Bones Theory

The Integrity of the Characters

62 Comments

Good morning, BONES THEORY READERS!

One thing I’ve been pondering lately is this idea of “OOC” or ” Out of Character” vs “IC” or “In Character” when it comes to the characters on BONES. Those terms, OOC or IC, are often found in discussions of fan-fiction, as far as whether or not a fiction writer portays B&B (and other characters) as within the guidelines of canon–that is, the existing episodes.

But lately, I’ve also been seeing OOC or IC come up in discussions about the actual episodes, and I’m feeling confused about it, to tell you the truth. I’m not confused as to why people are using those terms–there are character changes we’ve discussed here at BT that illustrate that the characters on the show have gone through development and changes that would lead people to judge whether or not those changes are realistic in terms of existing character developments.

But I just can’t help but think…can a character on the show, in any given episode, ever actually be Out of Character? If I, while watching an episode, think to myself, “Oh, heck no! “Real” Booth would never do THAT!”…is that actually a fair assessment? If Booth did said action in an episode, then does that action, in fact, automatically become ‘in character’, as he is in fact THE character? Does that make sense? Basically, how can something on the show be out of character? Doesn’t every action/statement, etc become canon when performed/said, thereby making it in character?

The characters might act outside of what I perceive to be their character, but at what point do I have to accept that what they say/do is the reality?

I don’t have the answers to these questions. This whole theory is just one of those that swirls around in my mind, popping up every once in awhile, when I can’t quite reconcile my opinions to what I see on the screen.

It doesn’t seem possible that it’s been a year and three days since the 100th episode aired for the first time. When I think about that episode, I’m intrigued by Brennan’s personality when she first meets Booth. She’s confident, open toward him, factual about her skills, eager to assist on her terms, but not really at all snarky or edgy until after their kiss in the rain.

Fast-forward to the Pilot episode, and we see that Brennan has some hard edges (so does Booth, don’t get me wrong!). For 99 episodes, we’re led to believe that those edges are a result of the abandonment she felt from her parents as well as the experiences she had in the foster system. Yet, that edginess isn’t present in this Brennan…

All of this falls into the “I Don’t Know What That Means” category for me. On one hand, I want to question the integrity of the characterizations. But again, that involves the presupposition that I’M the one who has the say in these characters. That’s what I’m struggling with, especially when I watch a season two episode, for example.

In a lot of ways, the characters have changed. And in several ways they haven’t; that is also true. But I don’t know how the actual actions in the episodes can be deemed out of character. Does that make sense? If Booth or Brennan do something I don’t like, does that mean they are outside of their character, or does it mean that I just don’t like their actions? “Don’t like” is probably not the best term there, as it’s not a popularity contest as far as the characters go, I don’t think. They can do things I don’t care for and still be IC, and likewise, sometimes the things I DO like might be what others see as OOC.

Maybe the tension comes then, when we consider, “Do I actually like these characters?”, and depending on what answer we receive from ourselves, that skews how we perceive how the characters SHOULD and DO act? I don’t have the answer to that either, except to say that I’m still thinking about it.

What are your thoughts on this? Does the fanbase have the right to judge the characters’ actions based on what seems to be appropriate for them? When considering fan-fiction over the actual show (which, haha, is also fiction…something good for me to remember!), should the OOC or IC terms overlap?

Let’s discuss!

Peace, Love & Bones

~S

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62 thoughts on “The Integrity of the Characters

  1. One of the facts of life is that we, as people, aren’t always consistent. While I do think that sometimes the characters are molded to fit a particular storyline (I think Sweets is often used this way), I also am willing to give all the characters some leeway since people, in general, aren’t always terribly consistent.

    The 100th episode Brennan might not have the edginess we associate with the pilot Brennan because now, for 13 months or so, she’s been investigating murders and mass graves and trying to deal with the emotions of it all. Could be why she insists on leaving the lab and getting to understand why people do such despicable things to one another. Could be that she compartmentalizes very well in the 100th and not nearly as well in the year or so she actually works with Booth. (We all reveal a great deal more about ourselves over time.)

    I might have more later.

  2. When I watch I a show, I assume that the producer and head writer have a long term plan for their chararcters (a bible) that tells them where they eventually want to be in year 2, year 3, etc. Some times the characters you invest with do things that seem out of character to you and it may make you very unhappy; but, I have to believe that the producer and writers know what they are doing. I have to believe that they love the characters as much as I do and in the long term everything will work out for the characters that I care for.

    Sometimes things happen to characters that we don’t like (Zach becoming a tool of a serial killer). We are unhappy about it. Some of us vent our frustrations because we don’t see the purpose. Then as the show goes along it becomes clear to some (or most) of us why that thing we hated happened. In this case, the betrayal of Brennan by Zach was a way to make Brennan reevaluate those around her. It was a tool to help her see that the real world can intrude on you in its most bizzare forms. That the use of logic should not be the only thing she should rely upon. Shouldn’t she also use her heart to look at how the world works? The writers have had Booth compare heart over brain a lot through the years. This must be very important to the long story they are telling us. I feel that we are being told a very complicated love story. There is nothing simple about this show and I for one am grateful for the emotional rollar coaster ride that we have been put upon. The writers have done a wonderful job of confusing us and yet making the story so fascinating that we have become attached to the characters of the show. When they do something we don’t like we get irritated or angry. That is the magic of the show. If we didn’t care about the characters then we wouldn’t care how they acted and wouldn’t want to know why they are doing it.

    The point I am trying to make is that I try not to worry too much when a character I like is doing something I don’t care for. I always try to remember that the character is doing something that the writer thinks he or she needs to do so that in the end the story they are telling will make sense.

  3. On a fundamental level, I agree with the idea that characters on a show cannot ever be OOC.

    However, I can also feel that every once in a while, writers can skew things for a greater purpose, that they can skid out of their own lines if trying too hard to prove something. So, while the Beach episode has Booth and Brennan in character, by definition, I can believe that the writers veered a little too much. As I write my own original characters, I have to consider (and my editors help me with this) “would she really do this? say this?”, but mine will ultimately be set in stone (or, hopefully, at least in print)… can a TV show get away with overlooking some of these questions? Is there justification for doing so?

    I don’t know the answer, either. I felt there was something “off” from last week’s episode and I don’t know if it was intentional or not. And I don’t know if I simply want to believe that it is intentional to help me feel better (because as @ceeray3 and @MFLuder14 and I were discussing before – we tend to defend the show as we would a best friend). And, with this intention, I can interpret accordingly, which means that I have to admit that I simply did not like all of Booth’s and Brennan’s actions and not just with the whole ‘apology’ thing (though I have few problems with that whole scenario) – there were other examples, too, and especially didn’t work for me coming out of the Blizzard ep.

    • I think that’s the point– when things seem “off” like they did last week, there are all kinds of cries from fans of “they’ve changed the character!” and hundreds of posts later, the next episode rolls along for fans to comment on.

