Bones Theory

Morning After Q: What Actually ARE The “Standards” ?


Good morning!


So, thoughts on this?

I don’t know about you, but when Booth’s voice gets kind of low and sincere and he just says “Bones, you are the standard”, I melt like a puddle. This is not news per se, but with The Killer in the Crosshairs in mind (where Brennan makes a definite verbal stance that she will always stand by Booth), it has led me to thinking…

What was (or is, because I still believe it’s true) it that makes Brennan the standard? Can Booth still believe in fate and believe Brennan is the standard? Does that make sense? Do those two things contradict one another? Basically, if it was fate, does Brennan NEED to be the standard? Hmmm…


On the other side, now we have Brennan pursuing Booth toward the end of season six. Remember her birthday toast to Booth (in season four) where she talks about him being strong and quiet? I find parallels between that and the way she acted toward Booth in Killer in the Crosshairs and Hole in the Heart (and other eps).

I, like a lot of us, I suppose, always figured some huge major event might bring B&B together, and sure, VNM (sniff, sniff!) was huge, but still…there was this quiet strength between them, particularly from Brennan to Booth that NOW proves to me that she was paying attention to him and she was being deliberate and testing the waters  etc, etc…

I’m sort of getting off topic, but what I’m trying to ask is this: What also makes Booth Brennan’s standard. In the past, she would say it was professional – why would someone with her success partner up with anything less than the best, right? And like a lot of you have pointed out in the past when we talked about Critic in the Cabernet, Brennan made it clear that Booth had personal qualities she admired and would want for her children. But beyond all that—does she consider him the standard?



There is, I believe, a third additional piece, and that is this:

Viewers hold B&B as a couple to a (perhaps unrealistic?) standard. Thoughts on that? Do we expect one or both of them combined to act perfectly, or at least, to anticipate troubles and not have issues? Perhaps ‘issues’ isn’t the right word, because we have discussed several times that they probably will have some issues. But is there still that ‘grade card’ for lack of a better word, where we’re all sitting in front of our televisions (or computer screens) with mental checklists? “Oh, Brennan flirted with another man”
“Oh, Booth had the audacity to say that it’s possible to love more than one person in the span of a lifetime”, etc, etc. If we look at partnerships, friendships, and romantic relationships we’ve had with other people, do we hold B&B to a higher standard than we hold ourselves?

So, three parts: Brennan, Booth, and then B&B from a viewer’s perspective. What are the standards? Are they fair (in terms of fiction)?


Peace, Love & Bones,



18 thoughts on “Morning After Q: What Actually ARE The “Standards” ?

  1. Booth needs a woman that he can trust with his heart’s secrets and Brennan has proven to be that person. No other woman knows him like Brennan does, even Cam. Booth knows Brennan better than anyone else; he is the man with whom she can be herself.

    But these are people, flawed people, who definitely come to the world with very different perspectives. I certainly don’t expect them to be in a relationship that isn’t contentious at times. But what will forever pull them together is that trust, that bond of friendship.

    It is pretty clear that Brennan was committed to Booth as more than just a partner this past season, She was trying to steer Hannah to give Booth what she thought he deserved– that’s why she befriended Hannah, that’s why she gave up every little piece of her connection with Booth until she had nothing that was her own anymore beyond the partnership. (She’s a party trick to Booth– “oh, look at what she can do!” she can tell us how that chicken died, wow!” And notice that except for work and at the end, Hannah is always there with Booth.) That sacrifice helped to twist her into knots during Doctor. Booth’s “Doctor” moment came with Broadsky when he starts to question Brennan rather than recognize that he’s questioning himself.

    The whole question of standards can work against both of them in the future. Booth can question her (like he did with the Broadsky case) and that could divide them. He had certain expectations of her and jumped at anything she said that he could construe as questioning him. While she hung tough, I wonder if that investment they have in each other could fall apart in the future. (It would only be temporary– they worked through HB and JB; they can work through other things/people as well.)

  2. I think that one of the things that has simultaneously enraptured and infuritated booth about brennan from DAY ONE is her absolute certainty about almost everything, I think that it is comforting to him in regard to relationships…he seems to be all, “why don’t they want to marry me” confused about hannah/rebecca (which, yes, we could do a whole OTHER thing about) whereas with brennan – professionally or otherwise, she will always tell him the absolute truth even when it is unpleasant (JFK thing notwithstanding)
    in regard to my standard for them…I really love what HH has done here, I love that he didn’t show
    the big DO IT scene (because really – we got that in the coma episode) and it made it feel so much more intimate and real (ok, fine, I know it is tv…you know what i mean)

  3. Hmmm, I’ll have to do more thinking about how Booth is Brennan’s standard. I don’t think she ever thought about it like that since she never really having that kind of relationship for most of her life.

