Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bones: Naked. Bed. Booth. Brennan. Yikes.

Here’s what I love about Bones.

While Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse are trying to convince me to spend my summer searching for non-canon Lost clues, Hart Hanson comes out and tells me things.

Big things.

Like that Booth and Brennan will “definitely” kiss for real this season.

Like that Booth and Brennan will end up “in bed together” this season.

Like that Booth and Brennan will end up naked in bed together this season.

Um, what?

See, there are lots of reasons—anvilicious reasons, but reasons nonetheless—why non-couples end up in bed together.

Ask Mulder and Scully.

Ask Lynette and Hot Pizza Guy.

Ask Seth, Summer, Marissa, and Ryan. (I haven’t seen this one, but Mae has, and it looks seriously awkward.)

This part—the just plain “in bed” part—was the first piece of the puzzle Hart Hanson gave away. We were reeling with speculation, but since this is a pretty typical fare for fandom (and especially fanfiction), we had a lot of pretty simple explanations.

Like they’re on a case in a desolate area where there’s one hotel. One hotel with one empty room with one bed.

She’s got the flu, so he spends the night to make sure she’s okay. They’re watching a movie on top of the covers on her bed and fall asleep.

You want more?

It doesn’t matter the scenario. What matters is that, inevitably, this is what happens. “I’ll take the couch.” “Don’t be silly.” “Bones, I don’t think this is a good idea.” “Booth, we’re both adults. It’s a big bed.”

Cut to eight hours later, when Booth is totally the big spoon.

We’ve seen it before. We love it, but we’ve seen it before.

We’ve also seen situations in which our favorite characters end up naked together.

Ask Mulder and Scully.

Ask Sydney and Vaughn.

Quarantine, close-quarters ops—total options for Booth/Brennan nakedness.

But Booth/Brennan nudity in the same breath as Booth/Brennan bed-sharing? Holy cow.

‘Cause we can think about scenarios in which they’d have to share a bed, and we can think about scenarios in which they might be naked, but why both at the same time?

Leigh suggested an unfortunate situation in which our beloved Booth and Brennan are trapped somewhere in wet clothes. You know, a body heat issue. Hypothermia. I think this happened on Taxi once.

Mae and I are pretty sure at this point that it’s a dream. (More on that later.)

It could also be—but don’t hold your breath—that Booth and Brennan have sex. This would be similar to Damon and Carlton calling their super secret the “Frozen Donkey Wheel,” which turned out to be, in actuality, a frozen donkey wheel.

Frankly, I can’t wait for this. I WOULD love to see them in bed naked together (somehow, however) and Brennan's on her side facing away from booth and he's got, like, one finger almost touching her. He desperately wants to touch her, but he just can’t.

Mae: “Gah, dude. Just...gah.” [So glad she’s back, by the way. I missed this girl!]

But given a few other comments from Hart Hanson, it seems most likely that the whole thing is going to be a dream. Now, Mae has pretty much convinced me that Booth is now aware of his everlasting love for Brennan. So it would be more telling, I suppose, if this was Brennan’s dream.

In any case, this is a serious anvil situation. Just like Lorelai had to eventually face the drama her subconscious created by giving her a Married to Luke dream, Brennan and/or Booth will have to face their feelings after a Sleeping with My Partner dream.

Oh, man, Brennan explaining how dreams work. I can picture it now.

Regardless of how this happens, the fact is that we’re going to get a Booth and Brennan in bed naked together scene.

Just imagine the icons, y’all.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The X-Files: I Want To Believe: You Had Me Big Time

Warning: Spoilers for The X-Files: I Want To Believe. Mae, don't read this until after we talk on Saturday!

For several reasons, including my very-demanding job and an almost-miss relationship, this summer is fast becoming a lesson in waiting too long for things that don’t turn out the way you thought they would.

Many of you may be sensing where I’m going with this.

It’s been six years since the finale of The X-Files, and very few people were as excited as I was for the recently-released movie. The previews would come on and I would just grab my hair and wiggle my legs and squee. It was about eight months of unbridled speculation, as I grasped for (largely unavailable) spoilers that might shed some light on the whereabouts of my first favorite couple.

As I hurried in to a screening of The X-Files: I Want to Believe, I couldn’t wait to find out the logistics of Mulder and Scully’s life.

Let me start by saying that I wasn’t expecting The Best Movie I’ve Ever Seen. I am a big proponent of appreciating things for what they are; all I wanted from this movie was what they promised me—a scary story accompanying a much-anticipated return for some much-beloved characters. In certain cases, I can overlook perceived mediocrity.

Unfortunately, I was just disappointed.

