Bones Theory

I Don’t Know What That Means: Page 187

45 Comments

First of all, I was remiss yesterday when I forgot to give a big thank you to each person who wished me a Happy Birthday on Sunday! I really appreciate your kind words. It was a terrific day from start to finish!

I saw a commercial for the movie Something Borrowed the other day, and I thought it looked interesting. Out of the four leads on the movie poster, two I love, one I’ve never heard of (but he was GORGEOUS!) and the other I don’t like, so three out of four isn’t bad!

But because I’m kind of a self-imposed snob about books being made into movies, I knew that I had to read the book before I saw the movie, so I could measure them up, right? I bought the book after work yesterday, and I read the entire thing last night. It was good, and incredibly personally sad in a way I won’t get into here, but the point is that I really, really liked it. I’m curious to know how the movie will play out.

(Side note: Two other books which had fairly good movie adaptations? To Kill a Mockingbird, The Jane Austen Book Club—both on my must read-must watch list!)

What does this have to do with BONES, though? Well, the title of this post probably gave it away, but after reading the book, and taking some time for myself to think about E Giffin’s writing style and why I thought maybe she chose first person POV (imo, it sort of hindered the development of the character of Dex that we only saw Rachel’s view of what was happening, but then again, it helped in the Rachel/Darcy department, as it allowed us to see only Rachel’s view of what was happening, haha),  for some reason, I then was thinking about Brennan as an author, and whenever that happens, one thing always comes to mind:

Page 187.

It’s not just what’s ON the page that has me (and Booth) curious—it’s the entire reasoning behind Brennan needing that much assistance (considering the alleged amount she pays Angela for her ‘share’ of the writing (and btw…doesn’t that make Angela rich now too? Plus she’s married to Hodgins, but still)) in writing her books.  I just can’t wrap my mind around it, and once again, it’s because of the timeline of it all.

Is it possible that Angela also helped Brennan write her first book? The one that, in the pilot episode, Booth tells her is on the NYT Bestseller’s list? Or does she just help with the more recent ones? And if so, why?

Maybe it’s just one of those things that I’m OVER-thinking. It wouldn’t be the first time, that is for sure. What do you think? Is it legit that Angela has been helping Brennan with the interpersonal portions of her books all this time, or is that just one more way the writers have sort of stripped Brennan of her previous ability to connect with people? Or was it not even about Brennan at all, but merely a way to propel the Hodgins and Angela storyline at the time forward?

I’m interested to hear what you think, so bring it on!

Peace, Love & Bones

~S

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45 thoughts on “I Don’t Know What That Means: Page 187

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird. Both the book and the movie. SO GOOD!!! Sorry, I just had to put that out there. 🙂

    Regarding the Angela and Brennan thing: I just don’t know. I’m looking forward to what everyone has to say, as usual. 🙂

  2. I found that conversation with Angela interesting because it sorta/kinda calls into question Brennan’s many comments about how good at sex she is. You know, those off-hand remarks she’s made about her stamina, how she’s experimented with role play, that she’s “quite good” at sex, etc. It makes me think that Brennan is “good at sex” but in a very vanilla way.

    She needs Angela’s help because Angela is supposed to be more adventurous, more willing to experiment and has more experience with more partners. Not to mention her same-sex experience, although that may have just been with Roxie.

    I think Brennan needed Angela’s help with the spicy parts because she wanted them to be spicy – at least, hotter than she had personal experience with. Maybe her publisher suggested she up the wattage, be more Eve & Roarke and less Scarpetta & Benton, and that’s when she went to Angela.

    When she gave the check to Angela, didn’t she specify for what books she was reimbursing Angela? I seem to remember something about her adding all of Angela’s contributions together, but I don’t remember which books she mentioned.

    • maybe it’s a case of “Brennan can do XYZ, she just can’t describe it.”

      • If you’ve done XYZ, you can describe it.

        I tend to lean more towards the thought that Brennan is good at the type of sexual experiences she’s had. She just hasn’t had a lot of variety.

        That probably works for her with Booth. He’s pretty vanilla, too.

      • Okay, maybe she can describe it, but seeing as it’s Brennan, her description would probably be more clinical than Angela’s.

        I don’t see Brennan rhapsodizing about bulky biceps or embracing her pearl or whatever other flowery euphemisms that are employed when describing sex scenes. She’d probably be very matter of fact about it. “Insert this body part into that body part and thrust”, as it were.