    But viewers holding B&B up to a standard, I can definitely see that happening. In one way, B&B have become this epic couple, an unlikely appearing, opposites in almost every way, overcoming mastadons, etc. But still, they are just human. We know they are flawed. But we don’t like when they make bad decisions, and sometimes we can varied reactions to that, some having stronger reactions than others

    I think that Brennan and Booth have been written in such a way that while we could easily make a list of their positive attributes, we could just as easily make a list of their not-so-positive attributes. Me, my family, and my friends will always have attributes I don’t really care for, but if I love them, there’s a certain acceptance that comes with that. I, for one, have always thought that Booth can be quite obnoxious and sarcastic at times. That didn’t just happen this past year. Brennan can be quite snobbish, or a know-it-all. But I don’t love them any less. They are actually more real to me that way. Their bantering/bickering wasn’t the same to me (though I was happy for the few instances), and I think Brennan was really feeling the weight of her regret. But if they can get back on comfortable ground, the bickering can ensue. Maybe they’ll even start being really honest on things they were quiet on before (like what Brennan said about his silly socks and drinking his coffee too hot, lol)

  4. Yeah, I melt a little too when Booth calls Brennan the standard, but I can’t help but cringe a little at the same time. That statement was made so soon after Brennan’s rejection and during a time when Booth was clearly still hanging around, hoping against hope that Brennan would change her mind about them, that it’s hard for me to take it completely seriously. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that in the first part of season six, and especially right after Daredevil, that Brennan was most certainly NOT “the standard” in Booth’s eyes. And I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. She was still the one he loved the most – whether he would admit it at first or not – that never changed, but what DID change, I think, was his perception of his love for her. Looking at where they ended the season, I see a lot more maturity in Booth’s perception of and approach to Brennan, and a level of confidence in their relationship (on his part), that just isn’t dependent upon measuring her against anything or anyone else.

    As far as Brennan is concerned, I don’t necessarily think Booth is her “standard” either. Yes, she loves him, and I don’t think for a moment that there’s anyone else out there that she would risk her heart on other than him, but I don’t know, I just don’t see her being willing to quantify anything that way. Yes, she took a stand in Killer, but that was about her loyalty to him more than anything else.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that at this point, I’m not sure either of them has the need to “measure” the other. Not anymore. And I think that’s a really good thing.

    As far as the standard I hold B&B to…I try my best not to set that standard in the first place. I’m human, so inevitably there are things that I do find irritating about their relationship and there are things that I do want to see happen (*cough* marriage *cough, cough*), but I try my best not to let myself hold on too tightly to any of those disappointments or expectations because it’s when I hold on too tightly that I lose my ability to simply sit back and enjoy the story HH and Co. are trying to tell and the way they are choosing to tell it.

    And I apologize if any or all of this doesn’t exactly make sense. An earthquake followed by a hurricane and four days without electricity has kind of scrambled my brains.

  5. Couldn’t agree more with what everyone has already said. Booth felt that Brennan was the standard because he’s never met anyone else that captivates him at the same level that she does. It’s not just that she’s beautiful, although she clearly is. Booth is a very spiritual guy who despite “playing dumb” clearly thinks about things that go way beyond the material world. I believe that when he looks at her he sees a person with an incredibly pure, kind heart who never lets either her personal or emotional safety get in the way of helping others. Even though she’s an avowed atheist, Booth sees that she too is very spiritual in her own way. It’s ultimately the goodness in both of their hearts that connects them which is why, although without a doubt they will have arguments in the future (and how unrealistic would it be if they didn’t), they should be able to maintain the solid relationship which they now share.

    In many ways Brennan did think Booth was the standard prior to this season, particularly as their relationship developed and she was able to see past his aggressive, cocky behavior. It’s exactly why she wanted first to work with him and then have him father her child. But now? I agree with those who said that she’s past measuring him; he’s simply the way he is and she loves and respects him-and I believe he too is past the measuring stage. Having a standard is a way of keeping score; it creates expectations that inevitably can’t be met every time. It’s good then that I don’t see them entering their romantic relationship that way. But I think that they will always work towards reminding each other of the very best qualities they posseess, like Brennan did to Booth when he was unhappy with his brother’s choice of wife or like Booth did to Brennan when she felt that the Gravedigger would get the better of her. That’s not measuring; it’s encouraging the other person to be their very best..

