Bones Theory

Scene Study: The Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood-Will You Be My Village?



Sorry I missed last week’s scene study, and I am also sorry that my draft of it posted live inadvertantly. My bad on all counts! But today, I’m breaking down one of my fave scenes from season five, a short little smile-worthy moment that illustrates to me that all B&B really belong together.

For a little background history, the episode begins with Booth arriving to the lab with Parker, who has developed a fascination with his dad’s love life, asking all of the women in Booth’s life if they want to be Booth’s girlfriend. Booth is flustered by this, but there is also a case to solve, so the issue goes on the back burner with the rest of his love life, and he works the case. Partway through, he asks Sweets what he thinks Parker’s fascination means,

…and Sweets says it’s very natural; Parker is just identifying with Booth as his gender-specific parent. He encourages Booth to allow Parker to see him interact with women. Booth scoffs at the advice, and he appears not to put stock in it. But later, when he’s talking it over with Brennan, he invites her to hang out with him and Parker…

“It takes a village, Bones…” he begins, and Brennan is not 100% sure exactly what he means.

“I beg your pardon?” she asks.

“A village,” Booth clarifies. “To raise your kid properly. It takes a village.”

“Well, metaphorically,” Brennan counters. “It doesn’t mean we must all grow up in hamlets of 800 people or less.”

Booth either isn’t really listening to her or doesn’t even want to get into the literal definition of village. What he wants is to ask her a question:

“Will you be my village?”

…to which a lot of us immediately responded, “Yes. Yes, I will be your village, Booth.” Of course, he wasn’t speaking to us (RATS!), but if it can’t be us, then it’s gotta be Brennan, is my take on it!

I love that he doesn’t ask if she’ll be IN his village, as in a small part of the social structure he plans to build in order to provide Parker with a good view of his personal life. No, he’s not setting up a mass structure. With Parker, Booth, and now Brennan, he’s still got room for 797 other people.

“I need Parker to know that I lead a full and rewarding life.”

“But…you don’t” Brennan argues.

“What? Yes, I do.” Booth scoffs.

“No, you don’t,” Brennan insists. ”

“You work too much, you don’t socialize, all of which prevents you from having a full sex life.” The zing. The sauce. It’s hard to capture in screen stills, but do yourself a favor and watch the way Brennan’s eyes just track all over Booth when she talks about his sex life. It’s so subtle, but she does it a lot whenever sex comes up between them (another example is in season three, Man in the Mud…during the “Play the field and not plow it” scene). Ahhhh!

“Alright, please. Let’s just…take a hint from the suburbs, and you know…make it look good.” Booth asks. And again, yes, Booth, I’ll totally play village with you. 🙂

“You want to know if I’ll help you fool your son into thinking your life is gratifying?”

“Yeah,” Booth answers, which makes me sad. There’s this underlying context there that tells us Booth DOESN’T think his life is necessarily gratifying. In some ways, it seems (and all the more so this season), that Booth has an ideal of what the perfect life would be. Yet, from where I type, I think it has less to do with what Booth imagines to be perfect than his idea of what he wants others to see when they look at his life. I think, generally, when asked Booth would say he likes his life; he likes his job, his partner, his son, etc, etc. But when presented with the suburban family life, and when Parker gives the impression that Booth needs a girlfriend, that’s when Booth gets edgy. It’s less to do with him wanting the perfect life and more to do with him wanting to appear as if everything is fine. Just fine. Does that make sense? 

There’s a lot of talk that he tries to control women and push them into his vision of the perfect life, but I don’t see that. I see it more as him trying to make things right. There’s a thin difference between the two, but that difference is Booth’s character. He’s not a chauvinist pig who controls women and plays games with them; he’s a good man who wants to get it right, but doesn’t quite see that it already IS right…not because of anything he’s done, but because of the good person he is (which he has a hard time seeing). Hahaha, that’s sort of a circular description, but I still think it works. Back to the scene…

“Will you do it?” Booth asks her.

“How?” Brennan asks.

“Come to dinner with us. Have fun,” Booth suggests. “Laugh at my jokes.”

See? There it is again…that idea that Booth would have to do something in order to prove he’s likable or worth being around or that his life is good. Brennan, thank goodness, does a better job of seeing the reality, which she basically says when she says…

“That might turn out to actually BE fun, thus becoming a self-fulfilling desire.”

