Bones Theory

Top Five Tuesday: Best. Experiments. EVER?!?


{Edit from Seels: Hey! I’ve been wanting to do a TFT about the experiments we’ve seen on BONES for awhile now, but just haven’t been able to put it together. I enlisted the help of Owl to get us started in the discussion. So whether it’s the entire team taking a literal stab at a dummy to determine a killer’s height or Sweets dressing up as a “redshirt” to go to an auction…there are plenty of experiments to go around. See if your faves are on the list, and if they aren’t, be sure to add them in the comments! Thanks, Owl, for putting this list together!}

1.       Zack and Hodgins – the Pig in the Woodchipper (from Man on the Fairway)

Zack and Hodgins wanted to experiment to see if a human body could be dispersed by a woodchipper, due to the skeletal remains that were found (but Goodman wouldn’t allow them to touch). The best part of the whole thing? Goodman’s reaction. I would say that the man I thought was unflappable was flapped. I’d also call this the first real experiment. Loved the other squints all gathered to watch, as well.

2.       Zack and Hodgins — Spam (from Titan on the Tracks(?) and Stargazer in a Puddle)

I may be combining two experiments… because they both have spam. In one, it’s hot burning spam to see how long it would take a body to burn at a certain temperature (gross, but beneficial), and the second, to see what poisoned the fairy shrimp (brine shrimp/ “sea chimps”/Sea Monkeys) underneath the victim’s body, and therefore, the victim. In the first, Cam learns what their experiments are like. In the second, she tells them she would buy them each a car if they could prove it (which is hilarious given the fact that Hodgins has twelve and Zack can’t drive).

3. Brennan and Booth — The Proof in the Pudding (Proof in the Pudding)

Brennan proves how much she cares for her partner by showing him that the skeleton was not JFK (although she was certain it was). I think this episode starts the theme of sacrifice for love that carries through to the sixth season. Brennan also shows that she learned the lesson of truth vs accuracy (as Gordon Gordon Wyatt mentioned in Dwarf in the Dirt).

4. Hodgins and Arastoo — Nunchucks (Devil in the Details)

This is the first experiment where Hodgins and Arastoo start to really bond. “Knock yourself out, I did,” and “What are you, some kind of Persian ninja?” are some of the best lines. It also shows how great TJ Thyne is at physical comedy (confession: I absolutely hate physical comedy, I only make an exception for this guy). We don’t see it too much, but just as that man can make me cry, he sure makes me laugh. Plus, I would call this the first time that Hodgins and Arastoo start to bond (the next time we see them, Arastoo invites Hodgins to join him in baseball. Progress!).

5. Hodgins, Wendell, Cam, Angela — The Dye Explosion/More Potatoes!

Now these don’t exactly fit the actual definition of experiment… but they HAVE to be included. I had to include the dye explosion because it says a lot about Hodgins — when he is upset about something, instead of getting angry, he now does stupid things, like nearly electrocuting himself while hanging from a balcony from a homemade harness. After this, we see the Hodgins scene that really made me cry. And then, it’s MORE POTATOES! Mr. Science Fair Wendell proves his worth while he and Hodgins run around like maniacs, bumping into each other, trying to get enough potatoes to power a cell phone. It’s ridiculous, but it works, and shows the amazing tone-changing strength of Bones. You can laugh, cry, and laugh again, all in the space of one episode. It also proves the versatility of TJ Thyne. Seriously, the guy’s amazing. 

Honorable Mentions:

–  Zack and Hodgins — the ambrosia salad filled skull (the Player Under Pressure). Food explosions are fun, especially when they end up on the boss.

– Zack and Hodgins — the-dummy-dropped-from-the-top-floor-and-everyone-thinks-it’s-another-victim experiment (Intern in the Incinerator) that results in Booth in a golf cart.

– Hodgins and Vincent — the cannon explosion (Science in the Physicist). You know you can’t forget what happens w/B&B in that scene. I love it when they run out of the lab hand in hand. Plus, Hodgins and Vincent are adorable when they’re “grounded”. 

– Hodgins, Wendell, and Max — the wind tunnel experiment (the Bones that Blew). I did not know that an elephant… I mean, a skull, could fly. We also learn that Brennan used a wind tunnel like that one in seventh grade that her dad built. Aw. It also results in the Booth-Max conversation where Max asks Booth why Booth isn’t with his daughter yet.

– Zack, Hodgins, and Brennan — the experiment that brought them together (The Parts in the Sum of the Whole). This is the experiment that brought Hodgins and Zack together. Love it.

Okay enough from me! What other experiments top your list? Let’s Discuss.


Author: Owl

Observant owl-lover that remembers too much, especially about history. Also a museum nerd.

40 thoughts on “Top Five Tuesday: Best. Experiments. EVER?!?

  1. The stabbing of the dummy has me in tears of laughter every time. From Booths ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this’ look to Zack’s wussy attempt to Angela’s near hysteria, it truly is one of the funniest moments of Bones for me. I can never watch it just once, it gets repeated over and over. Love it.

  2. I would have to say one of the grossest experiments was when Hodgins filled up the victims head with gas to expand it so that they could try go see what she looked like. (The Bonesless Bride In The River)

    The one that cracks me up every time is when everyone has to stab a dummy to see if they can figure out who might have stabbed the victim (The Mother And Child In The Bay). From Zach and his weinny arm, to Booth and this really weirded look on his face to Angelas’ shriek, how could you not laugh.

    • ha! Lenora I was totally going to say the inflated head. You know you’re a Bones fan when something THAT gross cracks you up haha. Cam’s reaction was also a classic.

      I love the one where Hodgins is dealing with Angela and Wendell being together and he sets up all the water melons with their faces on(?) in a row and explodes them. Or caused them to explode somehow. It’s a very amusing way for him to express how he’s feeling ha.

      Also – Cam shooting the guns into the tube when she’s annoyed at her boyfriend in The Bikini…there are so many.

  3. I love the stabbing… So hilarious!

    I also loved the cannon… Anytime Hodgins and VNM do one, basically.

  4. My favorite was Season 2 “The Girl in the Suite” when Hodgins and Zach created the explosion. They thought it would just be little and it ended blowing them across the room and cracking the glass in the doors. Then when they asked what it proved Angela says “that you’re idiots”. Loved it! I laugh every time I watch that.

  5. i wouldn’t say the one i choose is my top one cuz i love all above but the experiment that Hodgins did w/ Bunsen Jude the science dude was pretty cool. Show to all of us that any kid can have a spirit if a scientist and every scientist hasve a inner child too.

  6. Hodgins and VNM with the cannon and the pig in the woodchipper experiment have to be two of my all-time favorites.

    It’s not an experiment per se as much as it’s a demonstration so I’m not sure it counts, but I have to mention Hodgins and Daisy in The Shallow in the Deep (when they showed how the kid went over the side of the ship and was hooked). That one cracks me up every time.

  7. I know it wasn’t really an experimentl; but, I loved it when Hodgins spelled out Be My Love, in The Glowing Bones In The Old Stone House, with shrimp and bacteria (they glowed in the dark). It was weird but pretty and Angela loved it enough to tell Hodgins “Yes, lets get married”.

  8. I love that the pig and woodchipper are #1 – because really, who DOESN’T want to participate in that same experiment? It reminds me of the Malcolm in the Middle episode where they had a chipper for a day or two and put everything under the sun in it. Too funny.

    And the nunchuks? I am laughing out loud every single time.

    And is it terrible of me to include the one with Zack and Hodgins in the Pain in the Heart? I mean, if we’re going to talk about sacrificing with Proof in the Pudding… the Pain one is truly phenomenal. Not to mention what it then leads to.

  9. I wish you would do Top Ten Tuesday instead, I always enjoy these lists so much. All experiments are awesome, and I agree, TJ Thyne is absolutely brilliant.

  10. The Spam scene grossed me out completely. I had a bad, very bad, experience with Spam once and I swear to God, watching that scene I could smell that stuff burning. I can smell it now, just looking at the photo!

    Ugh. Ugh.

  11. I love the experiments so much. It’s not even funny. One of my personal favs is the one where Hodgins (?) is trying to show that a freeze dried person would shatter, and so, he drops the turkey from the second floor…. poor Angela.

    Speaking of experiments, I had a funny “real life” Bones moment the other day. I was talking to a med school student, and we were talking about her different rotations that she’s having to do. And, somehow, we ended up talking about if it was weird to work with cadavers etc. And, she said it was at first, but you get used to it– but the smell sticks with you. And, she mentioned fabric softener.

    My mind immediately jumped to the (not-really-an-experiment) experiment Cam did with the salt-dried body in the “Salt in the Wounds” (?) episode. She put the body in fabric softener to make the tissue moist again. Then, I exclaimed out loud to the med student, “oh, right fabric softener, it keeps the tissue moist!” She looked at me, a little shocked that I knew that, and I proudly said, “I learned that from Bones.”


