Bones: The Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Note: I watched Glee this week, but I’m not writing about it, because it pissed me off so much that I can’t actually write an articulate review. Let’s just say “ableism ahoy!” and leave it at that, shall we? Also, I realize that I have been watching a lot of television that I have not been writing about. In part because of extreme stress over the last week, but I’ll try to get better about that.

Anyway, on to Bones.

I think it’s interesting that Bones has been taking us into different American cultures. One of the things I really like about Brennan is that she is an anthropologist, so it’s been fun to see them exploring differing cultures within the United States, even if they are a bit caricatured. Last week, we went to Amish country, and this week, we went to the suburbs. I hope this keep this up, because it’s making the show much more fun for me.

Speaking of culture clashes, this episode featured the outing of Arastoo. He’s an intern I’ve always struggled with, because I thought he was very stereotypical, and the way other characters handled his religion kind of made me cringe. In this episode, we learn that he’s been faking a heavy accent, and we find out why: he’s found that people tend to respect his religious beliefs more when they think he’s “fresh off the boat.” We also got to see a moment at the end of the show with the Bones crew trying to explore his faith. I think he held his ground pretty well; I loved his answer to Hodgins’ kind of rude question about how he could believe in an “archaic religion” and still love science, and Arastoo pretty much says “well, Allah made the world, and science tries to explain it.” I think it’s a nice reminder of the fact that, you know, it is possible to be religious and still believe in and be a fan of science.

I can’t think of very many shows where characters explore religion. In Bones, that’s not the case. The athiesm of the squints sometimes clashes with Booth’s Catholicism, and the squints clearly don’t know how to deal with a devout Muslim. I think it’s rather sad that Arastoo feels so harassed for his religious faith that he fakes an accent to be accepted by his peers, and I’m sort of hoping that even though they haven’t always done the greatest job with him, that viewers are maybe starting to think about Muslim issues a bit.

This episode also featured, of course, a little Parker subplot. And it illustrated something I’ve long believed about children: if you treat them like adults, you’re likely to have success with them. Everyone else in the episode danced around him, and Bones just straight up asked him questions about his thought processes, got straight answers, and resolved a problem. I really dug that scene, because it’s something I’ve noticed as someone who is childfree; I don’t baby children, and for the most part, they are pretty straight with me. And I’m sometimes told that I’m saying something inappropriate or pointless, but it turns out that I’m actually taking the right tack by, you know, not belittling the intelligence of children.

Can I also just say that I dug the war between psychology and anthropology which was in full flower this episode? And that I love, love, LOVED that we have been spared the inevitable Booth and Bones romance the last few episodes? (Although Laura warns in her review that this is apparently returning next week. Sigh.)

2 Replies to “Bones: The Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”

  1. I also love that about Bones, that they show characters behaving really kind of badly, and they get called on it. I can’t think of a lot of shows where that happens, especially not on a regular basis. The characters are definitely afraid to challenge each other and to educate each other, and I really dig that.

  2. Bones is a show I love and am further behind in it that I want to be. Without having seen the episode:

    1) I love that Bones itself seems to caricature the way people react to certain situations. There was a case with a trans* woman, and Booth’s reactions took a lot of flack, while creating a chance for Brennan to correct his misconceptions. This happens in a lot of the episopes, someone reacts in a stereotypical way, and someone calls them on their bullshit. It is something that warmed me to the show in the first place.

    2) I can never remember all of the intern’s names. Bones is about the only show I have seen exploring anyone w/ Muslim heritage in a positive light, and showing his real challenges (and doing that poor reaction/calling out thing again).

    3) You are right, about treating kids like little adults. That is the approach we take w/ our Kid, and she seems to be doing well. I believe that w/ kids you get what you expect. If you expect them to behave poorly and always as infants, then that is what you get. If you give them respect they will give it. It’s not a hard, fast rule, but for the most part it leads to good results.

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