on others above himself. This also allows him to distinguish good from bad. Those that put themselves first violate the rules of conduct for civility. Human life has meaning. Other people's feelings are valid. Booth shares his strength.

I particularly enjoy any episode where Booth encounters a security guard or other pseudo-police element. Rather than belittle or condescend to such people (as every other character in any show I have ever viewed seems to) Booth accepts them as peers. This is a direct demonstration of his humanity, his fully developed self image, and his high standards governing his deportment.

Sex is an intimate expression of him and his investment in a lover. He greatly dislikes any of Brennan's arguments that sex, attraction, and the related impulses are nothing more than chemically induced necessities. Life has to have higher meaning for Seeley and sex definitely so. It is his most personal form of expression and that's why he does not comfortably discuss sex or body parts.

His discussion with Bones about crappy sex sums it all up.

Frankly, especially for men to hear it; We need more characters like Seeley Booth being portrayed to combat the notion that men are responding only to animalistic and instinctive urges. If we don't persuade men that they are above the influence then they will only act below whatever standard is defined for them.

ADDhole said...

I have endless frustration that bots have not picked up my blog, as well. I so want to have some exchange of dialog - particularly with strong, dissenting voices.

My blog is really an exercise in self-therapy. It runs the danger of becoming a snake swallowing its own tail but I'll take that risk.

Are you taking advantage of the new Blogger feature to schedule when your entries will post? I am toying with that when and if I get actual traffic and hits.

You are so prodigious in your entries I just hope you can keep up a sufficient head of steam to keep this train running down the tracks.

Evi said...

Email me and I'll tell you all my blogging secrets! I was indexed within a few days on google. Yahoo is a different story.

Evi said...

Okay, to your Booth comments.

I thought had Booth well thought out and defined but you have out shined me by far. I had previously looked at his unwillingness to talk about sex as more a quirk than related to his fundamental nature but that makes so much sense. I also hadn't given any thought about how he relates to the pseudo-police.

You are really going to give me a lot to think about when I re-watch Bones over the summer. I welcome it!

ADDhole said...

Head and Heart, Bones . . . Head . . . and, Heart . . .

Amanda said...

I think it's interesting how Hodgins stepped up when Booth and Brennan needed him. He was obviously shocked by the situation (the "Holy $#&@" look on his face as he stepped in front of Angela when Brennan shot FatPam) but recovered quickly and commanded Zack to call 911. Of course, he didn't stop there, then heading to make sure FatPam was no longer a threat and removed her weapon.

I think that says something for the Booth/Hodgins dynamic, which has been a fun subplot characterization through the series. It was almost as if, instantaneously, Hodgins realized someone had to "be" Booth in this situation--the take charge personality.

ADDhole said...

Amanda - I couldn't agree more. I love the relationship between Booth and Hodgins and REALLY want to see more involvement. Do you remember all the way back in Season 1 when Hodgins imitated Booth? I think that was 1.13 - The Woman In The Garden.

That it was Hodgins that did SOMETHING when Booth got shot was huge to me.

Booth mostly keeps Hodgins at bay but every once in a while shows real appreciation or respect for him and that is very cool to me.

Amanda said...

I thought about mentioning TWITG, but decided you'd catch the reference. *G*. I think it's fun to see that, while Angela is more 'normal' to Booth, he really shares more personality traits (and a love of Pirates) with Hodgins. Going back to "Two Bodies in the Lab," Hodgins visits Booth without any of the other Squints, and has poked and prodded for connections at other times (The hug in "The Glowing Bones in the Old Stone House", the "organized religion" speech in "The Man in the Fallout Shelter", the apology in "The Soldier on the Grave", their shared love of classic cars, and so on).

I've found it interesting that, despite Booth being much more mainstream in his views on the world, hobbies, etc. we see very littl of his life away from the squints-- to the point where I wonder if he hasn't grown closer to them than even he would like to admit. Other than Rebecca and Parker, we haven't seen anyone outside of the FBI and Jeffersonian hanging out with him since season 1.

I'm actually thinking of sending out a search party for Sid.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Amanda. Even though we see Booth as an emotional and responsive character we really know very little about him. I'd like the writers to round out his character more by letting us see who he spends time with when he's not being the hero. We've only been introduced to 2 of his friends-the judge and the Vegas gambler--both from his army days. ( Oh, and Sid who I think must have been killed when his restaurant blew up--how else could we explain why they stopped going!) We know he loves his Dad (they're "tight") and presumably his Mom and brother. And since he surprisingly quickly became Special Agent in Charge we've seen very little interaction with his peers. It would be good to see how he interacts with his family, friends and co-workers as that tells a lot about his character. Also, we've seen his involvement with three women and two have told us that he's a wonderful partner. I very much appreciated addhole's commentary on what would make a man like Booth tick (a university seminar paper if I ever read one!), but I can't believe that a man like Booth would deny his sexual self. He is the heart-the anima which cannot deny the sharing of life. Unless Catholicism is a factor in this, or his attachment to Brennan is so strong that he believes he'd be "cheating" on her and he's never, never cheated on any woman he's been with.My name is Liz, but I don't know how to send this except as anonymous.

Mom2ABnTB said...

Wow that last paragraph about Booth laying down his life for Brennan...that gave me chills. That is one of my favorite scenes ever...because, like you said, there was no thought on his part. He did what came naturally...protected his Bones. I'm gonna have to watch that again tonight.

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