The other day I wrote 100 reasons why I can’t quit BONES, and one of the reasons was because of the amazing people I’ve met along my BONES-way. I know a lot of you feel the same; it’s just a real privilege. And sometimes I wonder about it…not just the reasons why I can’t seem to stay away from BONES…but what is it about the show that draws people to it? In my case, as you know, it was the early themes of truth and justice, combined with the way Booth and Brennan respected one another even before they liked each other. I know some people love it for the science, some for the romance, some for the laughs, some for the grotesque cases. And for most of us, it’s a combination of all of those things. I really believe that the show’s commitment to smart, conflicted and growing characters and interesting plotlines has resulted in the dedication of the ‘better than average’ TV fan. The show attracts what it ‘advertises’ or represents, some amazing, amazing people. It sounds dramatic to say it’s such an honor to get to know people, but it’s true. Bones People are Good People :). And BONESpal Skole is an amazing fan. You’re going to love getting to know her and hearing about how she feels about BONES, why she loves it, why she can relate, and why she’s still watching.
So without further ado…here’s Skole:
Skole (think of Mayhem on the Cross – with Brennan & Clark…that pronunciation of ‘skalle’…that’s the one!)
The name BONES fans might know you as:
@Skole_Bone on Twitter. Just plain ‘Skole’ on FF.net
What is one other TV show you’re watching right now and would recommend to others?
Dexter – hands down, one of the best shows ever televised from a novel. It is complex, confronting, raw and quirky…and Michael C. Hall? Let’s just say, I wouldn’t kick that man out of bed for eating crackers!
What was your first job; what was your worst job; what is your dream job?
My first job was at a wholefoods store at a weekend market, aged 12. I learned a lot about customer service, bulk staple foods…and gained a practical introduction to the life cycle of weevils. My worst job arose from the job that I trained for five years to do. It was probably the most challenging and pivotal time in my life. I spent many weeks following the 2002 Bali Bombings working as a member of a coordinated medical response team. We were a group of highly trained health professionals, hell bent on saving the lives of the victims who survived to be airlifted to Australia. Working in the world of Intensive Care is a tough gig on a good day…add to that the aftermath of a horrific event in history, including the influx of a load of trauma victims, horribly burned…I won’t gross you out with the details. There was a massive irony in their story of survival. Following the explosions in Bali, other tourists at the scene immersed the burned victims in any body of water that they could find, to save them…but the water was dreadfully contaminated, resulting in deadly infections. On a day to day basis, the job was horrible – it was very personally confronting, because I dislike working with major burns (give me a patient clinging to existence with half a tonne of life support equipment to care for, any day). It was all hands on deck at our hospital, I had the specialist skills and just jumped in along with everyone else – we are thousands of miles from any other big city. The sights, the smells, the suffering. You try and detach yourself as much as possible, but underneath, we’re all human; the experience gets to you one way or another. The couple of hundred staff on the team bonded in what I imagine would be similar to a kind of wartime comradeship. We rallied. We found small things to laugh about. The community, families and businesses sent in food to fuel us through our twelve hour days and nights. We celebrated our success stories, and occasionally gave ourselves permission to shuck our shells of clinical detachment to weep, when the best damned care on Earth was not enough to save someone. People remember the people who died in Bali, but it is the plight of those that escaped death that is tattooed over the biceps of my soul. Yet, I remain honoured to have been part of the journey of the survivors. To apply a BONES metaphor, the experience fractured me, and remodelled me. My dream job is the journey that I embarked upon post-Bali. The experience left me no longer satisfied with being at the top of my game in my chosen profession. I chose a path less trodden, seeking to develop myself in not one, but two more professional fields, knowing that I had the ability to achieve something in life in as many areas as I damned-well pleased. My inner wordsmith would coin it as the Phoenix rising out of the ashes of Bali <insert groan here>. I have since retrained and have developed some of my other talents into a unique role that is unusual and diverse. My special talent is telling meaningful stories with the data puzzle…providing proof of what works and what doesn’t. Now I’m an innovator, an investigator, an informatic solutioneer – the truth lies in the data, the systems and the processes. In a nutshell, I know what it means 🙂
What is the last book you read? Or the BEST book you’ve read?
