Mon
Apr 16 2012 2:00pm

Author Allison Brennan on Bones’s Missed Opportunities

Bones posterI’m uniquely qualified to discuss this series; not because the main character shares my surname, or because I’ve read nearly every Kathy Reichs book, or even because I’ve seen every episode of the television series. It’s because I watched all seven seasons in less than four months, finishing only days before the second half of season seven started.

I love this show. I love the characters, the mysteries, the forensics, the grit, the dark humor, and the quirkiness. It’s brilliantly written with strong actors and they haven’t slacked off on story, which can happen in a long running series. A brave, handsome, smart hero paired with an intelligent, capable, independent heroine and a well-developed cast of secondary characters. It’s definitely one of my all-time favorite shows.

I have a few pet peeves. I still haven’t bought into Zach being the apprentice (those who have watched from the beginning know what I mean!), Brennan isn’t stupid and she’s usually very consistent and reasoned in her behavior, but sometimes she does TSTL things that have me banging my head (like driving toward the tornado.) I really dislike intern Daisy. I know she’s written to be annoying, but every time I see her at the beginning of the show I sigh in frustration. Wendell is my favorite, now that Dr. Nigel-Murray is gon …(As an aside, Nigel-Murray was annoying, too, but he didn’t bug me like Daisy does. She’s like one of those little yap-yap dogs from the cartoons jumping around all bubbly. And every time she calls Sweets “Lancelot,” I want to slap her. When they broke up at the beginning of Season Six, I was ecstatic! But alas, they’re back together.)

But all these pet peeves are minor compared to my Big Pet Peeve, and unfortunately, they can do nothing to fix it.

Booth and Brennan kiss under the mistletoe in BonesFor six seasons, they’ve built upon the sexual tension between Brennan and Booth. Most of the time, it’s been so well done that it harkened back to the days when Moonlighting was great (except with smarter dialogue and better plots!) I loved how the writers built their relationship on mutual respect and trust, with enough differences where they complement each other as well as grow frustrated at times.

But season six, as a whole, was weak, and at the end they blew it.

For six years (or, for me, four months) viewers have been waiting for the pay-off. Something between the characters to click, a passionate kiss, a declaration of love, something big and juicy and satisfying.

Booth and Brennan cuddle in bed in Season 6What did we get? We got Brennan staying with Booth after a tragedy, going to his bed, and then…nothing. Not even a kiss. Then, Brennan goes to Angela and is about to tell her what happened…then nothing. We don’t get to hear anything. Not even a hint, just a teeny smile. They brought us along for the ride, and right when we were going to get everything we’ve been waiting for? They dropped the ball.

Then at the beginning of season seven, Brennan and Booth are together. Brennan is pregnant. They’re looking for a house to share. They say “I love you” like they’ve said it a hundred times.

I wanted to hear it the first time.

I wanted to see how they looked at each other that first moment when they both realized that they are willing to risk everything to try to make the relationship work. I wanted to see that first passionate kiss where you know they know they love each other—and I’m not talking about the kiss under the mistletoe in season three!

They don’t need to jump into bed all the time like Hodgins and Angela, they don’t need to paw each other or talk about sex. What they need to do is be themselves—and the show producers need to show us thirty seconds more. The connection.

Booth Pats Brennan’s pregnant belly in Season 7The writers are redeeming themselves with what promises to be a terrific end to the truncated season seven. Episode 7 ended on a high, happy note, we have a terrific arch-villain introduced in episode 6, and the story promise—from what’s happened in the past—is that everyone is at risk. I’m optimistic because the mystery storylines have consistently been strong, but because they screwed up the first real kiss and the first ‘I love you’, I’m not confident that they won’t screw up the love story.

There’s always the problem in Hollywood that they think when they get two characters together for good that the show slides. I don’t think Bones has that problem because the core story has never been about love, it’s been about suspense and the relationships. The love story was an added bonus, like in many romantic thrillers, and there are plenty of natural conflicts between Booth’s world-view and Brennan’s to keep the ebb and flow of tension.

This is just my opinion, of course. What do you think?

 


Allison Brennan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of eighteen novels and many short stories. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, she lives in Northern California with her husband Dan and their five children.

