Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Torch Online: Unhappy with "The Princess and the Pear"

Brent Hartinger writes for The Torch Online about the most recent episode of Bones, "The Princess and the Pear." He sent me an email pointing out his post. The subtitle for the site is "Exploring All Things Fantasy," so I can see why he picked this episode of Bones to be his first experience.

He didn't like it.

Now, before you go over and read his review and hit him with something like "You don't know what you're talking about" (he freely admits this is the first time he's tuned in) how would you honestly and rationally answer his statements about Bones, knowing that he's never seen a single episode but this one?

His title gives away one of his biggest complaints - that the body was found in a sewer. My first thought? So was the body of a child beauty queen in "The Girl with the Curl." - she had to travel the entire nasty system after she her body was left in a drain (smaller than the one the kids entered). Rather than Bones writers having the idea that only geeks dwell in sewers, I would say that they seem to think pretty girls should be left to rot there? I don't know.

How would you answer his concerns/issues/complaints with how Bones portrayed a culture he is very familiar with? How would you explain Bones to him? How would you explain Booth and his attitudes toward geeks vs the squints attitudes toward dumb jocks - "that guy?"

I have much, much more I could say but I wanted to see (and encourage him to read) the opinions of all of you on why Bones deserves much more than 1 snapshot look and why, just maybe, he should reconsider judging the show this quickly.


em-jay said...

Interesting piece. I would say that, yes, 43 minutes is not a lot of time to portray an entire culture, especially when it's yours! As participants in whatever our particular area of interest is, we always know a lot more than can easily and succinctly be portrayed to those on the "outside."

That being said, I would also suggest that just as we should not judge his area of interest simply by the short portrayal in this episode, so also his view of the quality of Bones could be broadened by other episodes.

The "mom" comment by Perotta was definitely stuck in a stereotype (though it was also used with Wendell in Fire in the Ice), but there were many other ways that they were encouraged and supported for their interests. For instance, Brennan is typically very blunt about her lack of knowledge or lack up support of someone else's values. But the team showed a great deal of respect for the historical accuracy of the chain mail, method of fighting, and even appreciating the value in a movie prop or historical weapon.

Unfortunately TV shows often have to explore certain stereotypes to convey a story, but Bones excels in the way they obliterate them. It is refreshing to me the way Bones often shows us that stereotypes are NOT always reality.

I wish I could speak more intelligently about the specific portrayal of fantasy enthusiasts in this episode, but I hadn't watched it with that in mind, so it is hard to pinpoint all the positive or negative aspects.

Angelator said...

I left my comment on the website under KJ - hopefully I did an alright job defending our show. It's a little short, but I'm supposed to be working :)

Anonymous said...

Very well-stated, Angelator. Great job defending us!

singinglupines said...

Great comment on the website, I almost felt like saying about the kids in the sewer. They were kids, and kids like to explore around, to me it had nothing to do with suggesting nerds hang out in sewers. They were just some adventurous kids and the body was dumped there to hide it.

Anonymous said...

Just made a rather long comment on their site under the name Sammy, i did my best!!

Shep said...

I can see why a first-time viewer would not like this episode, but I agree with Angelator - you don't get to see much of the characters' personalities or their relationships, which is one of the core aspects of Bones. I think the best way to view Bones is to start with the Pilot and work your way through. That way, you can see all the characters develop through the course of each series, so by the end, you'll be completely invested in the Booth/Brennan relationship!

Also, this is the first episdode that Matthew Dolan and Jeremy Martin have written. Many of the stronger episodes were written by more experienced writers. (I did a quick check and noticed that many of this season's episodes were written by those who have had little experience working on Bones, especially on the earlier seasons. Could that be part of the reason Season 4 has seen cases take more of a back-seat?)

