Monday, March 16, 2009

Comparing Bones to Moonlighting & The Thin Man

It's not unusual for Bones to be compared to other TV male/female pairings. Most often, this is Moonlighting because both shows are pretty heavy with UST (Unresolved Sexual Tension).

People who make these comparisons (even some prominent players in the show) keep asking if themselves, the creators, and the fans if getting Booth and Brennan together as a couple will instantly result in a Moonlighting Fiasco, which went downhill quickly once the main characters slept together. Some people think it might ruin the show, some other people think B&B would look like Nick and Nora, from The Thin Man Series, a married couple that seem to be bickering all the time, still showing a lot of love for each other and solving crimes in a special and funny way.

This is the question posed by Milky, after a discussion with ForensicMama. Milky has sent me a few videos to show how the interactions played out on Moonlighting and The Thin Man series, to help you judge for yourself.

So, feel free to comment away with your opinions. What do you think the fallout might be, if any, from such a pairing. Do you think the comparisons are fair?

Please, keep this post spoiler free so everyone can enjoy it!

Pilot 1x01 1x02

3x12 Sam and Dave Here we see some "bickering' and jealousy

Other links
Maddie tells David that them sleeping together was a mistake.
David finds Maddie waiting in his bedroom wanting to talk, David tells her to get out.
David and Maddie get stuck in a grave.

A mix of some funny scenes and lines from "The Thin Man" movie series with William Powell and Myrna Loy. Excerpts from "The Thin Man", "The Shadow of the Thin Man" and "After the Thin Man".

A long vid showing their relationship

Other links
I just had to post this, 'cause it's probably the cutest Nick and Nora moment ever!
very funny bickering scene between Nick and Nora


Anonymous said...

They are so young. It makes me feel old. : (

N2Seeleybooth said...

I thought Bruce Willis was an a** not like David at all, the Nick and Nora comparison is much better and David had make the comparison to the thin man series

i love boreanaz' eyes! said...

Just a couple of things come to mind:

The characters, Booth and Bones, come across (in my silly opinion) with more brain than the two from Moonlighting. ... Iy yi yi, I can't figure how to put it, but when Boreanaz and Deschanel talk to each other, I get a sense that they are more intelligent, or at least better-educated than I ever did when I watched Willis and Shepard.

Maybe the two actors just happen to be better-read...or maybe it's the writing. I dunno.

Part of moonlighting's problem was not that they had sex, but the convolutions the series' story arc/script went through afterwards...and the presumption that once two people have done IT, they will no longer find anything interesting to talk about. What an adolescent myth that is...that any conversation beween a man and woman could only be foreplay.

IOW, I blame the neanderthal/adolescent-male mentality of Moonlighting's writers for the mishandling of Maddie and David's post-coital relationship.

And I believe that Bones' staff will avoid such problems, if only because they've already done a much better job in the pre-coital relationship.

Anonymous said...

I think they will be more like Nick and Nora. I mean they will have bumps and stuff but their characters are much better then Dave and Maddie. Heh if i can say, I think it will be more Hart to Hart then Moonlighting!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting these! I've been meaning to take a look at Moonlighting, Thin Man, and I'll eventually get around to Hart to Hart.

B&B aren't anything like Moonlighting IMHO. After the pilot, in which Brennan (rather easily) convinced Booth to *let* her work with him outside the lab, I can't recall either Booth or Bones saying they either didn't want to work with the other or never wanted to see the other again. Whether they say it aloud or not, they enjoy each other's company (Booth actually did say this in one episode). I'm not familiar with the nuances of Moonlighting, but from the clips B&B's bickering is much more good natured and not designed to actually hurt/insult the other person, though this sometimes happens.

The Thin Man clips were much more reminiscent of B&B. I can't even begin to describe the similarities! (I can totally see B&B in the Chair Scene between N&N.) If the writers of Bones keeps N&N as a frame of reference they couldn't possibly mess B&B up :D

~ Java

Abby said...