      • I agree with Barbara on this one and also i think Brennan may have initialy not even included ANYTHING leading to a sex scene (since she mentioned that she only cared about the cases and said something about the romance being there to lead the case along or something like that), so when she read it to Angela, she told Brennan to add certain things that may have led to those scenes (and maybe thats why Angela got so much money from it). I think I could be way off but that is a possibility. And I must say that I think Barbara is correct and it is very likely that Brennan would have described the sex scenes in clinical terms like she always does.

  3. Hmmm…that is an interesting point you bring up about Angela’s involvement in the book. I would say that her involvement is not super in-depth, but she does help Brennan on just those certain parts. Brennan probably does not need her to help with the actual crime-related things since that is her own specialty. I think you are right to say it helped advance Hodgins/Angela a bit, but also reveals to us that Brennan has thought about “page 187” in the context of Booth, because it is a well known fact to everyone (though she’ll never admit it) that Booth is “Andy”.

    So when people are going on and on about Page 187, they are thinking—quite correctly—that she wrote this in relation to Booth. I think Angela provides her an excuse for writing it, she can say she consulted Angela about it to make it all come from her, instead of Brennan, so that she can say its not about her and Booth. It gives Brennan a bit of distance there. Also, paying Angela makes her more of a legitimate consultant so she can say its this collaborative work of writing and not from her own heart and her own desires regarding Booth. However, her smart squint team I think correctly surmises that even with Angela’s assistance, the fact that there are love scenes at all, and that Andy is Booth…well, they are not stupid! Nice try, Brennan!

    –>Also, it reinforces their storyline that Angela, for awhile, was portrayed as a sex-crazy nutcase…who just couldn’t stand celibacy, so she has the “cred” to be an expert on these scenes. (The whole celibacy storyline–so annoying btw). haha

  4. so, I also love the book Something Borrowed (and I would highly recommend Something Blue, for closure’s sake :)). And on that note, i’m confused about Ethan apparently not being in London in the movie version… is he like some Hillary hybrid?

    anyway: moving to Bones. It seems implied that Angela did help with all the books… because they’re all known for the steamy scenes, which Brennan seems not to write. And timing wise, it could work because in the Pilot she’d known Angela at least a year (since before the 100th), and the book is not mentioned in the 100th episode (Also, Booth claims the FBI agent is based on him, so she couldn’t have written it before she ever met him, right?) So, Angela could have helped, though it would have been early on in their friendship.

    • I wondered about that too–Ethan being with them all the time, haha. I’m not complaining–he always was my favorite of that whole series, but yeah, it was weird. I have a hard time when movies depart from their book predecessors in such obvious ways. Like, Nanny Diaries anyone?? That drove me crazy. 🙂

    • While I (and everyone else) sort of knew already that the FBI in the book is Booth, you just provided us with evidence that proves that. Because she must have wrote it some time between the 100th and the pilot. And before the 100th, she had no experience with any kind of FBI work, so i believe that working with Booth inspired her to write that series. And there was that obvious UST that may have led her to at least consider some sex scenes with Andy (even if she says that “they were only there to help move the plot along”). I feel like i am stating the obvious here but after i realized all of this i just HAD to write it down or else i might have exploded haha.

  5. I would not be surprised if Angela did help Brennan from the start with her books. Brennan is a brilliant anthropologist and crime solver; but, when it comes to personal relationships, she is just not interested (at least she wasn’t) in how personal relationships work. From the pilot, when her ex-boyfriend, Peter St. James told her she was incapable of connecting to anyone, Brennan has made it clear that she hates psychology and does not consider love to be real. Brennan considers the sex and relationship part of the books to be unimportant. To her the crime, the bodies, the solving of the crime, is the most important part of the books. She included a sex scene on page 187 because Angela thought it would spice up the book; but, to Brennan it is just window dressing for her. That it interests everyone but her surprises her and absolutely annoys her to no end.

  6. It’s hard to know, since we don’t have that much information about those first books. I would guess that the relationship with Agent Andy would be her contribution, but the spicy details? It’s not as if Brennan doesn’t have the required knowledge to write a sex scene, but the actual words that would steam up the page might not be in her vocabulary. I would guess that this is where Angela comes in. She was probably one of the casual editors of Brennan’s books, and I can totally see her saying “now sweetie, we need to add some heat to this scene” and then coming up with more graphic imagery. But I don’t believe for a second that Angela came up with the original sex scenario-just the suggestive language. As the coma dream implies, thoughts of being with Booth in that way are not foreign to Brennan. It may even have been the book publishing company that asked for a rewrite of the scenes to make the books more salacious and popular, at which point Brennan sought out Angela’s help. In my mind these edited scenes don’t take anything away from Brennan as an excellent writer, since they are not the meat and bones of her stories-just listen to the beautiful words that close out her book in the coma dream for an example of her touching writing style.