      In just examining the last episode in light of the “progress”, I have to wonder if Booth really isn’t angry with Brennan. If he were, I would understand his comments to her. But that isn’t addressed in the show and doesn’t seem to be in keeping with the tone of the previous episode. Were their actions OOC or IC because anything they do is IC since who else is doing it? Are these actions intentional or are they a product of interpretation of the script by the actors, directors, producers? As a fan, if I know that Booth is still harboring some resentment toward Brennan for past actions, then his words don’t seem as jarring given the hopeful tone of the previous episode.

      I think our expectations color what we see on the screen. I’ll read comments from people who seem to have watched something entirely different than what was on screen. People see a character’s reaction and three people could see three different interpretations.

      That said, I also think the show has taken some liberties this season. Maybe the body farm episode will make more sense to me later (just as I’m hoping for some clarity on the sunglass thing), maybe it will be a blip in the show. Overall, I generally take most behavior as IC, but sometimes I just need one or two more hints as to why a character does what he/she does.

      • I also think HH has had to “explain” too much to us fans this year. Like the Sunglass episode. When the creator/writer has to explain it….did they really do a good job? That is my question.

  4. I don’t read fan-fiction of any sort so I don’t have an opinion on what other people do with characters created by someone else.

    But I think that yes, writers can cause their characters to veer off-character if the writer is (i) writing for a specific purpose and/or (ii) writes without giving careful consideration to his character’s backstory.

    Pardon me for going all Harry Potter on you, but a perfect example of staying on-character is Severus Snape. When JKR started writing the books, she knew where the story would end. She knew Severus’ history. She knew his motivations. The readers saw a mean, bullying, vindictive teacher and while it might have seemed out-of-character for him to save Harry (HP&SS), it wasn’t. He *was* cruel and mean-spirited and bitter, but he was also working ‘for the greater good.’ The two sides weren’t mutually exclusive.

    But, JKR didn’t take Snape to the point of saving Harry, or going back to the DE as a spy, and have him suddenly BFFs with Harry only to jerk him back into his bitter hatred a few chapters later. He had his own character and personality and JKR stayed true to that, no matter what the action was.

    I sort of feel like the writers for BONES get a little sloppy. I hope, as Lenora suggested, there’s an outline for the main arc of the show. But within that arc, it feels like the writers write more for a particular episode without giving a lot of careful thought to how that episode fits within the whole. It may all work out right when we get to the final of the series, but I think we’ll be able to go back and pinpoint episodes that didn’t quite fit.

    “Feet” will definitely (for me, anyway) be one of those episodes that just doesn’t work. It especially doesn’t work in the context of Brennan’s “improvement” that she’s worked so hard on.

    • I think this is an excellent point. Many authors have to keep a “bible” of the characters, so they keep onsistnetcy. While I think the Bones writers do a pretty good job, we as fans notice things that are bothersome. I’ll give them some leeway about Brennan’s improvements because humans falter all the time. We may think we want one thing but we don’t… we say we’ll do something and we don’t.

      We don’t see the big picture, and even when we’re done, there may be some episodes that we are just all wth about.

  5. This is a very good question, one I know I’ve seen discussed before; I just can’t remember what show it was about that time. Really by definition shouldn’t anything the character does on the show be in character? The actions of the characters in the show are controlled by those who either created them, or are now in charge of the direction they’ll take.

    I think that sometimes we as fans become very invested in the actions of the characters and feel that we know them better than those that are writing them. That’s quite cheeky of us isn’t it? I think that I’ve come to accept that whatever is on screen is that character; for better or for worse it is how they do act, it is their character. I do think that sometimes some might have behaved in a way that if I had read in a fanfic I would have said that it wasn’t in line with the character on the show, that is was OOC, but once they have that action on the show, well I can’t argue with it.

    Really as much as I love Hodgins, he’s really not the same character he was in the beginning of the show, but he is still in character. If there were a fanfic written during the 1st season and they were writing Hodgins the way he is now I would have said no way; that’s not Hodgins, but due to the course taken on the show it is who he is now. I have to say in the case of Hodgins that’s a very good thing. I do love the way he is now; I’m much more invested in this character now than I was in the first season or two.

    So yep whatever appears on the show is in character; but, well then I think it is possible for those in charge to lose sight of who these characters are and what they represent. I think in those cases though it’s when the person(s) who set their course move on to something else and someone else takes over the show. That hasn’t happened in this case though and while some might claim that HH has lost sight of his characters I think it’s more just that he’s following his plan and not theirs. I have to say he definitely hasn’t followed my plan for the show, but I do still love this show and am still very invested in the characters.

    OK I’ve been interrupted a few times while typing this up, so if it’s a bit disjointed I apologize, but I’ve got to get back to work now.

    • Agree with you Frankie, very well put!

      And an interesting question to boot. I’m going to have a think and hopefully come back!

    • I agree with you, but… you say

      “I think that sometimes we as fans become very invested in the actions of the characters and feel that we know them better than those that are writing them. That’s quite cheeky of us isn’t it?”

      But isn’t this the whole point of a show? It is the writers’ job to make the story clear and understandable for us, and it is the actors’ job to convey that as well (and everybody gets paid very well in the process). What’s the point of the writers knowing the character better if we don’t understand what they want to convey to us? Otherwise, I can say that I’m a great writer too without having actually written or produced a TV show ever. I write these stories in my own head, but no one reads them or watches them, but I still know my own characters better and therefore I’m a great writer. There’s no audience but it doesn’t matter.

      I do think that the audience’s claim to the show is crucial to this process. I really don’t think we’re cheeky. We’re quality control. If the show is very good, we’ll say it. If it’s bad, we’ll say it too. It’s all in the eye of the beholder and the writers should know that.

      • But we don’t all see the same thing. It’s not the writer’s fault that we all bring our own preconceptions to viewing the show. Look at how diverse our opinions are on what we’re seeing on screen. That’s not due to a lack of writing or acting skills by those making the show, that’s due to human nature and the viewers own life experiences and personal views. Just because you view a character differently than the writer or actor intended is not necessarily due to a failing on their part, but more to your (or my) personal experiences, expectations, hopes, fears, etc.

        There is just no way they can present the characters so that every viewer will see the character in the same way, in the way they intended, it’s just not going to happen.

  6. Excellent post – and one which I imagine will provoke much debate.

    Hmmm. This is a bit of a brain-scrambler but I keep coming back to no, it isn’t possible for a character as depicted on the show to ever be OOC. I like ProfJMarie’s take on it – that the writers sometimes ‘skew’ the narrative, (and by necessity take the character’s along for the ride) in order to further a plot point or to elicit our sympathy for a particular character. I don’t like it when that happens and it can feel like having the rug pulled out from under you. But that doesn’t mean that the actions of the characters aren’t valid. In my mind, the only people who can truly claim to know whether or not a particular character is behaving OOC or IC are the writers themselves.

    Also, people change, adapt, regress and generally keep you guessing. I’d rather B&B surprise me every now and then than contemplate watching a show where I can second guess their likely response/action.

  7. First of all, yes, the fanbase has every right to judge the characters; as soon as you put your work in front of the public, you open it up to public scrutiny.

    Second, you’re right – if characters do it on the show, it’s canon. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Booth would never have sex under a fig tree with a virtual stranger”. Well, apparently he can, because he DID.

