Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bones Episode Review: 5.04 "The Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood"

Procrastination is an evil beast. I'm not sure I should write reviews on my current level of sleep, but giving it a go...

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Who doesn't love funny Bones? (har har) I think this was a great example of how Bones can be funny and still manage to stay just this side of going too far into the silly. Having never seen an episode of Desperate Housewives I can only say that, at the least, this lampoons the stereotypical view of such a show well.

This neighborhood, especially in the scene where Hodgins is taking the luminol to all the signs, made me think of an adult version of Children of the Corn. Sometimes these people got downright creepy! Despite being a street in the suburbs where families live we only saw the 18+, most definitely adult, crowd which just made it all the creepier.

Everything that gives neighborhoods soul was missing. On my current level of sleep I do not have the energy to completely dissect everything Brennan and Sweets were arguing about but this 'unit' in the cul-de-sac forgot a very vital aspect of any living being for far too long - the heart.

While I didn't like the setting, per se, I did appreciate the depth to which they wrote it. You weren't supposed to like this group of people on Verbena Ct and I doubt anyone did. From the broad strokes on down, it was not the street you'd want to live on.

You don't even like the victim, which is a rarity in Bones. Was there a single thing redeemable about him, even if his transgressions were (mostly) within accepted derivations?

How much of this portrait of suburban America feels true to you, murder aside? Is this the creation strictly of Hollywood, where such exacting simultaneous conformity and one-upmanship is a requirement?

To as tired as I am (multiple 4 am mornings in the last few days) I am feeling awfully cerebral and I think I could spend my typical length just discussing suburbia. To finish up case discussion I will say - liked the murder trio, loved the aviator glasses on the charred remains, and I'm glad I don't care for shows like Desperate Housewives.

On to the fun stuff - the characters.

Vaziri - dude gets interesting with one angry outburst.

By far, Vaziri has been considered the boring intern. He was introduced late and seemed to only be a foible for Brennan's anti-religion attitudes. I don't think that does either of them justice for his introductory episode, but I'll save that for a hopeful/eventual finish to the Season 4 reviews :)

Only the writers could answer to whether or not this twist of his fake accent was always in the works (someone go ask Hart?!) but I like it either way. It was certainly unexpected, as Cam's reaction mirrored our own, though missing some of the laughter. I like it when TV surprises me. Stargate SG-1 is a favorite show of mine, but 'unpredictable' it ain't. Bones always keeps you a little on edge, wondering who will follow their expected path and who will completely surprise you. Even deeply held convictions can be chinked away in this show.

Vaziri surprises, but he holds tight to his beliefs in the face of overwhelming adversity from his peers. Obviously, he's battle-hardened on this front. And, I feel that the squints are respectful of that, if a bit incredulous that he holds such 'archaic' beliefs. They give him a fair chance to reply and accept his answer, even if they find it still unfathomable.

I like that Bones muddies the waters and doesn't present us with absolute stereotypes. Not all scientists have to be atheists, not all women have to wear heels or place relationships above all else, and so on.

Return Vaziri = good for me

Parker - Parker appearances are ALWAYS good!

The Walt of Bones is getting so big! In lieu of cheek pinching, I would say that hair-tousling is in order. Parker is always the perfect vehicle for Booth and Brennan to draw closer and the 'family' feel is no exception (more about that at the end), but the kid can stand on his own as well. The lab is so anti-child that it becomes a different place when you introduce Parker, or Andy!, into the mix. I am glad he's not there all the time, just like Max or Caroline - a sprinkle here and a sprinkle there is the perfect dash of seasoning to keep an episode fresh.

On a personal note, it did make me think about the conversations we will have with Noah some day!

Cam

I still feel the Cam-is-different vibe pretty strongly. Would old Cam have gone so far in trying to accommodate Vaziri's religious convictions in regards to pigs? For "The Queen" she seemed extremely subservient. Was this further changes or simply the over-reaction that many people experience when dealing with an issue that could be very sensitive? Did she care that much about Vaziri, was she uncomfortable with his devout convictions like the rest, or was she worried about offending a Muslim?
  • Oh, you aren't even going to try to un-ring that bell, are you?
was one of my favorite lines from the episode. Her scattered reactions and pounce-and-run on Sweets just cracked me up but also make me think that a lot of her interactions with Vaziri have been overly-colored by his religion and nationality. Until this point she, and all the others, have only seen him as a very flat person. They didn't look past his convictions, and prayers, and accent. Now they are forced to look at him in a whole new light. They run him through the gauntlet a bit, but with Cam at the helm they draw him into the moonshine-fold.