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32 comments
Carmen Pinzon
1. bungluna
I'm with you in several points:
1. Bones does act TSTL in several places where it doesn't make sense for her to do it. That she's clueless as far as human interaction is part of her charm. That she should plunge ahead in situations where she doesn't know what's what seems anathema.
2. There was NO PAYOFF WHATSOEVER! I like to imagine that there is a missing season where they had their first kiss, their first date and a whole bunch of other stuff before they got knocked up and this season started.
3. TV writers are lazy, imo. It takes care and time to write a long-term relationship within a broader story without making it sacharine and boring. It can be done, see ... in Death series. It just hasn't been done well in TV yet.
Allison Brennan
2. Allison_Brennan
When Brennan crossed through the prisoners during a fight was the highlight of a TSTL moment.
Carmen Pinzon
3. bungluna
So true! How about when she confussed the Jersey shore idiots with an anthropological study? Really?
Allison Brennan
4. Allison_Brennan
LOL -- I thought that was hilarious, but it wasn't her shining moment, that's for certain!

I don't mind that she had one night and got pregnant, but what I would have liked was to have there be some emotion when she told him, something that epitomized the conflict and their affection. I also would have liked to see a kiss--a REAL kiss--before lights out.

I'm liking this new season, but I'd really like to see a bit more of their conflicts as well as their affection. Have they talked about baptizing Christine? That would be crucial for Booth. I also really liked how Bones admitted that she missed Christine and didn't understand the feelings. I remember the first time I left my firstborn at day care and how emotionally debilitating those first few months of separation were.
Carmen Pinzon
5. bungluna
The way it was set up, it sounds like they slept together that night and then kept having a secret affair until she told him she was pregnant. I dunno.

I would have liked to see a season spent on them trying to decide whether they want to get together. Like I said, they could have had a first date, a sneaking around so no one saw them together, a conflict at work because Booth gets too protective now they're together, etc. There are a million little things the writers could have thrown into the flow of the crime-of-the-week. Oh well, missed oportunities are sad, but at least they're doing a good job this season, imo.
T.K. Anthony
6. TKAnthony
Yes, Allison, I too am still ticked off by what happened to Zack. And Daisy is truly annoying. Some TSTL moments I can forgive, because human beings are consistently inconsistent. But the scene in the jail required not only her stupidity, but the active buy-in by every single inmate--some of whom, I imagine, would've been in there for murdering pregnant women. What were they thinking?
Cheers, + TK
www.scotianrealm.com
Heather Waters (redline_)
7. redline_
Using Moonlighting as an excuse to keep your leads apart really bothers me for just the reason you mention: Season 6 as a whole was weak, so you can't blame the whole downfall of the series on David and Maddie getting together.

This is why I really respect Castle's creator, Andrew Marlowe, who has said straight out that he doesn't believe in the Moonlighting curse and that the show had been going downhill anyway. He plans to keep Castle and Beckett apart only as long as it makes sense, and then he has plans for them as a couple. To that I say: Rock on!

Getting back on topic, though:

A friend and I used to be Bones fans and then finally quit around the same time, after the finale (Season 5, maybe? I've lost track) in which it was revealed that Booth and Brennan almost had a thing before the start of the series. I haaaaated that episode. So much. You can't just rewrite the history of your leads! (Ronald D. Moore, you could take notes on this too.) I enjoyed the cases and the chemistry the whole cast has, but the writers's bungling its lead pair really ruined the show for me, unfortunately. By the time the fans were cheated out of first real kisses and "I love you's," I mostly just felt bad for the fans who had been waiting for so long to see B/B get together.
Kiersten Hallie Krum
8. Kiersten
I started watching Bones for Boreanaz, and yes, I know he's a hound, but I loved Angel and like the men he plays on screen. Here's the thing: I HATE Temperance Brennen. Every time she opens her mouth and is all, "I'm effin' brilliant and you all are beneath me" I want to smack her upside the head with a blunt object. I hate when books/shows set up a main character as a super special someone whom everybody loves and is loyal to when in reality, the person is an egotistical tool. Also, her reasoned, objective, analytical, don't-jump-to-conclusions-without- facts philosophy is horseshit when it comes to her own leaps in logic without definable proof or when it's something that wounded her in her oh-s0-sad childhood, like Booth's religion, where she immediately loses any semblance of respect much less politeness simply because she doesn't like it. And that just makes her one big ole hypocrite. Don't even get me started on Season one's "why can't I have a gun?" repeated mantra. BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT A TRAINED ARMY RANGER SNIPER/FBI AGENT you dumbass! And yet, all that said, one of my favorite eps is S1 when Bones is framed for murder in New Orleans b/c of all the great relationship stuff that happens and the fact that both of them are doing what they do best in the wheelhouse of their skills. I am also a sucka for a man who comes running without being asked when his woman's in trouble. My second favorite is the two-parter in London, perhaps for obvious reasons (LONDON).