    That said, it is possible for the characters to behave inconsistently. This can be for thematic purposes (as with Booth and his fig tree sex) or it can be writerly shenanigans. Sorry, but Zack being Gormogon’s apprentice will always be writerly shenanigans IMO. There was a plot purpose to be served, they used Zack to serve it without properly establishing a basis for his behavior. Again, IMO.

    Brennan’s characterization has been inconsistent, and I think some of it is thematic and some of it is shenanigans. As a viewer, I try to seek meaning in the changes to her personality, and when I cannot, I simply roll my eyes and pretend I didn’t notice.

    This is also how I deal with my husband, btw. It’s the key to a happy marriage and happy TV viewing!

    • haha. Yes. Very true. Yes, we may not like that Booth had sex with a near stranger under a fig tree and I think when we say, “he would never do that, it’s ooc” it’s also the viewer trying to make themselves feel better about an action a character took they disapprove of. No offense intended to anyone, I am as guilty of this as anyone else.

      And while it’s true that there are instances where Brennan or Booth or others act out of character (i.e. fig tree sex), the fact is that human beings act out of character all the time. The sweetest person you know may say something really nasty or your friend who would never ever be impulsive, went and got roaring drunk and flashed a bunch of people. People may be one way and act out of character for any number of reasons (trauma, regret, intoxication, etc, etc.)

      Do I think Booth’s fig tree escapes were out of character? Yes, I think, Booth himself would agree with that, but out of character doesn’t mean the character would NEVER behave in that way, only that they behaved differently from how the usually do. I think there’s a reason for Booth’s out of character behavior but that doesn’t mean that HH wrote his character ooc.

      And I would agree that things that a character does are cannon and we can’t pretend they didn’t happen because we don’t like them. What we can do is find the motivations behind them (within the canon we’re given) and try and understand why this character that has so far behaved in X manner is now behaving in Y.

      I remember when Brennan had sex with the deep sea welder after rejecting Ian Wexler in the season 4 premiere and people were outraged about it because the premiere made her actions in Man in the Outhouse seem out of character somehow or regressive. (And I know there was talk of how the episodes aired out of order or something, but again,for purposes of cannon, once the episodes air, it doesn’t matter what the order should have been, only what order they actually were). And I always felt that while maybe Brennan was acting inconsistent to her behavior in the premiere, the fact she slept with Mark was not ooc or even regressive.

  8. Argh! Why no edit? I forgot to mention, this is a show with several different writers, so the characters are going to be influenced by the style of each writer….I’m sure HH is there to oversee and make sure nothing too improbable happens, but there are bound to be differences.

    • This is the point I was going to make. There are multiple writers on the show and while I’m sure there’s some process in place to ensure that dialogue and character is consistent from episode to episode (I thought that at least part of the writing process was a collaborative effort, but I may be wrong), each writer is still going to have his or her own quirks that are evident in the episodes that they write. And I do try to make allowances for that when I watch.

  9. Great question – and I also second ProfJMarie. I think what they do is the character, but I have to be a bit cocky – I think we have the time etc to analyze the characters and rewatch episodes more than the writers do. Hart commonly comments about how watchful, well, watchers are : ) So, even thought ultimately they make and control the characters, sometimes, in some episodes, things are out of character or perhaps better put, they are not consistent with the story or personality that we’ve been part of. Characters change (watch season 2 vs this years) sometimes for the better sometimes not. But I think that the out of character stuff can only really apply to a particular episode – if it’s in more than 1 episode – it’s clearly in.

  10. I have two thoughts running together on this. On the one hand, if a character does or says something on the show, then it is a part of that character’s history and as viewers we have to accept the action/thought/whatever is part of the character.
    In real life, sometimes a person will do or say something and our reaction is “I can’t believe he did that/said that”. In a sense the person has behaved in a way that is “out of character” for how we know him/her. We are all, I think guilty of being inconsistent. So I don’t really have an issue if a character on a show does something unexpected. People surprise you all the time.
    Where I have an issue with the show, is where a character behaves in a way that is inconsistent and seems to be behaving that way only to serve the writer’s need to move the plot along. That’s lazy writing. I feel for example, that sometimes Brennan is shown having little regard to other’s feelings (when we know from six years of watching the show that she does have regard for others), when doing so fits the episode, rather than thinking about whether it fits her character.
    /ramble

    • I agree! It’s like they are trying to tell us that the basic part of her personality… the part she goes to in times of stress or trial is robotic and unfeeling. It *might* be… except that when people change… so do their bases of personality… While I used to shut down my feelings, I now openly bare them to the world.

      It does seem that they are consistent in that every time we make progress we regress.

  11. As far as whether or not a character can act “out of character” within the confines of the actual show – technically, I think the answer is no. Characters are puppets – what they say and do as well as what happens to them – it’s all controlled by the puppetmaster/writer. But I do think it’s a lot easier to accept a radical change in a character over the course of a television show, movie, or book if you can look back and see subtle signs of the change. You may have missed them in the moment, but looking back, you can see the road the character traveled that makes the change believable. When the signs aren’t there, that’s when I think you get into discussions of “this is out of character” – and while phrasing it that way might not be technically accurate – I think it’s still a legitimate observation.

    All that being said though, writing for television seems to be an extremely fluid process that is easily affected by outside forces. I think it’s a lot easier to write a book or movie character consistently because what we see is the finished product (that’s somewhat less true with a movie or a book in a series, but you get the point). Not so with a television show.

    There are all kinds of factors to consider that affect the direction of a show. New shows have to pull in an audience to survive (HH said in the commentary for the Pilot that the only reason Michaela Conlin flashed the customer service guy in the airport was to draw in the male 18-49 demographic), and even established shows are dependent on network renewal (and from what I understand, network execs have been known to interfere with the intended direction of a show as well). Look at how the writers strike affected the end of season three (people are still upset at the way that played out). And even if they don’t write it into the storyline, Emily Deschanel’s pregnancy is going to affect the way season seven is written. I think at the end of the day, when a major change has to be made to a character to get past whatever hurdle has suddenly popped up in the road, the writers have to hope that they have established enough groundwork (and that there’s enough time) to make the change believable.

    Did that make any sense at all?

    Oh, and I don’t read or write fan-fic, so I’ve got nothing to say on that front.

  12. Yes People can change during their lifetime, because they are evolving.
    But there are some core character traits that should never change. Of course sometimes people do things that are OOC because of circumstances, but they are only short-lived and don’t change the character. So if we feel that season VI has changed some of the characters, we could look if there was not a clue in seasons before. But really that would be too much to do or I think the show is not that sophisticated. I believe also that the writers change some character due to the story line. Still in season VI I have seen a couple of OOC which disappointed me. It feels like a let- down. Maybe I am a little bit too romantic because I have higher expectation from a fictional character, which is the beauty of a TV show vs. real life.

    • I agree with you about a character’s core traits staying the same…those usually do not change. You also make a good point that OCC behavior is sometimes short-lived and occurs in certain situations…especially if a character reacts before thinking.