    Anyone else ever have a moment like that?

    • LOL! Anna, that is awesome!

      I haven’t had a moment quite like that, but I have said “anthropologically speaking…” and “you know, from an anthropological standpoint…” a couple of times when I’ve been making an argument. I’ve also been more inclined to use “big words” again since I started watching Bones, which is nice; it’s kind of empowering.

      I’ve also said “I don’t know what that means…” a few times, and kind of snicker in my head when I say it. The significance is usually lost on whomever I am speaking to, but it’s okay, I get it. 😉

      • I’ve said “I don’t know what that means” quite a lot… and kind of on purpose, when I could easily say “I don’t understand.” Love it. 🙂

      • I totally use more big words AND say, “I don’t know what that means” with Brennan’s voice in my head… all the time!

  12. Can’t remember the name of the episode, but I loved the one where Hodgins puts up their faces on melons and proceeds to blow them up. It was right after he found out about Angela and Wendell and the look on the squint’s faces when all their heads explode except for Hodgins’ is priceless. Also, the one where Hodgins is drinking and messes up the experiment in Man in the Fallout Shelter; we not only get Booth doing pull-ups, but a shirtless Hodgins as well!

    • That’s The X in the File and yes I loved that experiment. Hodgins’ glee at blowing off the top of “Wendell’s” head, and then the ball berings rolling around in “Angela’s” head was just too perfect.

  13. The thing with the two spam experiments was with the first one Cam made them shut it down immediately, and told them all experiments had to be approved by her first or they’d be fired, but that second one she’s promising them a car if it works. Talk about a change in attitude between the two episodes! 😀

  14. Bouncing turkey.

    VNM and Hodgins answering Cam shame-facedly “we aren’t allowed to be together without supervision”.

    “You have arms like noodles, whereas I am vigorous and burly.”

    “Zack is always the victim.”

    Wendell getting down on the floor in Sin in the Sisterhood “oh it’s one of those” then jumping up when Brennan gets a little too close to the goods.

    Brennan nearly choking Clark to death.

    Hodgins trying to bond with Arastoo over the falling dummy, Cam saying no, Arastoo admitting he knew it was a bad idea but wanted to humor Hodgins.

    Hodgins and Zack tossing the dummy off the roof “Did you just see that? Tell me you saw that.”

    Ohhh, can’t I just say all of them?

    • “You have arms like noodles, whereas I am vigorous and burly.”

      That was running through my head the ENTIRE TIME I wrote this thing. Gotta love Man in the Wall.

  15. Ok another one. How about when Angela set up the graphics so that she gives a blow by blow of the boxing match between the two women boxers in “The Woman In The Sand” and at the same time the experiment was going on, Booth was fighting a really big guy in an extreme boxing ring. Of course I was more interested in Booths’ match but the juxtaposition of the experiment was cool.

    Ok I really need to get back to work and stop dreaming of Bones experiments.

  16. I like all the experiments, but I really like the one in which Brennan just slams Zack to the ground while he’s in the padded suit. It’s the 100th episode and the official first experiment and I love how poor little Zack still has the suit on and falls over himself because he just can’t manage it.

    My other favorite is the sheer joy that can be had when Hodgins and Wendell create the X-rays without electricity. It was a magical moment. (Don’t pay too much attention to the number of Polaroid images because you’ll see then dealing with 4 and the close-up has 5 and the leg bone is much too short for the 5.) Is that just giving away the magician’s secrets? I felt a sense of wonder when the episode aired that experiment and I still like it even if it was a bit flawed.

  17. I’d post more but I can’t stop laughing.

  18. I love all the ones that have been mentioned, I mean, really, what’s not to love?

    One of my all time favorites hasn’t been mentioned yet, and that is the sniper experiment from Proof In the Pudding. The shots are amazing, and really sell Booth as a sniper. We’ve seen him shoot before, but the intensity, the accuracy, just the whole way the scene was done… I just love it. So much that I can’t really explain why. It’s just that good.

    And I love the part leading up to it when Booth says he needs someone who can do jibber-jabber, and Brennan says “you know who an do jibber-jabber? Me!” and then he gives her that little grin. It’s just so darn cute and makes me grin every time.

    And, the whole thing coming on the heels of the scene where Booth shoots the glass out of the lab door? Whomever decided to shoot those scenes that way needs an Emmy for cinematography, or directing or whatever the title of the award would be, IMHO. They were just that good.

    The first time I saw the ep, I just sat there slack jawed during both scenes thinking “that is so freakin’ hot…” And I still think it when I see the ep… I guess it’s like Cam said in the beginning of Fire in the Ice, “I like it just a little too much…”

    You know, not that there’s anything wrong with appreciating just how good Booth is with his gun… 😉

  19. I like watching Booth make the cantaloupe shots in The Proof in the Pudding. And pretty much anything that involves Brennan beating up her interns (usually Zach or Wendell).

  20. The pig in the woodchipper! It was at that point that I turned to my husband and said, “I love this show”. I mean how cool is it when you get to feed a frozen pig through a chipper and see where it sprays. I think it might also tie into my love of Mythbusters and how they make all things explode.

    I love all the other ones mentioned as well. I love the enthusiasm the whole teams shows when the get to work on an experiment. Don’t we all wish that we loved our jobs that much?

  21. One thing that wasn’t actually a science experiment but was still experimentation was Brennan’s interrogation of Murderbreath in Mayhem on a Cross. Booth tells her it’s okay to lie a little to get a suspect to talk, and she just goes to town! I think it’s one of the funniest scenes ever! I laugh out loud every time, especially when she sits on the chair backwards. 🙂
    I also really like how she experimented with garroting with Clark in that same episode and almost chokes him.

    Other favourites are definitely the woodchipper and the wine-bottle/watermelon experiment from Critic in the Cabernet. Poor Cam somehow always gets hit with goo every time she’s dressed up to go somewhere. 😉 I also thought the polaroid x-ray from Blackout in the Blizzard was simply magical and literally gave me goosebumps. So cool!

    • I was just going to mention that watermelon experiment but wasn’t sure about the correct episode – Hodgins and Fisher, right? Poor Cam! :p

  22. I am always on the lookout to replicate Bones experiments in the lab! (shhh don’t tell anyone!). I really LOVE the experiment where Hosgins snap froze a turkey and threw it off a balcony to prove that it would shatter, and instead it bounced and smacked Angela in the head! PS I did replicate it (on a very small scale) and my results were mixed…guess I need to redo them to obtain reproducible results! I couldn’t at the time in case I got caught! Haha

  23. There are so many good ones. My favorites that have already been mentioned: Proof in the pudding and the Las Vegas one with the girl boxer experiment timed to match Booth’s bout and Man in the fallout shelter experiment because it caused the lockdown and ensuing wonderful conversations.
    Other favs that haven’t been mentioned yet: Brennan using Booth’s tie in Tender Chicken, Hodgins in the bathtub in Truth in the Lye (though not really part of the experiment, I had to mention it because it cracks me up every time). Also, another all time favorite: Max and Parker’s experiment with the exploding soda – so sweet and such a family moment.

  24. I loved the one where they dropped a turkey, and it bounced and hit Angela in the face. I still laugh at that one.

  25. I DO love experiment when Hodgins and Arastoo drops the turkey from the second floor, turkey jumped and hits poor Angela! It was epic fail 🙂 I was laughing a lot! And as I remember it was first moment when Hodgins and Arastoo tried to be closer, to make their bonds.

  26. Love these and LOVE your love of Hodgins!! The man is so undevalued! 😉

    I also love the ‘Bouncing Turkey’ that hits Angela…come to think of it, i may just love it because it hits Angela…hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    Also love Hodgins and Fisher in CriticitC. The wine bottle and melons, resulting in one unimpressed Cam covered in food! Love. It.

  27. The brine shrimp experiment is just one of many examples of the writers insulting the intelligence of their audience. Here are some well-known facts about brine shrimp (referred to as fairy shrimp in the episode):

    – They don’t eat meat, so the idea they could be poisoned by eating poisoned meat is just stupid.

    Hodgins says: “Those sea chimps went after that pork by-product like piranhas after a skinny-dipping missionary.”

    – Brine shrimp don’t eat anything for the first 24 hours after they hatch. During that first day they feed off a sac attached to them containing the nutrients they need.

    – Once they start feeding they are non-selective feeders. They feed by filtering microorganisms (algae and bacteria) from the water around them as they swim through it. They do not “go after” any food.

    The writers completely ignore facts and science like this on a regular basis. It’s insulting to the intelligence of anyone who actually knows anything.

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