Good morning! I hope you are having a great weekend. I wanted to say thanks to each person who comments here at BT. It’s very meaningful when people take the time to share their thoughts and replies. I love each comment here, mainly because you all see things that I don’t, and I love that!
Sometimes, people ask questions, and sometimes it’s just a matter of someone saying something I want to answer. For various reasons, sometimes it’s hard for me to comment on BT posts, so I thought it might be nice to do a little ‘mailbag’ post every once in awhile, to sort of answer questions or elaborate on an existing post from the week before.
Let’s see how it goes!
ShrinkyMojo writes this…
Now I’d like to pose a question that’s been bugging me – maybe one that deserves its own post. What if the roles were reversed? What if it was Brennan that got turned down in the 100th…moved on…and found someone new? Would everyone be as upset about HER finding a new love? I’m thinking, no. People wouldn’t hate her for doing what Booth is doing. So…why the double standard? Why do we expect Booth to act differently than what we would expect from Brennan?
I totally agree that Brennan has never had a connection to a man in the way she does with Booth. And we do dismiss her “flings” because we know they won’t amount to anything. But what if one of them did turn serious? In my little scenario and truly to be a role reversal, this would be a real possibility. So…just wondering if that would precipitate the same kind of disapproval that we’re seeing now. I’d like – really – to be proven wrong, but from what I perceive, fans would be more tolerant of Brennan because they identify more with her and would rationalize and accept her decision to move on much more easily than they did for Booth. I’d hope the reaction would be equal, but I have my doubts for these reasons. Does that make sense? Someone please tell me I’m delusional! I think about these things way too much. LOL!
Well, I would never say you are delusional, and I really like this question. The answer is that I’m not sure what the response would be. I think based on the past, Brennan did take a lot of flak before, during and after The Man in the Outhouse as far as dating Jason and Mark at the same time. It was somewhat unfair criticism, in my opinion, as Brennan herself never once claimed to be in exclusive relationships with either of them. She wasn’t the girlfriend of both of them. Once she realized that each man was thinking outside the bounds of what she’d thought was set (sex or intellectual connection), then she could also see that it wasn’t completely successful. I think in some ways, some of us are responding to what appears to be Brennan having been rejected with sort of a spurned, “you go girl” reaction, when the reality is that she did do the initial rejection. This is why I love your question, as it takes us back to that moment. And what IF Brennan had been the one to sort of express her feelings for Booth, only to have him say something like… “Bones, I…I can’t. I just…I don’t have what it takes. I’m not good enough for you. We both know it.” She would say okay and then try to move on perhaps, and I wonder what the reaction would be to that. It will be interesting to see if something like that happens, though I’m hoping we don’t see that. It’s one thing to use a somewhat predictable plotline on a show; it’s another to use it twice!
In the same post (Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity), BT asks…
Do you think that there is a part of Booth that is still in protecting mode (both for himself & Brennan) when he responds to her? Not to take away from the integrity of “sticking true” to Hannah, but Brennan has clearly had a rough couple of days. He knows her and even though those are words that he wants to hear, he may not trust them very much at this point. She has not been herself and he is not really sure what all is going on. His lack of confidence may not allow him to believe that she will “feel the same way in the morning.”
I love this idea, because it sort of opens up the possibility that Booth’s response isn’t completely black and white. Yes, he was being honorable re: Hannah. But yes, also, there is some hurt there in his own heart. And yes, I think he’s also trying to protect Brennan as well. The way he describes how he managed to ‘reset’ seems to suggest that his experience wasn’t without some pain and heartache. It’s interesting, because we haven’t really seen that, but it doesn’t mean it’s not there. I think this idea that his response to her is ALSO skewed by the way she’s been acting for the past few days is really insightful. I think he’s trying to protect her in that moment, both physically and emotionally. Booth still needs Brennan to be herself. And she needs him to be himself; that’s how they work well together. I’m hoping before all this is said and done that they’ll both come to the conclusion that while there might be room for some compromise, neither one has to change. But yeah, in that moment…I think it was instinct…making things okay for her.
In response to the post on Chemistry, Innocence and Curiosity, Sophia asks this…
Let me set the scene…
A couple of weeks ago, I was in my house watching ‘Two Bodies in the Lab’ which happened to be on TV. This has long been one of my absolute favourite episodes (sometimes I get bold and say it’s my actual favourite, but then I get wobbly because I think of all the others I love)
Now, my favourite scene in the episode is when Booth leaves the hospital and with Hodgins’s help, bursts in to save Brennan. (One of my favourite lines in the entire series is Hodgins saying ‘maybe you shouldn’t have had all that pudding?’ – makes me laugh out loud every time, but that’s a different story)
At the very moment that this scene was playing out on TV – you know, Booth’s burst in, shot the baddie, couldn’t get Brennan off the hook so had to hug her and lift her off and they’re sharing their first hug – my housemate loudly interrupts, saying ‘oh wow, they clearly just need to **** don’t they?’
