Liz Tells Frank What Happened on BONES

My friend Frank doesn't watch BONES. I do. So I tell him what happens. At least, the parts worth telling.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Who's Who in LTFWHOBTW-world

Dear Frank,

Sorry about being two episodes behind -- nearly three, now! -- but life gets a little crazy. While I find time to catch up, though, I figured it might be time to remind you how all these silly nicknames got started, especially since more people are dropping by to see what all the fuss is about, it's become apparant that we should probably do some clarification. You agree? Great.

Who's Who in the World of LTFWHOBTW:
Lesser Deschanel: Because I am lazy, oftentimes I just call the star of Bones "Bones," because like President Bush and Beau, I do love a good silly nicknames. But occasionally I'll refer to the actress who brings our favorite robot girl to life, and given that this actress is the older sister of a significantly more successful indie darling (co-star of Hitchhiker's Guide, Frank!), it seems only fair to show our respect for the Greater Deschanel, while not purposefully denigrating the excellent qualities of the Lesser. (What of Caleb Deschanel, you might ask? The Non-chanel? It is better not to ask these questions.)

Beau: Frank, remember how you told me that story about how the friends of David Boreanez call him "Beau"? Too many Davids in their cell phones, I'd wager. They so they call him Bo. But boyfriend's just a little bit pretty, Frank. Just a little bit.

Hot Not Asian: She's hot, she's no more than half-Asian, and there you go. Oh, and sometimes she has feelings. And sometimes, she wants to do Beau. That's canon, Frank. I didn't make that up. Though I kind of wish I had.

ParaNerd: He's the paranoidiest, but he's also got girly curly hair and lots of money. I like him all right when he's not being an stubborn idiot about something. I don't like him much of the time.

Virgin Nerd: Sure, there's proof he's not a virgin. But I don't put much faith in this science jive.

Deep Bass Boss/Boring Black Boss/Some Other Permutation of Boring, Black, Bass-voiced, and Boss: He's all of these things. And nothing else, sadly.

The Smithphonian: The institute that's run by the government and enables crime-solving! Yeah Smithphonian!

Liz: The girl who watches this damn show, albeit very sporadically.

Frank: The one who hears all about it.

All Those People Beau Snipered: The ones who, ultimately, bring us all together.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Skull in the Desert

Dear Frank,

Sometimes, an episode of BONES is adorable. Sometimes, an episode of BONES is boring. But it's the rare episode of BONES that is actually actively bad. How bad? Normally I only fall asleep once or twice during an episode, Frank. This episode put me to bed for a solid week.

Hot Not Asian is on vacation in the desert (apparently, you can take three weeks of vacation when you work with dead people all the time, which probably makes putting up with the smell somewhat worth it) when she calls up Bones mid-freak-out. Apparently, when Hot Not Asian goes on vacation, she has a Vacation Boyfriend, but this time her Vacation Boyfriend has gone missing in the desert, which is not a particularly healthy place to go missing. A point reinforced by the fact that a skull just turned up on the local sheriff's doorstep, and Hot Not Asian needs Bones to confirm that it's Vacation Boyfriend. She has "a feeling" that it is, you see. Hot Not Asian has a lot of feelings over the course of this episode. Annoyingly, they all turn out to be right.

Bones hops the first plane and quickly confirms that it's Vacation Boyfriend's skull. So we can stop caring, right? No, no, because apparently there's some evidence of foul play, so Bones hauls Beau out to help solve some crime. But all Beau does is hang out in shorts and whines about the heat, and no one ever said that Beau's calves were his best feature.

Everyone wants to figure out where Vacation Boyfriend bought it, because he was out in the desert with a missing woman named Danni, which looks cute on the page but quickly starts to grate on the ears. We are supposed to care intensely about Danni's well-being, despite the fact that we've never met her and know little about her aside from the fact that she would often go out into the desert by herself, which makes this whole disappearance thing seem just a little, y'know, Darwin-esque. However, Hot Not Asian can feel that Danni is still alive, and out into the desert they go. This leads to the Most Artificial Mortal Peril Ever: The sheriff who took them out into the desert takes off with the car to search elsewhere, and our intrepid threesome immediately assume that they've been left to die. They spend some time calculating the nearness of their demise, pondering the direness of their situation. Beau and Bones share an intimate glance, each glad not to be facing their tragic fate alone... Until the sheriff returns and they all pile back into the car. Drama!

More desert. How Spielbergian. They wander around until Hot Not Asian has an incredibly silly vision of Danni walking in the desert, and rather than getting concerned about possible heat stroke, Hot Not Asian follows SpiritDanni until she finds NearlyDeadDanni in a rock crevice. I guess she was hiding from the drug dealers who killed Vacation Boyfriend? I don't know. I hardly understand why any of these people were out in the desert to begin with, but my people are a Nordic people. We have little patience for heat.

