I’m breaking up with Bones, and it feels good

Bones 801 Blonde Brennan

Seven years of ‘Bones’ was enough for me. As the show begins its eighth season, I think it is time for us to go our separate ways.


Relationships end for a variety of reasons; sometimes the two parties slowly drift apart, sometimes it’s sudden and tumultuous. Other times, it can be nice: all mutual and civil like. Those types of separations are – at least in my experience – a rare breed, but can often lead to most surprising catharsis. That’s pretty much how I felt after watching the premiere of the eight season of Bones; I don’t particularly dislike the show anymore … but I surely don’t feel compelled to invest any more of my time in it.

Our coverage of Bones has had a fairly interesting history in the four years of CliqueClack. The past couple of seasons, Julia and I have traded the show back and forth; once either one of us would get fed up with the direction of the show, we would punt the show back. Based on that history, I really shouldn’t be surprised that I’ve finally hit my limit. But once I get invested in a show – and watching for seven years is definitely what I call an investment – I rarely walk away. I’ve tried several times before, but no matter how many times I gave up on shows like Smallville and Gossip Girl, they always find a way to drag me back in, just like Pacino in Godfather III.

Sadly, though, I just am not really interested in what happens to [the characters] anymore.

As I screened the premiere a week or so ago, I realized that I just don’t care anymore. Everything that originally pulled me in seven years ago is still there: I love the actors and character dynamics. Sadly, though, I just am not really interested in what happens to them anymore. Brennan’s decision to go on the run at the end of last season created a problem with only one solution. Unless showrunner Hart Hanson was setting up an extended run of episodes with the show’s leads separated, this was pretty much the only way this episode was going to end. (Well, other than Pelant’s last minute reprieve, but considering they’ve never given me a reason to fear – or care about – this particular big bad, I’m not getting worked out about it.)

I generally don’t like procedural crime dramas. Frankly, I find them repetitive and very rarely challenge me as a viewer.

I hate to make the comparison to Castle – wait, that’s a bold-faced lie, and everyone knows it. Let me back up for a second: I generally don’t like procedural crime dramas. Frankly, I find them repetitive and very rarely challenge me as a viewer. That being said, I get drawn into certain shows from time to time if there’s a hook: generally an actor/writer/director/showrunner I am already a fan of will garner a new show a “chance” on the ole’ DVR. In Bones’ and Castle’s cases, it was David Boreanaz and Nathan Fillion respectively. But even when a show’s got a hook, that doesn’t necessarily mean I stick around. I mentioned earlier that Bones drew me in because of the actors – and their performances – and the interesting character dynamics. Castle has done the same thing, but is considerably more funny, and has managed to move the relationship between the leads on at a much greater pace than Bones did, which avoided getting stale in its fifth, sixth and seventh seasons.

But I’m not here to sing Castle’s praises – talking about your new crush while in the midst of a breakup is a big faux pas. Bones and I had a good run; sure, every relationship has its bumps in the road, and I think we weathered them fairly well early on. But sometimes, the more mature thing is realizing that it is just not working out, and that it is time to move on. Maybe we will run into each other at the bar from time to time — when everything else is in repeats. Rebounding can be a serious problem, but I think we won’t have any issues there. In this case though, it’s not me: it’s you.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Clasen/FOX

19 Comments on “I’m breaking up with Bones, and it feels good

  1. this is the same thing that caused me to stop watching How I Met Your Mother … just didn’t care anymore … thankfully there are new shows like Suits or Grimm that fill the gap as it were …

  2. Ok, another very important blogger’s rant.

    Let’s see if Castle will even get its 6th, 7th, 8th seasons — the show has become meh in its 3rd season, and sucked big time last season. Yep, I myself just made a comparison of the two shows there. ;)

    • While show may have “sucked big time last season” in your opinion, it still pulled in its best ratings and averaged 12.18 million, more than Bones has EVER had I might add.

      Also, just because a show runs for 8-10 seasons doesn’t mean it’s a great show. Smallville ran for 10 seasons and speaking as someone who was a FAN of that show, the writing was bullcrap most of the time. The show ended with 2-3 million viewers.

      Ergo, I’d rather have Castle end after 5-6 seasons of amazing writing, go out with a bang than have it drag on forever and watch the story suffer.

      • You say it doesn’t matter how long a show runs. Well I say it doesn’t matter what the ratings were last year. Castle had absolutely NOTHING in its way last season. That is a FACT. It was on the same day in the same slot. No major competition, plus a good lead in from DWTS.

        Bones, on the other hand, had EVERYTHING working against it. A late start date, barely half the amount of episodes, a huge break in the middle of the season, then moving to a new day and time. All in it’s seventh season.

