Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bones: Now You're Just Complaining Because You Have Nothing to Complain About

I'm having flashbacks to this past winter when it seemed as if all we ever blogged about on this site was Lost - more specifically, Jate - except that now it's about six months later and all we appear to blog about anymore is Bones - more specifically, Booth & Brennan 'shipperdom.

Occasionally, I feel reluctant to add yet another blog to the site if it's going to center on the same exact topic as the majority of the ones recently before it, but then I remember that this is our blog and we created it so we could talk about whatever the hell we damn well please. So, ya know, there that is.

Leigh has been joking with us a lot lately about stealing an idea from Adam Carolla's show in which he has a spot called "This Week in Rage," where Adam rattles on about the top five things that are severely working his nerves that week. We had tossed around the idea of doing a fandom version here on the blog, but never actually got around to making it a reality.

Well, today I feel the need to fully realize that idea. Or, you know, at least do a mini-version where I rattle on about one specific topic in fandom that has been annoying me all week - and for many, many weeks previous, honestly.

Because, really, can someone please explain to me why so many people are insistent on continuously whining, bitching and moaning about the current state of this show? Anyone? Explain, please.

I realize that I'm still considered an extremely new member of the Bones fandom, but (much like Brennan) I have a disturbingly steep learning curve. I've done my research and I know all the necessary details, so I think it's fair to say that I'm just as well informed as anyone who's been watching faithfully since the Pilot.

The difference is, my blog cohorts and I tend to be Brennanistically rational and logical when it comes to our shows, even if we don't like what's happening. You that are whining cannot be described by such adjectives.

Yeah, see, Caroline is the diplomatic one around here. I just tend to tell it like it is. Too bad.

Given the way that last season ended and the spoilers so far about how this upcoming season will pan out, there's been a large uproar amongst certain parts of the fandom who are entirely outraged and wondering what's happening to the state of their once-beloved show. Honestly, this outrage baffles me.

Booth "died" for two weeks and the entire topic was virtually swept under the rug once he returned. Zack turned out to be Gormogon's surprise apprentice. Angela and Hodgins are about to break up. Booth and Brennan are about to progress quite nicely toward their inevitable romantic relationship. The shortened third season was virtually entirely about bringing the two Bs closer and closer romantically, and this upcoming fourth is so far rumored to be doing a whole lot more of the same.

A baffling amount of people are completely livid about every single one of those developments.

I, personally, am only miffed about the first. And even then, I'm only just slightly miffed about it - so long as they attempt to wrap it up properly somehow in Season Four.

I'd rather give Hart Hanson the benefit of the doubt and wait and see what he offers me in that area before I start threatening to burn him in effigy. I mean, seriously, give the man a little credit.

Ever since I started watching this show on DVD just over a month or so ago, I've been kind of confused as to why Hanson and his crew had caught/were still catching so much flack over the "shocking" Zack reveal in the finale.

Sure, Zack is quirky and adorkable and everyone loves to geek out over him, but it's not as if the guy really served any larger purpose to the show. He wasn't cohesively sewn into the fibers of other sub-plots; not dating anyone, no family issues looming around, no past romantic ties to anyone else on the team - we knew virtually nothing about the guy aside from the fact that he was a genius with two doctorates who lived above Hodgins' garage, ate a lot of Mac & Cheese and was completely atheist unless you were speaking to his mother... in which case, he's Lutheran. Oh yeah, and once upon a time he slept with that Naomi chick.

What exactly is the disastrously heartbreaking loss here, people? He always managed to solve really difficult problems in the cases, but I'm pretty damn certain that Brennan would have had no trouble solving them on her own if she didn't have Zack to pass off half of her workload to, mmkay? She did teach him everything he knows - I think the lab can carry on with just as high a success rate without him.

To me, it was all summed up quite simply and rather perfectly by Dr. Addy himself during the "interrogation" scene in his finale hospital room: "The apprentice is expendable. I am expendable."

Yes, Zack. Yes, you are.

Out of everyone in the main cast that they could have chosen from to give them a great shock-factor finale, Zack was and still is the most expendable.

Cam is the boss and has a deep history with Booth. Choosing her would have been pointless, especially considering that Hanson had the chance (and the plans) to kill her off back in Season Two but decided not to take it. No point in getting rid of her now after deciding she was important enough to keep around back then, when she was still so new and slightly irritating.

Sweets would have been shocking, for sure, but still a little too obvious given the timeline of his arrival (which the characters themselves pointed out) and the fact that he was just a newbie. The shock value wouldn't have been nearly as great, and frankly it would have been pointless to spend so much time integrating him into the personal lives of the two Bs if you're just going to have him disappear from their stratosphere less than one full season later.