I can’t really explain why, but this really really bothered me. I was like ‘but, but – that’s not what it’s about!’. And this really brought it home for me. You know, the memory of the simple days when episodes would be ending and I’d be like ‘kisssssss, kiss now, you HAVE to kiss now!’ and that was kind of all it was about, because there was this sense that if only one of them would lean in a little further and actually make contact with the other person, then they’d fall into each other’s arms and live happily ever after.
Ha. How I grimly smile now at my naivety.
It’s in this way that I understand the assertion that our innocence has been lost. Things were so straightforward before. There were two people for whom there seemed to be no real barriers to them ‘getting it on’, you felt like it could happen at any moment, and it had us on tenterhooks.
Sophia managed to say it better than I did! I think she’s right, and I have to admit that it’s one of the things I’m finding hard about BONES these days. Remember in The Man in the SUV, when Booth is walking out of Wong Foo’s and he smiles at Brennan (and yes, yes he is wearing the white polo shirt!) and says, “The world is full of possibility”? THAT is sort of how I used to feel about new BONES episodes. Like Sophia said, there was always that possiblity that one of them would just lean just that much closer, and then it would be all over but the shouting.
But would it? Fanfiction aside…if B&B had slept together at any point during the previous 115 or so episodes, what would the next morning have looked like? What about 30 mornings from then? 3 months? 3 years? We sort of laugh at our naivety and mourn it a little bit, but is the same true for B&B? What’s the end game for them? A hookup? A lifelong partnership? Family? Thoughts from you all?
Joy replied to the same post and said,
ED and DB work amazingly well together whether they are playing UST with deep emotional connection, or the current distance, where one cares and one doesn’t. I don’t think any fan is disputing that. What they are talking about is what’s on the screen – the characters. Booth and Brennan aren’t connecting anymore. The fact that it’s deliberate doesn’t change that it’s not there, and that it is missed. Because of what’s transpired this season, it is difficult for me to see a way for the UST and connection to realistically come back. I’m sure DB and ED could certainly create it, but, all things considered, would it seem appropriate or believable? Brennan has no reason at this point to really trust Booth emotionally. As for Booth, until there’s an explanation for his behavior this season – beyond, “he’s in love with Hannah” – him taking a sudden interest in Brennan’s emotions and well-being or caring about the squints will make even less sense than what’s happening now.
Good point, Joy. I totally buy that viewers miss the easy going chemistry between Booth and Brennan and the ‘permission’ those characters felt in that way, if that makes sense. What you say about the fact that viewers can respect the acting work of DB and ED and still miss the previously more-lighthearted tone between B&B…well, that really rings true. I think I was commenting more along the lines of how chemistry doesn’t have to mean long adoring looks, it can also be more of a…friction? Is that the right word? Either way, I see now where my proof or explanation didn’t exactly provide room for the very real (and shared by me) feeling of loss at the intimacy we’d seen previously between B&B.
Maria also commented on this post and said,
HH and company have created a world with two damaged people, their wounds having been revealed to us in bits and pieces over the years. Any other show would have played Booth and Brennan’s undeniable chemistry for its light romantic comedy value with the characters flirting their way easily into and out of bed for as long as it stayed on the air. Given how complex Booth and Brennan are, I don’t see how this road would have been really satisfying to us as fans. Part of the appeal of Bones to me is how real the characters feel even when the cases or the science might seem over the top. They suffer, they make mistakes, they’re imperfect. But they are also kind and willing to learn and grow. Sure, I want Booth and Brennan together as much as anyone, but I also respect the integrity of these characters and the fact that any easy resolution would not ring true. Besides, I don’t want all that learning and growing to go to waste just for a quick roll in the hay.
I love the way this is worded, and I’m interested to hear what everyone else has to say. There’s this incredible tension (and NOT just in season six) between BONES and ‘media’, I think. Perhaps this is true for all shows; again, I have no idea. I’ve never studied a show like this, never sort of hung on the public opinion of others, etc, etc. Those of you who followed other shows should weigh in and let me know. For about two years, whenever I would listen in on a conference call, there would always be at least one person who would sort of ask a question like, “How does it feel to have this somewhat unpopular show but loyal fans?”, which besides being a ‘backhand full of knuckles with that compliment’ as Sweets would say, it’s also sort of impossible to answer. For one thing, what is HH supposed to say in that scenario? “We hate our fans?” I don’t think that’s ever been true, no matter what anyone says. I think, also, there is this incredible tension between writing a story and making a TV show. BONES was sort of a sleeper hit in the early years, and there was some pride in that. Now, it’s more popular, though maybe not as popular as other shows, and all of a sudden, that’s a bad thing? I for one don’t want a cookie cutter sitcom or reality contest or game show or anything like that. I want BONES for as long as it’s on the air. I’ve sort of gotten away from Maria’s post, but the point is this: BONES has NEVER played ‘by the book’ and it’s not doing so now. I think the writers want more for B&B than the ‘roll in the hay’ ending too. At this point, I’m still holding out hope that once this is all said and done that it will all be worth it. Not just the current storyline, but all of it. From the pilot episode to the series finale…all of it.
Okay, one more from that post, from Lenora, who writes…
I thought it interesting that Booth talked so quietly with Brennan in the car. Her declaration that she had “made a mistake and missed her chance” was powerful and so heart wrenching that I felt that Booth was trying to be calm in front of Brennan; but, at the same time he was confused about what was going on with her emotional outburst and was trying to figure out how to respond. That he said that he adjusted speaks volumes to me. It is not a rejection of what Brennan said; but, a fact that Booth felt that Brennan should know and understand what happened in the past between them was very powerful, emotionally , for him. His quiet response to Brennan told me that he was very sad about this whole mess but he didn’t know what to do about it. Booth was trying to be a friend to Brennan and not hurt her and at the same time he was trying to protect himself. She didn’t declare her love for him. She just said “she missed her chance”. How can he know what that means? Does Brennan even know what that means?
These questions sort of stuck with me for an entire day, and I think they are so spot on. It’s funny (not really) that our two major ‘confessions’ (100th and DitP) sort of leave B&B feeling confused and hurt…on both sides. They aren’t very good at communicating with one another at the heart to heart, brain to brain level. Over the years, we’ve seen them help the other multiple times; this is one of the most beautiful things about them. When Brennan had doubts about helping Max in his trial, she called Booth and he talked with her and listened, and gave her advice. She took the advice, though it did cause her some pain (allowing herself to be considered a murderer).
When Booth couldn’t quite see past his reaction to Jared, Brennan called him on it (after her birthday toast) and encouraged him that when he steps in for Jared all of the time, it’s not doing either one of the Booths any favors. Booth listens and knows she’s right and takes her advice, though it also causes him pain.
The thing they’ve been able to provide the other over the years is sort of that “Trust me, I’m right” sort of thing, when it comes to personal struggle. When one is down and out, the other ‘rises up, gets fierce.’ Whether it’s with a gun or an invitation to Christmas dinner, it’s the same thing…
But now, we’re seeing something new, and that is they are both so close to the situation that they can’t quite see what we see. Before, when they encouraged one another, it was somewhat easy, because there was no rejection of self occuring. Does this make sense? Now? Yes, Booth has encouraged Brennan to love. But when it comes to loving him? that’s a brand new ball game. Yes, Brennan has encouraged Booth to see his value. But when it comes to her putting faith in that? It’s a quandary.
Not because their hearts aren’t there…but more because they are.
Do either of them know what that means, like Lenora said? I’m not sure. I’m not even sure that WE know what that means!
The next reply comes from Cynthia, regarding the Morning After-MAQ: Is Anyone to Blame?
And so–in this scene, she’s discovered something and the only thing I think she knows how to do is to say it honestly. She’s discovered a regret–in my mind because she has finally had an observer’s view of multiple perspectives on data that we as watchers of the show have (or think we have)…the data of herself and the way that she relates to others. And I think there’s one person that she shares her discoveries with. He’s sitting right next to her and happens to be related to the discovery.
I don’t know if she realized she had a regret before this episode. If she realized that there was something going on, she certainly couldn’t have named it as such–she didn’t have data to look at. For me, at least, the regret is that it’s okay for somebody to be good for her too (see reaction in second conversation with the pilot). Flash back to Episode 100 when she tells Booth that he would benefit from a relationship with someone like her. I think she just realized that she doesn’t have to be the one giving…especially when she doesn’t think she has something to give. She can also be the one who receives…and there are so few people in her life that she isn’t the primary “giver” to—I think she regrets having someone there who isn’t there because she’s good for them…but rather because they are good for her. In this case, a mutually good for each other. And although I think part of it is because she doesn’t feel worthy of receiving, another part of it is because she’s so talented and gifted and wealthy and smart and beautiful…that she’s just not sure what else there might be to receive. Now she knows.