Anyways, everybody goes home semi-safe, and Hot Not Asian cries -- not because Vacation Boyfriend, a man she's loved for several years, is dead, but because she's afraid that she'll never find another Vacation Boyfriend to love her. Girlfriend's got great priorities. But Bones uses her robot logic to assure Hot Not Asian that yes, she will love again. And then there's hugging.

Perhaps the great love story of BONES is not Beau and Bones, but Hot Not Asian and Bones? No, that's unlikely. Sure, they'd make a cute couple. But Hot Not Asian's past is so lacking in tragedy that I fear they'd have nothing to talk about.

Not that snipering a whole bunch of people is as tragic as having tragically missing parents -- but hey, it's something.

I mean, he killed SO MANY PEOPLE, Frank. Dead.


Friday, April 07, 2006

The Woman in the Tunnel

Dear Frank,

Wow, it's been a few weeks, huh? And I'm like three episodes behind! Blame it on my infernal need to sleep, which has been kicking in every time I start watching an episode after 11 PM. Or, you know, blame it on BONES itself. After the cuteness explosion last time, the show has taken one big step back from adorable. And since BONES pretty much operates on exactly two levels -- cute or boring -- this is never good.

So I'll make this short. There's this woman, see? In a tunnel. And she's dead, probably from falling into the tunnel from a great height. For it seems there are all these sewer tunnels below DC and they're inhabited by a strange population of what everyone refers to as "mole people." To me, mole people sound like the adorable protagonists of a Disney flick, but they're actually sad broken humans who are hiding from the world above and/or their Tragic Pasts. Deschanel feels right at home! Well, she feels right at home because she's an anthropologist and can be a robot study people objectively. But anyways.

The dead lady was making a documentary on DC homeless living conditions, which is how everyone downstairs knew her, and the investigation brings Bones and Booth to interview this one mole person who was a friend of dead lady, a very sweet guy who's only a little crazy. And he has a very Tragic Past -- he was a Vietnam vet who had to sniper a pregnant lady with a grenade in one hand and a baby in the other. Booth empathizes, just a little too much, which leads Bones to ask exactly how many pregnant ladies he snipered when he was into snipering, and leads Booth to say "Don't ask me questions you don't want to hear the answers to." It's kind of hot, actually. Deschanel's lucky that Buffy wasn't around. (Or the BuffyBot, if Booth's interest in Bones is any sort of indicator of type.)

Anyways, Mole Duder keeps talking about how dead lady was looking for something guarded by "a blonde lady with dead eyes," and Hot Not Asian gets assigned as a sketch artist, despite the fact that she's terrified of crazy people she's not dating. (According to her witty repartee, that is.) The blonde lady is not a lady, though, but a portrait of a lady that was buried with bunches of other national treasures beneath DC during the Civil War as part of some national treasure hiding program. I don't know. All I know is that the dead lady wasn't exploiting the mole people so she could make a documentary about their lives, but exploiting the mole people so she could find the treasure. Too bad those rock climbers she hired to help steal the treasure were all greedy and armed with climbing axes. Whoops! But it's cool, because Booth and Bones find them in the nick of time and Bones gets to point guns and kick butt. Which girlfriend cannot get ENOUGH of. So everyone's happy!

Well, except for Mole Duder. And Booth. And Bones. And everyone else with a tragic past. So really, just Hot Not Asian is happy. But we take what we get, in this life. We take what we can get. Just ask Booth. But only if you're ready to know about all those pregnant women he killed.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Two Bodies In The Lab

Dear Frank,

I'd like to report an attempt on my life. BONES tried to kill me last week -- with CUTENESS. It still hurts a little, Frank. It's like they took my heart-strings and knit them into a sweater. A really cute sweater. Seriously, this episode just made me curl up like a baby cat inside. There ought to be LAWS against it. And those laws ought to be broken regularly. BONES is the new marijuana. BONES makes me high.

Open on: Our lesser Deschanel, trying to juggle hooking up with an internet date and solving not one, but two crimes -- one death-by-serial-killer, one death-by-mob. But Beau doesn't much appreciate Bones's hot-to-do-some-trotting attitude, and gets all nervous about Bones going off to dinner with Internet Boy in the middle of some body-examining. Bones is all, I'm going to dinner! I know kung fu! I'll be fine! But her attitude changes significantly when, while waiting outside the restaurant, someone tries to drive-by her robot brains.

Bones is all freaked out, understandably, but manages to keep it together enough to finally meet her mystery date -- in an interrogation room, under Beau's jealous, pained eyes. But Internet Boy's not the culprit, and Bones resolves to keep with the crime-solving, despite that whole people-wanting-her-dead thing. Beau agrees reluctantly. Beau's such a softie.