Hodgins was simply too damn obvious. That's all there was to it, really. On top of that, his relationship with Angela would have meant severe repercussions from the fandom as a whole seeing as choosing Hodgins for the apprentice would have resulted in a Hodgela break-up that could never, ever be fixed. That surely would not have gone over well with the 'shippers of that secondary OTP.

Angela... yeah, I'm not even going to bother explaining why it couldn't have been Angela. Same as I'm not going to waste any time explaining why neither Booth nor Brennan were options.

It had to be Zack. He was the only logical choice. And Bones fans are supposed to be able to appreciate logic. I don't see why so many of you seem incapable of doing so.

Not to mention the fact that Hart Hanson has already admitted that, had it not been for the writers' strike and the shortened season, his original plan for the Gormogon story was to have Zack end up falling victim to the serial cannibal.

So, like, isn't it better that he merely ended up being the apprentice instead? At least the kid is still alive and can (will) return for guest appearances until the end of all time. If I were you, I'd be a lot more pissed if he had ended up dead - but still, I would have gotten over it quickly. He was expendable. The show will carry on just fine without him.

If you really think Brennan needs a cute-but-geeky genius assistant by her side at all times, let's call up Clark Edison and put him to work as a series regular. That kid was sharp, witty and extremely easy on the eyes. Hell, he managed to outsmart Zack on the forensics of Max Keenan's murder case - surely he's worth just as much as Zack in the brains department, if not more.

Honestly, the uproar over it all has made practically zero sense to me since I first heard about it a few months ago. The only thing that suddenly changed is that I've realized something about the Bones fandom that I wasn't aware of at all until just last night: Bones has no-romos in the fandom. Or, more specifically, it has no-BB-romos. People who love the show but happen to hate the idea of a Booth/Brennan romance and resent the fact that the show basically revolves around that very thing.

Leigh voiced my main confused thought perfectly when I told her about this earlier this morning: "There are people like that who are watching?!?"

Yes, Leigh, there are. They are rolling their eyes heavily over the spoilers that indicate Season Four will revolve around progressing the BB relationship, whining incessantly that once upon a time this show used to be about forensics and solving crimes and an ensemble cast who worked together equally without carelessly tossing to the backburner any story that didn't revolve entirely around Booth and Brennan. They hate the kissing spoiler. They despise the "in bed" spoiler. I don't think I can find a proper word in my extensive vocabulary to describe how they feel about the newly-released "father of her baby" spoiler.

They do not 'ship Booth and Brennan. No, no - they apparently 'ship Angela/Hodgins (if they 'ship anything at all, really) and think the relentless and blatant push toward a B/B romance (and especially all of the obvious anvils there within) is out of character, overdone and entirely below the par of what they believe Hart and his team are capable of accomplishing with their writing skills.

To say that they're a little peeved about the upcoming Angela/Hodgins break-up would be putting it rather lightly. I mean, I'm not thrilled about it either - I really do thoroughly enjoy that coupling - but you've got to be kidding me if you can't see the entire purpose of it in the overall plot of their longterm romantic arc.

Angela and Hodgins are the secondary OTP - what we longterm 'shippers would refer to as "the constant romance." Constant romance pairings exist in almost every show that has a pre-established OTP; Monica & Chandler to the OTP of Ross/Rachel, Seth & Summer to the OTP of Ryan/Marissa, Miranda & Steve to the OTP of Carrie/Big, Dwight & Angela to the OTP of Jim/Pam... Angela & Hodgins to the OTP of Booth/Brennan.

Whereas the OTP is a consistent source of angst, waiting, hoping, wondering and pining for them to finally to get together and get it right, your "constant romance" couple - the secondary OTP - is the one you can always rest assured will end up together in the end. Main OTPs don't always make it last, but constant romances are exactly what their name implies: constant.

One day I'll do an in-depth blog explaining exactly how this system of OTPs works. I know its entirely confusing if you don't already know the logic behind it all.

The point is, Angela and Hodgins are the constant and therefore they have to be thrown into the boxing ring of angst every once in a while in order to keep their relationship from becoming stagnant and boring. They had to break up eventually. They'll also get back together eventually. More than likely, it'll happen long before Season Four is even close to over. That's how these things work, and if you're only watching the show for the constant romance 'ship then you really have to deal with the rules of what that means for them - just like I had to when Seth/Summer was all I cared about at all in the world of Newport Beach, California.

Suck it up, kiddos.

But hey, at least you're 'shipping something instead of complaining about how the show has too much romance and not enough science.

Anyway, this all wraps back around to Zack because this realization of no-romos in the fandom also pointed out to me where all of this Zack uproar is coming from: the no-romos! Apparently, if you're not 'shipping B/B then you're bound to be pretty torn up about the loss of the oh-so-expendable King of the Lab.