That said, the audience TOTALLY got shafted with the Bones/Booth relationship, all because what's her butt got pregnant and the writers and producers went all QUICK! How do we write this into the story?! Lots of better ways they could've pulled it off. I tried again this season b/c I wanted to see how they handled Booth and Bones finally together.

I also totally agree about Zach and the apprenticeship, and equally loathe Daisy, but have to vere left w/Nigel-Murray as I found him adorable. It's the accent, I know, tho he's dropped it now in Alphas, so I've no idea whether of not it's genuine.
Donna Grant
9. DonnaGrant
lol. Once again, we agree on everything about a show. Daisy. Ugh. Really can't stand that character. I hate when she's in an episode. It drives me insane.

And yes, so upset there was no big kiss, no declaration of love, nothing. Not even when she told him she was pregnant. The writers could have done so much better with it. I was sorely let down as a watcher of the series (and have been from the very first episode).

I'm not quite buying into the whole "family" thing with Booth and Bones and the baby. I guess because I was so let down with how it all developed after so many seasons of building up to it.

I keep hoping the writers will redeem themselves. I love the show - dialogue, quirky behavior, and everything in between. But Bones' TSTL moments do have me rolling my eyes. :)
Jennifer R
10. Jennifer R
I quit watching after she got pregnant. I just don't like how they handle the relationship at all, and while I know they had to write it in for the real life pregnancy, it's just...bad.
Allison Brennan
11. Allison_Brennan
@ Redline -- thanks for the mention about CASTLE, and I do totally think that a relationship can work even in a crime show like BONES. It's all in the execution! It worked in X-Files (some of the other things didn't work, but had they ended it with Season 7 it would have been much better.)

@Kiersten -- wait, I loved Nigel-Murray too! I meant that he was written to be annoying with his "facts" but he didn't end up being annoying because I liked his character. Unlike Daisy who I just can not stand. And his accent is probably real, because he was born in Birmingham, England (I looked it up because I recognized him from ALPHAS.) BTW, I was surprised that ALPHAS was renewed. I have some issues with that show, but I'll probably end up watching season 2 ...

@ Donna -- maybe we are twins, separated at birth ... though remember I told you you remind me of my friend Toni McGee Causey? Toni and I agree on everything, too :) ... I think the show can redeem itself, it's done a lot to do so in season 7, but I agree with redline that season 6, as a whole, was weak and I hated the episode where they had the "past" explained. (though I do think that they knew each other before Episode 1 because Booth had her detained at the airport and they obviously knew each other ... I loved that episode.)