I haven’t got a DNA test to provide conclusive proof, but I’m pretty sure that my mother dallied with a bookworm. I have hundreds of books. The best book I’ve read?…too many to make a clear call. The best book I’ve ever been given is one that my sister bought for me, called ‘Taking the Red Pill; Science, Philosophy, and Religion in The Matrix.’ It is a series of essays examining the milieu of The Matrix – unashamedly highbrow, really thought provoking, and uber geeky. Chicken soup for my analytical soul.
What is one thing even your best BONES pals might not know about you?
In the Aussie vernacular, I’m a petrol head. I love cars, the sportier the better – which goes some way towards explaining my embarrassing fangirl crush for Brennan’s Mercedes Coupe (Seriously, Mr. Hanson & Mr. Nathan, the absence of this vehicle in the BONES universe needs addressing way before any of that ephemeral relationship stuff). If I were taller, I’d drive a muscle car…but at 160 centimetres (that’s five foot three inches for all the Imperialists out there), I find myself frustratingly juxtaposed between reaching the foot pedals, or being able to see over the dashboard. My favourite car would have to be the ‘new school’ Mini Cooper S; overpriced, over-engineered, overly-iconic – but in my humble opinion, absolutely the most fun that you can have with your clothes on. I owned a supercharged red Mini Cooper S for a couple of years, which I truly regret trading in on something mundane and environmentally conscious. I fully intend to purchase another Mini in the future. I’d also consider a ’69 Mustang as a future option for a mid-life crisis.
What is the first episode of Bones you ever saw, and why? What made you decide to watch more?
The Woman in the Sand. I don’t watch much TV, but I had been sidelined after being injured in a car accident last year (not my fault – I am an excellent driver! *snort*). There was an episode of BONES playing on cable TV. I watched, was immensely entertained, and found myself impressed by the accuracy of the science! My teenaged daughter came home from school and I told her about how great the show was. She was like ‘duh!’, I’ve only been trying to get you to watch this show on Sunday nights with me forever! (which is rampant hyperbole on her part, it wasn’t forever, because we were only at the end of Season 4 screening in Australia at the time…and I’m being too literal here…). Over the Southern Hemisphere summer last year I had six weeks of vacation, we purchased BONES Seasons 1 though 4 on DVD and watched the lot. The show is just the right mix of science and humour, with strong character-driven stories. French pastry layers of detail, a veritable cocktail of tension between the ensemble cast, plus that delicious towering croquembouche of chicken wings that is Booth and Brennan (and for some reason I’ve started channelling Stephen Nathan with all the food analogies!).
Which character on BONES do you identify most with and why?
