Bones Theory

What’s Love Got To Do With It?: How BONES Defies (and transcends) Genre


My mouth moves, words come out, but none seem to get across the draw-bridge to the princess I know who waits within.


Every year around the middle of July, Emmy nominations are announced, and each year at the same time, Bones fans are disappointed when there are no nominations, particularly for Emily Deschanel. It is sad. Honestly, I think it’s about 80% justified, that a ‘no-nom’ is a let down, and then about 20% that some of us BONES fans kind of have tunnel vision. Haha. But it’s not our fault that people don’t know how amazing the show is, or in particular how amazing the character of Temperance Brennan is. In my opinion, that is part of why there aren’t awards that come the way of BONES. We know, because we have tuned in week after week for years, that our girl Brennan is an amazing, amazing person with many beautiful layers. We’ve grown up with her in some ways and we can see how far she’s come. But for someone who might catch an episode here and there, or someone on an award’s committee, they might not be able to see all of that. It can kind of be hard to warm up to Brennan, unless you know her. Like we know her!

Likewise, David Boreanaz delivers great work week after week and also isn’t recognized. So that is one thing that might prevent BONES and its actors from receiving recognition. But, in my opinion, what really puts the show at a disadvantage (if we want to call it that, more on that later) is that it refuses to stay within the lines.

There are two categories for awards:

  1. Drama
  2. Comedy

Can you choose which one BONES would fall into?

 Webster defines Drama as:  

a : a composition in verse or prose intended to portray life or character or to tell a story usually involving conflicts and emotions through action and dialogue and typically designed for theatrical performance

b : a movie or television production with characteristics (as conflict) of a serious play; broadly : a play, movie, or television production with a serious tone or subject <a police drama>

So yes, in that way, BONES does meet some qualifications. It portrays life and characters involved with conflict and uses a serious tone.


But that’s like saying that it’s a show about science. It IS a show about science, but that’s not what it’s ALL about, right?

So does that leave comedy? Webster defines THAT as:

  1.  a literary work written in a comic style or treating a comic theme
  2.  a drama of light and amusing character and typically with a happy ending
  3. the genre of dramatic literature dealing with the comic or with the serious in a light or satirical manner

With this definition, I can see how BONES might seem like a comedy to some, but in a world of The Big Bang Theory or (God save us), Two and a Half Men, BONES doesn’t quite fit in. It IS funny, but to say it’s just funny is like saying BONES is a show about quirky criminals. It’s true, but just not enough.

It kind of reminds me of MASH or Scrubs, in that it deals with tough subjects while toeing the line between tragedy and comedy.

But there is another genre that isn’t honored by the Academy: Romance. And I think if there is one genre that can encompass the majority of BONES, it’s romance. Hear me out (and then let me know your thoughts in the comments!)

Romance is defined as a genre as a story that tells the “marvellous adventures of a chivalrous, heroic knight-errant, often of super-human ability, who, abiding chivalry’s strict codes of honor and demeanor, goes on a quest, and fights and defeats monsters and giants, thereby winning favor with a “distant princess”.”

Now, do not get me wrong; I’m not saying that Booth is the perfect knight and Brennan the distant princess. In fact, it might be the opposite; Brennan may end up being the one who saves Booth, when all of this is said and done. She’s the one with the super-human ‘ability’ (brainpower) and the story of the series is her character development. Brennan, Booth, Angela, Hodgins, Sweets, Cam, Zack, all of them, all of us…we’re all on this journey of character development.

Booth and Brennan ARE bound by imposed (sometimes self-imposed) codes of honor or chivalry, but even those are based out of love. Booth, like Sweets said, feels like he’s protecting Brennan from being bombarded with feeling. But she feels like she needs to protect HIM from her inability to love. They will learn (I hope, I really hope) that her need to protect him and his need to protect her are based in the same code of partnership and love.

BONES and its writers refuse to stay in the lines, like I mentioned before. Yes, there are cases each week, but we don’t always see a courtroom. And yes, it’s funny, but sometimes it makes me cry. Sometimes it makes me laugh and cry at the same time! What I think should be taken seriously isn’t always. What I want to be fun doesn’t turn out that way. And while I’m not always happy, I can always appreciate it. Why? Because it’s a risk. Because it’s better than a majority of drivel that comes through the TV screen. Because it has heart.

So, I guess it might never win awards. And I realize it’s easy for me to say I’m okay with that. Those writing/acting/directing etc might wish that it received more recognition. But I’ll trade awards and recognition for story. It’s a story of two imperfect people in love with one another. It’s a story of their imperfect love in an imperfect world. It’s a story of their imperfect friends who do their best with what they have to work with. It’s written by imperfect people and watched by us: imperfect fans. I find that so refreshing.  That’s what love has to do with it.

But don’t let me do all the talking. Let me know what you think!

Peace, Love & Bones,



I’ll be back tomorrow with Top Five Tuesday (Best Brennan Smiles), and oh, yeaaaaaaaaah, this Thursday, I’ll be back to pick up the episode reviews with episode 101, The Death of the Queen Bee! I’ll see you (and Booth’s wide shoulders in that FBI t-shirt) then!


3 thoughts on “What’s Love Got To Do With It?: How BONES Defies (and transcends) Genre

  1. Just started watching “Bones” obsessively. Got to the middle of the second season. And your Booth quote above, “My mouth moves, words come out, but none seem to get across the draw-bridge to the princess I know who waits within.” I totally missed the point of this. What is he referencing?

  2. Hey Becca,
    Glad to know you’re caught up in the obsession. It’s a fun place to be! That quote is one that I thought was kind of funny. It’s between B&B when Booth is trying to explain something to Brennan. Since some of this post was about chivalry and stuff like that, I thought it was a fun add.

  3. I only barely discovered this blog this morning and I have LOVED every minute of exploring it. I totally agree with you when it comes to why Bones hasn’t gotten any awards.
    I’ve read a lot of criticism because Bones hasn’t stayed a “drama” over the last five seasons. I always roll my eyes at these downers. Don’t people realize that shows have to evolve in order to stay both interesting and current. If all the episodes were just like the first season then we wouldn’t be here talking about the dynamics of Booth and Brennan’s relationship.
    Then there’s the fact that there is humor in it. Some don’t like this but I say hurray. Life is so dull without laughter. When you’re dealing with such grim subject matter like death and decomposing bodies you have to find a way to cope.
    To be completely honest, if there were no romantic aspect to the show I wouldn’t still be watching it. Even with David Boreanaz as Booth. That’s what initially drew me in- the romance/attraction between Booth and Brennan.

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