@ Jennifer -- They could have not written in the pregnancy -- you're right. I don't mind that they did, except that they did it wrong! I wish I'd written the last 3 episodes of season 6 ...
Lege Artis
12. LegeArtis
So true, Alisson...
I have to be honest: I was hooked up on Bones because of Booth. I can't say that I'm David Boreanaz fan, but Booth's character I adore. His interaction with Brennan, crazy socks and cocky belt buckle, his fear of clowns and yeah, he is sexy as hell... Whole package.
Zach's story was unbeliveable at least... I think that screenwriters could have think of the better way to get rid of his character.
I wasn't fan of any of any of new assistants, Wendel was...passable. Clark and Nigel-Murray, Daisy... just anoying.
Of course, my biggest complaint is what we didn't get to see, and that was Booth and Brennan making the move, strong music theme in background when they get that look in their eyes that says all and leads to kiss or whatever.... No, nothing. I actually thought I missed some extra episode. Who knows....I read somewhere that David and Emily became really close friends, so maybe it didn't look that good on screen like when they're doing that subtle dance around each other...
Jennifer R
13. Anne Stone
My daughter loves the show. Watches it over and over on the computer. I tacked a note up to remind me when it is on so I can start watching it. I may need to get the earlier seasons from Netflix.
Allison Brennan
14. Allison_Brennan
@LegeArtis -- What do you think of the new Finn Abernathy intern? I agree, though, Zach was great and I adored him, and MAYBE he could have been an apprentice to a killer, but not in THIS way ... I think they did it because they liked the concept, but didn't make it work in execution. BUT because most of the storylines are pretty good, I can give them a couple passes ... but not on how they handled the relationship! I KNOW this is a crime show, but it's built on their relationship, and viewers deserve pay-off after six years of waiting for the magic moment. And whether Emily and David are friends in real life, I don't care -- they're actors, they can ACT.
Allison Brennan
15. Allison_Brennan
You should Anne! I watched all of the seasons between Christmas and April 1. :)

Oh, and I should also say that my 16 year old daughter who doesn't like crime shows (she reads fantasy, horror and historicals primarily, after going through a paranormal kick) loves the show. She's the one I watch AMERICAN HORROR STORY and THE WALKING DEAD with. :)
Jennifer R
16. SShelly
The whole relationship has been botched since the brain tumor sequence. But I think what bothered me the most was the portrayal of two highly intelligent, worldly adults being too dumb to practice birth control. Come on...... And I absolutely agree with Kiersten that Brennan goes WAY past eccentric to self centered and obnoxious. In real life, not only would she not have the band of blindly loyal groupies but she probably would have had the life choked out of her by at least one of them when she made clear how inferior they were to her. Both my husband and I have decided it's time to bail on this show....
Elizabeth Halliday
17. Ibbitts
I have watched this series from the beginning and have observed that the quirks of the characters are one of the things that keeps me interested, including Brennan's TSTL and Daisy's annoying voice and behavior. Besides, who says a television series has to be realistic? And Moonlighting didn't suffer from a curse, just a literary norm: once you get your HEA, the story is over.
Jennifer R
19. eva__
Well I still have to watch the last 3 episodes of season 6 and now I'm not so sure I want to watch that train wreck.
I do like the show and agree with most that's been said so far, but I have to add one thing. Did anyone notice how in season 6 Bones not only reverted back to her akward behavior from the beginning of the show (I'm talking about social situations, human interaction, etc.), but actually got worse than she was. I don't get it. In those "middle" seasons she was getting better at that stuff and then all of a sudden starts acting like a socialy awkward idiot. That's just strange.
Also, while I really like the show, I've also read the books; and honestly, I can't (not for a lack of trying and aside the fact they are both well educated anthropologists) find any similarities between the book Temperance and the show Temperance. Is it just me or is the show Tempe a completely different personality?
Allison Brennan
20. Allison_Brennan
eva -- if you get through the end of season 6 which REALLY is horrendous, it's worth it because season 7 has, so far, been much stronger.