      Season Six is the *one-that-tests-your-sanity* season. While I have loved it, for the most part, I’ve become disenchanted with some things and feel let down as you do. If we wanted to watch real life, we could tune in to a documentary about love and romance…but it’s just that. Terms and definitions. What we want is a big dose of fantasy romance…with a small dose of reality. You’re right in that the beauty of fictional characters is they can transport us to those feelings of love and romance that we may not have in our own lives. We live vicariously through our characters’ lives and when they are happy, we’re happy. It’s been a long road since the 100th of less-than-happy situations. I think we’d all like to have that happy feeling back again…asap!

  13. I guess this has been my biggest problem with the idea that Brennan has “regressed” (and why I wrote that Brennan/empathy post). Regression implies that she was that way before… but was she? We’ve only seen a snippet of who she was before the Pilot, and that snippet was a)written five years after the fact and b)that version could be… altered by the characters’ perceptions of themselves and each other. I also was thinking about that last night, and how Brennan was… and I started to wonder… how much of the story was clouded by the characters’ perceptions? Like with what Booth said about gambling in the very first past scene.

    The episodic nature of the show also changes how it is written. For example — they had an overarching storyline with the third season, with the Gravedigger, but not for season 4. Season 5 had some of that, and now I would say season six has an overarching theme (like the rest of the episodes), but I believe that the show has become more episodic in nature (and I think the network asked that it be that way, if I remember what I read correctly). You could take each episode on its own and not know the characters and still understand it (now granted, it would be more difficult during the current season, because it’s been on for six years, and there is a lot of background, but it would be do-able). Making each episode self-contained means that there is a lot more planning. Each segment has to be planned in character change, while the long term goals still have to be reached. The flip-flopping of episode order also changes things, as with is season, or worse, with the Player Under Pressure in season 2/3.

    I once saw an episode where I ended up deciding that they decided to switch Hodgins and Cam last minute and have Hodgins say Cam’s lines (they were a bit too similar to what Cam normally says). Each character has its own individual sentence syntax. Changes like these happen. They’re disorienting. I wonder if Booth and Angela were switched in Feet on the Beach in the diner scene. Now that I think about it… they might have been. Weird.

    The writers know what they are doing. They have a difficult job. Not everything is going to be perfect. That’s what makes it all so human.

    • I would definitely buy Angela being in the place of Booth in the diner scene… it would make so much more sense! It really bothered me that he was in there telling her to apologize… Angela has always been like that, Booth… not so much.

  14. I’ve spent the morning trying to decide whether I should comment or not, because my position frequently unnerves people. But hey…

    As a straight answer to the question, my answer would be no, if it’s on the show it’s not OOC. But the reason for that is different from what others are saying (not that I disagree with others on the nature of writing an episodic show, tweaking characters to go in a certain direction, etc.)

    We all assume that we see the characters as they are, wholly. That our understanding of them is 100% accurate. And in a way, it is – if we describe a character to another person, we’ll describe them the way we see them, and that’s legitimate and valid. Totally so. The problem is that may not be what the other person sees in that character, may indeed not be what Hart sees in that character or intended to show. Not completely, at least. This doesn’t mean the person doing the describing is wrong.

    We all filter things, all the time. We do it completely unconsciously. When I watch Brennan, for example, I process everything she says and does. But the reality is that when I consider those things and what they say about her as a character, I emphasize some things more (or differently) than I do other things, without necessarily realizing I’m doing it. It’s not an effort to skew the character in a certain way or anything like that. It’s just human nature, how we process the world around us. At a guess, I unconsciously emphasize the things about her character that I can most identify with, or find admirable.

    I suspect Hart and Stephen have had discussions about the characters where they debate whether the character would do something or not, and didn’t start out on the same page because even her creators would have a slightly different view of her.

    The upshot, then, is that when we say, ‘that character was acting wildly OOC’ we don”t really know whether it was a decision to tweak the character to accomplish a specific plot goal, or if we’ve just always been seeing the character differently than the writers.

    I didn’t think either Booth or Brennan was OOC last week. Nor did I think Brennan was shown as regressing. My understanding of the characters allowed for the behaviors that so many others have been distressed by. Does that mean I’m ‘right’? Lord, no. I’m not saying that.

    I think what we do here, much of the time, is debate those views. We may call it debating the characters, but it’s really debating our views of the characters, and I think that’s awesome. Because I know I don’t see them without filters, sometimes when someone says to me, ‘how can you say that? She’s obviously ‘X” it allows me to step back and think, ‘huh. I guess there is evidence of that in her character. I’ve just not paid enough attention to those scenes.’ It allows me to see the character in a broader way.

    The problem is that can be really threatening. We love these characters, and frequently, that’s because we see them in a certain way. I was one of the people Barbara referred to above who had trouble reconciling Booth’s figging with the view I had of him. But I knew going into it that it was just my view of him, and the writers were saying to me, “you’ve made assumptions based on a few scenes, now you need to widen your view of Booth – we’re not saying those things weren’t true of him, but so is this.’ And I worked it around for a while until I was comfortable with it.

    Sometimes, we’re confronted with something we can’t reconcile. I know someone who lost the show (stopped watching) because her Brennan – the one she believed she’d been watching for five years – would never have responded the way Brennan did in the 100th (according to my friend.) We spent a lot of time talking about it, with me trying to get her to tweak her view of Brennan enough to continue watching the show. She couldn’t.

    Could the writers write a scene someday where they deliberately said (to themselves), ‘we’re stepping outside the character here, but oh, well’? Maybe. But I suspect most of the things that bother us fit within their parameters of the character. So we can either try to assimilate this new information into our views or we can try and pretend that scene/episode didn’t happen.

    • I think what we do here, much of the time, is debate those views. We may call it debating the characters, but it’s really debating our views of the characters, and I think that’s awesome.

      You are right. We do view our characters through our own personal experiences. Some of use love Booth and some of us love Brennan. Some of love Daisy (although God knows how) and some of us hope she is the next victim of Brodsky. (ouch – ok maybe not Brodsky – just go away Daisy)
      I came to this show late so I didn’t build up my love for the show over time. I bought all of seasons 1 through 4 and watched them in a marathon over a three week time period. By coming to this show, in this way, I got to see the characters evolve pretty quickly. There were no summer hiatus, no strike to contend with. Since I didn’t know anything about the characters, I had the opportunity to get to know the characters pretty fast. I loved what I saw. The evolution of the characters was set out for me to see and I didn’t have time to agonize over the changes I was seeing. This is a weird way to be introduced to a show; but, wow, it made me really love Booth and Brennan and the quirky characters around them. I loved the writing, the character development, the quirky humor, the gross bodies and the overall love story I was seeing.

      I love this blog because there are so many view points to be read about the characters I really like. Some people agree with me and some people really don’t. And yet, this just gives me insight into characters that I never thought about. I see something, you see something else. I think that is great. And guess what rynogeny, nothing you say un-nerves me. It makes me think. Thanks.

      • Lenora, I have a similar experience with Bones. I started watching seasons 1-5 one night this past fall when I couldnt fall asleep and Bones kept popping up as a netflix suggestion on my account. I fell in love with the show, the characters, and especially the science. Being able to just click play on to the next episode. This season has been difficult for me now that I’m all caught up and having to wait. The Great Hannah Debacle of Season 6 makes me wonder if people always complain so much about issues on the show like Sully and Cam in season 2, Zach in season 3, Sweets emerging role in season 4, and the 100th in season 5. After falling in love with the love story I watched unfold, it has been harsh and difficult for me to take some of the lashing out I’ve seen towards “my” show on other blogs and in articles. When watching seasons 1-5, I just sat back and enjoyed the ride, without interference from news articles posting this spoiler, or that blog (not BT 🙂 ) “hating on” this aspect of the show. I sort of wish I’d waited to watch the entire series from start to finish, without the external factors influencing my opinion of “my” show’s characters. But then again, I’d have never found YOU ALL here at BonesTheory! 🙂

      • I wonder how many of us came to BONES that way? I don’t watch much live TV – in fact, I’d say BONES is the only show I watch that way. I caught random episodes here and there, and to be honest, I only watched them because of DB and my crush on Angel and Spike. When I’d finished with those series on Netflix, I started on BONES. And now here I am.

        It is much different watching episodes as they play out week by week, versus watching them one after another without the delay. Maybe that’s why I see such a disconnect between the Brennan I love and what we got stuck with in “Feet.”

        If I had the willpower, I’d stop watching right now and just wait until the show ended so I could see how everything fits together.

        But, I have no such willpower. Which I’m actually grateful for. Think what I’d miss!!! 🙂

      • I started watching Bones at the end of July last year and went through sleepless nights to watch it life starting September 23. Yes it makes a difference when you don’t have to wait, so after starting season VI I got a bit depressed. But I recorded every episode (on 2 TV’s) and I have looked at them again, one after another and it feels much better. But I also don’t have the discipline to wait until the end to start watching again.

      • I agree. I’ve also noticed that I often feel differently after watching more than once. I commonly think an episode was just ok, but then start to love it more and more after rewatching.

    • Nothing unnerving about this comment at all. We all absolutely have our filters with how we see characters and events. Our individual experiences shape who we are and how we see all parts of the world – including fiction, including blog questions. 🙂

      The question resulting from your comment might be, are we willing to accept that we all have filters and be open to what comes through the filters of our fellow debaters. From my filtered perspective, I am happy that this blog seems to reflect this acceptance of various experiential views.

    • I like the way you put this… and I think we do get so attached to our viewpoint of the characters that we don’t realize we only know the part of them we see on television. I mean, we don’t know a lot about Booth’s childhood… like where his mom and dad are now. We can’t possibly know if a character is truly doing something OOC because we don’t know the whole story. While Brennan being cold in this past episode seems like regressing, it might just be that we see that because we see how she is with Booth and the team, her close friends. We’re all different with our close friends. They take our crap that no one else will. So while we may see a friendly and loving side of Brennan, she more than likely might be closed off to people in the professional world, and that’s fine.

  15. we have to remeber that it is a team of writters not just one that writes the episodes. Each wrtter is going to have slightly different interrpretations of the Charecters even if in theory they should all be exactly the same that would be impossible to do. as long as they keep the charectors whithin the original paramiters I have no problems. Last weeks episode was past the parameters of not only Charector but also as a realistic storyline.

  16. I see others have concluded some things I have…but I’m posting this in its entirety, because I’m too lazy to go back and edit it. I’m just slow in hitting the *post comment* button…having gotten up to do laundry and answer the phone a few times since I started this…and probably why it appears a bit disjointed. Too many interruptions! 😀

    Every fan has a perceived notion of how a character should or shouldn’t act, based on their words and actions portrayed onscreen…but more importantly, that perception is also based on how we feel, personally, about that character. If a character has been behaving in certain ways for an entire series, then out-of-the-blue, starts acting in a heretofore never seen manner, our sense of what we felt was good or right about that person is shaken, and we feel betrayed that *our* character would never do or say that.

    If the writers’ intentions are to change a character, they need to be consistent, or we do lose faith that the person is who we thought they were…especially if we aren’t given any clues or evidence of WHY that character is different. What happens onscreen is part of the canon…regardless of IC or OCC. I would classify the first five seasons as IC…but season six is an entirely different species. A lot of behaviors I see are what I would term OCC…and I think they are purposely meant to appear that way. This is why we’re all at odds over these unexpected changes. They don’t make sense. They’re not supposed to…yet…but even the best laid plan, while paved with good intentions, is still subject to the viewer’s whims.

    Fans form expectations about characters based on their previous actions AND what they fantasize about them. Those two elements mixed together form our own unique set of morals we expect our characters to obey. When they don’t, we fuss. No matter the intention of the writers, our own view of the character…what we want to see…is what we see.

    I understand a character regressing and wavering in the face of change…part of the normal process…not OCC by any means…but don’t prolong it so much that I lose all empathy for that character. Fitting a character’s behavior to a particular episode is nothing new in TV Land, but that doesn’t make it right or fun to watch. I can give the writers a bit of slack in that regard, but only for so long.

    When you add two factors together… disrupting your two main characters’ balance in the Bones universe by having Booth and Brennan virtually separated since the last part of season five and all this season (so far)…and making them and other characters OCC, the writers have created an unhappy and confusing atmosphere. I believe HH made a statement that goes something like this…if he’s done his job, he’s replaced the UST with something else to keep the fans enthused…but what I see now is just plain old stress…and that is no replacement in my book. One minute B&B are getting closer…the next minute they’re not…one time Sweets gets his mojo together and the next he doesn’t…Brennan is empathetic for a while and then reverts to cluelessville. I need to understand, on some level, what makes a character *tick* so I can sympathize, empathize and suffer through or rejoice in their changes right along with them. Keeping me at the periphery and out-of-the-loop is like dangling a chocolate bar in front of my nose, then snatching it away when I reach for it.

    As a side note…after months and months of obsessively talking about Bones to a friend of mine, I finally got her to watch the show (score a BIG victory for me…yeah!!!)…and she loves it. She’s not a shipper, but she does recognize the quality of the writing (I’m quoting her on that), the science, and has come to like the characters. She watches each episode with a totally open mind and doesn’t fret over odd behaviors and plot holes. She doesn’t have preconceived notions of what should or shouldn’t happen and enjoys the stories as they are presented. She’s what you would call the *average* fan…one of those people who don’t obsess over every little thing. But where’s the fun in that? LOL!!

    • Exactly what I would say, if I can write better. Thanks!