She looks so pretty in this scene, I think, but she also is SO close to understanding the reality that Booth doesn’t have to DO anything to prove to Parker that Brennan enjoys his company. Parker is also mostly oblivious to this inner working, at the end of this episode, but that’s mostly for another day (of course, Brennan also gets THAT one right TOO, when she just talks to Parker about why he wants Booth to have a gf).

“Right,” Booth smiles. “So…you’ll do it?”

“Yes,” Brennan answers and does the cutest little shoulder shake as she leans in to make a joke. “I will be your hamlet of 800 people or less.”

“My village,” Booth insists, which is sort of not cool, but he’s so close (what is he even doing? Reaching for a napkin or something?!?), and his voice is so low, and his eyes so heavy lidded, and he smells so good, and…oh wait…we can’t smell him through the screen? Rats, again!

But still, it just kills me, because he’s totally ‘responding’ (if you catch my drift) to her teasing and squinty flirting, and instinctively he can’t help but tease back, even if he doesn’t want to be doing that.

“I was being amusing,” Brennan insists. “You should laugh at my jokes too!”

“I’m laughing.” Booth says. “On the inside.”

And Brennan makes a face that shows she’s not impressed.

Don’t worry, Brennan. Your joke was amusing. I laughed. A lot of us laughed. And Booth liked it too. He likes your jokes; he just can’t quite admit it yet. Because if he does, then he’ll feel the urge to say that he loves you. A lot. Everything about you. And THEN, if he admits that, then he’ll have to admit he wants to have 797 squinty babies with you to make your little B&B hamlet complete. 

And if you want to adopt 30-year old bloggers, I’ll gladly be in your village. 🙂

Peace, Love & Bones,



23 thoughts on “Scene Study: The Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood-Will You Be My Village?

  1. When you think of it, who else would Booth ask to be his village? Brennan is his best friend and like Brennan pointed out (and Booth objected to) he does work all of the time (and Brennan would know since she does too) and the only one he seems to socialize with anymore (at this time) is Parker and Brennan. Brennan knows that Booth loves his son and wants him to be happy. She also knows that Booth is constantly in need of fixing things and being Booths’ village would help him fix what he thinks is Parkers problem.
    Don’t you think in the back of his mind, when he asks Brennan to be his village for Parker, that he is in a way, asking Brennan to consider Booth to be her village? I always read more in to this question than the writers probably meant; but, I always get the feeling that Booth was starting to think of Brennan as being part of his family and at this point and he may have been trying to get her to acknowlege that she was more than just a partner and friend. Just a thought.

    I always thought he should laugh at her joke about the village; but, we all know that Booth sense of humor is spotty at times when it comes to Brennan. When he is relaxed he laughs at her jokes or at least points out that he noticed that she is joking. When he is tense and worried, nothing seems funny to him and he can be kind of a blanket. On the other hand, Brennan knows that. She may get irritated when Booth doesn’t like her jokes; but, she moves on and doesn’t let that bug her too much.

  2. Hahaha….sometimes your internal thoughts are way better than the actual scene S! Love it!!

    I admit i haven’t watched the episode a lot…ok, ok. I’ve only watched it once…but S5 really isn’t my favourite and i can count on one hand the number of episodes from that season that i’ve seen more than once.

    I like this scene though…i both agree and disagree on some of your comments and i can’t quite figure it out! LOL

    When you say Booth doesn’t push woman into the life he wants i…can see your point. I don’t think it’s a conscious choice. He’s not a chauvanistic pig who thinks woman only have one place in the world. BUT, on some level, he has this idea of what HE wants the woman to be in his life. He is fond of giving them…not ultimatums really but he gives them a choice. And if they choose wrong then…damn, guess that is an ultimatum isn’t it? Huh…the word seems a tad agressive but you know what i mean, right?

    He tells them what he wants, no room for compromise. With Rebecca we don’t exactly who it went down, but i would assume that, like Hannah, it was marriage or nothing. Brennan…30/40/50 years or nothing (basically marriage without the ring! LOL) and Hannah it was, again, marry me or leave. So he does have this set thought of what HE wants the women in his life to be. Doesn’t hold true for all woman but he knows what he wants and can be inflexible in getting it.

    In no way am I bashing Booth…but that is the way i see him. He’s not wrong…but he’s not right.

    Anyway…that scene i like. The entire episode is very…okish, but that is a good scene.

