CliqueClack TV

Bones – Why don’t showrunners trust their fans?

Why not allow fan favorite relationships to actually become more than hints, teases, innuendo, and stolen glances?

- Season 5, Episode 22 - "The Beginning in the End"

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Hart Hanson. I think he’s done a brilliant job of creating a set of characters that live and interact in what is probably my least favorite type of television show, a procedural. The team at the Jeffersonian, despite all of the sabbaticals taken in this episode, has become a family, with Seeley Booth and Temperance Brennan at its head. Where Bones has lost me this season is the continued emphasis on the Brennan/Booth relationship, with no discernible change in what that relationship actually is. Why not allow fan favorite relationships to actually become more than hints, teases, innuendo, and stolen glances?

Ever since David and Maddie on Moonlighting (or before that, but since I’ve now dated myself, I’m going to own it), showrunners and writing rooms have seemed hesitant to let certain characters grow into more serious relationships with each other. I’m not sure where the line is drawn that it is OK for Angela and Hodgins’s relationship, but not Booth and Brennan, who started just about as far apart in the first season. Instead of exploring what a real, mature relationship between our two leads would actually look like, we’ve been lead down a rabbit trail for at least a season and a half as they try to find their way.

I’ve got to take time out to address one particular counterargument to my point, because Lord knows that our very own Julia Hass is probably one of the first commenters on this post bringing it up. Despite my feelings about similar goings on in the 100th episode, I think that the decisions made by the characters in the finale make sense. I think Booth is trying to get away from a situation that he has no control over, and, my feeling is that Bones now consciously recognizes her feelings for her partner, but doesn’t want to acknowledge what they mean and what type changes that they signify. It is easier to run away (more politely put: take some time to figure things out) than to face those changes. It works organically with the story, and with the characters. However, after watching Bones from day one, I have faith in Mr. Hanson’s ability to write a story that puts these two characters together in a way that works organically with the story and the characters as well.

Instead, we’re left with yet another obstacle thrown in their path. A year long separation, not just from each other, but from their shared work. If you think this is the type of thing that will accelerate them getting together, well, I think you’re in for a disappointment. I have a great deal of respect for the choice to actually skip a year’s worth of time when the show returns in the fall, but that’s not getting these two crazy kids together any faster for the viewer. I’ve already read rumors and speculation and casting reports on what will happen next year, and they aren’t the type of thing that give me confidence in what I really want to see.

So, the eventual question I always come to is: why? The characters are being kept apart for a reason, obviously. The easy answer is that the writers think fans like the cat and mouse game of watching these two get it wrong time and time again. Obviously, some fans like that, maybe a great deal, but that type of ongoing “will they/won’t they” works better on a show like House with characters like House and Cuddy, who are at most time antagonists. With our heroes, that conflict doesn’t exist. So, my conclusion, disappointingly, is that either Mr. Hanson doesn’t think that the show would be as good with the characters together (good writers write good material, so I don’t agree there), or that he doesn’t trust us as an audience to get what we want.

Frankly, I’m done watching shows that think it is more interesting to leave fans hanging when it comes to their favorite relationships. It works on a show like The West Wing with Josh and Donna because their relationship was never the most prominent thing going on at any given moment (Until, of course, they figured things out). It doesn’t work here because other than the cases, the focus of these two’s dynamic has been the main focus of the show all season long (and, in a lot of ways, quite some time before that).

Is my position a little whiney? Sure; I’d be lying if I were to deny that. At the end of the day, however, should I continue to spend my time on a television show that creates the potential for this incredible relationship that I, as a fan, get invested in, only to draw things out as long as humanly possible? For me the answer is, at least now, is no. I’m pretty sure I’m finished watching the story of how Booth and Bones get together, I’m ready to watch the story of them being together.