    • @maria But I don’t believe for a second that Angela came up with the original sex scenario-just the suggestive language.

      She actually did because whatever it was it was Hodgins’ ‘thing that I do’.

      Brennan was 23 when she lost her virginity. It’s possible that while she IS ‘good at sex’ she just doesn’t have very wide experience. Plus, she could use Angela’s scenarios to provide distance between ‘Andy’ and Booth, at least in her own mind.

      • Brennan says she was 22 in Plain in the Prodigy. She was 23 when she had her affair with Michael Stires, but Brennan specifically says – and Booth repeats – 22.

      • Ok I made a one year mistake but that’s still pretty late by modern standards.

      • And Angela was 16. Even factoring in that teenage sex usually isn’t all that great, she got a big head start on Brennan.

        I think it makes sense that Angela would end up spicing up the love scenes in Brennan’s books. It probably started off as accidental and moved into something more formal – the-lying-on-the-couch-drinking-wine consultation.

      • Sorry-what I meant to say that the general idea of sex between her character and Agent Andy is all Brennan’s; the specifics of page 187 are definitely all Angela’s (and Hodgins’!)

  7. Okay, I’m glad you posted this. This is an issue that really, really bothers me. It’s a case, IMO, of viewers extrapolating something that isn’t there, when the show very clearly says what the situation IS. Brennan writes the book, Angela makes suggestions. That is not the same thing as “Angela writes all the personal interactions in the books.” Here is the transcript:

    ANGELA: I feel uncomfortable talking about this. Is this because of something that that Japanese journalist said?

    BOOTH: No, no, no, no. It’s just…Riku asked Bones about some of the character stuff in the book and when were alone..Bones, she told me you helped her.

    ANGELA: Yeah. I mean, I might have given her a few suggestions. That’s all.

    BOOTH: Suggestions? Like, um..?

    ANGELA: Okay, look, Brennan types up her book and then I go to her place and I lie on the couch, I mean, with a glass of wine,and she reads me the book. I make suggestions.

    BOOTH: Um, she reads you the whole book?

    ANGELA: Well, yeah. Yeah. And I say…”You know what would be great here? If they were naked. Or um, “What if he says this to her and then they laugh and then they kiss?” You know, that kind of stuff.

    BOOTH: The good stuff, you mean.

    ANGELA: No, do not do that, Booth. She writes the book. I just drink wine and make suggestions. Like her editor. And editors do not get credit.

    BOOTH: How ’bout page 187?

    ANGELA: What is it with you guys and page 187? I have to go. I’m busy.

    Angela says she makes suggestions. And there’s nothing I see in her tone that indicates she is lying. Angela and Brennan are best friends. It makes sense that Brennan would read her the books. It makes sense that Angela would offer suggestions.

    In the pilot, Angela also says “you know who you captured perfectly? Booth.” Why would she say Brennan captured Booth perfectly if she, Angela, had been writing ALL the personal stuff?

    Booth is unhappy because he thinks he’s Andy and that all the sex stuff Brennan writes is her way of fantasizing about him. He’s disappointed to think it might just be Angela’s thoughts. But Angela clearly says – that stuff is already there – she just makes suggestions. And it WAS there in the first book, when Angela specifically praises Brennan for her characterization of Andy as Booth.

    • I think you and Marie are correct. Angela probably doesn’t write portions of the book per se; but, Angela does makes suggestions and since the sex scene was something Hodgins did for Angela, we know that the scene was Angelas part of the story not Brennans. We did see in the Coma Dream that Brennan is quite capable of writing personal love scenes because she did it with Booth. I just think that Brennan uses Angelas ideas of personal relationship scenes because she may not fill out the scenes as completely as she wants to (because she is not interested in that part of the book) and therefore lets Angela help with that. And I do agree with you Barbara, that Booth is assuming a lot when he thinks that Angela wrote all of the personal stuff with Andy in the book and that Brennan didn’t have a hand in it. She did write the scenes and it appears that Angela just filled out the scenes more.