I've read many of Reich's books and they are completely different than the series, which is why I postponed watching the series because I am a Reich's fan. However, I read an interview with Kathy Reichs about how the series is based more on her life and some of the things she's seen, and the only similarity is the heroine's occupation and name. So I separated the books and television show in my head and watched the show as if it was totally a different entity. The characters are almost completely different in personality, etc.
Jennifer R
21. Zeusde
Yes! I absolutely agree with this. It feels as though they jumped from season 6 straight into season 8, because they've missed a whole chunk of what could have been great storytelling and character development. When Booth & Brennan interact, I keep saying to myself, "But...how did we get here?" It's like they cut out and jumped over the deep curve of the story arc that is their relationship. I feel cheated. I'm still watching, and mostly enjoying, but I'm disgruntled.
Jennifer R
22. Cat W
We agree on absolutely everything except that you kept watching. The end of season 6 left the Spousal Unit and I dumbfounded, beyond disappointed. It broke our trust in the writers (that trust had already taken blows with the big retcon kiss and the Zach debacle), and we let go of our second-favorite show ever. Maybe someday we'll come back, but only if others say an awful lot of good things about subsequent seasons.
Jennifer R
23. JAGL
When this season started w/B & B in love, I read an article on EW.com - and people were overwhelmingly supportive of NOT seeing the "big reveal" - everyone seemed to think missing the first kiss, the first time they say ILY, the first sexual encounter - was ok. Not for me - I hate that! I feel cheated that we never got to see how they ended up together - not the one night stand, but how it went from "I'm pregnant and you're the father" to living together and a solid couple. I keep hoping one day they'll be some flashback scenes so we can see what we missed!
Catherine Cabanela
24. MoxieGirl44
Allison - I have to admit that I haven't had the patience to read ALL 23 responses to your blog entry beacause I was so anxious to write back to you. Like you, I watched all of this series, from Season 1-6 at least, in a concentrated period of time and was devestatingly frustrated when Brennan announced her pregnancy. I LOVE this show. I LOVE the dynamic realtionship for all the reasons you mentioned. I LOVE the humor, the chemistry, the fascinating cases, the brilliant conversation, the subtle, yet swoon-worthy nuances delivered expertly by a glance/pause/smile/awkward solilique given by one of the main protagonists to the other. I continue to watch Bones faithfully above all others and have promised in my heart to love, honor, and cherish everything Hart and Nathan give us. However, I share your pet peeves ... most especially, the lack of romantic consummation through a declaration, a kiss, a joyous communing of souls! I refuse to accept that these two brilliantly developed characters succumbed to sympathy sex. It just didn't happen. *sticks head in sand*

This wonderful story is rife with issues that we all face on many levels: missed opportunities, pain inflicted on and by those we love the most, the value of reverencing intimacy, a belief in real love, the struggle for self-worth and redemption. Through our favorite characters, viewers are allowed to process our own issues and, at best, perhaps lead a more meaningful if not at least informed life. This purpose would have been served greatly by the on-screen processing of the individual and shared issues and fears the writers left unmanaged ... the whole year of Hannah, both of their broken hearts, the less than warm interactions between the two of them ever since Hannah departed. I feel a great opportunity was missed in a rush to secure a future for the series by stepping over such a rudimentary part of their relationship development. Of course, how to do that without turing Bones into the Dr. Phil show, right? *shrug*

Such was my dismay at the end of Season 6, began writing my own fill-in-the-blanks story to remedy all that was unsaid and was introduced to a genre I hadn't known existed: fan fiction. I kept my story PG-13 as required by the Fox Broadcasting Community "BoneYard" rules, and I gained a following for my fictitious version of the epic Bones-Booth love story, surpassing the readership of viewer-writers who had been there for over 4 years. This writing has been a labor of love; I've considered it my 'MFA' in novel writing, preparing me for writing my own original works. I can't thank Bones enough for providing me with the impetus to pursue a dream of writing fiction for the public. Thankfully, there have been some powerful episodes this season. However, with each Season 7 episode, I hope for the return of the chemistry, the sizzle, of the first 5 seasons.
I do believe we are heading in that direction, and I hope it continues. Despite my pet peeves, and depite its shortcomings, Bones remains one of the best shows out there. Thank you, Hart & Co.

Writer: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick http://bit.ly/su66MR
Kendall Evans
25. KendallEvans
I agree with a lot of what you said, Allison. Bone is my favorite, never miss show. Even though I DVR it, I still watch it in case something happens to the DVR. :-)

That said, there have been some cringe-worthy TSTL moments this season, one of them being Bones running into the middle of the inmates. I'm also not a big fan of her coming up behind Booth with a gun of her own now that she's a mother.

(Spoiler if you haven't seen 4/30 episode).

He told her to stay put because he didn't want Christine to lose both parents. And what does Bones do? She comes up right behind him with her own gun. What's that all about?

I"m okay with not seeing the love scene between the two of them, but I do think there should be some type of connection from I'm pregnant; you're the father to they're living together, and he's naked cooking up omelets.

