Warning: Long post ahead!
I have seen a lot of talk about the B&B scenes (or lack thereof) this season, here, on Twitter, at GMMR, on Facebook, on Tumblr, etc. I have said before that B&B and their individual and combined storylines are what draw me to the show and what I care the most about– and it has been that way since I started watching the show. For me, that doesn’t mean it has to be only Booth and Brennan together, but I like when the character interactions involve at least one of them, i.e. I really like the Booth and Cam moments, and I like many Brennan and Booth and Sweets moments, and Brennan and Angela, etc. and pretty much any combination of two or more characters where one of those characters is Booth or Brennan. But B&B are my thing.
But I know people love the show for all kinds of reasons, and that is cool. After “Bones Theory”, “Wendell” is the number 1 search term to find Bones Theory (the other day Marisa told me that her interview with MGT is very high up on GMMR’s top posts for the year) , and I think I’ve said before (but can’t remember) that “shirtless Hodgins” is high up on the list too, haha. For me, it’s not that I don’t find the other characters enjoyable or meaningful at times–I just don’t care about their growth as much (if at all), and definitely not at the expense of B&B character development (when there is, in my opinion, so much more that could be done there–not that they haven’t grown, but they are just so interesting/fascinating). I also at times get annoyed when side characters are used as plot devices, so I know I am hypocritical in this way, but, to quote Booth, I’m dealing with it.
So when, in The Purging of the Pundit, B&B seemed cool with their own idea that Booth would be in the field with Aubrey and Brennan would be in the lab, I know my eyes narrowed a little bit, like…
It reminded me of the end of Harbingers, when we hear that we are just going to have to be okay with second best for a while. Hmmmmm…not sure I like that! I was/am not as cool with it as they were/are, haha.
I don’t know why they are doing it. I don’t have any insider knowledge, but I do know there is a reason. I’m not saying that in a “oh, showrunners always have a vision, and we must accept the vision and the story they want to tell” kind of way, because I don’t agree with that 100% (and the network makes decisions that impact it all of the time anyway). So I guess I should say, I am guessing there is a reason, logically there is a reason, because in the past there have been reasons (sometimes legit, and sometimes dumb)–and usually they come to light, even if it takes time. To quote Booth again, we just have to be open enough to see it.
I don’t want to beat this example into the ground, but I remember in season 6, when after weeks+ of the show saying that Emily Deschanel would probably direct an episode that season, all of a sudden they announced that it wasn’t going to work out and she wasn’t going to direct an episode—and some people went nuts. That’s probably the most anger I have seen toward HH and SN in a ‘don’t shoot the messenger’ kind of way. When it came out a few months later that Emily Deschanel was pregnant, it made sense, but I really didn’t see anyone go back to the showrunners and say “ah, makes sense now, sorry we called you ‘women-hating hellhounds bent on destroying everything we love, you pieces of garbage not fit for your own show’s lab table’, it’s all good” haha. That insult is rated G compared to most of what was said. And of course I am speculating that ED’s real-life pregnancy was the reason she didn’t direct an episode, and that she willingly pulled her name from that proverbial dance-card, and HH and SN took the wrath for it (which is part of their job) . I don’t have definitive evidence about that, except that she has been very open in interviews that she likes to spend her spare time with her son, and since then has been asked about wanting to direct and has probably had opportunity to direct and hasn’t done it.
So after that, the show and the network decided to do a shortened S7. As far as I know, the show offered to do more without ED, and the network said no– B&B were the draw, so it was better to just do a shortened season, and considering where B&B were in their relationship at that time, it was a good decision and made sense. I am pretty sure ED and DB were under contract at that time (which expired after S8, I think?) and so that went into it too, I am guessing.