I love fantasy, although I'm not really a fantasy 'geek' as such, but I agree with em-jay: 45 minutes isn't enough time to explore the entire world of fantasy-enthusiasts and I think the episode was designed to concentrate more on Booth's back injury and how it would help towards revealing Booth and Brennan's feelings. Furthermore, I love Bones' portrayal of the 'nerds/geeks' in the lab - they make science fun and their explanation of scientific procedures to Booth (who, like us, has no idea what they are on about), makes it understandable for the audience.

Anonymous said...

I read the postings on this website at least daily and I love it. It was interesting to note that they have new writers on these episodes. As a die hard Bones fan I have watched all of the episodes many - many times(too many probably)and I have felt something missing also. They seem to be trying to cram too much into one episode and too much "outside" stuff. I miss the B/B bantering back an forth and working the cases together. This group of characters/actors have come a long way. Their interactions is what got me hooked in the 1st place.. so I can see where a 1st time watcher would be disappointed. That being said,I watch it because I love it and will continue. This is not a reality show. I do not like those and I watch this show to be entertained. I get enough "reality" every day. It may not be perfect but it does entertain and he should definately give it another chance. Sorry so long but I don't do this often. DJE

Jeannie said...

Ok, this is totally off topic here but I didn't know where else to post it. I just wanted to let everybody know that today is Wendy's birthday!!! (Sorry Wendy, hope you don't mind. ;-)

Happy Birthday, and thanks so much for creating this wonderful place for us Bones fans!

Wendy said...

Thank you Jeannie (and Laura, for doing something similar in the Vanity Fair comments) for the Happy Birthday. I'm so happy you guys have all come together here and helped make this blog such a great place to obsess about Bones!

Shep said...

Happy Birthday Wendy!! Thank you so much for this blog and for your dedication to it despite the baby squint on the way! A visit to OWB always brightens even the crappiest of days!

jenny said...

I can't believe it's your birthday today,Wendy-it's my mum's birthday too! Happy Birthday to you and my best wishes!*hugs Wendy and kisses her on both cheeks* You 've been doing a wonderful job on this blog!

em-jay said...

Happy Birthday Wendy! Hope it's wonderful!

Stac-E said...

In my opinion, you can't judge an entire show on one episode, just like you can't judge someone's entire life based on one moment. Luckily, there are fans like us who continue to watch and know the true merits of the show.

Happy Birthday Wendy and thanks so much for this site. It's the first place I go in the morning, which tells me how "obsessed" I really am.

ashley said...

happy birthday wendy!

Milky said...

happy bday, Wendy!!!!
I hope it's been a nice day so far and that it's even better as the day goes by :D Your baby's bday is gonna be soon, also, right? wish you all the best!!


That being said, my comment on the article goes along the lines many of you posted, only adding that there's no show that can please everyone...

I fell in love with Bones by the relationship between the characters (B&B and the whole gang). I'm a relatively new fan (not going to tell the whole story here, don't be afraid, lol), and one of the things I love the most about this show is how it has evolved: *that's* how I see the changes we can see from season 1 to the lasts episodes.

When I see how the relationship between all of them was back at season 1, I see the building of trust. Now, I see true friendship, a *real* team.
I see them changed by the experiences they've shared-- as every human being does. That's what makes it valuable for me.

I can see why there's people disappointed on the new kind of interactions between the characters... I mean, if someone fell in love with it for the science, there's not the same ammount of it now as it used to be. Besides, I think the writers sometimes overdo it. And I miss the banter too.

I can see that... but since I love the show for its focus on the characters and some of the best lines I've heard, the wonderful, full-of-meaning looks they (all) share, and I'm a passionate -not to say obsessed- shipper, I can still wait for them to show us some excelently written eps, instead of funny we-need-an-ep-to-fill-this-thursdays-slot eps containing barely enough of the crime&science that sustain the context where the relationships are built.

2 other chaps to add to my novel:
1, I found myself enjoying the 3d season a lot... after rewatching it. Didn't seem the same when they were brand new eps. It could be that the same is happening now with this 4th season. I'm hoping for the last 11 eps to show me some serious eps (Con-Man like), because those are my favs, no doubt.
2, I'm afraid HH and the writers think they're doing it magnificently...because they look at the numbers. And the numbers look currently good.
And oops, there's a 3, lol: Sometimes I think we have such great expectations for each new ep, that we always end with the feeling something lacks.