    • I know you’re not bashing Booth, and you know that I love you, so… it has to be said. (LOL.)

      You’re not bashing him, but you’re not being quite fair, either, IMO.

      We don’t know what went down with Rebecca. What we know is he asked her to marry him and she turned him down. But when she talks about them having missed their moment, and missing what used to be there…none of that sounds to me like an ultimatum where he walked away from her because it was all-or-nothing.

      She was pregnant with his child. No way he abandons her because she didn’t fit into the niche he offered her. But she’s always taken care of herself, and was going to set the limits on what their relationship would be. He tells Gordon Gordon he broke up with Cam because his ex ‘wanted to give it another go.’ If they broke up because he wanted marriage, she said no, and on his end it was an all-or-nothing deal, where does Rebecca wanting to give things another go fit in? if he still had the same ultimatum in place (marriage or nothing) wouldn’t Rebecca have had to have agreed to marry him? Instead, it sounds very much as if Rebecca was running the show, not Booth. She told him no marriage, and possibly broke up altogether because she wanted to take care of herself. Later, she wanted to give it another go, and he broke up with Cam to do so. I simply don’t see Booth laying down ultimatums there.

      This one won’t surprise you, but I don’t see it with Brennan, either. People focus on that ’30 or 40 or 50 years’ phrase as “make a lifetime commitment to me” but the context of that phrase wasn’t about what he wanted from her. It was a simple statement of what he believed true about what was between them, that they had something that could last like that. The only thing he asks her for is to give them a chance. “Just give it a chance…that’s all I’m asking.” No matter how I cock my head and squint, I can’t get ‘commit to me for a lifetime or else’ out of “just give it a chance.” I just can’t. And then, while I know others hear her response differently, I hear a very clear ‘no’ from Brennan – said several times.

      It clearly was an ultimatum with Hannah, or at least that’s how she understood it, in that she left. But they were at an impasse. They do not want the same things out of life. And whether or not he should have known that…he knows it at that point, and has to act on it. She’s being very clear with him: she doesn’t want what she knows he wants, and has always known this day would come. I know some believe she was willing to compromise, to make a long term commitment to him, for example, just not marriage, but that’s not what she says. So it’s another assumption. 🙂

      Based solely on what we saw, his only choice was to give up everything he wants and needs and settle for no long term promises at all. Anything else is reading things into Hannah that we were never given.

      • You’ve been able to write what I couldn’t verbalise/type. Especially the 30, 40 or 50 year issue. I never ever heard an ultimatum. Like you I heard give it a chance & Brennan very clearly saying no.

      • Haha…always nice to be loved Ryn. And i do so love it when we disagree…makes the world right in my eyes 😛

        I’ll give you Rebecca BUT i would like to point out that we don’t know how it went down. I was making an assumption…as are you.

        With Brennan i hear it differently. Yes, he wraps his 30/40/50 years in a nice little ancedote but the question was the same. You think he WASN’T asking for that life? He said ‘give us a chance’…and the chance i believe he is asking for is a chance for 30/40/50 years together. Not a ‘Let’s give it a go, see what happens and if it doesn’t work out do be it’. And Brennan did say no. She said no to protect him not herself but when it comes down to it that is irrelevant. The no still passed her lips…more than once. BUT if she’d have turned around and said ‘I can’t say i’ll be with you in a year, 10 years, 20 years etc but i can say i’ll be with you now’ i can’t see him excepting it. He didn’t want a promise of now…he wanted a promise of years to come. A promise he KNEW she couldn’t keep.

        And Hannah…he gave her an ultimatum. There is no way around that one. He asked her to marry him, she said no (as he and I expected), he told her to pack her bags and go. What is that if not an ultimatum?

        And you’ve said before that we don’t know enough about Hannah to say how ‘in’ the relationship she was and whether she wanted a forever with him and i see your point. But for me, in the scene in Daredevil we got to see a whole lot more from her. She wanted to go on living with him and being with him…having a life with him. But, because it wasn’t on his terms, he wasn’t interested. Simple as 😀

        But i’ve always thought Booth has this idealised view of what his life needs to be like so his actions really didn’t surpise me. I mean, the scene in Daredevil with Brennan makes me want to hug him while kicking him up the ass. The dude is a mess…and who’s really shocked?! LOL

        p.s. I’m really really tired after today so if this makes no sense i apologise!!