Temperance Brennan is the character that I identify with most, although I’ll stress at the outset, that for every similarity I list here, there are differences. I have a lot of empathy for her character, as a person classified as ‘gifted’ – I really don’t like the labels ‘scary-smart’, ‘genius’, any more than I like to hear people being called ‘dumb’ and ‘stupid’. At the end of the day, an IQ test is simply a measure of how well you can do an IQ test. I’m a unapologetic workaholic, with degrees and diplomas in three different fields, about half of them in science. I’m still ‘studying’, working towards a PhD (my first, but I have a feeling that it won’t be my last). Learning is easy for me, by virtue of being blessed/cursed with an eidetic memory… The blessing is that I look at a concept once and assimilate it (no pesky revision or cramming required!). The curse is that occasionally my brain chooses to recall useless things that I never intended to learn: for example, ‘Somebody to Love’ by Justin Bieber. Every. Single. Word. Not just the lyrics, but the melodies, the harmonies too (I draw the line at the dance moves though!), all able to be reproduced in pitch perfect karaoke, were I inclined to succumb to a three minute and forty second loss of my wits – good for absolutely nothing, except perhaps upsetting pre-teen girls by whupping them mercilessly on Singstar… In real life, I do a range of complex, highly specialised jobs, in a massive organisation. My peers love what I can ‘magically do’ for them (and to be truthful, others dislike my ability to prove them wrong), yet paradoxically, people don’t really understand what I do. When it comes to facts and truth, I am determined, methodical and highly articulate. In debates where the evidence supports an argument, I will stand up with my baseball bat and choke it up, baby! Compartmentalise is my middle name and the score to the soundtrack of my life is in the key of rational major. According to the Myer-Briggs Personality Inventory, I am indeed of the rationalist personality persuasion, in the Mastermind subset…where, surprise, surprise, forensic anthropologists often lurk. When I watch BONES and Brennan shifts into defensive awkward hyper-rational, my empathy kicks in, because that is precisely what I do. On a side note, I see Tweets and blog posts suggesting, or asking, if the character of Temperance Brennan has Asperger’s (an Autism Spectrum Disorder) – in my humble opinion, supported by the diagnostic criteria, she does not (although I believe that Zachary Addy possibly meets the criteria). I work in an environment that has a very high concentration of super-intelligent people, many of these people have Aspergoid personality traits – it doesn’t mean that you are autistic, it’s simply a quirky psychological flip side to the territory.
What does BONES mean to you?
To me, BONES is an opportunity to kick back, relax and have a little harmless fun in my life. The show appeals to me on many levels, in much the same way as the X-Files did in the 90’s. Even in relaxation, I still need to keep my mind meaningfully engaged, which is why I generally read to wind down. Watching BONES makes me laugh, keeps me entertained, but has enough complexity to prevent boredom. An abundance of themes and life lessons are found in BONES; jam-packed into the plots, dialogue and character development. I find it thought provoking and inspiring. If I ever do take the 10,000 mile journey back to California, managing to realise the unlikely dream of being granted a visit to the FOX lot, I would cheerfully sell my grandma on e-Bay to be able to hang out in the Writer’s Room. Don’t get me wrong, going along to Stage 6 would be a fantastic experience too (particularly if that gorgeous Mercedes Coupe is hanging around!); but taking in the ambience of brainstorming the permutations of possibility into a story…wow! This is probably because it’s the kind of process that I undertake to develop solutions in real life; so I appreciate the art and a science involved. Although, being of the empirical persuasion, I usually favour making art my bitch… Of the stories that BONES has delivered over the years, the theme that resonates on my personal harmonic is the ongoing story of Brennan versus the world. Watching characters interact at the nexus of her brilliance has taught me a valuable personal lesson. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, each and every one of us is a beautifully flawed individual who has an ability to do something (or even many things) really well – I’ve learned the value of openly acknowledging what I do well. The personal lesson included the realisation that I’ve spent years validating the work and abilities of others, without ever taking the time to validate myself. To be honest, due to circumstances and issues going on around me as I grew up, I’ve never been comfortable drawing attention to the fact that I am a moderately smart cookie. My comfort zone lies in playing the role of ‘quiet achiever’. It may sound bizarre, but the TV portrayal of Temperance Brennan has inspired me to ‘come out’ and assert my full potential; unleash my own special brand of mastery over the world, to write my book, to publish my academic work, to mentor others, to keep feeling the fear (compartmentalise it away) and do it all anyway. In doing so, I have become less concerned at the prospect of uttering my objective rationalisations out loud – surprisingly, it has gained me respect and support for my work from places that I would have never expected. Indebted in gratitude for providing the catalyst that has shown me the way forward, my only opportunity to convey my appreciation is to write these words. If I ever do make it to the FOX lot, I owe Hart Hanson a guy hug (not a ‘guy hug plus’ – which *ahem* ‘someone’ once postulated involved a little more grab-ass than the original version). While I’m publicly declaring my appreciation for BONES, I reckon that at the very least, I owe Emily Deschanel a vegan cupcake.
What’s your ideal way to watch a new episode of BONES?