I have several close friends who have been watching Bones for years and 'shipping Booth/Brennan the entire time, and they're just as apathetic about the Zack "shocker" as my blog buddies and I happen to be after just over a month in this fandom. What's more, I've made tons of online B/B 'shipper buddies in the past month or so and none of them really care about the Zack thing either.

He was/is adorable and he was always good for a laugh or a great one-liner, but it doesn't seem like any of the OTP 'shippers are losing sleep over the loss of Dr. Addy. It's just the no-romos and the 'shippers who insist on focusing entirely on the secondary OTP, apparently.

Which brings me around to my final point of rage, which shall include wrapping up earlier statements made here; watching a show like Bones and yet completely refusing to 'ship Booth/Brennan is just as pointless as watching Lost and refusing to like Jack. As Caroline pointed out, Lost is a show that - like it or not - revolves around Jack. The Pilot was more or less shot through his POV, he was the first character we ever met, and he's since become the defacto leader of that schizophrenic island group. Bones has always, always, always been a story about Booth and Brennan. If it wasn't meant to be that way, they never would have asked David to change his initial contract and sign on for a weekly starring status as opposed to the 13-episodes-per-season deal he had inked before Emily came along.

This truth is further stated in an excerpt from this interview with Hart just before the third season finale:

Bones as Romantic Comedy: From the very beginning Bones was going to be an amusing character-driven show, said Hanson. The reason? As the bodies they discovered were, many times, long deceased, there was no emotional connection to the murder victims, like there is in CSI or Law & Order. Thus, there had to be some emotional exchange somewhere in the show.

It didn't become a Romantic Comedy until Boreanaz and Deschanel were hired. Only when he saw them together on-screen, and saw the connection they had, did Hart and his team decide to move towards the romantic comedy angle. According to Hart, David and Emily have that connection that people can't write.


Sure, the first season was more forensics-heavy and made a stronger attempt at trying to be creepy, riveting and intelligent like it's counterparts on other networks, but David and Hart have readily admitted that the only reason it stayed like that for so long was because the network and other members of the production team forced them to keep it as such despite desperate pleas from Hanson, Boreanaz and Deschanel to recognize what the real story of the show had quickly become.

If you didn't notice by at least the very beginning of Season Two that this was an hour-long dramedy a la Gilmore Girls with some bones, blood and criminals thrown in for good measure, that's your own fault. If you completely missed every single interview in which David talked about his entire focus and the focus of the show being on the relationship between Booth and Brennan, that's your own fault. If you missed it when David, yet again, flat out categorized the series as "a romantic comedy" as opposed to a crime drama, that is most definitely your own fault. Don't run around threatening to stop watching the show if it doesn't "get back to its roots" and "remember that its a show about forensic science and criminology" when, ya know, it absolutely isn't that at all.

And not being about the crime and the science is exactly what it makes it so wonderfully new and exciting to watch. In another excerpt from the very same article that I linked to moments ago, the author noted that, "Hart took the concept of the murder mystery and bent it to his own desires, focusing more on the interactions between the characters rather than the long-dead murder victims. With that, he turned a show that could have been another copy of CSI into something goofy and romantic in nature. Which means something fresh and unique in a world of cookie-cutter series."

Focus on the last bit of that quote, if you will, please. Because that's kind of my entire point, here. Goofy and romantic are what make it stand out from the crowd, and I highly doubt it would be as successful as it is had it tried to match other truly forensic shows point for point. Appreciate the rebellion from the norm, people.

But if you're so hell bent on finding solid criminal forensic stories that barely tap into the potential for romance, I'm sure CSI would love to add you to its ratings curve. And if you're even more hell bent on finding solid criminal forensic stories that barely tap into the potential for romance and star Dr. Temperance Brennan at the forefront of her game, I suggest you visit your local Barnes & Noble and start reading through everything Kathy Reichs has ever written. As a 'shipper, I find myself skipping entire chapters of those books in a desperate search for the next moment when Tempe and Andy Ryan will trade barbs or swoon at one another again - believe me, the forensic criminology far outweighs the romance in Brennan's book life.

I'm sure you'll be much happier with her in that world instead of the one portrayed weekly on FOX.

But if you insist on sticking around to watch the new season of Bones despite how disgruntled you all seem to be about it, at least make an attempt to see the rationale behind Hanson's decisions and the fact that the Booth/Brennan romance writing has been blatantly on the wall all along - this show stopped being about the squint squad solving crime with their forensics skills the second Booth told Brennan they would be just like Mulder and Scully.

Or, to go along with the information given directly from the horse's own mouth, Hart Hanson was quoted here as saying that "...around the time someone was eaten by a bear we hit our stride in how touching and romantic this show could be with those two going out in the world."

Okay, so I claim it was the Pilot and Hart says it was Episode 4. Shockingly huge difference there, folks.

I mean, c'mon - it doesn't get much more obvious than that. It's been this way all along.