      • Marle…don’t underestimate yourself…I liked your post! You got your point across very well and that’s the main thing. I don’t think I would do as well as you do, if English was my second language. Kudos to you!!! 😀

  17. I started watching the show in the summer of 2009. I caught season 4 episodes on TNT and was immediately hooked by the romantic dynamic between Booth and Brennan. I immediately purchased seasons 1-4 and watched them in a marathon fashion as some of you have described. I eagerly awaited the season 5 premiere and upon viewing it live, I was immediately struck by how Brennan had changed…how OOC she had become.!!! The immediate changes I saw had more to do with her physical self…how she held her body in a less relaxed, more stiff manner. The way she spoke reflected the same change…more formal, not the relaxed, free speech patterns that I was used to. The formality of her speech patterns today is very, very different from day 1. Even her “imperviousness”…her stubbornness is at a much higher level than when the series began. She was much more free and passionate despite her quirky behavior of not knowing pop culture, knowing she was the “best” in her field, being clumsy in social settings, etc. For me…her character changed like night and day between the end of season 4 and the beginning of season 5. So I guess the writer’s had an endgame in mind and decided this is the direction the would take her character….starting with her physical behavior and moving along her psychological and emotional behavior. It certainly is their right to change her this way but I must be honest and say I haven’t always liked it. I used to try and explain away these changes in behavior as the result of events that were happening in her life….childhood trauma impacted by introduction of Booth into her life…a Booth that opened up her horizons. A Booth that started to change how she viewed her life and was thus emotionally impacted by his various near death experiences. How about Zach….who she lost to the Gormogon. What kind of impact did his loss have on her? Wanting a baby and that changing in a split second…how did this impact her? This is where I went to explain away the differences between season 1-4 and season 5 and now 6. We learn different aspects of her personality from episode to episode….like a flower in bloom. Nonetheless, I don’t always like how the writers progress her or evolve her because they’ve changed her into someone I don’t always recognize. And this is my issue with the OOC issue. I don’t always like the VISION of these writers and where they see these characters going…thus my dissatisfaction at times with episodes as I was with the Beach epi. Not a completely “happy” camper over here since season 5…but oh well…it’s not my story to tell and I’m still a loyal viewer hoping for the very best for B&B. I need to see the end of the story which is why I still watch even though it is sometimes difficult.

  18. The bottom line for me revolves around the issue of trust-do I trust the show’s creators and their writers enough to accept a new, sometimes shocking, development? I’ve watched shows before where my trust was gone and my faith in the bigger picture vanished with it. The X Files, for me, and Jag too. I’m not blaming anyone, mind you. The shows lasted a long time, and I’m not sure that the producers ever dreamt that they would have to drag out the ust for so long, or that the audience would be composed of so many shippers. My interest would have also waned on Friends with the Ross/Rachel storyline, but Monica/Chandler saved the day. Amazing too, because their courtship/engagement/wedding/child woes maintained my interest despite the fact that they were a couple for years. With Jag/X-files, I lost my conviction that there was even a big picture anymore, or that my investment of time would ever pay off. When the inevitable pairing occured, i was no longer around.

    Not so with Bones, even after 6 seasons. It’s a testament to HH’s skill as master puppeteer of the Bones universe that I still feel deeply invested in what happens on the show. Hats off to the writers he has picked as well and mega kudos to DB and ED, who completely flesh out any vision that Hanson has put on paper; I’m sure that even when there are times that lines may seem OCC as written, the subtleties they bring before the camera smooth many of those contradictions away. I can’t honestly say that I’ve felt that any of the storylines on Bones have been “wrong” or did the characters a disservice. They may have made me angry, or depressed, or anxious, but I’ve trusted that the angst was leading somewhere, and so far it has. My main complaint with the show, which I’m not addressing here, concerns the dangling plot point that is brought up and never referred to again, but in terms of character development, I’m pretty happy. Taking into account the uncertainties that showrunners have to contend with in terms of the time they have to present their vision and the need to keep things interesting, I’m very impressed with how daring and creative Hart’s been with the evolution of his characters. I can’t honestly say that there have been many predictable moments, and that’s quite a feat. At least the characteres are moving somewhere, and more often than not it’s forward. When there are little inconsistencies or “flat” episodes (not often, mind you), I shrug these off and eagerly await the next episode, because my faith in the storytelling is still intact despite any flaws. So for me, so far, so good.

  19. I think it’s a question of consistency. Are the writers portraying the characters in a consistent manner? When I watch episodes from earlier seasons, I sometimes find it jarring how different Brennan is, but is that because she has evolved or because the writing of her character is not consistent? I think anytime you watch a long series like this out of order, the changes can seem more abrupt than they are. When I first watched the pilot on dvd last year, I liked Brennan’s character immediately. She was brilliant and feisty and self-assured. Those aren’t the words I’d necessarily describe her with now (well, brilliant, yes), or even a couple of seasons ago. Part of that is the evolution she’s gone through over multiple years, and part of that is that more of her real character has been revealed with time. I mean, if I look back at myself 6 years ago, though I am the same in fundamental ways, have the same values, etc., I was in many ways, quite a different individual. Too much has happened since then not to change me. I think it’s the same with our favorite Bones characters. The only moments that strike me as being out of character are those in which the characters seem to regress suddenly.

  20. Oh, and I agree with others above that watching the show in real-time is very different than watching it on dvd all at once, and that the level of frustration with seemingly OOC moves, as well as outside love interests, the random uninspiring episode, etc. are very different when you have to wait a week to see what happens next. I watched seasons 1-5 on DVD within the span of about 3 months, saw the characters go through a lot very quickly (and fell in love with them) and now I’m thinking that if I were to watch this season all together on DVD, I might have a very different impression. Something about stretching it out and having time to obsess makes the little blips seem a lot bigger.

  21. Now this is a very good question. On the face of it – sure, canon is canon and whatever we’re presented with on the screen we should essentially take as being canon i.e. set in stone i.e. in character. But so many of us have trouble reconciling what we see on the screen with our own view of the characters that it makes me wonder what’s going on.

    Take Booth for example. In seasons 1-3, I would’ve sworn that his character was presented to us as the guy who would stand by Brennan no matter what. Now this may be my own interpretation, but that’s what I thought. In the end, it turns out that this character who loves the woman no matter what – whether they are together or not, for example – this character is not Booth. It’s Hodgins. Because Hodgins is the one who says to Angela ‘I’m YOUR guy’. That was such a great moment because it told us so much about Hodgins’ integrity (as a person, not as a character in this instance). He’s the guy who knows who he is in love with and he acts accordingly.

    Now, I don’t know about other people’s view on this, but Booth in seasons 5 and 6 is by no means the guy who stands by Brennan no matter what. He never conveys to her how important he is for him, and beside a 30-second ultimatum about being together in the 100th episode there is very little in terms of manifesting affection towards her. Clearly the writers have chosen to delve into the numerous ways in which Booth is totally screwed up in his love life – hence the ‘three women who left him’ scene a few episodes ago. So I guess he is in character, but he is no longer the guy I think I was led to believe he was on seasons 1-3.

    So the question, for me, is not so much about OOC or IC. I’m happy to admit that we’re all inconsistent sometimes and that character can be too. It’s about whether I still like the characters as they undergo this transformation throughout the seasons. I have to admit that I like Booth less because, much as I feel sympathy for him, I liked the guy he was in seasons 1-3 more. But this is something that I think is a matter of personal preference.

    Now I’m going to contradict everything I said. I think there is such a thing as character assassination by the writers. The example of Cordelia on Angel springs to mind. It does happen, but because Bones isn’t over yet as a show we don’t know that it will happen. I sure hope it won’t.