Well, living in Australia, there is not much choice. The quickest way (until the iPad becomes Flash compatible) is online streaming to the 24 inch monitor in my office at home, then the family gather around to watch, after scrapping over who gets the comfy office chair for the next 42 minutes and change. If we are feeling adventurous, and the stars of technology align, we stream the episode to the PS3 web browser and watch on our 55 inch LCD TV – we did that for episode 100, which meant that I averted the potential disaster of crying tears onto the keyboard of my computer. I’d actually hoped to be dancing around in my undies celebrating at some point in season 5 (and for some reason, even after 23 years, so had my husband, bless his heart) – I may revisit this irrational event when things on BONES correlate and become more linear.
Describe one “BONES in real life” moment you have had.
I’m not the type of person who scares easily (unless there are spiders involved – but let’s not go there!). The concept and reality of death doesn’t bother me; in my career, I’ve seen more death and corpses than most…it comes with the territory. With respect to the demise of victims on BONES, I tend to view them with detached clinical interest, not getting freaked out at all. However, I can recount one moment that scared the living daylights out of me. *Warning: creepy squintyness ahead…* I was in a hospital room with another colleague after a patient had literally passed away minutes previously…flatlined ECG on the monitors, blown pupils, no signs of life. Nada. Then all of a sudden, the arms of the patient rose up, classic ‘Mummy-style’, the eyes opened, and the jaw fell open as the patient sat up in the bed. I reacted pretty much like Brennan did in the X in the File episode, when the ball bearings in the cranial vault caused the body to ‘sit up’ in the MRI scanner (as did my esteemed colleague). There is, of course, a rational explanation for the phenomenon, aptly named the Lazarus Reflex. It is rare though, caused by the firing of spinal neural arcs following brain death, which doesn’t detract from the creepy factor in any way.
Which guest-star would you like to see back on BONES and why?
A quirky choice here. I would love to see Scoot McNairy reprise his ‘Noel Liftin’ role. I think his character represents that simple spaced out stoner dude that hangs around the fringes of everyone’s lives. His character is a great dramatic and comedic leveller.
Pick one meaningful quote (or small section of dialogue) from BONES and tell us what you think it means.
From the End in the Beginning: The final paragraph of Temperance’s story – “When you love someone, you open yourself up to suffering. That’s the sad truth. Maybe they’ll break your heart, maybe you’ll break their heart and never be able to look at yourself in the same way. Those are the risks. The thought of losing so much control over personal happiness is unbearable. That’s the burden. Like wings, they have weight, we feel that weight on our backs, but they are a burden that lifts us. Burdens which allow us to fly.” This was such a pivotal monologue that gave a flash of insight into Brennan, torn between tangible reality and the metaphysical, after four days of real world reflection at the bedside of a comatose loved one. It is a vigil that I’ve witnessed thousands of times, and done a time or two myself. They say that writing a piece can sometimes say more about the author than the story being told – to me, that passage said a heck of a lot about Brennan’s fear of love. Despite her reliance on the pathophysiological processes underpinning the ‘ephemeral’ phenomenon of love, this monologue was heavy on the metaphysical. Did she delete the words in a fit of empirical parsimony, or because she accepted her burden? (Note to self: Must ask Hart Hanson this *after* he gets his ‘guy hug’). If Brennan did accept her burden, Season 5 and beyond has certainly had her reconsider what personal happiness is in relation to love and family; then coming to grips with the omnipresent discomfort of things that cannot be controlled. The phrase ‘burdens which allow us to fly’ always makes me think of the mechanics of flight being applied to modify Brennan’s perspective…I’m not even going to describe the metaphor in my mind here, because it will result in the mass closure of browser pages in sheer boredom…Yes, I know, I’m a *science geek*!
