I think this may be a highly unpopular opinion, but Cam has always been one of my favorite characters on Bones, after-who else-Booth and Brennan. Which is pretty amazing when you consider how little substance there often is to her.
There’s actually times when I’ve wondered what purpose she serves on the show because so often it seems like the writers see her as an afterthought, especially after this last season. I understand that a lot of time had to be spent on the Booth/Brennan arc because they are after all the main characters and their story needed to be pushed forward these last two years, but it just seems that by adding the Angela/Hodgins story to the mix, there was very little time left over for Cam’s development.
So why do I still like her so much? I started watching the show in the fourth season so I never saw Cam as a real rival to Brennan; rather, I saw her in terms of what else she had to offer. I guess I respect her take-no-prisoners approach which, though it sometimes borders on the unethical, also serves the very practical purpose of keeping criminals off the street. She is, after all, a cop and she’s probably seen everything. Booth may not agree with her methods, but he defends her to Brennan nevertheless. Of all the people at the Jeffersonian, she’s the only one that made a career out of examining the newly dead, people who often were still quite recognizable as human beings on her table. Being a coroner would really be no fun and I appreciate the kind of steely resolve with which she applies herself during autopsies. It’s a tough job that would take guts and I always felt the writers got that part of Cam right.
I also like that she comports herself with the sort of dignity that befits her role as “den mother” of the lab, particularly since the squints are sorely lacking in the dignity department. It’s not that I don’t like the humor they bring, but it’s nice to see someone rule over the chaos, sort of like watching a preschool teacher in action. She’s typically serene, which is also a refreshing counterpoint to Angela’s constant drama. And I definitely love her dry sense of humor, a perfect straight man to all the loonies on the platform.
But my favorite thing about Cam is the way she’s always been a good friend to Booth, despite the fact that she had been in relationships with him before and could have harbored all sorts of resentments. These are the moments that make her seem real to me: when she stands up for him in Con Man, when she’s concerned about him in Harbingers and when she thanks Brennan on his behalf in Proof in the Pudding. She’s always been very perceptive when it comes to Booth because I think she knows he’s his own worst enemy and she wants to steer him towards a place where he can be genuinely happy. Her deep empathy on his behalf, as well as her concern for her adopted daughter makes me like her.
So here’s my beef with the writers. I don’t object to Cam’s lapses in judgment, not even when she sent in that application for Michelle. I personally would never do a thing like that for my kids but I can almost understand her feeling that Michelle’s future is a huge responsibility, especially since Michelle has no one else to look after her. It’s the sort of extra paranoia that parents have when they’re watching someone else’s kids. Would I advocate what she did? No-but I can sort of understand why she did it. My real problem with Cam of late is that she’s lost some of the empathy she seemed to have early in the series towards many of the victims, in part because the writers seem to feel obligated to make her part of the squints’ mayhem. Of late, she doesn’t do much more than roll her eyes or make some throw-away statement. I’m certainly glad they gave her that storyline with Paul, but I’m afraid this is one more of those things which will be mentioned in passing every so often but which won’t really be developed.
I also feel that her interaction with the other characters, particularly Booth, has really been lacking of late. Of course that was also the case with Angela and Brennan, and this might have been a deliberate effort by the writers to keep B&B isolated last season. Back to Cam’s disappearing act, though. The thought actually occurred to me that she could be the surprise victim in Hole in the Heart because of how little by way of presence she had this year. It seems that her lovely, though highly impractical, wardrobe gets way more attention than her character does.
So I hope we get to see more Cam and less Hodgela this season, by way of variety. I hope they show her having a real impact on her friends with her advice, especially when it comes to Booth and his relationship with Brennan. I would prefer if Sweets wasn’t the only person that Booth went to when he feels he has a problem because frankly, I like Cam’s advice way more than I’ve ever liked Sweets’. So writers, I urge you to give Cam her due and restore her to her rightful place in the series this next year, although I fear it’ll be a long-shot, given the shortened season and the baby storyline (which by the way, I’m not minding one bit.)
So, does anyone else like Cam? Let me know.