    • Replying to your reply here since I can’t reply to your reply there. 😀

      I agree that I’m making an assumption about Rebecca, because we didn’t see what happened. I just think the fact that he broke up with Cam to give their relationship another chance doesn’t support him having ended it previously with an ultimatum.

      As to Hannah…I think you’re right. (Wait! Don’t pass out! LOL.) She wanted to go on exactly as they were, living together, being together. The difference between me and you is that I see that every bit as much of an ultimatum as what he gave her (which, to be clear, was an ultimatum. I’ve never disputed that.) He needs a long term commitment (and yes, I’m using ‘needs’ there very deliberately.) She doesn’t. She likes things as they are, where they take it a day at a time. There is absolutely nothing we ever see from Hannah that supports the idea that she’s open to making any more of a commitment to him than she already has.

      He wants someone who will commit to build a future with him, she wants someone content to live in today. Yes, she followed him, yes, she met Parker – with great reluctance. But she never once said anything about a future, married or not. If she had, if she’d said, ‘look, I’m here with you for the long haul, but I don’t like the idea of marriage’ – she would still have been asking him to sacrifice a large part of who he is (enough so that he’d no longer be the person he is) but at least then, I would have been able to say, ‘no, he’s not willing to compromise at all.’

      But we’re not given that. If he’d backed down, tucked the ring in his pocket and said, ‘okay then, forget the ring, forget marriage, we’ll leave things as they are’ – there would still have been an ultimatum involved, but from her to him. With her having said, ‘to have a relationship with me, you have to give up everything you want and need.’

      As I said in my earlier comment, they were at an impasse. They want different things in life – he wants permanence, she wants love for as long as it lasts, with no commitments other than what feels right, right then. Note that I’m being careful in all of this not to bash her or criticize her. Sometimes two people can’t reconcile significant differences. But not all the ultimatums were on his end. We just didn’t see her spelled out as clearly. But to assume she was open to a long-term commitment to him that wasn’t marriage is to see things about her we were never given.

      • *picks self up off floor*

        I didn’t pass out….did fall off my chair though 😉

        I see what you’re saying. I do think that we don’t know enough about Hannah to know WHAT she was asking him for…so her ultimatum is a bit more rough around the edges, as it were, as we don’t really know what she was asking him.

        BUT if that’s what Booth needs (and i do agree with you. He needs it…which i don’t see as being particularly healthy. Wanting something yes…but i do think for him it goes that little bit further than just wanting it) then i think the Booth and Brennan ship is sunk before it’s even set sail. Will he ever be at the point where he can compromise? We shall see 😀

  3. I think Booth has, as Brennan said, a highly idealized view of romance and love. It’s been one of his defining characteristics season 1; he believes in fate, magic, two people seeing each other across a room, true love, “the one”, you fall in love, you get married, that’s what people do.

    I don’t think Booth tries to push women into the life he wants so much as he falls for these women and doesn’t realize that they don’t/won’t fit into that idealized life. Ironically, the women seem to know this about themselves and, with the exception of Hannah (ptui!) try to extricate themselves from the relationship before he gets hurt. Double ironically, Booth probably doesn’t really want the idealized life he thinks he wants, so the relationships would have worked out!

    I also think Booth has rock-bottom self esteem and he just desperately wants proof that someone loves him and marriage is that proof. When Hannah says no, and indicates that it will always be no, I think he’s hearing that she’s never going to love him enough. If that’s his though process, why shouldn’t he break up with her?

  4. I’ll have to watch this episode again with the benefit of hindsight after everything that has transpired. I always took this scene to mean that Booth was just trying to appease Parker for the time being — thinking this was a phase Parker was going through. Later when they are at the diner and Brennan wants to be honest with Parker about why he thinks his dad needs a girlfriend, Booth gets very nervous about what will be revealed. I always thought it was kind of cute but not a sign that he or Brennan were ready to be a committed relationship. At least, he felt comfortable asking Brennan and she is happy to accept. Maybe it was a good opportunity to ask her for a favor that benefited them both as well as Parker. It gave them a natural way to hang out together outside of work without it being a ‘date’. I sure wish we would get to witness some of those times instead of just assuming they happened.

  5. Awesome scene study Sarah. I have to admit that I love Brennan’s line about a village being a hamlet of 800 people or less, and your editorializing (797 squinty babies, adopting 30-year old bloggers, etc.) was hysterical and totally awesome.