        Has Castle even ever been moved from the time slot it is in now? Because Bones has been moved nearly once a season. Yet it still continues to get good enough ratings to get an eighth season. When Castle gets that far AFTER going through everything Bones has gone through then you can talk about how much better it’s doing.

        • Actually, you don’t have to wait until Castle gets a season 8. If you go back to the end of Bones season four and compare it to the end of Castle season four you can see that Castle is in a much better place going into its season five than Bones was. As you said, it’s not about the ratings. Regardless of being moved around or not moved around the issue is the stories themselves. Bones built the issues up to then do a soap-opera-like stall involving a brain tumor and a dream-sequence. Castle followed through on the relationship issues that had built up, brought them to a point of resolution and moved the relationship forward. Even if Castle doesn’t do eight seasons, storywise, it’s already done a better job.

          • Oh so the HARLEQUIN-esque way of getting Castle and Beckett together is a better job. Let’s see how you’ll react WHEN Marlowe shakes/breaks them up.

          • @447 Harlequin is a bunch of romance novels, right? So they basically are the stories about how people fall in love and end up getting together. While I can’t say much about them as I’m a sci-fi reader, I would think a romance novel is a better model than the soap-opera style Bones took on. A romance novel has: a plot which they follow through on, develops the characters through the plotline, and ends with the couple being together. A soap-opera is designed to never end and thus changes character traits, development and the timelines to suit the story purpose of the moment. The inconsistency of characters, the timelines that never add up, sudden brain tumors…

            Lots of people like soap-opera style shows and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, Bones didn’t start out being that and that’s partly why people like me who used to watch it no longer do. On the other hand, Bones has picked up new viewers who obviously aren’t bothered by the inconsisteny in the story. Bones has a GREAT cast of talented actors and I don’t think anyone would deny that. Bottom-line: People don’t like the same things. It’s allowed. Aside from both having had a UST couple as a focus and being crime-dramedies ( a combination that’s been done on TV seemingly forever) Bones & Castle are very different shows.

            I can also understand your belief that Marlowe’s plan is to break them up. It’s been what every show has done since Moonlighting. However, if you read Malowe’s interviews over the years up until now, he has always seen Castle as kind of noir love story. His intention has been to put them together and then follow them through the work of building and maintaining that relationship. Unlike showrunners of the past (not just Hanson) Marlowe did not take the industry’s golden rule about TV couple’s as fact. He talks about going back and RESEARCHING shows like Moonlighting to see for himself what did and didn’t work. He discovered what viewers have known for decades: what kills a show isn’t the couple starting a relationship. Rather it’s the stalling with unbelievable plots, the getting them together only to pull them apart two episodes later, in short, the dragging it out beyond belief. which kills a show. Being that he’s figured that out, I’m not worried about a sudden breakup. Tensions and fights – yes, those events will happen because those things happen when in a relationship.

          • Yes, it’s a bunch of romance novels, just that. It just illustrates that what was shown on Castle has been done better many times over in romance novels. Lady got shot, guy confesses his love, lady pretends she has not heard guy. Lady is again placed in a near death situation, realizes she wants guy, goes to guy, sleeps with guy. Cliche. But I guess it works, for people who like cliche. It was a disappointment because they built C&B up so much only to have them get together the way they did.

            You are right, Bones and Castle are different shows, the characters have different backgrounds so what works for BONES may not necessarily work for Castle, and vice versa. What I enjoy in BONES more than the romance between B&B, is their PARTNERSHIP, with the team as their extended FAMILY.

            My problem with Marlowe is what he says in interviews do not necessarily translate to well executed Castle episodes. Such a let down when you know some of the other shows that “inspired him” have done a better job.

        • Castle had nothing against it huh?

          I guess you don’t count H5O as serious, tough, and genuine competition then, huh?

          Oh and for the record the reason Castle has never been moved from its timeslot is probably because its strong enough to hold off competition. I think building an audience every single season says more about the strength and quality of Castle than anything else.

    • I totally understand Ivey. What has happened to Bones stems back to it’s 100th episode, which, as I recall, you were very unhappy with – and with good reason. What that episode signaled to me was that creator of Bones wasn’t really trying to tell a story. He was interested in trying to maintain a dynamic, which has been the mistake of many a television romance. He sacrificed the integrity of his story progression and characters for the sake of maintaining a sense of longing between the characters. He then chose to completely destroy the very same dynamic he was trying to save with the disaster of the “Hannah” storyline. He did this by once again sacrificing character integrity. It is hard to care about what happens to the characters on a show when the the writer obviously doesn’t care about the characters or their story.