      • also, consider the timeline. Brennan’s been celibate for awhile, this is her fifth book (they mention a new one every season) so she and Angela are sitting around…Brennan doesn’t have any recent experiences to draw on and after five books of stuff, there are only so many ways of describing the same thing so Angela says…”hey, there’s this thing Hodgins used to do!”

      • Boy and wasn’t Hodgins aggravated when he found page 187. I think he was worried that Brennan would find out that he was one that did that thing.

        HODGINS: Page 187. Mind reading it aloud?
        ANGELA: Page 187? I am not reading the sparky bits to you. You can get somebody else to do that, sicko.
        HODGINS: Okay, fine. Read it to yourself then. (she starts to read) That’s that thing that I do. Nobody else does that thing. It’s my thing that I do. Right. It’s not a well-known thing. It’s, you know, my thing that I do.
        ANGELA: Right, I remember. I was there.
        HODGINS: You told Brennan about that thing I do.
        ANGELA: It’s a very good thing.
        HODGINS: It’s my thing. That I do. Did you tell her that it was my thing?
        ANGELA: You mean, did I give you credit?
        HODGINS: Yes. Did you?
        ANGELA: No.
        HODGINS: Good, ’cause I don’t need her looking at me thinking about.. that thing I do.
        ANGELA: Well, that’s good then.

  8. I don’t know why, but I always had the impression that Angela had been helping all along. To see how comfortable they were with each other in the year before the pilot in 100th just kind of confirms that for me. I can imagine Brennan being frustrated, Angela showing up, sensing the frustration, dragging the reason out of Brennan and the whole thing evolving from there. I can imagine other scenarios as well, but to me…she’s been there all along.

    As for Brennan needing ‘that much assistance’…we don’t know (do we?) that she needed *that* much assistance. I know when I write that it’s helpful to be able to bounce ideas off folks, to reaffirm my thoughts or to have one word mentioned that will send me off on another tangent. While that’s just the fan fic world, I would imagine that all authors would appreciate the feedback, bouncing the idea ball around, etc. And for Brennan to have a trusted close friend who is able to spur her on to the fun, imaginative, no holds barred kind of thought processes would be liberating. Also, considering the kind of book she is writing…fiction…she obviously has a target audience which Angela most likely fits right into the middle of…thus making her even better as an idea gal.

    Anyway…looking forward to everyone’s thoughts!

  9. Sarah, thank you so much for asking this question. The whole page 187 thing has bugged me since the episode first came out.

    After I got over my initial WTF? reaction to it, I came to the conclusion that the writers were using it as a plot device. I think that they used it so they could take the story where they wanted to take it in terms of the Hodgins/Angela relationship, but also in terms of character development for Brennan. They used Booth suggesting that she thank Angela as a lesson that Brennan be more demonstratively appreciative of everyone around her.

    At least, that’s what I chose to take away from it.

    Frankly, though, I never liked that little twist in the story. I can buy Brennan inviting Angela over one night (or a couple of nights in a row) and doing a test-read of the book and getting feedback. Heck, I’ll even buy Angela supplying ideas for “the sparky bits”; whether in the moment of the feedback or in a “oh my gosh, Bren, I have to tell you what I did last night!” manner, I’m not sure. Either scenario seems plausible.

    What I don’t buy (or maybe “don’t like” is more accurate) is the premise that Brennan is so disconnected from human emotion that she can’t accurately write the interpersonal relationships, including the sparky bits, in her own stories. It just didn’t ring true to me. She’s a brilliant scientist, she’s had any number of relationships in the past and she observes everyone and everything around her, and by her own admission is very spontaneous during sex. The thought that she’d need help writing any of that just seems like a plot device to me, and not a plausible one. She’s much deeper than anyone gives her credit for.

    I think that, if anything, for Brennan, her fiction is a safe place for her to explore relationships. She can explore her own vulnerabilities and desires in the books because it’s safe. She wrote the first book in the year of separation between the first case and the pilot. If that doesn’t scream “working things out and dealing with my frustrations regarding Booth”, I don’t know what does. Which is good for her, because it feeds the dynamic between Andy and Kathy and makes her books more popular. I also think that all her protesting that she and Booth are not Andy and Kathy is true. I think the two of them started out as the models for the characters, but as the series has gone on that, in her mind anyway, they have developed into their own distinct characters and are separate from her “real life.”