Because that, my friends, was a bad movie.

In discussing all of the things I disliked about it, it’s probably best to break it down into sections. I imagine we’ll be doing a podcast on this bullshit next month; hopefully one of my cobloggers will think it was in fact The Best Movie She’s Ever Seen, so that it’ll be an interesting discussion and not just one long gripe session.

So let’s talk about the actual plot first, shall we?

We see a young FBI agent get attacked outside of her home. The bureau is using a lot of manpower to find her, including the efforts of Special Agent Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet, yuck) and Special Agent Drummy (Xzibit). Through a series of pretty confusing bureautastic investigative strategies—and with the help of a pedophile ex-priest—they trace the agent and another missing girl to some Russians who are doing some freaky shit with stem cells. It has something to do with full head transplants and the husband of this guy who was dying of cancer. And organ transplant teams.

When I first heard that the movie was going to be more Monster-of-the-Week than mytharc, I was disappointed. I mean, isn’t the mythology the reason why the show survived for as long as it did? America as a whole will always remember The X-Files for the aliens. I figured I could deal with a MOTW movie, especially when the producers promised that the show’s legacy wouldn’t be forgotten and that the monster in question would be really effing scary.

Y’all, I went to see this movie by myself and was not for a moment scared. I wasn’t even scared when I ventured into the parking lot afterwards by myself. It took me a good forty-five seconds to find my car, and the fleeting moment of Did Someone Steal My Vehicle was five times scarier than that movie.

A critical piece of a good horror or action movie is a well-conceived villain. Why do you think so many people are going to see The Dark Knight? Because Nestor Carbonell’s eyeliner is so expertly applied?

Over the years, The X-Files had some great bad guys, in both the mytharc and the MOTW episodes. Sure, you’ve got the Cigarette Smoking Man, but there’s also Tooms, Donnie Pfaster, Leonard Betts, and loads more.

But the bad guys in the movie were just useless. I still don’t really understand what it was that they were doing, why they were doing it, or what ended up happening to them. Was the girl who almost got her head cut off okay? Why were the bad guys going after women, especially if the fellow who “needed” the head transplant was a man? Obviously there are going to be some medical challenges involved in a whole head transplant, but it seems like you’d probably avoid a few of them by not confusing sexes.

Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but the words “head transplant” were never once spoken, as far as I can remember. The only explanations we got from the movie were in the form of printouts from Scully’s computer and, you know, seeing disembodied heads.

As expected, the plot was weak. But I would have been more than okay with a less-than-amazing plot if the subplots were properly utilized and the X-Files format was recognized.

On that note, let’s touch on the inclusion of Deputy Director Skinner.

If you were an Alias fan, you might remember a season five episode in which, tipped off to a breach in Agency security, Jack authorizes the team to break into Langley. In a pretty so-so season (Yay Isabelle! Boo Rachel Gibson!), this op was a shining moment for APO. Of course, though, the mission doesn’t go according to plan. Tom breaks with the mission spec to go hunting down info on his wife’s killer, and Rachel gets locked into a server room.

All of this is relevant because to save everyone’s asses, Jack has to call in for an assist. From Eric Weiss. It’s awesome. Weiss left early in season five for a kick-ass promotion where he gets to brief the President on intelligence matters every day. We missed him and his metrosexual tendencies. He was barely in the episode, but he was charming, he was helpful, and he damn well saved the day. More than that, though, it was nice to know that Weiss was okay. He had a nice life in Washington, where he dressed nicely, was the boss of his office, and took Pilates.

Skinner’s return should have been like that.

I mean, we love Skinner, and it was just disappointing to have his hush-hush cameo so poorly executed.

It was as if his scenes were initially written for Xzibit, and then when Mitch Pileggi called Chris Carter late in shooting, they just decided to have Skinner do those pages instead. Rather than a triumphant moment for Mulder and Scully’s most trusted ally, it was a half-assed attempt at recalling the series.

In the six years since the finale, had Skinner been promoted? Does he have a girlfriend? It was a great opportunity to economically tell the audience what’s been going on at the bureau (and in the intelligence world) since Mulder and Scully got out of the business, but the chance was passed up, and how.

Okay, fine, now it’s time to talk about the ship.

I wanted to go into this movie and see the two of them kicking ass and taking names. I wanted car scenes and Mulder losing his gun and philosophical debates about belief and religion and trust. I wanted man of science, man of faith debates! And then, maybe, just maybe, I thought we’d see a really good kiss.

Knowing what I do about The X-Files, I really didn’t think that was too tall of an order.

I’m even more confused about the romantic subplot than I am about the Russian head swappers, because I don’t particularly care about the stem cell terrorists. Like I said, I would have happily sacrificed a good, scary story for adept Mulder/Scully interaction. I’ve been doing it since “Detour.” (In a perfect world, and you’d imagine with six years of prep time, you wouldn’t have to sacrifice anything, but whatever.)

I understand that Chris Carter wanted to bring in new viewers. He wanted to shy away from the mytharc so that people wouldn’t feel, ahem, alienated from the movie. He told us that over and over again. Except you know what? Tough shit. Your show is about aliens. America is always going to associate The X-Files with aliens. None of the people who you so desperately wanted to bring in were listening, because you said that at an X-Files retrospective panel, populated by fanboys and girls. They didn’t feel like reading an article the next day about your alien movie.

So I feel like Chris Carter didn’t want to burden the story with fifteen years of backstory. He wanted the audience to know that they used to work together and they don’t anymore. I felt cheated. In’s review of the movie, they stipulated that Scully lived in Mulder’s house. Did she? I went into the theater expecting them to have been cohabitating for the last six years, but looking back now, I don’t think they were. I guess at one point she said something about it being home, but I’m still not sure I understand.

After reading XFN’s review, I thought when she told Xzibit, “I don’t work with Fox Mulder any longer,” she meant just that. Exchange work for “speak” or “live” or “sleep,” and I would have expected a different statement. Now, though, I don’t think they were living together or even spending very much time together.

I think she knew where he was and stopped by occasionally to make sure he was still feeding himself.

So at some point in the timeline of the film, they started sleeping together again. I’m so frustrated by the ambiguity. Mulder and Scully’s relationship has always been pretty vague as far as UST becoming RST, but this movie at least established that, for at least a percentage of the film, they were together in a lot of senses of the word. So why the vagueness? During the series run, Chris Carter was attempting to appease the shippers and the noromos, but here? If I was a staunch noromo, I probably would have killed myself halfway through the movie.

Because when the show was on, their argument was largely that they didn’t want what was awesome about Mulder and Scully to be adulterated by relationship angst. Their close friendship as it stood—the rescuing of each other, the partnership—was the heart of the show and shouldn’t be watered down by will-they-or-won’t-they. I’m sure they’re sitting around saying “I told you so” at this point.

Because that was a lot of angst.

Leigh and I just thought it was ridiculous how much they argued about nonsense. She was the one who convinced him to go out into the field, and yet she was so quick to turn it around and be irritated that he wasn’t giving it up easily enough. When he agreed to take the case “on one condition,” I was stoked. First loves back together—this is why I couldn’t wait to see this movie. And yet really, all they did together was that first meeting with Father Joe. After she got apprehensive about Mulder being sucked into the darkness, she went back to being a doctor.

That is so not what I signed up for.

One thing that surprised both Leigh and me? Scully’s confession of “in love.” Not “love,” but “in love.” “This stubbornness of yours—it’s why I fell in love with you,” she says. “It’s like you said,” he counters, “It’s why we can’t be together.”

Um, wow. We finally get that declaration, and he just shoots her down like that? It’s cold and it’s unpleasant and just kind of mean.

Leigh wants to know what Scully expected when she brought Mulder onto the case. Did she really think he’d come out for one interview with Father Joe, write a memo, and say, “Hallelujah! The FBI isn’t mad anymore! Let’s move back to Washington!”

If she did, she’s stupid. Because we knew he wouldn’t do that.

Her passionate arguments about them being “two people” now, about wanting to be free of the darkness, made sense to me, but not in the context of everything that was happening. All Mulder was doing was following the case. He hadn’t been overwhelmingly consumed by it, and he wasn’t, like, neglecting her for work purposes. It wouldn’t have been difficult to establish that he was doing these things. Not to overly praise season five of Alias, but there’s a really great scene where Sydney is up in the middle of the night and Vaughn is concerned and wishes she would stop working so hard. That’s all it would have taken. Instead, though, it just seemed kind of random that Scully was so upset.

While we’re at it, what did the end of the movie mean?

I understand that the footage shown during the credits was symbolic, showing the ice melting and the sky brightening until finally revealing Mulder and Scully basking in the sunlight looking decidedly happy. I don’t think it was supposed to be them actually rowing toward a tropical island paradise, but it’s really hard for my brain not to think that the firsts (Mulder and Scully) and the favorites (Jack and Kate) are next-door neighbors. I mean, two of them are medical doctors and two of them are ex-fugitives. They have a lot in common.

Also, they’ve both stolen babies.

Oh. They haven’t? Just Jack and Kate?


