(Pop)culture in real life

What 11 seasons of Bones have taught me

I am a bit of a TV show addict. I got hooked on great tv in primary school, which is when I fell in love with med dramas – first ER (which caused me to have hots for George Clooney ever since), then Grey’s Anatomy, which I’m still faithful to 13 seasons on (and counting). I don’t spend my whole days in front of the TV. To be honest, I don’t even own a TV. But great TV shows are still one of my favourite pastimes. They make me laugh, they make me cry, they make me question my life choices, they make me feel deeply about the characters. I mean, movies are great and all that, but you’ll never form the type of bond with a movie character as you can have with a main character in a tv show you’ve been watching for over 10 years.

That’s why it makes me a bit sad and a bit angry that some people consider watching tv shows to be a waste of time. Granted, I understand not everyone has to enjoy them. I don’t enjoy martial arts, or decoupage, but that doesn’t mean their a waste of time. And that’s how the idea for this post (or maybe even a (mini-)series of posts, who knows) has come to me – I wanted to look back and see what various shows I’ve watched over the years have taught me. Because popular culture might not match Shakespeare in grandness, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value. I’ve decided to start with Bones as it’s a show that I’ve started watching most recently, and finished 11 seasons in just a few months.

All ready? Great – let’s see what doctor Brennan and her team have taught me.

  1. Never say never
    Source: designntrend.com

    Quite a few characters in the show have said that they could never be with a given someone, or would never do a given something. And then… yes, you guessed right – married that someone and did exactly the thing they said they wouldn’t do. Of course, I know that it only happened because that’s what the writers wanted to happen. But, let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute – haven’t you ever said that you’d never do something, and then did it? I had a friend in high school that I said I will never get on well with when we first met. Guess what? We still meet up when I’m back home, 3 years after finishing school. Bones had made me realise there is very little point in saying “never”. Because, quite simply, you never really know.

  2. There are a million bones in the human body…
    Source: yahoo.com/tv/

    … and they all have crazy long names. Both in English and in Latin. And Bones knows all of those names, which I find really impressive. I know she’s unbelievably smart and remembering the names of bones was probably the easiest part of her application, but for someone with a crappy memory – super impressive. Also, after watching 11 seasons I barely managed to remember a few of them. Or I think I remembered them, because it seems like the only two I can now recall are tibia and zygomatic. (Worth keeping in mind that I’ve no idea where the zygomatic is). I guess it’s good that I didn’t grant my gran’s wish of becoming a doctor…

  3. Sometimes it’s better to stay quiet
    Source: bonesscenes.tumblr.com

    Simply because saying something could hurt someone you care about. I know, everyone says they value honest. But I’ve doubts about it actually being true, and some truths are better left untold. In Bones, you can often see Angela, Booth or Cam biting their tongue instead of responding to some crazy claim Brennan has just voiced. They realise she is the way she is, with her utter lack of knowledge of pop culture and terrible social skills. Pointing out her flaws a few times a day wouldn’t really help her change, only make her feel bad. Sometimes it’s better to bite your tongue and let the person be, rather than prove them wrong.

  4. There are just so many ways to kill someone…
    Source: bonesscenes.tumblr.com

    I know, that’s rather grim. But we sometimes don’t realise how many ways there are to kill someone. Or dump the body. I doubt many of the creative ways of killing that have showed up in Bones are actually popular with murderers (though I haven’t done much research on the popularity of body barbecuing), but when you think they’re potentially possible… You want to both admire the show’s writers for their creativity and hide under the bed, in a locked room, except… what if you accidentally bury yourself alive under your duvet?

  5. Nobody is perfect
    Source: bonesscenes.tumblr.com

    And you should learn to accept your imperfections. Bones is a genius, internationally acclaimed forensic anthropologist, but her social skills are seriously lacking (to the point that you could say she’s rude). Booth is a kind man and amazing at his job, but he can be a bit rash in his actions, and sees the world in black and white only. I’m sure you have things that you might not like about yourself, I certainly do, but what we all need to remember is that nobody is perfect, and nobody’s life is perfect and problem-free. Not even Beyonce’s, or Angelina Jolie’s, or George Clooney. All of them have people making them beautiful, are very talented, unimaginably rich. But their private lives aren’t always pink and fluffy and full of glitter.
    And there’s a reason why we relate to Bridget Jones. Because she seriously has flaws, and that makes her so damn real.

  6. You can change without losing yourself
    Source: bonesscenes.tumblr.com

    I have probably already told you at some point that over the past 3-4 years or so I have seriously grown as a person. My approach to life changed significantly. But I am still ambitious, even though my ambitions changed. I still enjoy smiling, even though I now often smile at different things. I still like to travel, but I experience it differently. That’s why I found the changes occurring in the Bones characters so relatable. Because they managed to change without losing their personality, or turning their whole lives upside down. Bones started out as an amazing anthropologist, but a rather difficult person to be around. With the help of her friends, a little bit of (unwanted) therapy and a lot of analysing her own behaviour, she eventually emerged as a much more caring, warmer, more empathetic person. All that without losing an ounce of her anthropological brain or professionalism at work. In simple words, if one of her interns sucks, she will still tell them so. But if her friend is crying, she will actually hug her.