  10. I have to say I don’t really understand what this was all about either. They spent quite a lot of time in the earlier seasons building the idea that the books were Brennan exposing subconsciously what she really wants and then seemed to retcon it all just so they could get the page 187 joke in.

    I’d happily agree that Angela merely helped spice up the language a bit, but giving her 25% of the profits suggests she wrote 25% of the books (or at least quite a lot), otherwise I’d have expected her to refuse to take it – it’s not like she needs the money now she’s married to Hodgins’ and I can’t see her accepting what is probably millions of dollars for something she didn’t do.

    So, I think I’m just going to have to accept that the writers sacrificed something for the joke without realising that some of the viewers held what they sacrificed quite dear.

    On the plus side, I loved Booth’s interrogation of Angela on the phone. Wish he’d have utilised that technique a few more times over the years about more important subjects – like why Brennan felt she had to get away to Maluku for example.

    • But when Angela took the money, she wasn’t married to Hodgins, so she wasn’t rich.

      And while Brennan may have written the check for 25% of the profits, that doesn’t mean Angela wrote exactly 25% of the books.

      Brennan also gave Angela 100% of the pig money, even though she was 0% in favor of saving the pig!

      I think Brennan doesn’t care much about her money, except in the sense that it’s a tool for her. She loves Angela, she wants to be nice to Angela, it made Angela very happy in the past when Brennan gave her a big check so…she gives her a big check.

      • Oh yeah, thanks Barbara – of course she wasn’t married to Hodgins at that point, doh!

        I still maintain that she wouldn’t have taken that cheque unless there were grounds to the argument she deserved it. 🙂

        Also, I’d argue that Brennan cares quite a lot about money, or at least what it says about her that she’s earned it. By this I mean that it’s not the physical trappings of wealth she’s interested in necessarily (although she enjoys never having to fly coach and was proud of her Rolex) but more the sense of validation she gets from having been successful enough to earn it.

        I think Brennan has always had quite a lot of insecurities and so, as is her anthropological nature, she’s looked to the markers that the society in which she lives places value in order to prove her self worth and boost her inner confidence – namely; professional standing, wealth and physical beauty.

  11. The way it was explained on the show made me think that Angela provides insights into the interpersonal things– when to kiss, what to say, etc.– and Brennan writes the actual bits. Angela provides ideas for the sex, but Brennan writes it.

    I think if Brennan were to take Angela’s ideas and put them down verbatim, she might have felt compelled to reward her earlier for her efforts. As an academic, she’s got to have a good understanding of plagiarism and how much credit would go to a contributor on a piece of writing, academic or otherwise.

    My interpretation has always been that Angela is the idea person (like an editor) and it is Brennan who brings those ideas to life. Of course, I may be wrong given how the show will have the final word on that. I think it would be great fun if we got to see more of Brennan the writer and Angela the muse in the future.

    BTW: TKAM is both a fabulous novel and movie. So many novels lose something in the translation to the movies, but Gregory Peck’s Atticus Finch is outstanding and it’s always fun to see a young Robert Duvall.

  12. For me the takeaway from this storyline was that Brennan recognized the importance of the sexuality of her books (at least with her audience), that it wasn’t just the intricate plots and forensics that readers valued. But then, my skills regarding deeper character studies are more limited than most of yours. Love reading them though.

  13. I’ve been thinking about this one all day and have come to the conclusion that it’s simply not an issue that gets me all hot and bothered (er, no pun intended). Personally, I think it (the page 187 storyline) was meant to be funny, that’s all. However, if we’re going to debate the issue, I think it’s completely plausible, as Barbara suggested earlier in the comments, that Brennan’s approach to her love scenes was, perhaps, a bit too clinical. I don’t think it’s a stretch at all to think that Angela, being somewhat more, er, artistic, would help her out a bit with appropriately placed words or actions.

    I get that Brennan enjoys sex, but if she writes about it in the same blunt way she talks about it (and I would suspect that she does), then I could see where she might need a little bit of help softening the edges. And I don’t see how pointing that out is at all a disservice to her character, perhaps because I don’t see her ability to write about sex (which is, according to the way I understand things, what Angela was helping her with) as equal to to her ability to write about love and other emotions.

    As far as the love scene with Booth in The End in the Beginning – I’m not so sure that’s a valid example. We don’t know what she actually WROTE, just what we saw (which, um, as passionate as it was, still wasn’t much), and at that, what we SAW would have been filtered through Booth’s sex-and-love-starved brain as well.