Hodgins

Nothing is really Hodgins-centric right now, so I feel like there is not a lot to say about him other than a few points.

-love him going into the field. I do miss his giddiness about it though. I guess after a few years it has to wear off.
-love him getting Zack-slapped. Someone needed to
-Maybe-Beef - Hodgins hates, hates, hates the term dirt but he calls crap a technical term? (waaa waaa nit-picky, I know)

Angela

Angela really personifies the mother earth ideal yet again. She lives to nurture others and this time Parker is the recipient of her attentions. She is like the naughty Aunt that offers to buy the kids beer (I had one of those, by marriage) one day and offers very sage, reliable advice the next. The nearly-impossible-to-remove face paint is perfect Angela.
  • You're with me, Baby Booth.
  • It's been 5 months and 9 days which, in celibacy time, is 400 years.
Sweets

I'm starting to really miss the 'couples' sessions, but I continue to like the level of involvement they give to Sweets. He's not overly intrusive and even Brennan has been forced to acknowledge his contributions and valid points. Cam and Booth's uses of his knowledge flowed well with the story and made sense. He was dead on the perfect person for Cam, in particular, to corner. For Booth, it wasn't as clear cut and that showed because Sweets did not give him the support he was looking for and he quickly went elsewhere.

I LOVED the anthro/psych fight.
  • Wrongology - keep your grubby Anthro hands off my Psych.
He is really stepping up the plate and refusing (at least some of the time) to let them steamroll his contributions. Some of his previous case appearances have been dubious at best, but he is now showing how he can be a valued member of the team, despite continued opposition from Brennan.

Booth and Brennan

We can add one more thing to the list in our heads of ways that these two are already a couple, even without the official commitment. There are so many ways to define a couple other than cohabitation and sex. Connections? Arguments? Shared spaces? Gifts? These two are steadily racking up quite a tally of couple-like actions, interactions, and tangible objects that they share. Brennan passes it off as simple solving a problem but the solution speaks to her emotional connection more than she would like to believe. If Michelle wanted pool access, for example, I have a feeling Brennan would be suggesting where she could find public accommodations instead of handing Cam a key to her building.
  • Would you be my village?
  • I will be your hamlet of 800 people or less.
Am I looking to deep in connecting the village comment and Brennan's previous baby desires? She wanted him to be a donor so she could raise a child on her own, and now he is asking for her assistance in raising his own son.

As much as I enjoyed Brennan's tiff with Sweets, I think that, beyond the first line, the fight with the neighborhood therapist was overkill. It was funny when Brennan knew she was a therapist by how she talked but seemed forced when the therapist switched it around on her. I don't know if it was meant to be a joke, but it didn't come through well and seemed like they were trying to beat us over the head with the anthro vs psych fight after it had been done very well with Brennan and Sweets.
  • Booth: It's thicker than Achmed the Rug Merchant. Was that racist? That sounded racist.
Again, similar to Cam, I think they have all seen Vaziri through only his nationality and race. Other than the mix tape he made Angela we as audience members (through the other character's perceptions and interactions) have exposed very little of his character before this episode. I do find it funny that he asks Brennan whether that seems racist. She just seems like the wrong person to ask that of and she doesn't even understand the question.

Booth's struggles with fatherhood, even when funny, are always good for me. He desperately wants to do the right thing by Parker and be the father he never had. Booth is constantly juggling so many hats, but this one is more important than even Brennan. Sometimes the needs of Parker pass him by but he immediately steps up to the plate when he realizes he has missed something. Does he want to fake a relationship or social outing? No. But does he want to get a girlfriend right now? Noooo. We've already been shown that his Brennan issues run deep and are very far from clear. I would be shocked if, unless pushed into it somehow, we see him with anyone else before some sort of declaration of intent beyond "2nd best" is made, for good or bad.

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With that, I end. It's almost 11 here and I swear I turn into a pumpkin at 10, or even 9, every night now. I apologize profusely for any gross grammatical travesties, typos, missed topics, or unfathomable thought processes.

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