If you could guest-star on only ONE episode of BONES, what would that look like? (corpse? someone’s boss? a squintern? etc)
I think I’d have to do a parodic Mary-Sue (inserting a real life version of oneself into a fictional universe), because this is a hypothetical scenario. I’d return to my ass-kicking roots and reprise my role as a wise-cracking, know-it-all ICU nurse – think of a character as sassy as Caroline Julian on an episode of Scrubs, you get the picture. I’d also value-add to the episode by ensuring that the medical monitors and devices would be used accurately, plus they would be adequately secured to the ‘patient’ (my pet hate in TV ‘medicine’…ETT’s flapping in the breeze with a floss-sized piece of tape…why-I-oughta…). Hopefully, I would get guest star billing and a consultancy credit for the episode…talk about multi-tasking! LOL!
Describe an instance in BONES that made you cry, either from anger, laughter or sadness.
I laughed until I cried at the ‘Skalle!’ scene between Brennan and Clark, with Cam watching on, in Mayhem on a Cross. This moment was so epic, I took the phonetic version and turned it into my profile name. I literally roll around laughing every time I see the episode – I wish we could see more of this kind of humour in the show, although the one-liners from the BONES writer’s room are gold. My teenage daughter does an excellent mimicry of Emily Deschanel’s delivery of that line, which she shamelessly employs to crack me up whenever I’m attempting to ‘parent’ (read: nag) her over tidying of her room.
Scenario: Hart Hanson asks you to pitch him an idea for an episode in 250 (or so) words or less. Describe the case, the victim, any character developments or actions and the end closing scene and anything else you want to add!
The Death in the Dark Day: Murder most foul has fallen upon a musical theatre troupe. The critics say they had it coming because they crossed the line by performing the timeless works of The Bard in show-tunes. The body is discovered when decomposition causes the body of the victim, the male lead, to ‘enter stage left’ as it falls from where it has been strung up in the theatre rafters; much to the horror of the captive audience. In a ‘dramatic irony’, the counterweight sand-bag stringing up the victim hits the understudy while he is performing on stage. His performance was pitchy at best, and Simon Cowell (cameoed in the audience) gives a standing ovation.
Was it death by grease paint? Or Method Acting gone horribly awry? Is there a Musical Theatre serial killer on the loose? (Cue: the chorus line, dramatic lighting and smoke-machine) Will the victim be interred with his beloved Mister Mistoffelees costume?
Brennan examines the victim and says – “This femoral fracture occurred some hours prior to death. I can only conclude that the victim went out on stage that night and broke a leg.”
Booth has a middle ear infection that causes him to do a double-take when the theatre troupe continually refer to themselves as ‘thespians’.
Sweets does a spontaneous duet with Zach in a looney-bin rendition of whatever show-tune makes Hart Hanson’s ears bleed least.
Seriously, there would be so many theatre and acting cliches and in jokes…the script would write itself!
Have you ever thought about not watching BONES anymore? If so, why did you stick around? I’ll admit to fleeting moments of discomfort since the 100th episode, but never enough to seriously consider giving up on the show. I’m going to stick by what I Tweeted on this subject the other day “The road to eventually is a marathon, not a race. @HartHanson is working to achieve a Personal Best, not a World Record.” Feeling empathy for Brennan while watching Booth getting his figgin’ freak on with the ‘Nookie Nomad’ is clearly the intent of episodes that we’re seeing now. I would have been content with another season of dancing around handbags, banter, guy hugs and eye sex – but this is primetime television, people. I know that we don’t have a turnkey date on ‘eventually’ where Booth and Brennan are concerned – but both characters need to grow into their new reality, to achieve a new emotional equilibrium. My hope is that TPTB deliver a commensurate proportion of B&B ‘Nookie’ screen time when it does happen. This is simply to prevent a rip in the space time continuum between the discs in my DVD box sets, or achieve balance in the force – pick your geeky metaphor (Yes, I simultaneously Star Trekked & Star Warsed you all – take *that* Sweets!).
Ha! Well, there you have it!
Ladies, Gentlemen & Squints, say hello to Skole! And make sure you pronounce it correctly; Dr. Brennan is watching! Haha,
Peace, Love, and Bones