  14. I think a lot of people are conflating “the sparky bits” and interpersonal development in her books. I fully believe that Angela helps her to write the former (in a way that’s sexy, not clinical), but that she’s fully capable of writing the latter on her own. I mean, look at the glimpse we get of her writing that inspires the coma dream. It’s full of emotion, and love. But then, she also deletes it all at the end. I think she’s capable of writing a lot more interpersonal stuff than she allows herself to.

  15. Forgive me, I haven’t read all the responses, so I’m sure this has been covered, but I want to throw in my 2 cents before I have to run back out the door:

    Sex in books is very romanticized quite often, using descriptives and flowery language that would never occur to Brennan. That’s Angela’s dept. So if Brennan writes “He kissed her passionately” Angela might suggest “He kissed thoroughly, with reckless passion” or something even MORE descriptive and romantic (Clearly, I fall on the Brennan side of writing! LOL!)

    Just my thoughts. Wish I knew what was on page 187. I’m sure it’s awesome. 😉

  16. Yeah, I’m one who isn’t all that bothered by this. I like Barbara’s and Stephanie’s reasoning.
    And I agree with icculus’ comment. Wish I could offer some other fascinating thought.

  17. I think this was an inconsistency in her character. I don’t know if it was an attempt to break her down further or to progress a separate SL…but its writing like this that bothers me because it comes out of the blue and doesn’t flow with history. For me…it made Bones look bad that she took credit for her entire novel. You gotta ask, is this who she WAS in season 1 when we find out that her first novel is a hit? Did it seem as if she was the type of person that would not give credit where credit is due? I don’t think so…especially in something that was not related to her professionally. Her relationship with Angela in season 1 was a very natural one….they really did look like best friends back then so for her to hold back credit…especially knowing that Angela could have used the money…well….it didn’t ring true for me. She was just a different person back then…the type that would have recognized Angela as a contributor to her novel….so I’m with….they are just breaking Bones’ down…in a not so pleasant way for my taste.

  18. Slightly different take here, and possibly unpopular, but while I think they got a number of different things out of that plot line (including further development of A&H) I think the main reason was an attempt to respond to a regular criticism of Brennan: how does a woman who has no interest in her own culture and little to no interest in people as individuals or understanding of motive write best selling commercial (as opposed to literary) novels?

    Granted, perhaps some crime procedurals can get away with being nearly totally plot driven rather than character driven, but even plot driven novels have to have characters that readers can identify with/care about what happens to – at least commercially successful ones. They have to care about Kathy and understand and believe that it matters to Kathy to catch the killers; plus, most of these types of novels take some effort to make the killer interesting, to give him/her reasons for what they do. How does someone who completely dismisses psychology do that?

    Brennan can get away with writing Kathy just like her – talking like her, thinking like her – but how does she write an entire novel full of characters who never refer to pop culture…which Brennan wouldn’t be able to have them do, because she doesn’t know those things herself. All her characters would sound alike, and none of them would ever use figures of speech because for the most part, her standard response to figures of speech is, ‘I don’t know what that means.’

    Months before Blue Line aired, I saw someone ask Hart a question (on Twitter, perhaps? Can’t remember) along the lines of how Brennan could write best selling novels, and he said they’d be dealing with that later on in the season.

    Of course, they didn’t, quite, as revealing that Angela ‘helps’ with the love scenes doesn’t exactly explain the rest of it, but it was at least an acknowledgment of something that doesn’t quite fit.

    Ignoring that, and accepting what the story gives us – that Brennan can write enough distinct, interesting, well-motivated characters to have several best sellers, only faltering with the sex scenes – I can imagine two scenarios. In the first one, she was able to write the first novel without Angela’s help simply by describing sex in a rather clinical fashion, but in a later novel, her editor said, ‘can you add some variety here? This sounds just like the love scene from the last one.’ In the second scenario, she can write the mechanics of the sex scenes (‘tab A, slot B’), but struggles with the emotion behind them, perhaps particularly as Kathy and Andy’s relationship changes from book to book.

    Everyone (both in the show and fandom) assumes Andy is based on Booth, but we really don’t know much about Kathy and Andy’s relationship. I’ve seen people argue that it exactly parallels Tempe’s relationship with Andy (?) in Kathy Reich’s books, but that’s a leap we’ve not been given in the series. So what’s the relationship? Are Kathy and Andy having a no-strings-affair? Fulfilling biological urges? Or is Brennan trying to write two characters who are, or have, fallen in love?