Bones is, and will probably remain, one of my favourite tv shows. With its funny one liners, interesting murder cases and a bit of romance thrown in on top of that. It’s top-class entertainment, but also a great learning opportunity. So if you’re looking to get a few simple, well-delivered (as if almost by accident) life lessons, and some great fun, I definitely recommend you immerse yourself in the world of Booth, Brennan and all of their ever so slightly… let’s say… unique colleagues.

Unless you have a very delicate stomach… Then don’t.
Header photo by Pablo Garcia Saldaña.

5 thoughts on “What 11 seasons of Bones have taught me”

  1. Booth sees the world in black and white? IF anything it is the other way around and Bones has the narrow view of the world. May is right, you do not understand the show and are decidedly anti- Booth. When Brennan makes those clueless, rude remark how is she ever going tp learn to consider other peoples’ feelings if someone does not point out her mistakes to her?


  2. Honestly I liked Bones in the first few seasons… then when it all became about Brennan’s flaws it ceased to be a positive, life enhancing show. Brennan has flaws but so does everyone else particularly Booth. But only she is the one raked over coals for her mistakes. Only she has to pay the price for mistakes. Brennan can turn Booth down but has to be made to feel that she lost Booth to another woman. Instead of showing that someone can understand your insecurities and stand by you. Whereas, Booth’s reckless decisions have very little impact because he just as easily falls in love with someone else and when it doesn’t work out he still has Brennan standing by him. Even when he betrayed her over the gambling arc there never were any consequences to him. He never for a moment felt like he lost Brennan permanently. Even now he never grew from it because he never questions his decisions– he even tells Brennan she doesn’t have a right to his decisions.

    If Brennan truly were treated as an equal she would’ve been allowed to question Booth’s claims that he had known from the beginning that she was the one and despite that proposed marriage to someone else. Yet only she is the one that has to make amends for hurting Booth. But Booth ever hurting her doesn’t matter…. its like the writers want her to have feelings but without ever validating her right to have feelings of hurt, anger, disappointment, fear or doubts. Booth is allowed to doubt her, openly question her humanity but Brennan is never allowed to doubt him, question him if so she needs to apologize. It ends up feeling like an emotionally abusive relationship. For instance, Booth emotionally blackmails her into believing whats ours is ours pushing her to sabotage budding relationships with others– but never felt he was subjected to the same restrictions. That would be confusing for any person let alone for someone with Aspergers. That was not Booth being a kind hearted person– it was being a manipulative person. Booth knew Brennan trusted him when it came to relationship rules, and he took advantage of that trust.

    Even the scene that you pointed out— its not a healthy relationship. Its fine for Brennan to accept that Booth is better at reading people than her. But the way its written its like Brennan should never even try to be as good at him at reading people. So later when she thinks she can’t be good enough for a relationship as him; this is the basic foundation of it. A truly healthy relationship accepts you for who you are and encourages you to be better. Not live in fear that if you are not a nice person your partner will leave you for nice person.

    I don’t know if its intended by the writing team but it actually convinces me to be more honest in relationships, not less. There is a huge difference between tactless and being honest. Yes honesty can hurtful in the moment but in the long run its always the best. You don’t do anyone any favors by hiding the truth. If there are things that someone could improve on then there is no harm in letting them know in a kind way and helping that person grow. Also recognizing that you thinking someone else has issues may be just be a projection of your own. But in general, I’d much rather someone tell me things that I could improve on than let me continue with behavior patterns that could prevent me from having better relationships. What usually happens on Bones is that Booth is dishonest with Brennan and it ends up hurting Brennan more by making her feel more like something is wrong with her (like that scene when she comes back from going on the lam).

    Honestly, I kept watching because I couldn’t believe the writers were writing what they did and maybe there I was missing something. But that gambling arc showed how disheartening this story was. I have seen the debate on whether Brennan is a consolation prize or not… but definitely what Brennan ended up with was a consolation prize relationship.

    Unfortunately, the way the story was written made me question whether morality or decency actually exists because of the way they treated the main character.


    1. Please tell me you’re kidding. You clearly have no idea what you’re talking. Booth never faces any consequences? Really? Complete misinterpretation, which seems to be done on purpose, just to excuse blind, unreasonable hatred towards Booth which is otherewise unfounded. All you proved with your comment is that you have absolutely no understanding of the show and its characters. Booth emotionally blackmailed her? I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. She betrayed his trust in that particular instance. He had a right to be upset. And the rest of your comment. Just wow. Couldn’t be more incorrect if you tried.


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