    • I just finished watching Angel season 4 and I have to agree – they completely destroyed Cordelia’s character to the point where it was painful to watch.

      • Uhm you do realize that Cordelia being so out of character in season 4 was to serve a real purpose right? When she returned from the higher plane it wasn’t really Cordelia, it was essentially her body under the control of Jasmine. So for those times that she seems so OOC it’s because it really wasn’t that charcter, that just wasn’t known to the viewer until later.

        Now I seriously doubt that any of the Bones characters would be acting OOC for the same reason, but it’s still possible that what we sometimes view as OOC is just the result of something going on that we’re just not yet aware of.

        I will say though that I haven’t really thought any of them out of charcter more that thye’ve undergone changes over the years, changes that have occured in reaction to the things that have happened over the years we’ve viewed.

      • Exactly, Frankie. I will never understand how people can miss the fact that it is not Cordelia during that season. They very clearly spell it out that it’s her body but the actions are not hers.
        If you want to see real character assisanation by Whedon I ‘recommend’ season 8 where we are supposed to buy an Angel who is okay with the end of the world as long as he can be with Buffy and who doesn’t give one thought to his friends and son. THAT is character assassination, not possessed!Cordelia.

        But speaking of Angel and OOC, I find that I hated it when Angel crossed over because he was always OOC to me, more or less. While I can justify his behaviour for the most part, and understand that it’s Buffy’s show so Angel might come off differently, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wish they wouldn’t make him so jarringly OOC in S7.

        But back to Bones: I haven’t have any problem with OOC behaviour from any character on this show. I can even buy Zach’s development. I thought Brennan was consistant with the way she has always behaved in ‘scientist mode’. I had no idea that people feel Booth wouldn’t have sex under a fig tree, but considering he has just spent years not getting any and being in love with an emotionally unavaivable woman, who has recently rejected him as a lover, partner and friend, I don’t have any problems with Booth wanting some intimacy with a willing woman, even if the place is a bit…weird. The thing is, we don’t know whether the place is that weird for him since we very little of his sex life.

    • Booth is human, not a saint. He remained with Brennan even after she flat out rejected him, even dancing with her at her reunion. She told him repeatedly and emphatically that she did not want a personal relationship with him. The writers could have had Brennan change her mind in any episode in season 5. The foundation was there. She did not do that. She said no, she told him to move on, she dated other people, she did not want him as a romantic partner.

      I will never understand why people think Booth was supposed to turn into a monk or something in hopes that Brennan one day changed her mind.

      • I understand your point, Barbara. I even really love Brennan, and may take her side more than others, but she left no possibility of a “maybe”.

        As far as Booth showing affection toward Bones after the rejection, I think that would have satisfied the viewers more than the characters. It may sound nice, but it would be terribly hard, maybe impossible. How could he continue to act the same way and move on? How could he be affectionate with a SO, reassure Brennan of how much he cares about and still loves her, and either one really be satisfied about it? If Brennan rejected his offer to be more, why would she feel comfortable if she felt that he still wanted to be with her?

        I do understand that Booth, up til this season, had been portrayed as the perfect, loving, attentive guy. Oddly enough, though, as fan-fic-y as that was, it felt real because I really think he was drawn to and mesmerized by Brennan and almost couldn’t help himself. After her rejection on a personal and professional level, I’m sure he re-evaluated how much of his emotions he would be investing in her again, especially since he knew he had to move on from her to find somebody else to share his life with.

      • Don’t you think we really need to see why Booth loves Brennan – perhaps do something actually sweet for each other just between them. Sometimes I wonder what they see in each other – more for why Booth is intereted vs why Brennan cares.

    • Since you sort of ask about other people’s view of him in S5-S6, I’ll throw it out there to illustrate the point I was making earlier. 😀

      I very much still see Booth as the guy who stands by Brennan no matter what. There’s an important difference between Hodgins’ situation with Angela and Booth’s with Brennan. Hodgins had to see Angela every day, yes. But they weren’t working together the way Brennan asked Booth to. When she says in the 100th, ‘can we still work together?’ Booth understood her to mean, ‘can things go on exactly as they have been, where we spend the same amount of time together and have the same kind of relationship.’ And because he is the man who’d never walk away from her, he says yes. She’s just told him she wants what they’ve had, nothing more. There’s no room in her rejection for maybe, or later.

      And he tries to give it to her. I think everything we see between that point and TBitE is him trying to give her what she wants – be what they’ve always been. Only he has to find a way to take care of himself as well, thus the comment about moving on. He’s trying to find a way to be what she wants him to be while still having something for himself.

      This is open for debate, but I don’t think he would have agreed to go to Afghanistan if she’d not gone to Maluku. He stayed with her until she left, then he left as well.

      And yes, even in S6, even while with Hannah, I see him as still standing by Brennan, trying to find that balance of giving her what she wanted (friendship, partnership) while finding a life for himself. That’s why he spent the night following her around in the rain in TDitP.

      Hodgins didn’t have to spend as much time with Angela, and Angela didn’t say to him, “I want things to continue just as they have” when they broke up. Plus, he did move on as well – we know he dated, know he chose to meet Wendell’s friends, know he joined a dating site. He wasn’t pining. No, he never stopped loving her, and let her know during her pregnancy scare.

      But then, I don’t think Booth ever stopped loving Brennan, either, even while he was with Hannah.

      As I said – not trying to change your mind, but just point out what I was talking about earlier. You look at what we’re given and come to one set of conclusions about Booth; I come to another. To me, his efforts to stand with Brennan after she shot him down make him more heroic, not less. IMO, he would have been within his rights to say, ‘no, I can’t work with you now, I need a little time’ in the 100th. And he didn’t say that. He tried to give her what she’d said she wanted.

  22. This is one of the questions that I could argue about for a long. I don’t think that a character’s actions on a show could be deemed OOC or even inconsistent. Sure, their behaviour may be unusual, and weird, and not what we expected but really it could never be untrue to themselves because they are doing it, they are the primary source, the real thing, and are acting in a particular way.

    I can understand what people mean when they say something like that though (e.g. Brennan’s ability to undersatnd sarcasm at the beginning of s1 vs. her inability for the rest of the series) however I always say that it must be due to something else. There must be another reason, within our view of the story (as in on screen) or not that results in her change. Maybe these “inconsistencies” are just a deeper facet of the character’s character coming to light? I know it’s a naive way at looking at things, saying that everything that the writers write is true and always will be, but it is their story. It is not a scientific journal that we are disputing with hard, cold facts, this is a story, they are the cold, hard facts.

    And that is why we have theories etc. to try and work out the reasons why Brennan is acting so weird, or her character development wasn’t what we expected. It’s our job to try and make sense of it all. 🙂

  23. Season 6 has been a very rough season character wise, and I think that’s the point. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the various episodes in the first half of the season focused on spies, lies, false identities, counterfeiting…everything went wrong when B&B split up; they aren’t themselves when they aren’t together. They are fake versions of themselves. Now they are back on the road to being their real selves again — and ARGH, I wish I could talk about spoilers!!!

