Apropos of yesterday's post where I suggested I might do a TV diary, I thought I'd write a bit about Bones.
I watched last night's episode this morning over a bit of breakfast because I was too tired to watch TV last night. I had a big day yesterday, so I taped both Bones and Supernatural to watch back today.
I'm yet to watch Supernatural, but I thought I'd talk about Bones because as I sat down to watch it this morning, I thought I'd messed up the recording of it, and I was momentarily, but intensely, disappointed. I'd completely forgotten about it last Monday--it was a busy day last week too--and before I managed to get the episode to play back, I'd thought 'Oh noes! That's two weeks in a row I've missed it!'
At that thought I had a flash of self-awareness about the contradictions in my television viewing tastes.
I think most people who read this blog know that I'm doing a PhD thesis on 'quality' television drama. That means that I'm constantly thinking about the cultural value or lack thereof that is generally attributed to television and its texts.
In this context I know that Bones is not fantastic television. It's television that panders to least offensive programming policies. It's not the edgy, more culturally valued product of HBO and Showtime or even the BBC (if you're after a different measure of quality).
If I scratch the surface of Bones I know there are terrible flaws in the characterisation of its protagonist, forensic anthropologist, Dr. Temperance 'Bones' Brennan. Part of this is that in every episode Bones charts the same arc: she begins as a socially and emotionally inept rational scientist type and, coaxed along by the charming, sensitive and God-fearing FBI agent Seely Booth, she is transformed into someone who learns what it is to be a living, breathing, spiritual human being, as opposed to a mere collection of bones encased in flesh.
Last night's episode 'Baby in the Bough' is a case in point. At the scene of a car accident where the adult female driver dies, Booth and Bones find a baby in a capsule. The capsule was flung free of the car and landed, with the baby unharmed, in the bough of a tree. Booth thinks it's a miracle, while Bones intones that the baby's survival is exactly what such capsules are designed and manufactured to ensure. In a series of events that merely confirm Dr. Brennan's incompetence with real live human beings, the baby, Andy, ends up swallowing a key at the scene of the accident, and since it's a likely clue to help solve the mystery of the woman's death, Booth and Temperance have to look after the child until the key makes its way through his digestive tract. (Did I mention completely ridiculous plot contrivances?) Eventually, of course, Bones warms to Andy, becoming extremely protective of his care and determined to ensure him a secure future.
Another version of this arc happened the week before last, and no doubt if will happen again next week. Bones never really changes. This is television without a memory.
Here, I might be expected to make a claim along the lines of 'it's so bad, it's good', but I can't.
I don't even want to.
The fact is, I like Bones.
If I'm pressed to explain my taste, then it simply comes down to this:
Together, Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz are completely hot.