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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Liz Tells Frank What Happened On BONES This Week: "The Superhero in the Alley"

Dear Frank,

This week, BONES continues its campaign to try and coerce you into watching -- but this time, instead of casting one of your friends in a supporting role, it decides to talk about COMICS. Like, a lot. The major failure of this plan, though, is that the episode is unspeakably boring. I can barely remember what happened. Which'll at least keep this short. Or, you know, not.

Lesser Deschanel and Beau investigate the death of a months-decayed kid who was found in an alley, wearing a homemade superhero costume. The kid's name is Warren, a reference to Warren Ellis, but this kid is most certainly NotWarrenEllis. For one thing, when not being a home schooled shut-in, NotWarrenEllis liked to run around with a bunch of "can play under 18, if casting forgets to wear its glasses" nerd freaks who hang out at the local comic book store and cosplay as original superhero characters. Real Warren Ellis? Would kick their arses with a manic laugh (and then create an original six-issue miniseries about it).

I wouldn't bother mentioning the gang, as they're largely useless, except that when Beau and Bones meet them, Beau makes a pretty standard "hey nerdfaces, this is what a woman looks like!" joke -- which wouldn't normally be funny, except that one of the nerds very clearly IS a girl, boomeranging that joke right back into Beau's face. I mean, it isn't pointed out in the context of the show. But I certainly laughed.

Dead ends dead ends OH GOD IT'S BORING. But in NotWarrenEllis's bag, they find his not-too-shabbily-drawn graphic novel (way to go, art department!) that has also been decaying. Hot Not Asian goes to town reconstructing it, and once cleaned up, everyone gathers round to play Literary Analysis 102: What Does Your Art Say About You?, which makes Bones uncomfortable because, in case you've forgotten, Bones is a Best-Selling Author (Who Doesn't Understand Pop Culture References). "You can't tell anything about a writer by analyzing their best-selling fiction!" Everyone then proceeds to analyze Bones via her best-selling fiction. Turns out that NotBeau, in the fantasies of Deschanel, is a "former Olympic boxer who graduated from Harvard and spoke six different languages." Beau gets a bit offended by the comparison, but I say, hey, take the hint and maybe a Berlitz class or two. Lesser Deschanel isn't what we call subtle.

Hey, now's a good time to play GUESS THE CHARACTER TRAIT. Which character would you assume would know the relative value of a mint condition Superman comic?

a) Virgin Nerd
b) Paranerd
c) Beau

If you said Beau, you dine on milk and honey. Turns out, in fact, that Virgin Nerd had never read a graphic novel before this case. Just for the record, I fail to understand how this episode can understand comics so well (they even say Gaiman's name right!) and yet totally fail to understand actual comic book fans. Alas. It's better than most portrayals, anyway. For one thing, there's actually a girl!

After a trip to the bowling alley where NotWarrenEllis's dad made him work (which is really just an opportunity for Beau to wear a bowling shirt, brag about his bowling prowess, and prove once again that he is more All-American than Jesus), they quickly figure out that the bowling alley owner's wife is getting pretty well Tina Turner'd by her husband, and that the bowling alley owner was the dark and dangerous presence lurking in the panels of NotWarrenEllis's comic. NotWarrenEllis was apparently dying of cancer (which he was hiding from his parents! Because a kid under the age of 18 can do that! Oh, BONES) and decided to go superhero on the Bad Guy's ass, overlooking the fact that the Bad Guy was bigger, taller, and possessing of a wicked three-sided knife. Before you can say "Lesser Deschanel will kung fu your ass" she's done just that on the bowling alley owner, and that crime? It is SOLVED.

At the end of the episode, everyone goes to the funeral and puts things on the casket. Beau gives NotWarrenEllis his sharpshooter pin from Army, which is weird, because isn't Beau HORRIBLY TORTURED by his dark past as a sharpshooter? Isn't the entire reason that he solves crime based on him wanting to make amends for KILLING ALL THOSE PEOPLE? What kind of eternal torment is he wishing on this poor kid, anyway?

Once again, BONES, your complexities escape me.

Is that why I watch? No. No, it really isn't.


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