I actually thought Booth was pretty kind in his words to her. No recriminations. No “you had your shot” spoken out loud from him. He just lays out the facts–the data–and lets that settle in so that she can draw her own conclusions. I saw the set of his jaw and could feel some of his frustration (and maybe a touch of pain when he said “I did”), but I didn’t feel any insincerity in his words—it really is where his heart is.
I loved this. Loved it. I love Brennan. And Booth. I love them as people, and I think this explanation of Brennan was very well said. I think that you are right in that she has become so successful that there isn’t really anything or anyone in her life for whom she just…is. And I think she regrets the idea of not being that for Booth, because she cares so much for him? Her reaction (when we look at it again, like Cynthia did…like you all who have more guts than me!) is both sad for herself and perhaps also sad for Booth. I think they both feel regret and sadness and affection and caring for the other. And I think Cynthia is exactly right in that she has one person who really listens to her. He might not understand her, but he gets her. I think she also always knew how good of a man he is/was, but maybe she didn’t quite realize exactly what she’d rejected? I’m not explaining that perfectly. What do you think?
And yeah, it will be interesting to see if B&B ever really come to a yelling and confrontational shouting match about things. On the one hand, if they don’t, I think I might feel like Brennan got off too easy! Doesn’t that seem sort of crazy? I guess I’m waiting for the idea that one day Booth will just flat out ask her why she never returned his calls. She was all kinds of fired up in the season three finale, wasn’t she? Eyes a’blazin and wanting to know why he didn’t break protocol for her. I want the same sort of thing from him, dark eyes smoldering, demanding to know why she didn’t bother…not even once…to contact him. I don’t believe there was no time for relaxing a bit. Not one email? Not one phone call? Letter? Her answer may surprise Booth and us, but I still sort of hold out hope that he’ll call her on it. Part of Booth growing as a character is him learning to stand up for himself. Part of Brennan growing as a character is her learning to admit feelings.
When this happens…it is going to be AMAZING! (PS…no spoilers, please!!!!! I know, I’m the worst…always setting people up! But really…just let me imagine what could be!)
From that same post comes a question from BotJes:
There are some things about the Booth Brennan relationship that have always baffled me somewhat though, because I am not an American and I don’t know the significance of some phrases and behaviors within American social mores. For example: Is the phrase “I love you” only used for romantic love and not between close friends? And can close friends in America kiss each other on the cheek, or is that not done outside a romantic relationship? I’m asking because from my point of view it surprises me that Booth has nothing more to offer Brennan than offering to call someone to be with her. And in earlier seasons I wondered why Booth does hug her but never kisses her. I don’t know how to interpret that because I’m from a slightly different culture.
Great question, BotJes! I think there are some layers of answers, and I hope I can explain this clearly. I think yes, there is a generally accepted “American” idea that you don’t necessarily kiss people in greeting casually, even close friends or family. Also, “I Love You” is generally reserved for romantic relationships, or a familial relationship between a parent and a child or a grandparent, that kind of thing. It’s usually (and everyone, I hope you will chime in and let me know if you agree or disagree) the sort of thing that comes with an established relationship. If you are already with someone (family, marriage, etc), the “I Love You” is sort of an addition, almost sort of the ‘right thing to do’ between two people. So that is one ‘layer’.
But when we look at Booth and Brennan, there are other factors that would prevent them from expressing themselves toward one another both verbally and physically like this. One factor is the emotional and physical abuse each one suffered in childhood. I’m not a psychologist, so I won’t even really get into that except to say that when that happens, there can be a resistance to expressing emotion physically and verbally. Not always, and I’m not trying to lump everyone into a group. I just think it’s a possibility to consider, that’s all.
I also think that Booth and Brennan have been aware of one another from the moment they met. I think the Pilot episode sets the stage for this; the subsequent 98 episodes build on it, and the 100th episode showed us that what we thought was the ‘beginning’ wasn’t even close in this way…but that they were aware on many levels! I love that look we had into their meeting. So…based on that, and based on the reactions we’ve seen from them when they HAVE kissed and said “I love you”…all incredibly dynamic reactions that sort of stunned them…I think that they haven’t ‘gone there’, if that makes sense. I think they both know that kissing casually isn’t really an option. It’s never been that way. Having sex won’t be casual; they both get that. Saying “I Love You” carries a lot of meaning for them; they’ve done that once, and it didn’t quite work, so it won’t be something they’ll just add at the end of a phone call. With the mistletoe kiss, for example, Booth suggests they just kiss on the cheek. “Kiss, kiss”. Brennan tells him no, that it will be on the lips. “Like colleagues or French people meeting on the street”. The look Booth gives her tells us that he’s not buying it (and that he’s not in the habit of kissing French people…on the street or anywhere, haha). The looks they give each other after their “It’s no big deal” kiss prove that it very much was a big deal, and they both know it. That neither one calls the other on it is because they are BOTH feeling stunned by it.