Yeah, it might have been difficult to cover the William backstory without getting knee-deep in supersoldiers, military abduction, and magnetite, but we think it would have been awesome if the kid in the hospital was William.

What I keep saying is that the stakes should have (and easily could have) been higher.

Force the pair to really face their feelings about Baby William. Sure, Mulder said their baby “left us both with an emptiness that can’t be filled,” but I would have appreciated more. Fact of the matter is, Christian in the hospital easily could have been William, for all Scully knows. That’s the thing about random adoption—she has no idea where her son is, who his parents are, or how he’s doing.

I think that could have the potential to really screw with your mind, especially if you gave your son up under the circumstances Scully did. She gave up William with the intention of protecting him, but she’ll never know ever again that he’s okay.

There’s such potential for drama there, and I don’t think Chris Carter even realizes it. These emotions deserve a whole lot more than one passing mention.

Personally, I think this movie could have had much higher stakes.

Two missing agents who we have no connection to? Mulder almost losing a limb? Do you not remember, Mr. Carter, that your last movie had at its crux (A) the end of the planet at the hands of angry aliens, (B) the closing of the X-Files, and (C) AGENT SCULLY BEING EXPLODED BY A BABY ALIEN GROWING INSIDE OF HER ABDOMINAL CAVITY?

Says a commenter on, “Save the world or at least a townful of people, it's movie time! Blow some shit up! Fire a gun! I'm not a fan of overblown action scenes, but come on! Guns were always a huge part of the show.”

(In sixth grade, the girls in my class were instructed to make a list of ten women who we admire. I picked Dana Scully over my own mom because she carried a weapon. I’m usually a pacifist, but I missed the gun-wielding, too.)

If this were my movie, I would have made the deal between the FBI and Mulder a little more explicit and a little more than “you come to a meeting, we forget you killed a guy.” How’s this for a deal: you solve this case, we reopen the X-Files for you.

Because, really, it’s interesting that this movie involved no unexplained phenomenon. It was strictly science-based. If this was back in the day, Father Joe’s involvement wouldn’t have forced this case to be classified an X-File. There was no paranormal activity going on here. Which is fine, it’s just another example of Chris Carter straying from the established canon.

By incorporating the actual, physical X-Files, the basement office, this case could have easily been tied to all of its predecessors. I feel like this move would have made the stakes a little more concrete. Mulder, who’s bored, disgruntled, and generally aimless, would initially jump at the chance to take back the X-Files. Scully’s fears would have been much more legitimate, as she perhaps would start to see just how much her life, home, and relationship would change if she went back to work at the FBI. It’s not just about this one case, it’s about giving up the ghost, accepting your retirement, and appreciating that this person is more important to you than a paranormal caseload.

All of that couldn’t be conveyed in this storyline.

So we’re maybe a little intrigued by the discussion of yet another movie waiting to be produced. After the train wreck that was I Want To Believe, we’re pretty sure that’s never going to happen. We’re kind of glad that they won’t have the opportunity to further butcher our people, but, then again, Chris Carter has said he wants it to be a mytharc movie about the 2012 apocalypse.

Frankly, I could have waited for a mytharc movie.

Because, ultimately, Chris Carter made a movie that not that many people went to go see. I think he could have been much more successful making a movie that people like Leigh and me wanted to go see three times.

An poster says, “Here's to hoping that even with this setback, we somehow get a third and the aliens make it more interesting. You simply can't go wrong with aliens.”

And please don’t ever use Mark Snow’s score for a lame George W. Bush joke ever again.

Leigh says, “Jokes about George W. Bush are no longer funny. It doesn't matter what side of the debate you're on or if you do/don't like him. I think we all can agree that the topic has been beaten to such a fine pulp that not even the squintiest of the squints could identify that poor horse. And yes, let's have some respect for the genius that is Mr. Mark Snow and not use his music to show that you are yet another Hollywood filmmaker who is upset with Bush.”

Tonight, in an effort to fill time while doing my exercises, I turned on Fight the Future for old time’s sake. Now, I understand that FTF had a MUCH larger budget, but it is being known to me now as The Only X-Files Movie Posterity Will Remember.

I was texting with Leigh while watching, and I could only say, sadly, “[FTF] is vastly superior.” Leigh’s response: “You don’t know how many times I have said that.”

When you’re making an actiony scary movie, I can excuse a lot of things because of money. Unfortunately, I will not excuse poor writing on account of money.

The dialogue in FTF is just so much better. It’s so quotable! Leigh and I swapped a dozen texts just quoting the first movie.

“I owe you everything. Scully, you owe me nothing.”

“I had you big time.”

“Next time, you’re buying.”