So, I absolutely adore Bones. I know it has its highs and lows, but what/who doesn't?

I repeat, don't judge it by one ep. If you don't understand the relationships, the show just doesn't look the same.

heirofloki said...

Happy Birthday Wendy! Hope you had a wonderful day.

I have nothing to say regarding the review. I'm a huge geek. Everything Fisher listed (with the marked exception of Buffy) is on my list. And I love Bones, so go figure.

If anything offended me, was that fisher left Farscape out of his geeky-tv shows list. Farscape ruled, y'all! =P

Dani said...

meh, in the words of Greg Gutfeld of Red Eye fame, the guy that wrote this article is a "Jerky Jerk head"

What an uninformed rediculous opinion... which seems to be going on quite alot these days around the web, the guy's never seen the show before and has used one lite episode to base his whole opinion on...!
And way to go Em-Jay on defending the show for those of us that love it unconditionally heheh

Happy Birthday Wendy!

Christina :-) said...

I saw the site and I have to say, there are more negative comments than I would have liked.

But I do agree on some level. The case work is lacking. But I will always love Bones, though. And I wish the case was more interesting, and the murderer wasn't so obvious.

It makes me sad that viewers are disappointed. I would have to say season 3 was my favorite, but we're only half way through this season. And I'm still awaiting the finale. ;D

I've learned that there are consequences to every fandom. There will ALWAYS be negative remarks. It's with all my favorite shows, even the best ones. I just have to learn to block them out.

And the guy didn't chose a good first episode to watch. There are always "filler" episodes in every show that don't really show much advancement and doesn't do the whole series justice.

But with everything being said, I LOVE Bones!

Amanda said...


And Firefly. When you get a spin off film in production made and funded entirely by fans (not to mention getting your show resurrected and on the big screen through the support of fans) THAT is true fanboy/fangirl geekdom at its finest.

Amanda said...

I forgot to add:

Happy birthday Wendy! Thanks for all you do!

CanadianGirl1013 said...

No offense to anyone...but really almost every representation of any group in popular culture is a shallow and stereotypical version of the real (infinitely more complex) version. We can make the same comments about the way women, people of colour, immigrants, people with chronic illnesses, homosexuals etc. etc. - and in the case of Bones, academics, scientists, and law enforcement- are portrayed on TV. The snippet of 'fantasy subculture' we saw on Bones last week is the same as all other things in TVland so I don't feel the need to defend it with any vigour. It's just TV...

Anonymous said...

heirofloki, in the words of Michael Crichton:

There's just nothing new in the universe, is there? It's the same everywhere, good cop, bad cop.


Anonymous said...

ETA: By Michael Crichton, I meant /John/ Crichton *headdesk*.

*Goes to rewatch episodes during our Bones hiatus*


Anonymous said...

hey! spanish girl here! :D i love the show sooooo much!! i can understand why he wasn't impressed with the episode, if he's never seen Bones before, but please, if you don't know something, don't critize it!! there is sooo much going on in Bones than geeks and fantasy!!

Anonymous said...

p.s. sorry for my english...haha,,i hope you understand what i mean! :D

heirofloki said...

@ Amanda: My bad! Firefly is indeed a huge oversight. To date, my fave Whedon show (mind you, I don't count Angel as a Whedon show. Not really.)

@Anonymous: Heeh! Almost every line uttered by that character in the four years of the show (and the movie) was gold!

@Spanish Girl, I think you made your point clearly. No worries.

On topic: I think CanadianGirl1013 got it right. Her comment above is spot-on.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I'm inclined to agree, but on different grounds than those he posted.

Why is it that only attractive, female victims have been found in sewers? And why is it that all terminally ill women kill people? Seriously, Hart, what did a terminally ill woman ever do to you?

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