That takes us to now, where ED and DB have expiring contracts. I have never had the same job for longer than 6 years, so I can’t imagine doing the same job/role for 10+ years. Or I should say this, I know what it is like to be in a job I really don’t like, and it’s miserable. This is not me projecting feelings onto the cast, crew, producers, etc. I have no idea how they feel. There are impressions in the media (then again, they are actors/actresses), and there are always rumors out there, but they are just rumors. All I am saying is that, just like I was free to be done teaching when my contract expired, so would any person on a show be free to be done when his or her contract expires–for whatever reason. That’s how contracts work. Just because I find a celebrity’s work to be personally enjoyable doesn’t mean that person or his/her work is around for my personal enjoyment. I really want Jonathan Tropper to keep writing books, but now he writes a TV show. If his dream is to write a TV show and he wrote books to get there, who am I to demand he keep writing books for my benefit, you know? (But seriously…please write more books 🙂 )
Fox may decide not to negotiate and have the show end in the spring. They may really want it and ED/DB may have all of the leverage to get what *they* want. They may want to do 22-24 episodes— and they may not. One might, and the other might not. Anything could happen, and the show has to prepare for that.
So, while it looks like B&B are being put on the backburner, there can be all kinds of personal or professional reasons why that might happen–reasons that, as a fan of ED and DB (and others) , I feel like I personally need to support. In the past, if David Boreanaz directs an episode, it can be expected that the preceding episode is Booth-lite (or he’s behind a desk for 75% of his scenes or something). When Emily Deschanel was pregnant, she sometimes did less physical movement or was in fewer scenes. The benefits for me (I think he’s a great director/yay for successful personal lives) outweigh the temporary loss…but even if I didn’t feel that way, it doesn’t give me the right to judge DB or ED for whatever they want to do. Often times I will see (and sometimes feel) people defending ED/DB against the writers or showrunners or network, etc. Again, I don’t know what goes on there, but I think the show leads have a good amount of control over what they do. I know my outlook changes when I work from that mindset. If they are the ones making (most of) the creative decisions for their characters (wardrobe, hair, stage direction, amount of screentime, levels of seriousness/humor, general levels of nakedness or ‘sex’ scenes), then more power to them. If they are being forced into those decisions, then yes–grab your pitchfork and join me. I just haven’t seen anything that indicates they aren’t mostly in control of those things…or at least have a really strong voice in them.
Hart Hanson tweeted a couple of years back something like “there are all kinds of reasons why an actor or actress might be in less of an episode than normal: could be scheduling, could be spending time with their family or friends, or traveling, or none of your d*mn business” , and that is true. I do sometimes fall into the trap/idea that because people are on a TV show that they are obligated to fulfill some hidden terms or conditions (i.e.: Brennan should stop wearing that trenchcoat! or they should kiss more–they get paid so much money to literally make out! ), and I know those (or any variation) are irrational. I’m not talking about being in character or out of character–those are fair things to weigh in on, in my opinion. But, long story short, it’s easy for me to get caught up in those ‘hidden terms’ when in reality, it’s none of my business. Yes, without an audience a show doesn’t exist–but I think it goes both ways. Even though the network and cast/crew create a product for us to ‘consume’ and enjoy, they themselves are not consumable goods (though we can stop consuming their products). Each person is welcome to his or her opinions and actions. For me, I try to treat the show (but not the people/players) in any other way I would consume something. It’s difficult when the original ‘product’ was sold as one way and feels like it has changed, but still…shows or companies or whatever have the right to do that.
Sure, I would definitely love it if the show would just send out a memo and say something like “yes, we’re trying to figure out if we can do a spinoff of the squints” or “yes, one of the cast is having a personal issue (good or bad) and we are giving them a break” or “yes, we aren’t sure about contract negotiations and some of our cast are actually moving on to other projects” or even, “we are now contractually obligated—heck, not even obligated, because we genuinely like these people and characters—to include the non-leads in a certain amount of screentime per episode”, but again, it’s none of our business, and they probably aren’t contractually able (or are too professional) to reveal that information anyway. The networks/cast/crew (of any show, on any network) do themselves a disservice by perpetuating the idea that the core motivation of all involved is ‘for the fans’. Yes, again–there is an appreciation for fans, and I believe it is genuine, but there are so many other incentives that aren’t always PC for them to talk about (money, personal gain/connections, fame, creative input), and I believe it, along with the current online landscape, creates a sense of entitlement in the audience (myself included).
So how does that apply to a lack of B&B scenes in the episodes?
If it seems like there is something going on that doesn’t make sense, there is *always* a reason behind it. Despite the recent trend of showrunners/actors/writers/etc. on Twitter and the behind the scenes (and brains) looks we do get, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes that we never know about…so many compromises that are made for all kinds of reasons, and we only see the results and rarely the struggles/’blame’ (which I use lightly).