    • Tom Clancy – best selling novelist – extraordinarily procedural (of a sort) with very little character development. Seems to me that this is how Brennan can also be a best selling novelist. 😉

      • Yes, all Clancy’s novels are plot-driven, unashamedly so. But I wasn’t talking about character arcs and development so much as characterization at all. Based on what they’ve given us in Brennan, all her characters would be exactly alike, with no personality differences (how do writers show differences between characters? With different motives? Quirks related to pop cultural preferences? Speech patterns?)

        I’ve not read all of Clancy’s novels, but in the ones I did, his characters were still distinguishable from one another, still had their own motives for why they were doing what they were doing, why the outcome mattered. That kind of differentiation would be difficult for Brennan, given what they’ve shown us of her.

        As usual, their drive for humor trips them up, IMO: they go for humor, assuming that having a brilliant woman who’s clueless about her own culture is funny, without stopping to think, “how does someone like that write bestselling novels?” Maybe she could write one, where everyone was the same and no one had any distinct motives, but several? Particularly when at least one reader (the journalist) was more interested in the characters than the plot? That suggests that Kathy and Andy are well-defined, but how? (Best guess: Andy is a carbon copy of Booth: same mannerisms, same topics of conversation when not talking the case, etc. But if every single male in the novels were Booth…still doesn’t lead to an interesting story, even an entirely plot driven one.)

        I’m not the only one to have noted/questioned it, or that’s how I took HH’s response to that question about why they wrote Blue Line. Just one of those things, I guess.

      • I see a lot of character development in Clancy’s novels, as opposed to those little “Ops” books he does. Which he should stop doing and get back to writing novels. “Without Remorse” is (IMO) his best book and John Clark is so real, so fully developed as a character that my first thought on hearing about bin Laden was “John Clark got him!” Clark and his Rainbow Six band of warriors define Special Ops.

        It’s interesting to me that “Andy” is supposed to be based on Booth when it’s obvious that Booth is NOT based on Andrew Ryan. I consider that just more cross-referencing from the books to the series, like the mention of the only other forensic anthropologist being in Montreal.

  19. I’m glad you brought this up as it has been bugging me. It seems to me they have kind of dropped the whole author story line in Season 6 anyway. It seems like Brennan shied away from it a bit after Bodies in the Book and then again when she deleted the coma dream one.
    My take on how it all started is that Brennan originally asked Angela to preview the manuscript as a friend before she sent it to the publisher…then added some of the spice that Angela suggested. That kind of started a pattern where it was more of a friendship favor than a business transaction so it probably didn’t occur to Brennan that perhaps she was slighting Angela by not paying her. As time went on and Angela continued to help, the favor (instead of business transaction) status remained. Once Brennan recognized that Angela did deserve something for her efforts, it seems she overcompensated by giving her 25%. I do think Brennan is fully capable of writing interpersonal relationships as she has studied cultures all over the world and in different times. But she has not wanted to go there herself in the past due to her abandonment issues. It’s not really that she doesn’t believe in love per se but more that she hadn’t believed it would be possible for her.

  20. I’ve kind of always just assumed that we were supposed to believe that Angela’s done the glass-of-wine-on-the-couch read-through from day one there. I know each of Brennan’s books makes a lot of money individually, but I figured from the line–however she says it, I forget–where she kind of says, I calculated that at this point, I owe you this much, I assumed that meant she had calculated a percentage of ALL her book earnings, as in Angela helped her with all of them.

    And for me, I don’t see why there should be any shame in Brennan’s accepting that help, and further, in her not recognizing until that point that Angela should be receiving monetary compensation for her help.

    First of all, I can see that Brennan would have a bit of a hard time writing the sex scenes–not in that writing about the physical act would be hard for her, but that writing about the romance, the feelings and motivations behind the sex scenes would not come naturally to Brennan. I think it’s completely believable based on Brennan’s character that she would find it difficult, at least in the beginning of the show (she’s been making fairly consistent progress I would say since Day One), to write not sex scenes really, but romance scenes is maybe what I would call them for distinction’s sake. It’s not that Brennan wouldn’t know how to articulate for her audience the makings of a good sex scene, but we know how Brennan talks about sex. It’s all “fulfilling biological needs” etc. etc. That’s not the kind of sex scene that makes a book a best-seller. But I don’t think anyone could argue that, at least in the beginning, Brennan would even think to write something different. And I don’t think that reflects poorly on Brennan at all. It just helps us to see know how far she’s come–the opening scene of EitB, anyone? I’m pretty sure Angela didn’t help out with that one.