“Five years together, Scully, when have I ever been wrong? Never! Not about driving, anyway.”

Mind you, Chris Carter wrote the screenplay for FTF while the series was still on. The movie was filmed during the pre-season five hiatus, though it canonically fits (admittedly not seamlessly) between seasons five and six. They had a hella long time for IWTB and it was not quotable. It was, in some places, kind of trite and out of character, I thought. Yeah, it was great to see them “back together,” but it was unfortunate that they weren’t written like classic Mulder and Scully.

Scully doesn’t make penis jokes.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Confessions of a Shipaholic

My name is Caroline, and I am a shipaholic.

When tuning in to a new series, I seek out the primary couple of the show. (The best ships are established in pilots.) I enjoy following romantic storylines; I’ll tough out will-they-or-won’t-they for far longer than I would have originally thought possible.

In my current television repertoire, the only shows I watch that don’t have serious ships are Desperate Housewives, 30 Rock, and Friday Night Lights. (I mean, I ship Coach/Mrs. Coach, but that’s kind of unnecessary, no?)

As we’ve mentioned a couple of times, the number of Chaos in General writers who watch Bones has increased 400% in the past two weeks. In the last fourteen days, I’ve watched all fifty-eight episodes. Having ripped through seasons one and two using and Netflix, I recently purchased the boxed sets from so that I can go back and relive the magic, preferably with audio commentary. They should arrive at my house tomorrow. (P.S. Both sets are only $16.99 apiece and eligible for free shipping. Big bargain.)

Bones was built for people like us.

The relationship between Booth and Brennan, established in the pilot, sounds a lot like the ships of our history: Girl with Mommy/Daddy issues becomes a workaholic who has trouble with relationships and excels at compartmentalizing emotions. Boy with a big heart befriends Girl through teamwork; slowly breaks down her stone wall of professionalism. I’ve pretty much just described Carter and Abby, Sydney and Vaughn, Jack and Kate, Derek and Meredith, and, to a lesser extent, Mulder and Scully.

So we’re already committed to the formula that makes the idea of Booth/Brennan a good one.

But Booth and Bones adds a whole extra layer of awesome to the established blueprint of television romance.

Most of this is because of the ridiculous amount of anvils used by the writers on the lead characters. When writing for a ship, you occasionally must throw in plot anvils, devices used to force characters to think about big, important relationship things, usually marriage and/or babies. I did a Google search yesterday for “TV relationship anvil” to try to find a satisfactory definition, and then best I came up with was from a CSI fandom website: “Anvil: a scene, a piece of dialogue, a plot development, etc. that foreshadows some significant issue, situation, or problem that a character will likely have to address, confront, or resolve in future episodes.” Nice work, Grissom/Sara shippers!

In the X-Files episode “Requiem,” Scully bounces and sings to a baby; later, Mulder sends her back to Washington because this case is getting dangerous, she’s sick, and he wants her to have a normal life. The baby is an anvil.

On Alias, Sydney and Vaughn had to go undercover as newlyweds in “Welcome to Liberty Village.” They had to face their issues about their own relationship while posing as Karen and Dave. (Case in point: “Dave” has to explain how he proposed to “Karen”; Vaughn improvises a story using his botched plan for proposing to Sydney in Santa Barbara. Damn you, Covenant!) Mulder and Scully once went undercover as a married couple, too: in “Arcadia,” an episode we know and love. Mostly, it’s just funny; there really aren’t any anvils to be had here.

I called in Leigh for an assist on Gilmore Girls anvils; Amy Sherman-Palladino was exceptionally adept at utilizing them. Luke and Lorelai had their fair share of anvils before getting together, including the tried-and-true pretending-to-be-married while hunting for apartments, the winning of the lunch basket in “A Tisket, A Tasket,” and the dancing at Liz and TJ’s wedding.

Leigh: “The iconic image of the two of them standing underneath the chuppah as a couple would do on their wedding day during the episode when Lorelai called off the wedding to Max. There was also the dream sequence Lorelai had at the beginning of season three where she dreamed that she walked downstairs and Luke was making her breakfast and she was pregnant with his twins...they also kissed so it was good times. That dropped a bit of a hint. Bert the Toolbox...made several appearances... Will those do?”

Ha, love that girl.

Anyway, everyone utilizes anvils every once in a while. What’s so great about Bones is its unashamed and perpetual use of anvils. Bones doesn’t just drop those anvils on Booth and Brennan, they drop them often and in episode-long arcs, not fleeting moments.

While Scully got to hold a baby for half a scene in that season seven finale, Bones and Booth get Baby Andy for an entire episode, entitled “Baby in the Bough.”

While Luke and Lorelai got a moment under the chuppah, Bones and Booth get a cliffhanger on the altar.

Also, while anvils are meant to force our favorite characters to deal with emotions, Bones often sidesteps the subtlety and uses an overt mechanism to force emotional development: couples therapy. Hello, Dr. Sweets! Instead of leaving the audience to wonder what kind of anvil Booth’s fruit pie obsession is, Sweets comes right out and says, “I think it’s interesting psychologically how Agent Booth’s constant efforts to persuade you to enjoy fruit pie could be interpreted as a type of seduction.” (P.S. Pie? Oldest anvil in the book. Our Carter-and-Abby hangout is

The girls who write for this website appreciate nuance. We’re Lost viewers, for crying out loud. So why does it feel so delightful being crushed by the weight of the six-ton anvil that is Baby Andy?

For starters, anvils move our ships closer together. Like I said, it forces the issue, whatever that is. Temperance Brennan doesn’t like babies? Well, force her to spend the day with one and see if she changes her mind. (Of course she changes her mind. At least a little bit.) Jack and Kate are on the outs? Trap ‘em in a net together and force them to solve a problem together. It's nice to have it spelled out for you every once in a while.

The other reason why it works so well is because of the chemistry between David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel. Yeah, the anvils fall hard, but they land softly on the unbelievably ridiculous sexual tension between Brennan and Booth. You can’t fake that.

Just ask Mary McCormack.

There were a lot of things I didn’t like about In Plain Sight, but the most egregious was that I felt as though the show was trying to force an OTP between Mary and Marshall.

Umm, not going to happen, folks.

I said a few weeks ago that I can’t believe they let this show get on the air thinking that either Marshall or Raphael was a legitimate love interest for Mary. I pity anyone sitting over at USA thinking they have a great love triangle on their hands, because they really don’t. What I did like about In Plain Sight was Mary McCormack. She’s awesome. I loved her on The West Wing, and, like Sophie said the other day, I only hated her on ER because I thought she posed a threat to m’Carby. The show doesn’t need an OTP. It needs less Jinx and Brandy—seriously, who names one kid Mary and the other kid Brandy?—but it’s not in desperate need of a relationship.

Forcing the issue is getting you nowhere fast, because I will never ever ever buy a Marshall/Mary hookup. Grody.

I’m also concerned about Fringe.

Yes, I watched the pilot streaming illegally on the internet. Within the next few days, I’ll post a more comprehensive take on the series, but in the context of this post, all that really matters is that I’m not buying the chemistry between Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv.

It goes without saying that JJ Abrams has given me some serious ship material. Sydney and Vaughn will always have a place in my heart, and Jack and Kate are hands-down my favorite TV couple of all time.

Without even seeing the pilot, you probably could have hypothesized that Jackson and Torv would be romantic leads. I went into the pilot fully expecting to be drawn in by the love story.

Now, to be honest, it wasn’t quite as blatant as other things I’ve seen. Say what you want about Jack and Kate in their post-pilot interactions, but their scenes in the pilot scream “We are the OTP.” And in the pilot of Bones, Booth says to Brennan, “What? You want me to spit in my hand? We’re Scully and Mulder.”

The Olivia Dunham/Peter Bishop relationship has potential, but it was by no means established in the pilot as inevitable.

Frankly, I wasn’t crazy about Anna Torv. I thought her acting came across as a little heavy-handed, and while it’s awesome to see a Jabrams female lead as someone who’s a little more Sydney Bristow than Kate Austen, I just wasn’t sold on the actress or the character.

I didn’t buy the chemistry right off the bat. I felt a sort of situational connection between Olivia and Peter, but I didn’t perceive an emotional attachment. No, this isn’t primarily a love story, but I would have expected the makings of an OTP. Let me put it this way. Peter Bishop will never be able to tell Olivia a story about how his father’s watch—one you could “set your heart by”—stopped on the day he met her. However brief the Sydney/Vaughn interaction in the pilot, you can sense the spark for something exceptional.

In the pilot, Olivia’s secret boyfriend (not Peter) is in whoa danger, so Olivia does something so dangerous it’s just plain stupid: she lets a deranged old man fresh out of the mental institution put electrodes on her, drug her up with LSD, put her in a big tub of water, and basically fry her brain so that she can communicate with the comatose.

I mean, seriously.

No guy is worth frying your brain like that. Especially not that guy, who seems to always play jerks, including Abby’s jerk ex-husband Richard on ER. (Thanks, though, for being a lovely Carby anvil, Mark Valley!)