I watched the whole Moonlighting series on Netflix last year and read articles about what happened. The whole show jumping the shark had alot less to do with them getting it on then it did with outside issues. Bruce Willis no longer wanted to work on the show because he was getting big via his movies. He also broke his collar bone skiing right around the time of the big bang and had to sit out a bit. Cybil Shephard was pregnaunt with twins so they had to write that into the storyline. Finally the writers introduced a terrible plot twist of Maddie marrying someone else which Cybil Shephard protested but they ignored her. Same thing with the xfiles- it went downhill because DD left, not because of them getting together. I still think it can be done as long as the writers stay true to the characters.

Mickey said...

I've heard the comparisons to Moonlighting for awhile now. Though I was never a huge fan of that show, I was (and remain) a devoted fan of Remington Steele. While Remington & Laura first kissed in episode 3 vs. season 3, the sexual tension was sustained over 4+ seasons and when it was finally "resolved", it was in such a way that fans are still griping about it 20+ years later. I'd really hate for that to happen with Bones too.

A friend and I worked out a list of the ways in which Bones and Remington Steele are similar. You can find it at my blog:

Incidentally, in the interviews on the RS DVDs, the series' co-creators come right out and say that they modeled RS on the Thin Man movies!

Anonymous said...

I'm not familiar with The Thin Man, but it bothers me when people use Moonlighting as an example of what will happen if/when Booth and Brennan consummate their relationship. While I see the similarities in the two shows, there were a lot of reasons for Moonlighting's downfall. You can read about them on wikipedia [] in more detail, but there were a lot of problems off screen, leading up to the show's cancellation. Willis and Shepherd hated each other off screen, there were constant production problems and delays, Willis was beginning his movie career, and during the fourth season, Willis and Shepherd had little screen time together. So to say that the reason the show fell apart was because David and Maddie slept together is misleading.

Since Bones doesn't seem to have such problems off screen, I honestly don't think the show will fall apart if/when Booth and Brennan sleep together. The writers, actors, etc. have done a pretty consistent job giving us a quality show, so I'm keeping the faith! My only concern is that Hodgins and Angela became, in my opinion, boring when they got together. Since Booth and Brennan are already 'together' in every sense of the word *except* sexually, I think their relationship can and will remain the delightfully dysfunctional partnership that we all love so much.

mo said...

my fam owns all the Thin Man series!! i love it..and B/b would be funny if they were like them

Rolywa said...

Bones has done a much better job of defining the B&B relationship than many of these other shows have. They talk about their sex lives/relationsips and are more intimate without being sexual than all the others. That's why I don't think they will jump the shark.

And I totally agree that there are MANY reasons why other similar shows went downhill. The X Files died because David Duchovny left (which should have made them end it) and not Mulder and Scully finally getting together. Though I do think that was more of a jump the shark than Bones because we NEVER saw Mulder or Scully with ANY romantic life. That made it more awkward for viewers to get used to them being "together." Bones won't have a problem with that. Though by the time The X Files did that, the show was in it's 7th year, already losing steam in the story lines, so they HAD to get them together to excite viewers (myself included) in some way knowing it would signal the end.

Anyways, Bones is completely different (in my opinion) than Moonlighting and The X Files in the relationship aspect- we already know they will end up together b/c of what writers have already done in the story. I have faith for B&B!!!!!!

Milky said...

Yes, I agree with all your comments :)

I remember that when I watched the Moonlighting vids the 1st thing I thought was "Hey... B&B are *much* better than that! and they're good actors!!!!!" (I really couldn't stand Shephard's acting). So yeah, they might have had UST, but it's treated in a comepletely different way in Bones... which makes it a completely different show, as well.

Besides, I didn't see the same Chemistry ED and DB have.

Now, N&N--- I love them! I watched the movies just to know what they were comparing Bones to.. but now I love them on their own. And, as Java said, I don't think they could go wrong with B&B if they were to be similar (they wouldn't be the same) to N&N.

Yesterday, while thinking of this, I remembered the first serial I was ever passionate about: Remington Steele!!! So I started watching vids but, since I was too young (around 12) when I was a fan of RS, and the fact there were only music vids of them, I couldn't remember what they were actually like...

Anyway, so... I don't think B&B are like D&M at all... and not yet as N&N, if ever. Besides, as i love boreanaz' eyes says, the blame is to be had by the writers.
And I still have faith in Bones' writers.

Anonymous said...

wow, thanks for posting these! I've been wondering about these "moonlighting"/"thin man" comparisons.

