Gemma: Looking at shows that go on long journeys, we should talk about our old salty Brennan and Booth.
Rasha: It’s more like chewy, rubbery old Brennan and Booth. Ok, I admit that I stopped watching Bones for pleasure in the middle-ish of season 8—
G: Which was entirely justified as a choice, in my view.
R: —and even now I have not watched all the ensuing episodes.
G: I tended to binge it when I was kind of on low swings.
R: I didn’t even know Sweets was dead!
G: Oh, Sweets’ death was very sad, and there is something about “Lime in the Coconut” as the show’s grieving song that still charms me.
R: What I want to know: since when did the theme of every episode become: Booth is a Good Man. Seriously, the line is repeated with increasing frequency, sometimes more than once an episode.
G: Ouch. Yes.
R: The season 11 premiere does not break the trend.
G: Because otherwise we wouldn’t know.
R: Dude, no one would mistake David Boreanaz for a good man.
G: The show has become About Him in a mission-creep way, now that you mention it.
R: Yes! That is exactly my point. Did he become an executive producer? Is Emily Deschanel too busy having babies and cashing checks to care?
G: I think they’ve both been exec producers for a while now.
R: She’s too busy to care. I miss the days when she wore awesome necklaces in every episode.
G: I mean, when you think about it, it’s unlikely that either of them will have much of a career after this, though I’ve always liked her. The aging-beefcake market ain’t what it used to be.
R: Bugh. He looks like he’s been hanging in a cold dark place on a meathook for too long.
G: Which, when you consider this show, is a distinct possibility.
R: You’re funny.
G: I try. I miss Sweets. The new agent, whose name is honestly escaping me right now, does not do it for me. And Angela and Hodgins have softened to the point of no incisiveness, not that I ever really liked Angela.
R: Yeah, gone are the days of them having sex in the archeaological archives. And Aubrey is so inconsequential. He’s a foil for Booth, whereas Sweets was a foil for the relationship between Bones and Booth.
G: Well-said. But the relationship between Bones and Booth is no longer in need of a foil. And I know you’re not really allowed to say this, but the child actor playing Christine is not saving it.
R: Their dialogue is so literal. Seriously, after I realized what was happening, I went back to try to find the Episode Where it All Went Wrong. If you take a scene like the one in the opening of Season 8, where Brennan is back from being on the run and they’re fighting about who’s going to make pancakes—that’s actually a good scene with subtle dialogue and the actors play it with awkward, loving-but-defensive chemistry.
R: Scenes later in that season, and definitely by Season 9, you’ve just got them shouting things at each other that are the motivation notes from the scriptwriting session.
G: There’s no longer anything to wonder about on a motivational level. They’ve made concerted efforts to keep the two of them interesting, what with the FBI frame-up and the gambling relapse, but you’re right, that’s exactly it. Which, actually, is the potency of the will-they-or-won’t-they concept, generally. That is why it works.
R: And this show had such genius in its solution to that, because they Already Had and Weren’t Going There Again. But then they did. And got married, and had two children.
G: Yup. Because Emily Deschanel. I agree with you that it was an easy-out solution to E.D.’s pregnancy, but the whole show just got lazy and started coasting, but apparently still has enough viewership not to go off the air.
R: You know, Meredith Grey is actually getting away with the same arc on Grey’s Anatomy, but then Derek left her to work for the President, they had marital arguments that real people have, Derek started to cheat again, chose to come home, and died the next day. Brennan needs to be old and salty and bitchy and sour. I agreed with you before about Bones being good sick day television, but I’m not sure that I can watch it anymore.
G: There is one note. Sounding over and over.
R: BOOTH IS A GOOOOOD MANNNN.
G: THE GOOD MAN GONG. WE RING IT AND RING IT.
G: Although I do give some freshness credit to Cam and Arastoo.
R: I love them. Can they get their own show?
G: Oh, that’s where this should go! Spinoff!
R: Can Arastoo not be undermined by Brennan always? #WhiteFeminismProblems: Not the dude you need to prove your point on. Did you see last weeks season premiere?
G: No, not yet. But you can spoil it. I’ll survive.
R: Ah. Booth is maybe dead.
G: Oh. Of course he is. I actually liked the Iran subplot last season way more than I thought I could.
R: It was cool that they went so far around the world and into the story of one of the interns. Though I think Brennan should have gone instead of Booth. Again. It was About Him.
G: Yeah, Brennan hasn’t been directly imperiled in ages and ages. And since the actors playing Cam and Hodgins are the only ones who can reach the emotional depth of peril in interesting ways among the main cast, I liked seeing Cam in a high-stakes situation.
R: It’s because she’s a mom and needs to be protected so she can produce the next generation. Anthropologically speaking. Is it weird that I’m distracted by Deschanel’s fertility?
G: I mean, yes, it is, but on the other hand they make it pretty central to the show.
R: Dude, the whole Pelant storyline. I just couldn’t.
G: So many circles.
R: First off: I’m always disappointed when computer science shows up on TV or in movies, because so few shows get anything about it right. Also, his fascination with Brennan? Weird, forced.
G: TV hackers are like TV serial killers, which are ridiculous.
R: Pelant was every trope of bad villianry rolled up into one gluten-free wrap. Like, just cheese for the bread. Can we name those tropes?
G: Okay. I have been fixated lately on the sexism of serial-killer worship, and this pushed that—although on this show Brennan is usually supposed to undercut that by being the Logical One.
R: Say more about the sexism and whether you think Brennan did undercut it or not.
G: The sexism is that not having the burden of emotions or conscience, traditionally female burdens, makes you so brilliant as to be magical. You can outsmart everybody, and thus you can do horrible things and never be caught. Which is clearly a cultural fantasy, at least in TWAT-TV. But nobody thinks about how that really works, any more than they think about how computer science and hacking really work.
R: Well, and Booth still has to rescue Brennan (Alone! With His Guns!) who stupidly goes in to find Pelant (Alone! With Her Brains!). So yeah, I would say that Brennan did not undercut the sexism in that she still ends up the damsel on the train tracks.
G: Brains with emotions cannot compete with brains with no emotions! Therefore we need WEAPONS! Ulgh, Sweets, you were martyred on an altar of nothingness.
R: For Real. His death felt like someone wanted to get out of a contract.
G: No one will ever beat TGW on deaths that wanted to get out of a contract, I’m afraid.
R: So we could fix Bones, right? Here’s how:
G: Tell me it’s Kalinda in the WPP.
R: OK OK. Booth and Brennan really do go to Nebraska/Oklahoma/Utah, whatever, and Brennan digs up footprints of ancient peoples without ever reflecting on how her work is appropriative, while Booth takes the job at the NSA and keeps telling himself that He’s a Good Man as he listens to other people’s most intimate and banal phone conversations.
G: Go on.
R: We as viewers get to hang out with Arastoo, who is now the chief forensic anthropologist. And Cam is still his boss, and so there’s some will-they-won’t-they get married there. And then…
G: Can we still hear about Jessica on the side? I just really enjoyed having someone on TV talk about communal living and be good at a job and draw reasonable conclusions based on her community experience.
R: Who was Jessica?
G: The newer intern, the redhead.
R: Oh, I haven’t even gotten that deep on season 10. Aubrey turned me off to new people. OK OK though, but then the FBI agent assigned to replace Booth to work with the Jeffersonian is…Kalinda in the Witness Protection Program.
G: I anticipate a scene with three people of color! with distinct jobs and identities! talking! to each other!
R: And Angela becomes confused about her marriage. Solved. Fox, you’re welcome.