    To see the good in a loved one even when they falter and to keep loving them is the mark of a mature relationship and I’m pretty sure they’re already there. As to the fights and disagreements, bring ’em on! What would we have left without a little angst? It wouldn’t be the Bones we love.
    PS: Typos=flu.

    • This: “To see the good in a loved one even when they falter and to keep loving them is the mark of a mature relationship and I’m pretty sure they’re already there.”

      It’s dangerous to put people on pedestals. It can sound like a good thing, but it’s really a lot of undue pressure.

  6. Well, first let me address if our standards for B&B are fair. I think sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Sometimes we let our expectations get the best of us, and get mad at Booth for saying something or Brennan doing something, but I think overall, I think B&B actually ARE a realistic couple/relationship, and that is why we are drawn to them. I mean, you could like a sitcom couple, but they are surface-y. B&B have depth, they have traumatic backstories, and these things affect how their characters behave. Sure they might say or do the wrong thing sometimes but they are both trying to overcome things and live the best way they can. I think they are very real, and that’s why we identify ourselves with them and feel for them when they are hurt.

    Now, about “the standard”. I think the standard is what we make it. You might think you know your “standard” until you meet The One, and they may be nothing like you thought you wanted. Booth had things with Rebecca types but Brennan changed his previous standard. Brennan dated guys based on them having a different quality she liked, but she had to date multiple guys at a time to add up to her “standard”. I think the second they locked eyes on each other in that lecture, their “standards” changed. They may not have been ready to admit it to themselves or others, but they were both irreversibly changed that day.

    More specifically, they are each other standards because (and pardon this phrase) “complete each other”. Brennan calls Booth out on his crap, and vice versa. They are both top in their fields, and can respect each other on a professional level. Though they sometimes disagree, they stand up for their beliefs and will fight for them. They will go the distance for the special people in their lives. They are both hurting from old wounds. They both need each other. They are two halves of a whole I think. People always thought they were dating when they weren’t because they had that connection, that bond…Sweets called them out on how they could exclude other people and focus only on each other, to his frustration. Their connection is palpable and you can just see it without any words having to be spoken. That’s how you know you’ve got your “standard’. 🙂

  7. I actually think Booth’s idea of “fate” has evolved. At the end of Signs in the Silence Booth said he wanted it to be “more than luck” when it came to being a good parent to Parker. Yes, Parker is lucky to have a father and, yes, a mother who loves him but being loved is more than luck. Does Booth still believe or view he and Brennan were “fated”? Well….Yes, I think he does. I could see Booth seeing where he and Brennan are now -about to become parents – as fated, but it wasn’t just fate, there was more involved. It sounds cllche but sometimes reality is better than a dream because it is real. i think for Brennan, Booth’s integrity, confidence, competence, bravery and loyalty to his loved ones is what drew Brennan in. I also think Booth’s ability to connec to people fascinated Brennan and she was curious…she wanted to learn from him. I do believe Brennan believes seeing the world through Booth’s perspective make her better and we all know Brennan strives to learn and experience.

    I do think they will have challenges, every couple does, but I do hope they face those challenges together. You do only hurt the ones you love but I really hope any future hurt doesn’t involve third parties…. I just do not want to see infidelity on either of their parts. I hope they learn from their challenges and grow and continue to get stronger together – for themselves and their family.

  8. Sorry for the random post – there’s nowhere else to post random links, but I found this funny video on YouTube. It’s not the usual type of funny, like funny moments. But it’s a humorous look at the B&B journey so far.

    • Nice video. I think my favorite part is the use of Cam (I think it’s from The Plain in the Prodigy?) watching Michelle making out with her boyfriend spliced to make it look like she’s watching B & B. Funny. Thanks for sharing, C-bones!

      At 1:47 Cam says, “Are you pregnant?” Which episode is that from? I don’t remember it.

    • This video is really great. Could not stop laughing.

    • breaking my rule of not commenting on old posts as I work my way forward — loved this video. Will have to share it with my wife once she finishes season 6 – she was in the middle of Doctor in the Photo last night. Following BT this way, it’s kind of like I am watching the series again in order. Seeing things I missed, then going back and rewatching portions of episodes to see what has been described.

      As to the underlying topic, might as well comment a little on that while I am here. I kind of think the standard still applies, even now (limiting my comments to the season 6/7 break), as a further incentive to stay on track. The internal realization that each is the other’s standard, and at that post Doctor point, the other knows it too, even if it isn’t crystalized until after Daredevil.

      I get that underlying fear, the trepidation. I was Brennan-like in my relationship endeavors before I met my wife, despite being a Booth-like romantic. I had given up looking. Then, in an instant, things changed. Instead of across the room, it was through the rear-view mirror of my car, as I was ferrying people to a fraternity party. It was an “I knew” moment, for both of us – in that we were drawn to each other. Though unlike the show, it didn’t take 6-7 years to get past that point – though it took more courage than I knew I had simply to phone her to ask her out – had to leave a message on her answering machine. Didn’t find out until much later she had left the message on there for weeks. All told, it was the longest 8 days of my life! It didn’t start out as forever, but we came to realize pretty quickly that it may well be. That was 18 years ago now, and we’ve been married 14. And although I didn’t know what my standard was before I met her, my wife has been my standard ever since. I wouldn’t use fate – but rather opportunity. It knocked. We answered.

      MJ has this quote further down that summarizes it quite well for me – “I think when you love someone, they become your standard. That doesn’t mean you ignore or overlook their flaws, it just means what you love about them is more important.”

      Also, Kira with this, which is true as well – “I think that they were each other’s standards for a variety of reasons, but the main thing was that they trust each other implicitly.” Someone emotionally secure in a relationship has this unconditional trust. It may not always be a bed of roses, but it sure beats the alternative. We have friends who are clearly insecure, and that insecurity keeps one or the other from doing much of anything outside the relationship – we only see them because one is the godfather to our daughter, and even then it is only at birthday parties. Whereas before he met her, he was quite a frequent visitor to our house. I couldn’t live like that. Maybe I am spoiled by what my wife and I have…

  9. Booth was always searching for ‘the one’ until he found Brennan. Since he knew she was the one but couldn’t have her, she became the standard for him even though when he started his search, she was not what he was looking for. What I am trying to say is that he may have had a list in his head of attributes he sought in a mate and even though she didn’t meet that mental list, the list changed because of her.
    Brennan wasn’t searching for ‘the one’ because she had resigned herself to solitude. So she really didn’t have a standard before him. However, when she found him, he became her standard because she determined that she preferred not to live her life without him. No one else could ever match that.
    Now that they are together, there doesn’t need to be a standard because there is no need to think about past partners or potential future ones. That’s because they are not thinking of themselves as individuals but as part of a team moving forward together.
    As far as the viewers’ standards for them, I’m sure our own expectations for what a committed relationship looks like colors our view of what should happen on the show. However, I do think most people would have a standard that includes no cheating, or desire to cheat.

  10. Having another person as the standard is the same thing as saying there is always one person you love the most and in B&B’s case, it is each other. Brennan’s comments to the Japanese journalist about how her fictional FBI agent made mistakes on the job but Booth never did show quite clearly that for her, Booth is how she measures other men. Jared was ‘Booth lite’; Sully was the closest she could get to a Booth-alike after Booth himself drew a line between them at the end of the last Epps episode. Booth, on the other hand, was willing to continue to work with Brennan after she rejected him and obviously never stopped loving her no matter what he tried to tell himself last season. The writers have always said that these two were fated to be together so it’s hardly surprising that their behavior mirrors that fact.

  11. I think that they were each other’s standards for a variety of reasons, but the main thing was that they trust each other implicitly. They don’t trust hardly anyone, but have unwavering trust in each other. Neither one is very easy to truly get to know, but they couldn’t keep each other out and for once, they didn’t want to. I also agree with EL, that having someone as a standard is the same thing as saying there is always one person that you love the most.
    I think now, they don’t have standards anymore, because they don’t need to measure each other now that they are together.

    As far as the standards us viewers set for them, I’m sure sometimes they are unrealistic. But what I love about this couple is that they have real flaws, and struggle with issues, and so we don’t expect them to just be the perfect couple that never argues. I want them to bicker and argue, it would be boring otherwise! I try not to set standards for them, and to just accept what the storyline gives us. Luckily,when I like a show, I am very good at overlooking what other viewers see as flaws or bad writing. I see it, it’s simply not worth getting upset about, since I can’t change it.

  12. How did I miss this post? Shouldn’t there be trumpets or something?

    I think when you love someone, they become your standard. That doesn’t mean you ignore or overlook their flaws, it just means what you love about them is more important. What I find interesting about Brennan being Booth’s standard is that she’s sort of ‘against type’ for him. Yes, she’s beautiful and smart but she she’s not tall/blonde/babe gorgeous and she has a lot of habits and mannerisms that irritate him. But with Brennan, he sorta seems to like being irritated; it’s like he finds that part of her charm.

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