Anyways, Bones's robot brains prove their use and she starts solving both crimes like a mo-fo, which makes Beau grin in that proud-like-a-really-inappropriate-papa way. And at the end of her long day, he makes her TAKE HIM HOME so that he can use his sniper expertise to watch over her that night...

I'm sure you're thinking, Frank, that that's cute, but nothing earth-shattering. This is because you don't see -- NO ONE sees -- what's coming next. Beau, in search of entertainment, finds Bones's CD collection, which contains Tibetan throat chants, Kanye West, free-form jazz... and Foreigner. Knowing that there's never a bad time for Double Vision, "the classic rock supergroup's second album" (, Beau starts up the sultry "Hot-Blooded" and, oh, Frank. He starts dancing along and air-guitaring and acting like a big silly goof and Bones is like, oh, I'm a robot, I'm not supposed to be feeling these emotions, but BAM, I'm gonna high kick along to this song anyways and dance around and oh, now we are BOTH big silly goofs and we're gonna end up doing it by Track 2 ("Blue Morning, Blue Day") if this keeps up...

...Then, of course, stupid Internet Boy calls to say hey, and Beau still dances around while Bones talks to him, but afterwards they're slightly more awkward (JUST as cute, though), and maybe it'll take until Track 6 ("Double Vision") for them to do it... And then Beau asks Bones if he can get a drink, and she says sure, and when he opens her refrigerator, it (and he) get exploded. Whoops!

Beau ends up in the hospital, where he will not be able to convince Bones that the only way he can keep her safe is with sweet, tender love-making. He is, understandably, a little pissed. But then he assigns Special Guest Star Adam Baldwin to guard Bones (The Man They Call Jayne has been hanging around all this time, but he wasn't dancing so I didn't feel the need to mention it). They start running around solving crime, and Bones is close to Cracking the Case when it becomes clear that Jayne isn't likely to make any more appearances on BONES, what with him being the killer at all. Beau figures out that Jayne is a dirty FBI agent who arranged both murders to cover his own ass (or something like that -- I certainly don't care) about twenty-five minutes after the audience does, and gets the visiting ParaNerd to sneak him out of the hospital and to the nearest SWAT team.

Bones has, in fact, gotten her ass abducted by Jayne, despite an admirable bit of kung fu, and he's tied up her arms so that he can dangle her from a meat hook so that a bunch of dogs can eat her alive... Jayne's plans aren't very sound on an practical level, but it's not like this guy gets typecast as the SMART one, you know?

Anyways, Beau and the SWATers find them just in the nick of time, Jayne's brains are ka-plow-ee-ed with skill and care (Beau used to be a sniper, you know), and, oh, Frank. Beau rushes up to Bones, but she's all dangly and he got exploded so he can't just pick her up, but he lifts her up a bit and her bound wrists go behind his neck and it is what we call a Goonies Hug. And they hug and hug and it is so freakin' adorable and she cries into his strong, yet bandaged, chest...


Beau goes back to the hospital, and Bones is visiting in fancy dress clothes because she has a date with Internet Boy, but you can tell she wants to stay with Sniper Man, and sure, she leaves him to his TV after a few minutes of exposition about Jayne's poor planning skills. But then she immediately COMES BACK, having blown off her date (because who goes to dinner with another man after a Goonies Hug? Seriously!) and asks if she can watch TV with him. He is not an idiot. So they start watching THE GRAPES OF WRATH (date movie!), sitting as close as a man in a hospital bed and a woman in a hospital chair can. Two damaged people, clutching at the faintest chance of feeling whole again.

Man, they're gonna do it so hard in the season finale.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Man on the Fairway

Dear Frank,

So I've been kvetching about the lack of sweet Beau/Bones sexual tension this season, potentially ad nauseum. But no more! This week, the folks at BONES HQ hear my prayers, and grant unto us an episode that not only allows our two heroes to be totally adorable with each other, but also gives unto us delicious jealousy, Frank! Jealousy! The path upon which all Will They/Won't They tensions find real fruition! It's enough to make a girl share her tragic past with strangers!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. See, the folks at the Smithphonian are tasked with the job of sorting out the bodies from a private plane crash at a golf course, which is a national security issue because some of the people on the plane were Communists (the Chinese kind). Lesser Deschanel is totally uninterested in this assignment, but Deep Bass Boss's testes (and thus, low manly voice) are under threat by the State department, and he orders her to make the case a priority.

However, Bones doesn't really care about the fact that I don't want to come up with a new nickname for Deep Bass Boss, because it's been three weeks since she hooked up solved crime with Beau, and she's starting to get that deep low itch but good. Thus, when she finds a couple of unidentified, hacked up bone fragments in the plane wreckage which clearly weren't burned up on re-entry, she decides to investigate that crime instead, asking her legion of nerds to cover for her while she brings the case to Beau. Beau isn't impressed with Bones's love offering, mainly because his incredible sniper vision sees easily through her lies, and he teases her about how much she misses him because THEY ARE ADORABLE. But, just as things are getting Adorable To the Max, this sad-eyed guy steps forward to say that the bones Bones found might have belonged to his Tragically Missing Father, for whom sad-eyed guy has been searching lo these many years.