One of the things I value about BONES is that it (via Brennan) taught me that it was totally cool and acceptable to say “I don’t know what that means”. I was 27 years old when I started watching it (and now I’m 34), and I didn’t like admitting when I didn’t know something. But to see Brennan, a genius, say “I don’t know what that means” was refreshing. She had zero shame in that–she was all about expanding her knowledge base. Sure, some of the things were idioms or quips or whatever, but not always. Saying “I don’t know what that means” changed my life and actually opened up doors in my career and with friends, because people always, to a person, just went on to explain what they were talking about. And I learned more. Yay.
The show also showed me ways to think deeper about things. “There are no coincidences in a murder investigation”, “First the truth–then the catching”, and all of those statements were about not accepting things at face value–not in a defiant way, but in a “if something doesn’t make sense, take the time to dig a little deeper and put some thought around it and see what could possibly make sense” kind of way. It happens in nearly every single episode, whether it’s B&B talking it out over food, or Booth tossing a baseball or stack of files to Sweets while they posit scenarios, or at the lab, where they analyze possible murder weapons–the rally cry, so to speak, is ‘dig deeper–don’t just accept what appears on the surface–think about what you know and all of the possibilities and make an informed guess/hypothesis/opinion’. If the characters didn’t dig deeper, the episodes would be about 5 minutes long–they would just go with their first impressions and be done. But there is this underlying push to not be satisfied with what is on the surface. Dig deeper! Think critically! Use what you know and the evidence, and come up with a logical conclusion.
So when something doesn’t make sense on the surface—and yeah, on the surface it doesn’t make sense to me that there are fewer B&B scenes in many episodes (and that it’s rarely at the lab, or that there is almost always a kitchen/bar counter/diner table between them)—I try to take a step back and consider all of the possibilities, based on what has happened in the past and/or what might happen in the future. I won’t share my inklings because those would just be getting into gossip and rumors, and I don’t want to do that. I will do my best to give everyone involved the benefit of the doubt that we are getting the best possible product with what they have to work with. I also will continue to write about it and critique the product as I see fit.
Thank you, Sweets.
LOL…moving on. The point is, take a page from the show and dig deeper; really think about what could possibly happen. A couple of weeks ago, I put out a post on Tumblr, asking people if any of these (purely hypothetical) situation(s) (or any) would cause them to no longer watch the show:
1.Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz re-sign contract renewals, but don’t solve as many cases together. Instead, the focus changes to them mentoring/advising other characters, i.e. Aubrey or the rotating squinterns (i.e. more Wendell’s storyline, more of Camastoo, more about Daisy, Finn, Clark, Fuentes, Jessica and Wells), with the occasional B&B moment.
2. Emily Deschanel and/or David Boreanaz sign limited contract renewals (for whatever personal or professional reasons) and appear as special guest stars (i.e. sweeps week) only, but the show continues with the rest of the cast (i.e. Scrubs 2.0, or Saved By The Bell: The New Class, etc.)
3. Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz sign full contract renewals, but the show can’t afford the rest of the main cast at S11 prices at those (relatively) low ratings, so the show-universe moves to a new location, with new (and less expensive) cast members.
4. All of the cast is re-signed for contracts, but limited ones (i.e. out of a 22 episode season, each person is signed for 15 episodes— like Glee, or Parenthood have done) , so some episodes will have certain characters and some will have others, but it’s rare that the entire main cast would be together in an episode.
The show has changed over the years, and HH has hinted before that anything past 10 would require a re-boot (seemingly more than the annual ‘reset’ he used to declare at the end/beginning of each season haha) (some examples of those hints here and here and here) , but he’s not around at all anymore really, so who knows? I guess, typically each fan has a ‘non-negotiable’ item. What would be your non-negotiable item(s)?
Not in an ultimatum or fear-inspiring way, but for me, it was good to think about what it would take to get me to actually stop watching the show. So far, I haven’t found anything that I wouldn’t at least give a chance to.
If you’re (2800+ words later) still reading, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
(PS…on the thread of celebrity and consumerism, I came across this article yesterday and thought I would share–it’s about the way the media treats ones (specifically Amanda Bynes) as fair game for all kinds of comments)