I might be kicking myself in six months, when the Olivia/Peter OTP has been fleshed out some more and I’m obsessed with it, but for now, I’m very skeptical.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Chaos in Stereo Episode Three: Ridiculous Podcast Fun

Oh, that's not what RPF stands for? Well, in this installment of Chaos in Stereo, we're definitely having RPF while discussing RPF in the traditional sense--real person fandom.

What brings us to this topic of conversation? Funny you should ask. With Leigh, Mae, and me all entering the awesome fandom that is Booth/Brennan, we've also been introducing to the insanity that is David Boreanaz/Emily Deschanel. I mean, we have other examples of RPF, but that's really why we're here today.

If you wonder why anyone would be interested in RPF (or if you're like us and are pathetically entranced by it), have a listen.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Grey's Anatomy: Houses and Hype

Let’s start by making one thing clear: TV Guide is nothing without Michael Ausiello. Since his departure, the news coverage over there has gotten increasingly pathetic, mostly trending toward celebrity updates—many of whom have never been on a television series in their life. Ausiello took his obviously-impressive rolodex over to Entertainment Weekly, and he’s already posted an exclusive story.

So this evening, when I went to do my just-about-hourly check of my trusty Web sites, I was shocked to see the following huge headline on “Grey's Triangle Not Over?! Exclusive: The coast may not be clear for reunited Mer-Der so soon, nor without some major drama.”


Of course, I clicked, because OH NO BITCHES.

Considering how the finale ended (massive amounts of Mer/Der squeeage going on over here), I had grown quite comfortable with the idea of one of my ships being done. In our post-finale podcast, Mae, Leigh, and I all agreed that Derek and Meredith house-building pretty much means “together for good.” Not to mention that whole Shonda Rhimes thing about telling us they were going to be “together for good” by the end of the finale.

Yes, I had grown quite comfortable.

And let’s face it. Derek and Meredith is an inevitability. Jack and Kate, I love them terribly and will never forgive Darlton, JJ, or myself if it doesn’t work out, but it’s by no means inevitable. Grey’s is historically mean to shippers (Addisex, anyone?), but Derek and Meredith has never been in question, as far as I’m concerned. It was just a matter of how long it would take. I never saw Rose as anything more than a convenient lesson in delayed gratification.

On the podcast, we went so far as to guess that we’d never see Rose again.

So that was obviously surprise number one when I saw that headline.

But surprise number two was more of a large eyeroll than a surprise. Because seriously? You’re going to drag this out some more? The Rose story is out of juice, people. The man said, “In order for me to kiss you the way I want to kiss you, in order to do more than kiss you, I need to speak to Rose.” The most I can imagine Rose getting in the premiere is the official goodbye scene.

Anyway, I clicked on the article. Here’s what Matt Webb Mitovich has to say: “Sources tell me exclusively that when Rose is excised from the superstar surgeon's love life, though she plays it cool with Mer, she is far from Zen about the whole thing with the boyfriend. ‘I'd count on at least one emotional outburst,’ previews a setsider. ‘Rose is not her usual composed self with Derek.’”

Okay, to me, that hardly says “Triangle Not Over.”

That says “Hell hath no fury,” but it doesn’t say “Triangle Not Over.”

Honestly? Sounds like it has potential for funny. Or at least a really great oh-snap moment for Rose. We’ve ALL been saying that Derek needs to get taken down a peg or two, and he really did screw Rose over. I mean, yeah, from the meta perspective, we knew it wasn’t going to work out for Derek and Rose, but Rose didn’t know that. It’s the Karen Fillipellis and Camille Saroyans and Roses who always end up getting hurt. (No, Rose didn’t even get a last name. That should have been a clue.)

“What's more,” says Mitovich, “although as recently as this afternoon the talk was that [Lauren] Stamile would only appear in the two-hour season opener, there are now rumblings that Rose may remain a thorn in the supercouple's side a bit longer.”

I’m still not scared. Rose staying around will just be for awkwardness’s sake, and, frankly, I think it could be a little interesting. I read something the other day (at TWOP, perhaps?) saying that the set for Derek and Meredith’s dream house had been constructed. (First of all, squee!) You know, you sleep with a girl, she gives you a pass whenever you’re having a massive Mere-induced freak-out, and then as soon as your ex does her corny little gesture of love, you’re dumping the very patient, very sweet nurse to go back to a life of drama and uncertainty. I mean, I definitely support all of that—the heart wants what the heart wants and all that—but it really does suck for Rose.

And you never really get to see that perspective on TV. Usually, you hear that Karen was left crying by a fountain in Manhattan and that’s it. She’s gone. Demoted to occasional guest star. I would love to see Rose stick it to Derek—and watch as he stays with Meredith anyway.