    I never liked this episode much as a whole, which is a shame because it has some awesome scenes (including the scene in the FBI conference room where Sweets tells Brennan to keep her, “grubby anthro hands off my psych”). Ah well, maybe it’s time to go back and watch it again.

  6. What was he reaching for? His sugar – both metaphorical and literal 😉 What do we call this village full of fangirls? Boothtown?

  7. Ah, thank you for this great post!

    I really liked the episode, there were so many sub themes running through it – it was a smorgasbord of subtlety. Your scene study is made all the more amusing with your witty sotto voce editorial notes 🙂

    With respect to Booth & Brennan, this really was (IMHO) one of those moments where they skated close to the point where they almost came right out and implied what they meant to each other…not in the physical desire stakes (although Brennan did give him more that a cursory dose of the eye) – they acknowledged where they stood in relation to each other, acknowledged their connection.

    Thanks for posting this. If applications are open to be in your BT hamlet of 800 people or less, could you send me a brochure? 😀

  8. I love this. It’s a wonderful scene.

    I also really like your distinction about Booth. So often it feels like people are saying he’s wrong to want what he wants, which, from what I can see, is simply for someone to give him what he wants to give them.

    Meanwhile, being successful is important to him – successful as a father, as an agent, in life in general. I think he privately feels like he’s not nailed that last part, but he keeps trying – and convincing others is part of that.

    • But he wants them to want what he wants, when they have already told him they don’t want that…. that’s not fair either. Love = acceptance. If he really loves them he should accept their desires as well. He drives women away by forcing them to fit into a mould they weren’t cut out for.

  9. I really like the relationship with Booth and Parker. I’m sure that Brennan could explain all of the anthropological reasons for it, but darn it, it’s just nice to see a strong, sexy, alpha male being loving and affectionate towards with his kid. And it’s nice to see a kid who is allowed to just be a kid, and not a smart-mouthed mini-adult as so many shows portray kids as these days.

    I like this scene for what it shows of us Booth; he wants his son to know that he’s happy and well adjusted. Parker is the most important thing in his life, and he’s not afraid to show it to Brennan… Not that she didn’t already know it, but I like the reiteration.

    And I too, would be more than happy to sign up for a spot in the BT village. Do we each get a Booth of our very own? 😉

  10. Hi there! This is my first time to post a comment but I am long time serial lurker here at Bones Theory… \ ( o.0 ) /

    I meant to post earlier but it was my birthday and I got distracted! Lol

    I truly, truly enjoyed the scene study today and your take on it! I always enjoy the posts and seeing everyone’s different perspectives in the comments.

    Keep up the fantastic “work” (labor of love, obession, addiction, *insert-personal-definition-here* or whatever it is for all of us!) because it is greatly appreciated! 😀


  11. Sarah, you my friend are a genius.
    I had never noticed Brennan’s eyes-rollin’-all-over-his-body thing in this episode until now and I immediately went back and checked it out. As soon as I saw it I was like Ho-Ho! She does that and then gives this smirk for like a fraction of second and you just know what she has on her mind!!!
    ED is just awesome at facial expressions, remind me why she hasn’t won an emmy yet?
    I also loved the concluding para of your article (I think its always the part that make me smile the most), stuff like that makes me fall in love with B&B all over again.
    Great job! Please, Please, Pleeeeeeese write scene studies for the rest of eternity

    Oh, and I totally want in on the B&B hamlet.

  12. I have to say I loved this scene study (and this original scene)! The episode itself was decent, not the greatest, but decent. Like some others said, it actually had a few gem scenes, but I was more smitten with this scene more than any other. I swooned when he leaned in to get his “sugar” hahaha!

    Your commentary made it that much better of an experience! I’ll be part of your BT hamlet of rational, thought-provoking posters of 800 people or less right alongside Skole! Just let me know where to sign…

  13. I’m not a huge fan of this episode – although it does have its moments (e.g. “wrongology, keep your grubby anthro hands off my psych” hehe) but your scene studies just make everything seem better – especially the running commentaries that go with them! (btw, I’m up for the B&B hamlet as well) – now I was going to try and say something insightful, but completely forgot, so just well-deserved praise!

  14. Your scene studies are just great!!

    Thanks a lot for your insights, I want you to know that here in Colombia, there are some of us who are super-fans of your blog!. You make an amazing, really important for a lot of people, a lot of obsessed people!

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