      The story of Bones involved two things. There was the general will they/won’t they – but the sudden brain tumor of season 4 made it pretty clear that HH wanted to stall that as much as possible. (I remember rolling my eyes at that one, but was still willing to play along because Emily and David gave it such real emotion:) The second, more compelling storyline was that of Brennan – would she ever come to accept that there was such a thing as love. This is why the 100th so marked “the beginning of the end.” They built that journey for her, let her reach the pinnacle of it in episode 98 where she is able to say that because of Booth she now did believe in love, only to throw away an almost 5 year journey and have Brennan react as though those 5 years never happened. That’s when I realized that HH wasn’t interested in the story at all, just in replaying the gimmick.

      The only reason B&B are together NOW is because Emily was pregnant. Hanson’s original plan was to have them sleep together but then immediately break up. Why, because he wasn’t working with a story, but rather a gimmick. Ironically, this is the same thinking that was the ” final nail in the coffin” for Moonlighting. Despite all the problems and issues going on behind the scene, it was the idea that allowing them to actually be a couple would destroy the show that led to the two story decisions that DID destroy the show. The first was breaking up Maddie & David right after they get together. That decision was a story decision – not because Cybil Shepard was pregnant. They could have chosen any number of reasons why Maddie wasn’t around much. The SECOND decision was to have Maddie come back married to a guy she met on a train coming “home.” Shepard had protested her character would never do that – but it wasn’t about the character. The writers wanted to “recreate” that sexual tension they’d had in the beginning. They mistook the gimmick for what the audience was interested in, when what the audience was (and is) always interested in is the characters’ story. Bones made the exact same mistake.


  3. I’m with you. Last season was weird, but I’d held out hope that it was due to Emily’s/Bone’s pregnancy, and that one that was over, the show would make it’s way back to where it was, but it was a vain hope. I’d also been excited last season when they talked about bringing in a new running villain and that he would be all tech-savvy, but for as cool as that could have been–and was for a second here and there–it also ended up leading no where.

    I’m done too–but I also have Castle as a rebound show. ;-)

    • Above, Joy says that people don’t like the same things. My youngest brother takes it further by saying that if you and I liked the same things, one of wouldn’t be necessary. I love Bones and have stuck with it thru some disappointing episodes. I started watching Castle from the beginning, but eventually became bored with it. Who knows? Maybe I’ll eventually come back as a fan. I love the opportunity DVDs give us. That’s how I’ve been brought back to The Mentalist. If we don’t like a show, then we have choices. It’s your right not to like Bones, but there are MANY of us who do.

  4. I’m not surprised that you’re breaking up with Bones. Your reviews the last season and a half or so have been largely negative (though not undeservedly so – I had many of the same complaints you did). But I was encouraged after watching the S8 premiere. HH & SN may have come up with the idea for Pelant, but Carla Kettner is the one who wrote those episodes and I lay the blame on how utterly ridiculous and preposterous last season’s finale was mostly on her. I actually thought Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan did a pretty good job writing their way out of a big pile crap to try get the show back on course. I am back on board with the show if it stays strong like this. Supernatural eventually found its way back from the dead for me. Bones can too.

    It’s easy to sit back and praise Castle for not dragging out the love story for 7 years like Bones did, when it’s the network heads who have final say in approving character arcs/storylines/tone, etc. If Castle was a Fox show, Andrew Marlowe would’ve hit the same wall Hart Hanson did.

    • If you listen to the commentary for Bones season six it’s pretty clear that any good ideas that Carla Kettner had in her writing got rearranged and redone to fit Hart Hanson’s vision of what he wanted. In fact he made it VERY clear that it’s “good to be king” and that nothing gets on screen without his approval. If he doesn’t like it, he changes it. So whatever happens on screen it’s a safe bet that it’s exactly what Hanson wanted, and his writers – Kettner included – were just following orders.

    • If you listen to the commentary for Bones season six it’s pretty clear that any good ideas that Carla Kettner had in her writing got rearranged and redone to fit Hart Hanson’s vision of what he wanted. In fact he made it VERY clear that it’s “good to be king” and that nothing gets on screen without his approval. If he doesn’t like it, he changes it. So whatever happens on screen it’s a safe bet that it’s exactly what Hanson wanted, and his writers – Kettner included – were just following orders. The issues on Bones are Hanson’s choices – except for Hannah, which Fox (thankfully) made him pull the plug on.

  5. Honestly, I will probably still watch because it’s one of the few shows my husband and I can kind of agree on, but to be honest, it has started to suck. My favorite is when they have longer and longer montages of images of the DC skyline towards the end of an episode when they’ve run out of plot :P

  6. I am on the break-up train as well. I did not even remember to tune into the premier which is never a good sign.

    I am feeling the same about Criminal Minds – I had the finale on my dvr but just have not gotten around to watching it. I still like all of the characters it is just that what they are doing no longer holds my interest. I don’t know what will replace CM on Wed maybe shows I have dvr’d from Mon and Tues.

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