Hello and Happy Monday, Bones fans!
I was tweeting with MJ over the weekend about how doing a ‘look-back’ series like this can stir up sadness with a side of nostalgia, and I do feel that too. Sometimes it is hard to go back and watch earlier episodes. It has gotten easier because I enjoyed season nine for the most part, but there were points in season 6 and 7 where I felt like it wasn’t even worth recommending people start watching the show at the beginning because I didn’t want to set them up for such derailment. FYI I had a lot of emotions then. Sometimes it hurts to watch earlier episodes, knowing what is coming next for the characters, but other times it’s very fun. So far, this vintage Bones series has been fun for me. Also for me personally, the earlier years represent a time when I was obsessed with the show (at varying levels of healthiness, haha) , and I’ve shared before that it was an outlet during a time in my life where I was miserable. Right now, I like my life pretty well, and if I don’t ‘need’ the show as much–well, that’s not a reflection on its quality or value to society, you know?
And I always remember that when I joined the fandom in season 3, there were fans then who were quitting the show because it wasn’t the show they ‘fell in love with’ any more, and Brennan’s character had changed too much, and Sweets (or Cam) was the devil and BRING BACK DR. GOODMAN!, and all of the good writers were gone after the writers’ strike, and the show didn’t deserve to be renewed–it should just go away and die, and so on.
I am not some Bones fandom expert or anything, but over the next six+ years or so, the same cycle has happened. There are a lot of people I knew back then who still watch and some who don’t watch the show, and there are a lot of new fans who found it, fell in love with it at some point or another, caught up obsessively, tentatively found the online fandom, and now watch regularly, or casually, or whatever. And then there are millions more who tune in casually but still count in the ratings all because they were too lazy to get the remote after a rerun of The Big Bang Theory or something like that. There is a randomness to it all that is kind of comforting, like looking up at a starry sky at night and realizing you are a piece of something, a small piece of something very cool.
But also at the time in my fanlife (S3), these episodes were the first time I felt…disappointed by the show. That is, I had an idea for what I thought should happen, and a lot of times those things didn’t happen. I will spare you the details, but my ideas centered primarily on B&B getting together, haha. I was into fanfic at the time, which I know played a big part of it for me. If the show didn’t do what I wanted, I could ‘fix’ it or someone else would too. And that’s what ff is for, among other things! It was a creative time, and a time of friendship and self-discovery, and I am grateful for it, but I know it did affect my enjoyment of the show. Also, having to wait a week (or more) between episodes was hard (hey, I’d watched S1&S2 in what seemed like a millisecond!) and gave time for my feelings to fester, and yes, according to parts of the fandom, the most offensive thing the show had EVER done was have Brennan shove a pacifier in Booth’s mouth. How dare she! He is a FEDERAL AGENT! They aren’t supposed to be THAT PLAYFUL. THIS IS WRONG. THIS FEELS WRONG.
Haha, and so on. But in hindsight, I now know I was setting the show up to fail (for myself) because I wanted what I wanted. I had watched S1 and S2 in a bubble, with no expectations, and now I had expectations. Sometimes the show blew them out of the water, and sometimes I came away feeling disappointed. It wouldn’t be for another year or so (end of S4) when I would really give up spoilers for good, which helped a lot too on the disappointment front. It took even more time for me to get out of my self-important bubble and realize that just because the show had a huge impact in my life didn’t mean it was around for my personal gain. It didn’t owe me a thing, technically. I am free to watch or not watch. I also believe that I am free to analyze and critique it and still be a loyal fan, but that is another discussion.
Upon reflection, that S3 moment with the pacifier doesn’t seem like a big deal at all anymore, and the show has had so many ebbs and flows that most everything has…smoothed out, I guess, for me. If in that moment, someone had said, “Hey, don’t worry, the show is going to go on for another 7 years at least” I would have been able to relax a bit, but at the time, we didn’t know that! And writing for a TV show is so different than writing a book or movie. The writers are bound by so many outside powers, forced to wrap things up sooner than they might want to, or drag things out longer than they had in mind. It’s not an excuse for bad writing or lack of continuity, etc., but I know in season 3, I didn’t have as good a grasp of the the push/pull of it all.
All of this to say, if looking back on former episodes is painful for you, know that you are not alone. My advice (for what it’s worth) is to do what is right for you. If that means not watching the older eps anymore, so be it. If it means not watching any more new episodes until the series is completely done (as I know some people are doing now) and then catching up, go for it. If it means still watching every episode live, do that! But when I let myself off the hook in terms of feeling as if I owed it to the show to do anything, it brought a tremendous freedom. I highly recommend it 🙂 . Putting that pressure on yourself will (I believe) make some of your feelings turn to bitterness, and in the grand scheme of life, it’s just not worth it. For me, the challenge is remembering that it is all a cycle. There will always be people who are done with the show for good and new people who are just getting into it, and a lot of people in between. Each part of the experience is valid, and it’s when fans declare their part of the experience as more valid than others that self-righteousness creeps in (which reeks). It’s not worth judging people who are done with the show, and it’s also not worth raining on the parade of new (or old) fans who enjoy the show. It’s like the quote from Linda Holmes re: the Slate article about how adults should be ashamed of reading YA lit (ALSO another discussion for another day, haha):
Or maybe me telling you not to feel pressure about the show IS me telling you how I feel about how you feel about it, haha. Either way, this has gone on long enough! 🙂
Where were we? Oh yes, the baby in the bough. Very cute B&B stuff in this one, and some great all-time Brennan phrases (dancing phalanges, elephants are not purple–this is wrong, etc.) I also love how she brags to Andy about her skills and Booth’s skills, and it makes me laugh when Booth claps in the face of the deadbeat dad. Really, anything with Andy is very cute.
And Brennan got fierce on the killer, which was awesome!
What moments do you like from this episode? What didn’t work for you? The comments are open…let’s start the week off on a good note!
And here is your moment of B&B, two seriously pretty people: