Before Bones Day, I had never watched an episode of Bones, despite having 246 chances to do so. So when my colleague Kelly Connolly put together Bones Day, she assigned me the 100th episode to watch and give my immediate, unfiltered reactions. I wasn't sure how I'd be able to relate to the material, but then I remembered that I have bones, too. This is a human story that anyone who has a body full of bones will understand.
Here's what I knew about Bones before watching "The Parts in the Sum of the Whole:" It stars David Boreanaz -- the most consistent TV star of the past 20 years -- and Zooey Deschanel's less famous sister. (No disrespect, Emily, but it's true. If it's any consolation, you might have more money? Take that with a HUGE grain of salt!) It's about a forensic examiner bearing the unlikely name Temperance Bones. [Editor's note: Bones is not her name.] If I were named after the thing I work with at my job, my name would be Liam TheBachelor. There are something called "Squinterns." A writer who used to work on Bones recycle-plagiarized a script for his new job on the CBS procedural Instinct, which is hilarious. And full disclosure, I went to college with the sons of two executive producers of Bones. I include that not because it will affect my objectivity, but because it's kinda weird.
That's the baggage I'm bringing with me as I sit down in front of my Hulu machine to watch "The Parts in the Sum of the Whole," the 100th episode of Bones, which aired on April 8, 2010 and was written by creator Hart Hanson and directed by Angel himself.
Here are my timestamped thoughts. (Note: These timestamps do not include commercial breaks.)
0:15: Wait, where is this set? They're coming up from a subway. Is this Washington, D.C.? This looks like a location, but there's no way this show shot in D.C. But the trees don't look like California trees. I am confusion!
1:13: Is this the kid from Freaks and Geeks? My man was looking handsome in 2010!
4:12: Oh, right, her name is Temperance "Bones" Brennan, not Temperance Bones. "Bones" is a nickname. That makes more sense. [Editor's note: He got there.]
6:08: Not sure what I was expecting for a theme song, but it wasn't this. This sounds like the dial-up modem sound with drums.
9:08: I watched a lot of New Girl, so I have listened to Zooey Deschanel speak for many hours. Emily Deschanel is definitely her sister. Not only do their voices sound alike, they speak with similar cadences. If I called the Deschanel residence and one of them picked up and just said "Hello?" I might not be sure which Deschanel I was talking to.
9:59: Oh, so Bones is a character like House, where she has the kind of mind that makes her very good at her job but very bad at interacting with people. She doesn't observe social norms, and here she escalates another character's minor rudeness (Tamara Taylor getting on an elevator before Bones gets off) into a whole thing by rudely pointing out Tamara's rudeness. Bones premiered at a pre-woke time when writers could get away with making their characters ambiguously autistic (see also: Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory).
21:42: LOL, I love this flipbook evidence.
28:54: "If we don't work together anymore, we can have sex," said in the whispery tones of seduction, is very funny.
34:43: Every procedural has to have at least one scene set in a parking garage. I live in New York, so parking garages aren't a regular part of my life, so parking garages stand out to me as a location more than they do for other people, I assume. I'm always like "Why are they in a parking garage? Oh, right, other people have different experiences than me." Most TV writers live in Los Angeles, Land of a Million Parking Garages, and therefore they're always setting scenes in parking garages because they're in them every day. This has been Parking Garage Talk, thanks for stopping by.
41:11: Oh my god, a kiss! Fans must have been bugging out when Booth finally kissed Brennan after years of will they/won't they. And then she told him they couldn't be together. Aww. I wanted them to!
43:16: Oh, so they actually did go to Washington to film this episode. Nice shot! [Editor's note: There is no evidence that they actually went to Washington.]
In conclusion, the 100th episode of Bones tells the story of how Brennan and Booth met and solved their first case. But it's not an origin story that resonates if you don't already know the history and dynamics of the characters' relationship. I was under the impression that the will they/won't they relationship had already been resolved by the time the show was 100 episodes in. Very impressive that Bones managed to sustain it for that long.
There's great chemistry between David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel, and the light touches of humor keep it fun. Those two things are what made this show last for so long. Very simple, but very difficult, as shown by the fact that almost no shows last as long as Bones. I probably won't watch more, but I respect what I saw.
Bones is available to stream on Hulu.