Notes & Quotes

  • “Did however find 36 waffle irons. No syrup though, so what’s the point?” – Hodgins
  • Leave it to Parker to be all logical on Booth.
  • I’ve always liked the way Bones handles Daisy’s outbursts.
  • I love Carline Julian as the constant voice of reason.
  • “Are you really leaving the Jeffersonian?” – Cam
    “Yes. For a year. I can provide you with a list of forensic anthropologists that can do this job.” – Brennan
    “No, Dr. Brennan, you can provide me with a list of forensic anthropologists.” – Cam … Sounds one way in text, but on screen, it probably was one of the sweetest, most sincere moments Cam has ever been a part of, until, well, her final scene in this episode.
  • “You don’t think that this success might make them change their minds.” – Sweets
    “You know what? You’re a nice kid. But today is a nice day for you to grow the hell up.” – Caroline
  • “I’ve really enjoyed working for you Dr. Brennan.” – Cam
    “In fact, Dr. Saroyan, I worked for you.” – Brennan
    “We both know better.” – Cam

51rUOS%2BXAzL. SL160 Bones goes out of her way to plain piss me off 51MnRqZt1pL. SL160 Bones goes out of her way to plain piss me off

Photo Credit: FOX

Categories: | Bones | Episode Reviews | General | TV Shows |

29 Responses to “Bones – Why don’t showrunners trust their fans?”

May 21, 2010 at 12:48 PM

this episode felt like a series finale … not a season finale.

May 21, 2010 at 1:26 PM

I totally respect the year time jump and the separating. I didn’t know HH had it in him. I really thought he was falling to shipper pressure. I was proven wrong. I’m not a B/B shipper and I don’t want this to turn into a “love” story about them. That’s not what Bones is all about. Believe it or not, a lot of fans don’t just watch for B/B. What this episode did is basically hit the reset button on B/B. In all honesty, it needed to be pressed. These last two seasons have been so heavily focused on this BB will they/won’t they, it’s been dragging down the show. Something had to happen. Get them together, or put a halt on it. Instead, HH pressed the reset button. I can’t complain. Maybe, we can get kick a s s Booth, interesting cases and the amazing balance back, now.

May 21, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Funny you mention “House”. Cuddy told House she loves him at the end of the final episode of this season and they kissed.

I think the only difference between House and Bones is that Bones uses soap opera plot devices to keep the two protagonists apart while on House you have actual reasons like her being a former student and him being on drugs while on Bones you get episode long dream sequences, amnesia and “logic”.

Bones is popcorn. House is a real meal.

May 21, 2010 at 2:46 PM

I tried watching Bones and enjoyed the premise, but quit watching early on. Why? Because I could see it was going towards the rabbit hole of “will they, won’t they” that I’ve seen dragged on forever with way too many shows.

It’s not a matter of TPTB trusting fans, it’s that you can’t make all of them happy. Putting two characters together in a romantic relationship has the potential to push as many people away as it would pull them in, so writers think they can walk the fence and keep everyone happy. It doesn’t. Every pendulum swing pleases one side an annoys the other, while a lot of viewers are blissfully ignorant of it all.

I’ve always wondered why the writers seem intent on the tease with no payoff in the first place. Why not just write male and female characters as friendly co-workers and leave it at that? Such things do happen.

May 21, 2010 at 2:50 PM

Yeah, there’s the argument that its been done and failed (see Moonlighting), but that was, from everything I’ve been able to glene, lazy writing, and a ton of other behind the scenes challenges that don’t exist here.

Let me clarify… The B/B relationship became prominent this season, with no pay off or significant change in the relationship by season’s end, other than that they both recognize that the feelings are there. I think the should would have been much better off not making it a focus, and just let it ride along in the background.

May 21, 2010 at 7:31 PM

Thanks for the review. I agree with you. I have decided to allow at least 6 episodes in the new season to go by and if they are not closer to a real relationship then I probably won’t be back. I have also read some of the spoilers for next season ane do not like the direction the spoilers are pointing. I struggled this season with not liking the majority of the middle of the season – I just thought it was boring and then I was willing to put up with the last arc if they were actually going somewhere, but with the finale last night all I could think is this is the payoff for the 100th?