  24. Like many others, I watched the first four seasons in rapid succession and so I didn’t see problems with OOC. The whole thing with Gormagon and Zach didn’t bother me so much because he was kind of a minor character and his personality wasn’t explained to the point where he wouldn’t have fallen for Gormagon’s theories about the ‘greater good’ as an apprentice (though I never would have bought it if he was the actual killer).
    Changes in Brennan’s character however, are a whole other kettle of fish. I could see the need for some ‘two steps forward, one step back’ kind of thing but sometimes the changes swing wider than that.
    Maybe it is because we are all so invested in their story that we do put our own spin on what we think the characters should do or what we wish they would do. Maybe it’s because it feels like it is make or break time for B&B since they can’t change their relationship back to just partners.
    But I am in it for the long haul and whatever HH and crew want to do to tell their story, I will be enjoying it.

  25. Another great post 🙂

    I watched S1-3 on DVD, then waited for Aussie TV to screen p to the 100th. (I needed therapy after that so watched the rest of S% online). This is the first season that I’ve watched online just after US screentime – and it’s killing me. The drawn out process allows for too much time to debate and the angst to kick in. But I’m so eager to know what happens next and to be able to chat online that I won’t be changing anything in the next 6 weeks 🙂

    As for OOC…some eps feel like they should have been screened earlier on, as they ‘fit’ more with the previous ep. Feet on the Beach was one of them. For me it could easily have been aired in the first half of S6, other than for Angie’s belly, and Booth’s line in the car.

    It’s all fiction – and reading fanfic has helped me appreciate that. I’ll enjoy their wild ride and hope for an end of season hook-up.

  26. I wouldn’t call it OOC, but when a character starts a process (evolution or involution), it needs a portrayed story or reason, so the viewer can have some context and validation. By this, I mean that the change is recognized by other characters, or some scene that give us a hint of it. Sometimes I think the show lacks of this. If I could give an example, I would use the description of Brennan in the show:
    In earlier seasons, the show made us see that Brennan LOOKED emotionally distant, but it was because she connected too much (too much heart).
    In last seasons, and by Sweets himself, the show portrays Brennan as someone who CAN’T connect because the situations of abandonment she has been through.
    With the second view, even if we find explanations and reasons through debate, the show doesn’t give a recognition of the regression/progression of Brennan in the eyes of the other characters. For example, Angela could easily have said something about how Brennan is more literal now given how she felt betrayed by Zach … or something like that. We have to infer it, but it is not enough to say it’s true.
    Either way as a fan of the show, you kind of learn to juggle with that while enjoying it. Bones is greatly written and has this amazing ground for the characters’ personality, making them complex enough to keep the audience interested for a long time.

    • As you said, we have to “infer it”, but I don’t know if that is always enough for me anymore. Maybe the magic is lost on me because of this season although I know my irritation began in season 5. I still love this show but right now I feel as if I have to “call it” as I see it and I don’t always do that. I try to protect the series because of my love for it by only focusing on what is good and ignoring the stuff that is bad. And in doing this, I think I create a different picture in my mind of what is really happening to this show. We all have different POVs, different likes/dislikes and right now I’m being honest with myself that I’m not liking what I’m seeing and probably haven’t for a long time. As I said earlier, I’ll continue to watch because I need to see how this story ends…but I don’t have the same excitement in me that I had before season 5 began. Sorry for this downer…just had to get this off my chest…

      • One more comment and I’ll let this go. I don’t think that because something is written down or portrayed on screen necessarily means that they are within character because it’s in print or on film for all to see. There is very little organic about any character, IMO. All characters are subjected to or are manipulated by their creators and they can go off track at any time and numerous writers as we see on a TV series makes this even more possible. The evolution of Brennan is one of the more dramatic changes I’ve ever seen on television and for the most part, I think we’ve had to infer or figure our on our own…why she changed. It’s never been addressed…at all, IMO and this is what I think bothers a large segment of the fan base that are on forums….not understanding the WHY she changed. Its up to the writers to address this, or not. With such busy lives that most people live…not everyone has the energy to analyze the WHY of it….and thus they turn away. I think that if I hadn’t found a forum last year….I probably would have walked away after last season. Being on a forum kept me “hooked” to the series which makes me question myself….was I hooked on Bones or hooked on the “forum”? Hmm?????

    • I agree about Brennan and the fact that her changes have not been acknowledged which gives the impression that it is not apart of her development but just a lighter and comical reset of her character in S4.
      I already said it, sometimes it feels like they decided to start the show again in S4 and make it lighter, more slapstick and 2D which fits with the caricature-ish feeling some of us are felling since mostly S4.
      I saw an interview not so long ago in which DB said that they struggled through the first 3S to find what they wanted to do with the show, and finally found their way with S4. I think that they always wanted to do a lighter show from the start but for some reasons didn’t.
      And for some other reasons they still want us to believe that the character have always been the way they have been since S4. That goes for Brennan’s literal attitude (nobody on the show ever noticed the change, to the point that when she is not literal some viewers says that she is improving and is less literal than she was at the beginning of the show, Brennan’s literalness has become canon even though she was not that literal before) and now even her “imperviousness” that some of us feel she developed during the show is supposed to be canon from the start when we were told otherwise…
      The problem is that some of us really like the previous Brennan, that was not perfect but still better balanced and thus 3D, but this Brennan disappeared in S4 and the show is telling that she has never existed at all…

      • I agree the show changed focus in season 4 and became lighter. I wonder if it had to do with the other crop of shows around that time. Criminal Minds debuted the same year as Bones, CSI was still going strong. Perhaps they felt that adopting a lighter tone would help them stand out.

      • When I found Bones I almost stopped watching NCIS because I thought that Bones was just the right balance between the shows that were all about the science/case, no character development, and NCIS that is character driven (but not so much, there is not a lot of development) and pretty light/comical sometimes. Bones appeared to be just perfect back then, and if you add to that the original character of Brennan and even Booth, mostly because of the semi-role reversal, and they were pretty equal back then. The tongue in cheek humor etc…

      • I forgot to add that Brennan of course was very original because of her rational, and IMO mostly realistic, view of the world.

  27. Some people tend to forget how a television show works. This is not the work of and author. There is a team of writers that work in it, and they write different episodes, and sometimes there are new writers, or writers that work on several series for the same network. Of course there is some amount of supervision and a “set of established rules” to consult. But it is very easy to make mistakes or lack continuity. It all depends on the people that do the work and the amount of respect they have for the source material. (And by “source material” I mean all the episodes that have been aired).
    In the case of Bones I absolutely believe that they have been inconsistent in a number of cases. And I also believe that some fans have a better knowledge of these characters that some of the writers. In any television show the writers are just doing their job. It really doesn’t matter if they love the show, or the characters. They have an episode to put in the air for a specific date. In the case of Hart Hanson, who is of course, one of the main writers and supervisors, he has been trying to get a new series on the air for a couple of years. He has other interests, and it is starting to show.
    Of course, by definition, the characters can’t be “not in character”. But in the practical sense, it is quite common that they say or do things that show an amount of inconsistency that could be refer to as “not in character”.

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