Friday, August 8, 2008

Bones: Booth, Brennan, and the Anthropology of Procreation

Oh, wow.

Sitting here watching the Opening Ceremonies with my laptop on hand, doing my hourly click-through of my trusty Web sites, and I spot something major.

It’s about Bones, so stop here if you don’t want to be spoiled.

Got it?


According to, “The Bones writers revealed that during season 4, Brennan decides that she wants Booth to be the father of her child.”

Oh, wow.

First of all, this is going to be an awesome scene of Brennanism.

Second of all, let’s analyze.

Because as far as we know at this stage of the game, Brennan doesn’t want children at all.

She doesn’t want to get married and she doesn’t want children—anthropologically speaking.

Now, she does recognize and appreciate Booth’s many good qualities in the marriage and babies department. In “The Truth in the Lye,” Brennan said to Rebecca, “When he asked you to marry him? I mean, he seems an ideal candidate. Strong, alpha male, good protective instincts.”

In “The Glowing Bones in the Old Stone House,” Brennan flat-out told Booth that he was a good candidate for babymaking:

”Look, I’m just saying! You know, you believe in love, don’t you?”
”I believe that dopamine and norepinephrine simulate euphoria because of certain biological triggers like scent, symmetrical features...”
”Symmetrical features.”
”Yes, it’s an indication of a good breeder. You appear to be a very good breeder.”

Logically speaking, if Brennan did decide she wanted to be a mom, she’s going to want Booth to be the dad.

It’s always just been a matter of her getting to that place.

Now, the kink in this brilliant plan of Brennan’s is going to be Booth. Because I can’t imagine Booth being up for this particular activity—at least not in this context. Yeah, Booth probably wants babies with Brennan, but he wants the whole Brennan package. As Leigh just told me on the phone, if Booth’s going to have babies with Brennan, “he wants to HAVE them WITH her.” He doesn’t just want to provide her with his genetically-superior sperm—he wants to have a family with her.

And in fact, this is kind of problematic in terms of the ship timeline. This is not the traditional next step for Booth and Brennan. The next traditional step, we say, is a non-mistletoe kiss.

All this is to say that I highly doubt a baby is actually going to result from this.

My prediction?

Brennan comes to this realization and springs it on Booth. He reacts accordingly. It’s exact what every awkward Brennan conversation is like, only heightened by the magnitude of her chosen topic. Brennan thinks Booth is rejecting the idea of procreating with her, and things are awkward between them for a few scenes. In the closing moments of the episode, however, Booth has to clarify his reaction. He tells Brennan, in no uncertain circumstances, that he is not opposed to the idea of having a baby with her—but he doesn’t want it this way and neither does she. He spills some platitudes about the meaning of being a parent and the difficulty of doing it without a partner, and how next time around, he wants to be a parent with somebody who he’s in love with and committed to.

It’s very sweet, we all watch it over and over again.

This is not to say that I am against Booth and Brennan having a baby. I mean, God, if “The Baby in the Bough” taught me anything, it’s that those two would make precious parents. I am pro-babies. Just not awkward test tube babies.

This is just an anvil on the way to Booth/Brennan coupling—there’s no way during the course of this episode that they don’t both consider the possibility of familying with the other.

Based on some hints from Hart Hanson, the few casting sides we’ve seen, and the whole discussion of Booth and Brennan naked in bed together, Mae has this whole theory about how this season is maybe going to contain some “fantasy” aspects. She told me that people are talking about how perhaps we’d actually get to see an episode where, in somebody’s mind, Booth and Brennan are married and have kids and everything. Personally, I think this sounds a little too fanfictiony for my taste, but you should let Mae (wherever the hell she is) tell you more about that idea.

Interestingly, somebody at commented with the following exchange from “The Woman in the Car”:

Booth: I’m better for Parker being in the world. Someday you will see that.
Brennan: No, I won’t.
Booth: You’ll change your mind.
Brennan: I don’t do that.
Booth: You will.

If, by some strange circumstance, a Baby Brennan-Booth does enter the picture, one thing is absolutely sure.

It’s a girl.

16 Responses to “Bones: Booth, Brennan, and the Anthropology of Procreation”

Anonymous said...

first of all I'd like to say I agree with your break down of the whole Booth-Brennan baby idea. I recently can across the whole Booth and Brennan in bed together thing and was surprised at first since it seemed like such a big step for these two characters, however after looking over your insight I felt like that was a much better way of smoothing it over if they did include that in the new season. I only have one question, and that is if Booth and Brennan did have a child why do you so strongly take to the sex of the baby being a girl? I'm not trying to criticize, I'd just like to know your reasons, to understand the point better.

Unknown said...

A blog from a year and a half ago called "Babies on Television: The X-Chromosome Factor" is practically our founding document. It's a long one, but the general thesis is that, on television, OTPs have baby girls while everyone else has boys. If Hodgins and Angela were to have a baby, we'd predict it would be a boy. Obviously, there are exceptions to this rule (on The X-Files, William), but generally it holds.

Mae and I co-wrote this post long before we started watching Bones, but Booth, Brennan, and even Parker fit right into our master theory of television children.

It's not so much that I think they should have a girl (or that I inherently don't like male babies), it's just that I think, given everything I've seen on TV, that they will have a girl.

Thanks for posting and by all means, feel free to disagree with me!

Anonymous said...

Can I just say how much I LOVED your post.
Your explination of what the episode would be like is how i've been trying to process it, and you've seem to hit it on the head!

I was a little worried at first (i admit to screaming, jumping and possibly nearly fainting) when i read it. But then, when i really began to think about it. I became worried...
Your explination sets my mind at ease!

Unknown said...

Thanks! I have a feeling it's going to wind up being Classic Booth/Brennan material--and I think it's for the better that they don't automatically jump into babymaking. That'd be disastrous! See you around!

Anonymous said...

it will be either a baby booth or a baby brennan, hah

Anonymous said...

I really like reading your explination and view on a B/B baby, it's fun to read and so true! Just one question, what/who are OTP's?!

Unknown said...

OTP stands for "One True Pairing." (Right?) I have no idea where it came from, but it's an acronym for supercouples.

Anonymous said...

Judging by the commercial for the season finale, and the current developmental stages of the show's cahracters, I would have to predict that fantasy elements and 'learning the truth about Booth' will turn out to be that there are some residual effects from his tumor-removing surgery into which he was entering at the end of this past episode. Just a thought. In other words, a lot of the season finale will exist in his head.

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