It’s nice to anticipate a little fluff. I have a lot of ships going right now—damn you, Booth and Brennan!—and it’s nice to have at least one of them not in turmoil at any given time. Last season, Jim and Pam were pretty stable, but I have a feeling (and I kind of hope) they’re about to become an Office angst-fest. So, yeah, bring on that room where the kids can play. For instance, are they going to leave that room empty, just waiting for the kids to fill it? Or is it, you know, Derek’s temporary home office or trout storage locker?

Wow, I can’t wait.

In the meantime, head for and stay away from TV Guide. (Except for that X-Files article. We’ll talk about that tomorrow.)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bones & In Plain Sight: Concentrated Crime and the Need for TV Travel

It’s a scary time to live where I live—at least, it seems like that when I watch Bones.

I live in Washington, DC, and as I churn through these Bones DVDs, I am perpetually terrified by the insane amount of crime depicted in my town. Car bombs, murder in the Metro, and bodies on the scaffolding at the Washington Monument—these do not make me feel safe in my neighborhood.

You’d think that as the only forensic anthropologist from here to Montreal, Dr. Brennan would be doing a lot of traveling. She mentions that she helped at the World Trade Center after 9/11 and she spent time in New Orleans after Katrina, but you’d think that she and Booth would be called out into the field for high-profile stuff all the time, given their expertise and success rate at solving these mysteries. I have a hard time believing that the toughest cases all originate so close to home—it’s more than a little convenient and more than a little scary.

When I try to think about why so much Bones crime happens within the metro area, I have what I think is a pretty decent explanation—the size of the show’s ensemble and the efficacy of the Jeffersonian.

The X-Files was set primarily in Washington, DC, and while most of the really shady shit happened here, a significant portion of the monster-of-the-week episodes took place in cities and towns across the country. A quick scan of this Wikipedia page reminds me of MOTW sightings in New Jersey, Alaska, Washington state, Los Angeles, and Minnesota, among others. And when you really think about it, a lot of the mythology took place in the far reaches of the world: Tunisia, Roswell, Antarctica, Bellefleur, North Texas, and Africa.

What separates Bones from The X-Files is primarily ensemble size. The X-Files was just Mulder and Scully. They occasionally got help from Skinner or called in the Lone Gunmen for an assist, but for the most part, they were on their own. If it was just Bones and Booth solving crimes by themselves, they could jaunt off anywhere. But they need the squints, and it’s difficult to conduct that kind of business over the phone, even if you do have Brennan’s omnipotent cell. You just can’t take that many people on the road—it’s a pretty serious “too many cooks” problem and they don’t all fit in the rental car, anyway.

It’s not just about the team size, though. Think about Alias. She’s got a huge freaking team of experts, and where has Sydney Bristow not kicked ass?

Alias had spy gear, y’all. She had access to ECHELON, private military planes, spy satellites, hacking capabilities, and those pesky comms. Alias was trading in intelligence; Bones trades in, well, bones. You can get on comms and tell your dad you disarmed Anna Espinosa, but you can’t get Hodgins to analyze the particulates present on a corpse from miles and miles away. Hodgins needs a microscope and Angela needs the Angelator—their work is pretty confined to the Jeffersonian.

You have to use FedEx, and it’s just not that convenient.

So, okay. Technology and the team forces the Bones cases to take place within a limited radius of the Jeffersonian.

That doesn’t excuse the traveling travesty occurring over on In Plain Sight, another show I’ve recently started watching. Mary Shannon doesn’t travel nearly as much as should be required of a U.S. Marshal assigned to the Witness Protection Program. Mostly she’s just running around Albuquerque doing her thing. The one time she did travel, leaving her mom and sister to their own devices, the result was a catastrophic subplot made of stupid. (Those two need to get written out, and fast.)

What sucks about In Plain Sight is that Mary McCormack is so good in it. I mean, seriously, she’s amazing. But she’s surrounded by an extremely B-level ensemble. Not only are they weak characters, but none of the other actors have any ounce of chemistry with Mary. They need to bring in another detective—someone hot who Mary clashes with but is deep-down attracted to—or risk losing this show in a pit of boring. I can’t believe they let this show get on the air thinking that Marshall was a legitimate love interest.

Anyway, that has nothing to do with today’s topic, which is traveling.

The thing is, In Plain Sight makes it seem as though all of the witnesses relocated through the program end up in Albuquerque. Not only is that unrealistic, it’s also just irresponsible.

Series about federal agencies need to be able to travel. It’s imperative. They have to mix things up, help out other jurisdictions, and mostly, in the case of Bones, they need to make me feel safer in my own home.