So if you're going to keep watching, please stop whining. And if you're going to keep whining, please just stop watching - you've been threatening to do so anyway - but don't get all high and mighty if/when the show gets canceled due to poor ratings because you all walked away from it instead of choosing to accept it for the great work of television that it actually happens to be in reality.

Like I said before, that's your own fault.

9 Responses to “Bones: Now You're Just Complaining Because You Have Nothing to Complain About”

Milky said...

Good to see my thoughts written down!
I enjoy the show because of the relationships in it, not because of the crime and forensics. I like that part too, but i watch it because of the group of ppl in there, for the depth of the characters and the way they interact.
As you say, that's what the show is about. the rest, it's just context.

Mae Vaughan said...

Thanks for the support! Glad to know people outside of my personal circle of Bones fans feel the same way. I just get so frustrated with all the complaining when it's not like the current path of the plot is anything new. I honestly don't see how people have continued to not notice the blatant romantic overtones since day one -- the crimes and forensics can be interesting, for sure, but that's not what the overall purpose and draw of the show is meant to be for the audience.

Eh, whatever. I figure, let the complainers bail out and abandon ship. The Booth/Brennan fangirls are doing a fine job of recruiting more of their own kind to the show (us bloggers here are total proof of that) and I believe if we continue to keep bringing more 'shippers to the fold, the ratings will hold steady or increase even more despite the loss of the whiners.

Thanks again for reading! Feel free to share the opinions of the blog with other fans you know who might feel the same!

- Mae

cinderellahn said...

So I just re-read this and you are just so damned eloquent.

Every B/B shipper should read this.

Mae Vaughan said...

So point them toward it... *wink*

I know there's an entire LJ community full of them, non? Go forth and share!

shauna said...

Okay, can I just say that I love you for writing this?! THANK YOU SO MUCH. The negativity tends to get me down, so this was like a breath of fresh air. The Bones fandom for the most part is a very frustrating place. Honestly, I'm beginning to think that some people have been watching a different show than me since day one. (seriously, I can't believe that some people are under the impression that bones wasn't revolved around the bb relationship? I mean I thought it was pretty obvious since the beginning.) I don't understand it. Luckily, I'm a regular poster and moderator on the Fanforum message boards (probably the most active and popular message boards on the net for tv shows, celebs, spoilers) Anyway, the Bones fandom there is a actually a very happy place. Over there you'll find the biggest group of probably the most dedicated/passionate B/B fans around in one place, including myself, who love the show and aren't constantly tearing it down. But other places, especially LJ, of course it's like the opposite, with non-stop criticism of the show and the B/B ship. I, including many others, have been getting so fed up with all the negativity surrounding the fandom. No, no one has to like everything or always be satisfied with a show. God knows I've done my fair share of complaining about an episode or a plot I didn't like. But, to the degree in which it's gotten to for some people, it's, getting to be beyond anything I've ever seen in fandom and I'm in some crazy fandoms. But you know what? It's okay, because the fangirls will NEVER go away and we'll always be getting more and more people to watch. Sorry to keep rambling but this essay just made my day and I'm gonna do my best to spread it around. I know of many people who feel the same way as you and they'll be ecstatic to read this. Thanks again!

Mae Vaughan said...

Aww, yay! Thanks so much for your kind words and especially for the support! I'm glad my thoughts are in line with yours and those of other fans! Please do spread the link around to other fans that you believe would feel the same - we appreciate any and all support we can get for this blog!

Thanks again and hope to see you commenting around here again!

- Mae

P.S. Be on the lookout for me, as I may come join your FanForum area if it's as friendly and hopeful as you claim :)

4th-avenue-cafe said...

A little late to the post, but can I just say how much I love you for this post?

I'm one of the people who loves this show because of the BB interactions. Originally I started watching it for David Boreanaz, but I found it refreshing that it isn't like CSI.

Callie said...

Thank you! Since day 1, the show has been focused on these 2 as the main and center, and I don't get the complaining now... B/B are basically why I watch this show. I know not a goddamn thing about science or forensics, so this show tends to make me feel smarter, LMAO. I am actually really excited about these spoilers coming up as well. Naked B/B in bed? Yes please!

I actually enjoyed the finale, and while I think it could've been done better, I blame the strike, because instead of only 22 episodes we got 15, which makes it really hard to work with storylines. I can actually see Zack being Gormogon's apprentice, I think his experience in Iraq probably affected him a lot...

The only thing that bugged me about the A/H break up is how it was done, but honestly? I can deal, because I know they will get back together. Beside there were 2 great seasons of them together, and I can always go back and enjoy those episodes.

Christina said...

A-FREAKING-MEN. Thank you!! This is everything that I've ever wanted to say but haven't been figured out how to. PERFECT. 200% agree!