I love this show. The chemistry, the dynamics, the storylines, the characters, everything about it, and I know I won't give up on it. I just read in the TV Guide that there will be some hot and heavy stuff next season and that Hart Hanson believes he can keep this show going until Season Ten. I think, with three years, he has the opportunity to redeem himsefl with some of the fans.

Regardless, I won't stop watching, but if it was a book, I might have already put it down. :-)
Catherine Cabanela
26. MoxieGirl44
Man, KendallEvans, I hope you are right about Hart making good next year and perhaps the years following that.

One other TSTL moment that has really bothered me: When she went out in that tornado! No, he should not have lied to her ... but she put herself in grave danger there. She should have pulled around and gone in the opposite direction or sought shelter the moment she knew (while driving there) that there was a twister on the way - not a good idea, Brennan!
Jennifer R
27. Norma Knight
I am just so angry with the writers right now!!! I agree with so many of the posts above. In real life, Brennan would have zero friends. She is obnoxious to the nth degree!! However, I really do love this ahow!! My daughters all love Bones, and we have bought seasons 1-7 and have watched every single episode together. Here is what really gets me SO ANGRY: Brennan wants everyone to pity her for her oh so sad childhood. She was 15, not 5. Her parents left to keep her and Russ alive! She then decides to go behind Booths back and abandon him at the church after their daughters christening!!! Exactly how heartless can she get?? She stole that child away from her father, and proceeds to put that childs life in jeopardy. What kind of life can tgat poor baby have on the run?? But as always, its ALL about Brennan!!! That woman is the biggest hypocrite of all time, and I hope to God that Booth confronts her znd xalls her out on her hypocrisy!!! And hey Brennan, I seem to recall you making the statement several times in the last episode of season 7 that Pilant is definately NOT smarter than you. Ha ha guess your ego is really bruised now that youre on the run and you have to face the fact that Pilant IS MUCH SMARTER than YOU!!!
Jennifer R
28. Josephine Imm
This article was just what I needed. I am just now binge watching Bones, and was pretty upset. I actually stayed up until 2 AM one night because I knew that Booth and Bones got together at the end of Season 6, but that was such a downer. Just like Allison said, I wanted them to have their moment, I wanted to experience their decision to make a commitment to each other, and I wanted to rest of the characters to slowly find out that they connected. There was so much leading up to this, and then nothing. We were excluded from what happened between them.
Without this moment, I have a tough time buying their chemistry and life together. I am hanging in there, watching season 7 currently, episode 4.
maia none
29. mammamaia
does anyone here recall which intern it was that bones had a fling with, fairly early in the series?

it's been bugging the heck outa me...
Jennifer Proffitt
30. JenniferProffitt
We threw the question out on twitter and since Zach Addy was the sole intern for the first few seasons, the consensus was that it was unlikely that Brennan and Zach had a fling... Could you be thinking of Angela's fling with Wendell, Brennan had several relationships with other FBI agents?
Jennifer R
33. amarie
I'm so glad I'm not the only one who felt completely dissapointed/confused/irritated over how their relationship (and the show in general) evolved. There were just too many situations that defied belief, even accounting for the fact that this is TV.

First, the whole Zach debacle, I was ready to give up after that, it just made NO sense. He was a wonderful supporting character, much better than the new rotation of interns. Plus I think they should have killed Cam off in season 2. I liked Dr. Goodman much more than her. And the whole brain tumor thing? Way too much like a soap opera, not worthy of such a formerly excellent show.

Still, I stuck it out hoping B & B would get together soon after and perhaps make up for all that. But no, they string us along through seasons 4,5 and 6 only to resolve their relationship basically off screen and give us a few seconds of smiles and coy looks. WTF??

Like the rest of you I wanted to see their relationship develop once they'd openly acknowledged their romantic feelings for each other. They could've been awkwardly dating or living together during season 4 and built up to the pregnancy. Ugh! I've never felt so cheated and let down. What a huge dissapointment!

@Bungluna mentioned the 'In Death' series as an example of how to properly develop a relationship between the hero/heroine and I agree completely. Brennan in season 1 even reminded me of Eve Dallas.
Jennifer R
34. Dexter
Agreed. I was actually so annoyed that I quit watching after they dropped the ball. I have watched one episode since then and it was the episode that


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The episode that Lance died.

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