Hey, who else spotted the ableist language in this week’s Bones? Because I did!
This week, Bones went to Amish country, and a lot of very interesting issues were brought up.
The first was teen sexuality, as a running B plot. It was nice, first of all, to see Cam’s daughter, Michelle. I feared last season that she was being introduced as a prop that we would never see. And she may still be being used as a prop, but hopefully we will see her regularly this season, because she’s an interesting character and there is great potential there.
At any rate, Cam faces a dilemma: Michelle is growing up, so how do we handle her sexuality? On the most part, I think it was handled really well. I loved Angela’s discussion about sexuality, and her stress on the fact that, you know, teenage girls like to have sex too. I also thought Cam’s reaction was very realistic. She struggled at first about how to talk about it, and kind of messed up, and then apologized, and stressed that Michelle needed to do what she was comfortable with, whether that was waiting or not. It was really great to see people saying that it was ok to wait (especially Brennan, confessing that she lost her virginity at 22), but that Michelle didn’t have to wait if she didn’t want to and was making a choice without pressure.
The outlier, of course, was Booth. I really didn’t like his response to the situation, but, the thing was, it was also spot on for his character. Booth does embody the double standard in a lot of ways, and it would have been uncharacteristic of him to do otherwise. I kind of appreciated that they struck a balance, showing us various models of handling sexuality, and kind of letting us form our own judgment. And I appreciate that Brennan called him on his double standard. Again, in keeping with her character, and also great for viewers to see a reminder of the fact that Booth was being kind of unreasonable.
The one thing I did not like, though, was Booth’s paternalizing attitude at the very end of the episode, where he stepped in to hassle Michelle’s boyfriend. It was the classic dad act, and it made me feel uncomfortable, the man protecting teh innocent wimmiz from the evil menz. (For the record, my father never did this, probably because he knew I’d punch him in the schnozz if he did.) The bit at the very end, in which Bones demonstrated actual knowledge of the boyfriend and the fact that he’s going to Princeton, was especially interesting, because Booth kind of did a doubletake. I felt like the scene was, in a way, showing some subtle racism, with Booth making assumptions about Michelle’s boyfriend because he is a young black man and those assumptions being refuted by Bones, who likes evidence and does not speculate or jump to conclusions (although she may infer).
Speaking of racism, I loved the very subtle play between Brennan and Clark. Brennan has delegated fieldwork to Clark, because she thinks he’s the best fit for the job, but he feels more comfortable in the lab. One of his acts of protest is to use a stereotypical slave accent from Southern dramas, referencing the fact that, you know, it’s kind of problematic to stick the only Black member of the team out on the railroad tracks in the hot sun. The protest flies right over Brennan’s head, of course, as she thinks (and is right, as far as I know) that he is the most appropriate person to supervise some delicate fieldwork.
The A story was the investigation of the death of a pianist, which brought our characters into connection with the Amish. I am not even going to pretend that I know anything about the Amish, because, while they interest me, I have not studied them, so am not really qualified to talk. So I have no idea about the accuracy of the Amish storyline. But I did think it raised some great questions which, once again, put the faith versus reason debate in the spotlight.
If someone is forced to choose between being an incredibly talented pianist, and following the religion ou was raised with, what do you choose? I can’t begin to judge or say, but it was interesting to see the characters explore it. Brennan, of course, thought that the pianist should have stayed in the English world and performed, because he had an amazing gift. Booth, though, respected the desire to keep the Amish faith.
Brennan also brought up a great point, and something I really respect about the Amish: You have to choose to be Amish. Even if you are born into Amish culture, you are still expected to actually make a conscious choice to commit to the church. This is in contrast with a lot of other faiths, in which people are born into a faith and expected to keep it.
I know I’m kind of getting off on a tangent here, but I wish we dealt with more things like the Amish do with faith. Like, say, gender in children, or sexual orientation. Why assume that just because someone is born into something, ou will follow it?
Laura also reviewed “The Plain in the Prodigy,” and you should check her review out as well.