Boning and Bones

4 May

I love Bones.  I recently realized that I hadn’t seen EVERY episode, so, like the obsessive fangirl that I am, I decided to re-watch the entire series.  Yes, pathetic.  We know.

As I watched, I noticed a disturbing trend.  I call it the Law of Booth.  The Law of Booth dictates that marriage and family are the be-all and end-all of existence.  It is fucking upsetting, y’all.  Bones, whether the viewer watches it or not, comes down as hard-line, traditional when it comes to love and marriage and baby carriages.  Strong, female choices that do not in some way involve conceding that monogamous reltionships (which lead to marriage) and family is the correct path for everyone do not exist.  They just don’t. I don’t want to say that there isn’t room for alternate sexuality at the Jeffersonian (Angela had a for-serious girlfriend and everything!) but the scope is limited at best.

Let’s start with the basics.  Angela is a free spirited, fun loving artist type.  Initially, she had a relationship in which she only sees the guy for three weeks out of the year.  Booth finds this really fucking bizarre.  The guy also winds up dead.  So much for three week fidelity.  Clearly, not only is it weird, but one of you will end up dead.  Hodgins dates Angela for like three months before he asks her to marry him.  She hasn’t even officially moved in with him!  They had a fight about how she was uncomfortable giving up her apartment a few episodes before this.  She initially rejects him more than once, but he keeps at it.  When he accepts that maybe they could just live together forever and be happy and NOT be married, that’s when she says it is ok.  Wait, lemme get this right… Free-spirited girls who don’t really want to get married will want to get married as soon as you tell them they don’t have to get married?  See, that’s what they are really after, in the end.  A season later, Angela is dating Roxy.  Roxy is also an artist.  Roxy doesn’t want to move in with Angela.  They seem well-suited.  Angela wants to get a dog.  Roxy’s response?  Angela doesn’t think enough about the fucking future and therefore they will never work out.  Angela only wants to live in the moment and therefore she will never work out with the woman who doesn’t even WANT to live with her at the current moment.  That’s logical.  Even the gays, they want to settle down and have a family.  That’s the important thing to do.  That’s what we all should be working towards.  Awesome.  Angela then becomes celibate to make sure she’s getting a real connection out of her relationships.  According to the world of Bones, sexual connection isn’t valid.  Emotional connection is valid.  A pregnancy scare and some other bullshit later, Angela is now married to Hodgins and pregnant.  Big. Fucking. Surprise.  I’m so glad they cleared up all the character contradictions that poses…wait…no…they didn’t.

Moving on.  Bones and Booth.  Bones is a reasonable fucking human being who doesn’t necessarily want marriage or a family.  She’s supposed to be the weird one who doesn’t understand emotion or human interactions.  Booth thinks marriage and family are essential and that sexuality that is not defined by a monogamous relationship is weird.  The audience is clearly supposed to side with Booth.  How do I know?  Because he is ALWAYS proven right and Bones is ALWAYS proven wrong when it comes to these things.  Examples.

1. Sex is best when in the context of a “normal”, monogamous relationship that is devoid of kinks or other deviance.

  • BDSM is strictly forbidden in the world according to Booth.  In one of my favorite and least favorite episodes, Booth and Bones go discover the world of pony play.  What Booth discovers is a bunch of weirdos doing weird stuff because they are confused by what sex is about.  Booth believes sex is better when there is some kind of emotional connection that has to do with love and puppies and rainbows or some shit.  Bones initially disagrees, but acquiesces in the end.
  • Loving more than one person at a time is unreasonable. In another very special episode, Booth and Bones encounter (gasp) polygamists. Booth, of course, thinks what they are doing is wrong. Bones, of course, sees the usefulness and anthropological value. That is, she sees those things until the end of the episode in which she concedes that relationships are for two people with no wiggle room.

These are two extreme cases that stick out, but there are numerous other points of contention that get stuck in through the course of normal plotlines. Bones has sex with an attractive guy while going out on dates with a brainy guy. Booth objects. It blows up in Bones’ face and hilarity ensues. She sees the error of her ways. I could go on endlessly about this point, but I won’t. People get married. So says the Law of Booth, so say we all (apparently.)

2. Everyone must get married.
Booth doesn’t understand Bones’ desire not to get married. All Booth wants in life is to get fucking married ZOMG. He asked his baby-momma to marry him; she said no. He asked Hannah to marry him after dating for about six months, despite the fact that she BEGGED him not to. She didn’t even want to stop dating; she just wanted to NOT be married. Not ok for Booth. All or nothing with that guy. So, he dumps his lovely girlfriend who is perfect for him and throws the very expensive ring he got her in the water as a symbolic gesture. What an idiot. Clearly, marriage is the magical way to get the girl, even if the girl tells you it isn’t. So says the Law of Booth, so say we all (apparently).

Bitches gotta breed, yo. Angela be all kinda pregnant up in this bitch, not to mention that she wants like 12 million babies. Fine. Angela likes kids. So, sure…Why not? Bones, however, starts off not wanting babies. She is very clear about her baby beliefs, but Booth thinks Bones not wanting babies is unnatural. HORRIFIC GASP. Bones has to take care of a baby for a case and decides she does want a baby, after all. It couldn’t be that a sane, reasonable, woman would just genuinely not like and/or want kids. Really, that woman had to just spend some time with a baby so she could fully grasp her motherly potential. While Bones didn’t wind up having a kid, she was close, and with Booth’s sperm. Emily Deschanel, who plays Bones, is actually pregnant right now, so we’ll see how this all plays out. My guess? Babies. Even women who have made obviously life choice to not have kids wind up with kids. Camille winds up adopting her dead ex-boyfriend’s high-school aged daughter blah blah blah plot. She adopts her because even powerful, sexual, confident women aren’t really women without kids. So says the law of Booth, so say we all (apparently).

So, I’ll rephrase my statement form the start of this post: I want to love Bones.  It has science and murder and Angel.  I love those things.  I thought it had empowered females making choices for themselves.  Apparently, on that front, I was wrong.  It seems these women have their paths laid out for them, whether it fits with who they are, as people, or not.  So says the Law of Booth, so say we all (apparently).


One Response to “Boning and Bones”

  1. Riayn May 4, 2011 at 4:35 AM #

    I’m a huge fan of Bones, mainly cause of the science, but I never really stopped to think about the traditional sexual roles that are being pushed on the show until now. You are totally right and now I’m kicking myself for not seeing this earlier.

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