Sad-eyed guy is hot and serious and clearly haunted by his Tragic Past. It's Dude-chanel! And Dude-chanel has, like, magic powers and shit, because he knows all about Deschanel's own missing parents, and tries to use them to manipulate her into helping him. She tells him: "I'm not interested in bonding over my Tragic Past." She then proceeds to bond with him over her Tragic Past.

Beau, sensing that Dude-chanel's got an unfair advantage on his girl, takes on the case of the missing dad in his usual investigatorial way, strutting around, asking insulting questions, and of course deciding that Dude-chanel is a suspect. None of this really matters, of course, because Bones figures out that the bones she found weren't Dude-chanel's father, which means that Dude-chanel is yet again without a clue as to what happened to his dad. She tells him this in a very sweet scene at the end of the episode, where they have approximately this conversation:

Dude-chanel: My Tragic Past. It consumes me.
Deschanel: I was trying to ignore mine, but that just made me a robot. So yeah, me too.
Dude-chanel: Look, I'm too busy with my Tragic Past to investigate yours, but what about that flirty FBI agent guy whose cheek you pinched after admitting that you missed him? He seems single.
Deschanel: Let's hug the sad hug of two people whose Tragic Pasts prevent hooking up.
Dude-chanel: T'was never meant to be.

I might have paraphrased a little.

So after hugging Dude-chanel, Bones meets up with Beau and asks him to read the file on her tragically missing parents, in case he can spot any clues. This is, I'm guessing, the equivalent of third base, if only because there's a picture of fifteen-year-old Bones in the file that Beau scopes out with the eyes of a man who knows that he's this damn close to getting lucky solving crime.

But who can tell the difference, in this crazy world of ours? When violent men and haunted women stand side-by-side in the red and blue carousel of crime scenes?

They have sexual tension, you know.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Woman In the Garden

Dear Frank,

I know, I know! You've been wondering, BONES? What's been happening? As far as you know, they could be doing anything. They could be finding the real killer of Abe Lincoln! They could be determining exactly what species of mammal Katie Holmes is gestating! They could be GOING TO THE MOON. And you wouldn't know any better, because I am a failure. Fear not, however! I'm now here! I have answers to questions! And the answer to that most important question, what did happen on BONES last week?

Well, not a whole helluva lot.

In the grand tradition of "that episode about hip-hop with all the black people in it" and "that episode about terrorism with all the Middle-Eastern people in it," we have "that episode about gangs with all the Latinos in it." Beau and Bones are investigating a body found in a trunk -- later revealed to have been initially interred in a local garden -- when someone drives by for a drive-by, allowing the driver of the car an opportunity to escape. But then they figure out that the driver of the car was one of those not-really-a-gang-member gang members who worked as a gardener for a high-falutin' senator...

Oh, whatever. I'm sorry, Frank, but the crime-solving is really boring this week. Trust me. You don't want to hear about it. Let me just summarize:

Gang members: Not all bad. Some of them just join gangs so that their sisters can get fake immigration papers and jobs as maids in the houses of senators.

Sisters of gang members: Prone to getting knocked up by sons of senators.

Sons of senators: Adorably clueless.

Senator house managers: Might accidentally kill a SOGM by pulling her off a ladder.

Gang members with young wife and baby son: Get deported after being caught with body of sister in trunk, but resolve to make a "better life" for family in home country, despite being forced back to land of crippling poverty and death squads.

Immigration law: Flawed.

Guatemalan Death Squads: Bad.

How do we know that? Well, that's why we've got ourselves a Lesser Deschanel -- to explain these things! Remember the pilot, when Hot Not Asian had to pick up Deschanel from the airport? Well, Deschanel was coming back from Guatemala, where at one point she'd been nabbed by her local native death squad and locked up for a few days without food, water, or hope. Girlfriend's got a little PTSD over this, which is why she gets really pissed off whenever Beau tries to intimidate the Guatemalans with threats of deportation, and kung-fus the hell out of one of those not-in-a-gang-to-help-his-sister gang members.

You'd think that the gang would just accept Lesser Deschanel's need for catharsis as a rationale for busting the ass of their leader and let it go, but no, they get all crotchety and put out a hit on her. Which leads to a delightful scene at the end of the episode: Beau finds the leader of the gang and goes all Angelus on his ass, threatening to do worse if anything happens to Lesser Deschanel. Gang Leader seems to get the message. And Beau doesn't even have to mention the fact that he was a sniper!

Just another day for our two solvers of crime. But one that brings them one step closer to each other's arms. So, a good one.

Excruciatingly boring. But good.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

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.