I'm seeing more of a Nick&Nora than David&Maddie type thing with Booth and Bones. maybe I'd have to watch more of "moonlighting" to be sure, but that's just my impression from the clips.

also, as a huge x-files fan as a kid, I've tended to see a lot of similarities between Mulder&Scully and Booth&Bones. but, there are also a lot of differences.. the x-files kept the relationship at the stage where Booth&Bones were at in Season 1 for like 5 seasons, and never really did much development beyond a certain point. I feel like B&B's relationship has been developed in a much more progressive manner.... whereas in the x-files it just kind of slowly progressed for 7 seasons but never got anywhere (until they got together, at which point the show was basically already ruined and pretty much unsalvageable).

I'm hopeful that bones will continue to progress and avoid the problems of "moonlighting" (and "the x-files") just because the dynamic of Booth&Bones (despite the many parallels and similarities to these other characters) is very unique

Christina :-) said...

I think besides the UST, Moonlighting is nothing like Bones. On Bones, Booth and Brennan have respect for each other and genuinely care about each other. And their relationship is much more complex and deep than that of the Moonlighting characters. (This is just based on what I have seen; this show is before my time, lol!)

Anonymous said...

Nick and Nora are cuteness. Moonlighting? Eh. I never saw the attractive. Like, the commercials bored me to tears. Was there anything noteworthy about that show? Aside from the tension, that is. *shrugs* Dunno. It really never held my attention. My mum and I watched Remington Steele. :P

But yeah, Nick and Nora. That's definitely a comparison I like for B&B.

Jeannie said...

I loved the early seasons of Moonlighting, I really did. But that was a totally different show from Bones; it was more comedy than crime drama, with "real" elements (like people stepping off stage and showing the crew, etc.). But the main difference between David and Maddie and Brennan and Booth is that there was only UST between D+M while BB are friends with UST. For David and Maddie, once that UST was "resolved" (very poorly, I'd like to add), there was nothing left. BB have so much more, and mean so much more to each other.
Plus, Willis and Shepherd hated each other's guts, and it really showed on-screen. And I definitely trust the Bones writers to spare us ridiculous plots like Maddie's marriage to Walter Bishop. Please!

All I wish for is not your typical on again-off again TV relationship for Brennan and Booth, but some serious progression into something good. Sure, the show will be different if the leads get together, but I think after 4 seasons, we are all ready for a little change. Hopefully for the better.

brennanite said...

Last year, Bones inspired me to go back and re-watch Moonlighting. I had watched it and liked it a lot as a kid. When I re-watched, I was surprised at how screwed up Dave and Maddie's relationship were. Bruce Willis is supposed to be a "guy's guy," but he is actually just really childish. It seemed like every conflict between them was resolved by Maddie giving in, and often apologizing, even though usually her demands were perfectly reasonable in the first place. We were supposed to consider them equals, except that Maddie owned the business, did all the work, was more accomplished and more adaptable.

I don't think Moonlighting would pass muster for a modern audience. Juxtaposing the two shows, we see a very cool story about how gender relations are evolving. I am convinced that the flaws that let Moonlighting fall apart just do not apply to Bones. Nick and Nora are a much better analogy.

Poetic_line said...

I think Bones is quite unique. The characters in Moonlighting never developed a deep relationship as Booth and Bones.

They flirted a lot but never really cared for each other beyond the sex as far as I could see.

There is so much caring and acknowledgement between Booth and Bones that I'm sure they can flourish even after the big day.

I want to see their love grow stronger.

luscious said...

there is no comparison between the characters in bones and moonlighting as in bones brennan and booth are just more highly eveolved than the charcters in moonlighting who are just looking for a bit of fun. Whereas B&B are so involved with one another they are part of each other and clever and independent all of which has allowed their relationship to flourish

BonzGirl said...

Another thing about "Moonlighting": Look at the pilot, the first episodes of the show. Already, the UST is thick, too thick. B&B started out slow, not too heavy. That makes a lot of a difference, because a different level of attraction has to be sustained.

Also, as others have pointed out, Booth and Bones are friends. In Moonlighting, it's all "we fight"/"we have sex." Not much middle ground.

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