SO…having said THAT…there is also a third layer there, and that is that though they do seem to sort of make an effort not to kiss one another casually, etc…they do seem to touch one another a lot. The guy hugs (which, haha…okay, Booth…whatever you say!), the hand on the arm, all of that is proof to us of an underlying attraction. Some of that attraction is sexual, and some of it is more personal; they just genuinely like one another. I think in the case of this episode, DitP, which you were discussing, there are a few parts. One is that Booth is driving. Of course, this is sort of a joke, since he hardly is even looking at the road, but still…there is that element to it. But also, it’s very deliberate. The reason Booth does not hug Brennan (in my opinion) is not because he’s an American or because he doesn’t think it would be meaningful…but because he knows it will be too much. Gosh, it’s heartbreaking just thinking about it again! I also think that the idea that he has nothing else to offer her but calling someone to be with her can be argued. I think he’s offering as much of himself as he can in that moment. What does she need? Someone to be with her. What would he have felt free to do in the past? Sit on her couch and share the good scotch or whatever. I think it is interesting that maybe they both know that he’s the one for her; that no one else will do necessarily. He offers ‘himself’, that is, the thing that he would have done, in his way. It’s all he has to offer at that point. I guess what I’m saying is this…the reason he doesn’t hug her is because it’s the thing he wants to do most in the world, and he knows that he can’t take it, that she might not be able to take it, and that it might not be the best thing. When they’ve kissed and hugged before, it hasn’t been completely truthful (just guy hugs, just mistletoe, etc), and they’ve both sort of allowed themselves to agree on that, with sort of a wink to the viewers and maybe even to one another. That ‘truthfulness’ is still there. They can’t kiss or hug without it being meaningful, but they aren’t at a place where they can joke about it either, and so they just can’t do that in that moment. I hope that makes sense. Everyone else, weigh in!
Okay, almost done; here’s a comment from Meg about last week’s Scene Study on SitS;
Of course upon reading this I had to go watch the episode again. Everything that could be said about this beautiful episode has already been said in the above comments, but I have two thing to add. About sweaters.
Zack’s sweater at the end is just all sorts of awesome. Three cheers to the individual who actually made it, more cheers to Zack for actually wearing it. I love so much more because of it.
Thank you, Sarah, for making me appreciate Booth in the gray sweater that much more. I’m officially on Team Let’s Get Booth in a Gray Sweater Again. That definitely needs to happen again. Preferably ASAP. Yum.
Yesssssssssssssss! We seem to have Christmas episodes on the odd numbered seasons, so I think a year long petition for this is just the thing for season seven! And while we’re at it, can we get Brennan back into the gray knit cap as well? She’s awesome!
A lot of you added moments to the “Top Five Times Brennan Knocked Booth’s Socks Off”, and I just wanted to say how much I absolutely loved each one.
Booth seeing Brennan for the first time in Double Trouble in the Panhandle (wellsbones and MFluder)
Brennan kissing Booth on the cheek inKnight on the Grid (Lenora and Jen)
Brennan’s toast ‘To Love” in Dentist in the Ditch (Jen)
Booth’s reaction to Brennan in her “Bone-lady” outfit in Body and the Bounty and the way he reacts when they slow dance in Death of the Queen Bee. (Maria)
Brennan telling Booth she wants his baby in Critic in the Cabernet (Piper)
Brennan pulling out the wad of cash from her bodice in Woman in the Sand (as Roxie) and wowing Booth (NatBor)
Booth’s reaction when Brennan helps him fix his ‘plumbing’ in Bond in the Boot (Gemlily)
Booth’s reaction when Brennan admits she fantasized about a life with him in Couple in the Cave (Janice)
Um yes! Those are all amazing moments! They knocked MY socks off too! One of these days I’ll have to write about times when Booth knocked Brennan’s socks off…like this one….
I KNOW there are more! It won’t be next week, as we’re doing “Christmas Week!” starting tomorrow! But it might just be the perfect first Tuesday post for 2011.
We’ve gone over quite a bit today, but I wanted to sort of re-open some of these conversations. I hope you find at least one you feel you can comment on. 🙂
Peace, Love & Bones,