May 21, 2010 at 8:11 PM

I agree with much of this post. I’m not sold on the B/B relationship (nor do I hate it), but they have been making it a focal point and, as a viewer, I require it to move logically forward. I don’t care what that forward perspective is, but I feel like they spent a season screwing around with this. The result of that was nothing but treading water for B/B while every other character seems to be facing life changes as normal adults tend to.

The impediments to the relationship are starting to seem contrived and ridiculous, especially given the chemistry and understanding the writers built up with these characters over the seasons.

June 20, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Exactly! They’ve been building this storyline of the two of them getting closer since the end of season 4. Brennan has KNOWN how she feels since the end of 4 – that was the whole point of her writing that story. We got to see and hear what she wants with Booth – and see that it terrifies her. They spent all of 5 – up until the hundredth – building up Brennan working through her fears of commitment, love, the differences in how they think – every possible fear of hers about being in a relationship with Booth is addressed. Then in the hundredth Booth comes on like a sledgehammer and we get a terrified Brennan – again. If they wanted to keep them apart they should have never built the storyarch the way they did. Unlike life, there is supposed to be a certain logical progression in film, tv, and theatre. This season was not that.

May 21, 2010 at 10:51 PM

I’m with you Ivey. However, you were like 8 when Moonlighting was on, so ummmm….shut up. :-D

But really – I don’t understand this either. All of the best shows actually explore the relationships. Veronica Mars and the “who shows up at the door?” season finale. The right guy was at the door. If it hadn’t been, that would have been a slap in the face to the fans. And continuing along with the storyline also worked. Same with Buffy and both Angel and Spike. They were antagonistic, but even they were explored. I assume the “we’re so good as friends we can’t be more” theme is what they are going for on Bones. But, sorry, that doesn’t work. See “When Harry Met Sally.” There is a time when two people are just right, and if a year passes, that moment might just pass with Booth and Bones.

Whoever thinks couples don’t make good television should watch this season’s Cougar Town, or tune into Medium. The Medium marriage is why I watch the show.

Sometimes showrunners forget that their fans are going to tune in next year even if the season finale isn’t a “game changer.” Sometimes the game doesn’t need to change.

May 21, 2010 at 11:58 PM

The more and more I think about this and I think about who Booth and who Brennan are…I don’t think they really could make it as a couple. They have a connection, but as a real couple…living together…raising kids possibly together…I’m not sure it would really work.

They sorta just don’t fit. I can see them getting together, but I don’t think they would ultimately last. But, maybe that is what they need to do to move on.

I’m looking forward to seeing the reunion next season though and for the ride!

May 22, 2010 at 5:26 PM

I think that there is something to be said for the concept of “opposites attract.” In fact, I think that some of the things that are core to both B/B, like the concept of right vs wrong and fixing that wrong are more important. To steal a quote, “The things that unite [them] are far greater than
things that divide [them].”

May 22, 2010 at 1:12 AM

I couldn’t have been more pissed off when they didn’t kiss. Just so stupid. I don’t care about House and Cuddy at all but Bones and Booth need to get together and this episode is how they could have done it.

May 22, 2010 at 6:17 PM

I’ve stopped watching and caring. Lead characters that act their age and not mentally ill would be nice, but they have gone beyond that. It isn’t even frustration anymore. I have lost interest in their idea of character progression. It doesn’t interest me, and that is something since they used to be my favorite characters of all time.
I just stopped by your site to see what your take was.

May 22, 2010 at 7:35 PM

I’m not entirely sure I’m ready to give up completely on the show (Though, I was certainly there the night the premiere air), but I’m getting close. There is still quite a bit about the show I enjoy. That being said, if the non-relationship continues to be the focus next season, I don’t know how long I’ll stick around.

May 22, 2010 at 8:37 PM

Why don’t fans trust the showrunners?


May 22, 2010 at 8:39 PM

After last season’s finale, I think everyone placed trust in the Showrunner, lest they wouldn’t have come back :)

May 23, 2010 at 9:07 AM

I don’t think you should give up. The kiss was really cute and I think they had chemistry during that moment.