    I just have never had any problem accepting the premise of Angela being an unnofficial character-interactions editor for Brennan. I always just imagined that Angela probably showed up unannounced for a glass of wine and a chat, interrupted Brennan’s writing, goaded her into reading a bit, and they ended up with this sort of tradition. Can’t you hear Angela interrupting with, “Oh, honey! You know what would sound great right there?…”

    And that leads into, too, why I don’t find it strange that Brennan didn’t think to pay her. Brennan probably never even considered exactly how much of a help it was. She’s constantly saying the important parts of her books are the forensics, and getting the tiniest bit frustrated at everyone’s enthusiasm for the sex scenes. I don’t think she even considered the character interactions would be important to people–theoretically at least they were never important to her, though I’ve always been a believer in the Booth-Andy Brennan-Kathy correlation. Angela probably had so much fun doing it that I don’t think Brennan ever thought of it as something that required compensation. It was two friends hanging out and making up romance scenes. What about that sounds like work? It’s not like they sat down in a conference room with red pens and discussed the novels. I just don’t think she ever realized that the nights that Angela would come over for those read throughs were anything more than the two of them just having a good time together as best friends. I think the episode where she gives her the check is when she realized how much of the books’ success she owed to Angela, when she realized that she hadn’t just been humoring Angela and having a little fun by adding some suggested romance to the books.

    Also, really quickly, I’m obligated to give an Emily Giffin shout-out; she’s from my hometown, went to my high school! And I have to say, I liked the sequel to Something Borrowed even better, especially now that John Krasinski=Ethan in the movie version. 🙂 Love!

  21. I think we might all be thinking too deeply about this plot point! Remember that Bones is based on a real woman who is an anthropologist that writes books. However, the character of Bones is fiction. “Bones” does things the real Kathy does not do….she can fight with martial arts training, all the interpersonal relations with other fictional characters, and the books are all fictionally represented in the show. The real Kathy probably does not have all of Bones’ characteristics and relationships and quirks.

    So…the author thing is something from real life they throw in because of the real Kathy’s life. Perhaps this is just something where we apply suspension of disbelief. I saw a Bones DVD section where she says the fictional Bones does things like martial arts but she doesn’t do them herself. So we are having a conflict between real life and fictional portrayal.

    I think the author thing for the show is really a minor plot point (exception is the one episode built around it). Its just used sometimes to give Brennan something else to excel at, ways to give us B & B moments, give an example of Angela/Brennan’s friendship, etc. It just exists to bring out other plot points. So its a fluid concept. I don’t think we should credit too much to it.

    My personal belief is that the whole “page 187” was just a plot point to showcase Angela/Hodgins and the potenial of Brennan writing about desires she has for Booth that she’ll never express in reality but let’s herself express in books. I have no doubt Brennan is capable of writing them on her own, but that she uses Angela for distance so that she can tell others she had help, and no of course its not her writing about Booth haha!

    But I don’t think we should dwell on her authorship too much. Yes, the real Kathy writes them, but Bones is not the real Kathy, and fictionalizing reality can get a little messy.

  22. oh, I missed the date, Happy Birthday, Sarah! We love you 🙂

  23. No time to read the others’ comments, but my vote is that it’s “just one more way the writers have sort of stripped Brennan of her previous ability to connect with people”.

    I don’t know about timelines, but suggesting Angela played that strong a role in writing all of the books doesn’t jive with season 1 where they all, including Angela, talk about what the books reveal about Brennan or where Angela says that Brennan really got Booth’s character right. Anyway, I always found it intriguing/maybe a bit unbelievable that Brennan could write dialogue very realistically since she’s out of touch with modern culture and slang, but it’s ridiculous to suggest that she would need help writing sex scenes, IMO!

  24. I would think, for Brennan, it would be very easy to write about sex. It is feelings and love and all that that might be a problem for her, not because she is cold or doesn’t care (we all know she does), but because she doesn’t express herself like most people do.

    I always assumed that Angela helped Brennan with the first book as well, they were friends when it was written, were they not? At least that is how I interpret the story line.

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