After thinking about your post here I think the reason they didn’t put them together is because they think they have another two or three years they can produce this show and in general people don’t really like couples on TV. I don’t really think it’s because of Moonlighting. Think about it – what’s more interesting? Pining, heartache and “will they/won’t they” or lovey dovey couples? I have three female friends who watch Grey’s and only one of the three likes Meredith and McDreamy together. They bitch about how Meredith has changed and bla bla bla (reasons I don’t really care about).

I think the main point here is that on Bones we could have a relationship between Booth and Brennan that would be something completely different. It wouldn’t be much different from what we got now already except that they maybe would start kissing here and there. So I have to agree with you – why don’t the showrunners trust the viewers that they could take it, especially on THIS show where Bones would NEVER change the way she behaves. Maybe a little bit here and there. But I think the reasons they gave on the 100th episode were valid. If they really didn’t speak for a year I think it’s valid not to dare go into a relationship that could ruin everything they have going on for them right now. Mainly the “we manage to solve 25 murders a seas… err year”.

I still care about those two, they were just too cute kissing :-) Like I said before I had the frustration thing going on two years ago and your reviews made me come back. So kudos to you (again) Ivey :-)

May 25, 2010 at 2:58 AM

You are SO completely right on with this article – you’ve expressed exactly how I feel about the show!!! I’ll stick around but as I said on another blog, I think the best writing with Bones is in the past. Instead of adding depth, passion and interest to Booth and Bones as a couple, we’ll have to endure more of what the writers have been dishing out lately and it’s not very tasty. I can hold out a little longer on rice cakes but if they don’t serve up something yummy soon, I’m going to bolt to another restaurant.

May 25, 2010 at 7:46 AM

I LOVE your article. I had read a few on this subject, but have finally found one that articulates EXACTLY how I feel about this show.

You mention that the show would have been much better off not making the BB relationship a focus, and just let it ride along in the background. That is exactly right. We would still have have the sexual tension, the humour, the interest in the cases – but now that is all gone. I mean, I sit through each episode now wondering how it will end with BB, I have no interest in the case and hardly ever even know (or care) who created the murder. I’m bored 45 minutes of the hour. When I watch earlier seasons, I’m always laughing at the BB interaction and know what is happening with the cases and everyone else.

I’m wondering if maybe they know season 6 is the last season and are moving towards closure (albeit VERY slowly?)

May 26, 2010 at 1:22 AM

Actually, I do think your position is a little whiney (and it’s good you recognize this). I actually don’t mind the pace because I don’t see their “romance” as even beginning until season 3. And let’s face it, television moves way slower than real life. That’s just a fact we’ll have to get over. But I do agree that they’re running out of time… maybe a year or so before it gets old. After the finale last year, that really sped things up and so did the 100th and the finale this year. That’s when they sort of admitted to the audience that it’s not all in our heads and yes, it’s coming. WHEN is the question. But I happen to enjoy watching the dance. They do a good job at telling the story, so I trust them to tell the rest in their own time and in an interesting manner.

May 26, 2010 at 12:37 PM

It’s really not meant to be whiney. I do that enough on accident that I don’t need to do it on purpose.

But yeah, I still stand by my opinions here. I’m tired of will they/won’t they stories. I’m not saying pair couples up immediately, but this story has dragged on too long. Have they made that “dragged on too long” work organically within the story line and the characters? Absolutely (A point I made above and seems to be completely ignored in certain other posts). Are these writers good enough that they could have written an interesting story that put these characters together a year ago that worked organically within the story line and the characters? Also absolutely.

May 26, 2010 at 2:44 AM

I totally agree with one of the comments above, they have been dragging it on far too long. I started watching Bones simply because it was a great show! the first 3 seasons where Bones and Booth have a great work relationship worked we for the show, and they were setting themselves up for disaster by introducing the love plot. why can’t 2 co-workers simply exist together without the B/B love angle on the story. Honestly, if they do decide to put B/B together then the show kind of gets bland, the question will be WHAT NOW? what will happen IF they do get together? the murder-solving just won’t be the same!!the entire dynamic of the show will change.

May 26, 2010 at 11:40 AM

I agree with you, Ivey. I’m not going to tweet Hart that he ruined the show or complain or sulk. I actually liked the finale, but am very tired of the show as a whole. I’m tired of being led along with the promise of more. For me it started long before the finale. After the wonderful October and November episodes, everything just started falling flat, in my opinion. So… I’m just one person, and I certainly don’t expect Hart to change the show because I think it has gotten boring. He would tell me to change the channel, which I’ve done.

Will I ever watch again? Sure. And I’ll DVR it. But I can’t promise I’ll watch it before my DVR auto erases it. It is a low priority.

May 26, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Yeah, I don’t think Bones had its best year this season. Several great episode to be sure (The more I get away from it, the more I loved the Gravedigger trial episode), but in general, just kinda meh…

May 26, 2010 at 1:47 PM

I’m in agreement here. Good post

I’m over will they/won’t they…….I’m tired of anything that keeps them apart. I too have heard about what the one year apart may mean for the couple and it really turns me off. I figure if someone doesn’t know what he/she wants after – 7 years…..yes when the show starts after the ‘leap’ they will have known each other 7 years….than it’s over.

No way I watch this every week – I’ll screen my episodes. Because if it’s not the story I want – I won’t watch anymore. I can’t take the pace that Hart seems to want.

May 26, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Sadly, I agree. I don’t why we don’t get those little details, like the physical language instead of them getting together. I don’t know if you understand why I mean, but I don’t think I could stand watching another FULL season without them getting together unless they have a season full of amazing episodes, a subplot and a detailed and next phase in the Booth and Brennan relationship.

Please Hart! I still have faith in you. Don’t let it die.

May 26, 2010 at 5:46 PM

At least HH isn’t as bad as Thomas & Bays of How I Met Your Mother.

They flat out SAID that the reason they wrote a really bad (out of character, poorly-written, just overall BAD) relationship arc for Barney & Robin was because they felt the need to “prove” to the shippers that it “wasn’t really what they (the shippers) wanted.” HH might not be trusting fans enough, but T/B showed an outright lack of respect for their fans and ruined the show because of it – Season 5 never recovered from that horrible beginning. And it backfired, because it didn’t make a single person say “Oh, I was wrong, they don’t belong together” – instead, people were saying “Well, they must belong together because clearly the only way to make them not work well together is to write them really poorly!”

So, yeah. I may be disappointed in the lack of recent forward motion with Booth & Brennan, but at least HH has said many times that they absolutely WILL be together in the end, and shows no signs of sabotaging the show just to stick it to fans.

May 26, 2010 at 7:09 PM

You’re giving HH way too much credit. HH has flat out said he doesn’t think shippers know what they want. I’m sure he cares about his fans, but he cares about money and those ratings. He knows that he has to cater more toward the casual viewers(who generate the actual ratings and don’t just watch the show for B/B) than the itty bitty percentage of hardcore, vocal BB shippers who want them together. HH is tricky. I wouldn’t put too much stock into what he says regarding BB being together in the end. He’s got FOX studio execs to deal with. So, you may never even see BB get together.

May 30, 2010 at 8:57 PM

You know what I think is funny about HH and the direction of the BB relationship? HH has mentioned in interviews and ED also has mentioned this, that last year at the Comic Con, when the crowd was asked if people wanted BB together the response was more elevated towards them not getting together. Now what HH and ED need to realize (because I was at Comic Con in the audience) is that most of the people there are there to see actors that come on before or after whomever is being featured. Comic Con fans are an fiesty bunch. They had no idea what they were cheering about! But here HH is taking that one result and saying that perhaps people don’t want to see them together. I just think it’s so funny and sadly I as well am just tired of waiting. Did B/B miss their moment? Who knows? But, it would be so cliche to have them finally get together at the end of the series. LAME!!!!! I’ll watch but with the same lack luster energy I did this year. (DVR when I’m bored)

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