Bones: The Foot in the Foreclosure

So, there was some good this week, and there was some bad this week.

Let’s start with the good:

Fat ladies! Dancing! In a club! Having fun! No, seriously. This episode revolved around feeder/feedee fetishes, which could have been superfaily, but I actually really like the way in which all of the fat ladies were handled. I liked that they were all stylishly dressed and gorgeous and actually fat, not Hollywood fat, fat. And they were confident and happy and sexy.

Did I mention that they were hot? Because they were, so, you know, YAY! And did I mention that they weren’t all sad because they were so fat? Well, except for the one who was bitter about her failed weight loss, which, grumble, but, you know, it was part of her character. One fat person being bitter about not losing weight=annoying. One unhappy fatty in a show with tons of happy fatties=meh.

Not so good:

Bones being all judgey about weight, saying “my BMI is within accepted medical norms” to one of the gorgeous fat ladies. Who totally ignored her, it was awesome. (I would have loved to have her jump in with “actually, the BMI is total crap,” which is why this scene was not so good, because that didn’t happen, and I also wasn’t a big fan of the “celery stalk” comment, because, hey, could we not police bodies of any size?)

Also, Sweets informing us that obesity is the consequence of “an obsession with food.”

Sigh.

Lauredhel and I were talking about this, and we both noted that one of the interesting things about Bones is that sometimes the characters do/say really faily things, but it’s clear that it’s part of the characters (Booth: “What’s a PC term for fat?”). It’s clear that these things aren’t the values of the show as a whole, or the voices of the writers. And I dig that. It’s hard to portray characters who are sometimes not cool (as in the pony play episode), while making it clear that it’s the character, not the show’s creators/the show’s ethos, that feel this way.

In this particular area, I think that Bones fell a little short. Yes, it portrayed body positive, confident, lovely fat ladies. Who were happy. But it didn’t go the extra mile, in my opinion. Bones has spewed fat hate in the past, so I expect it of her, and Booth is, well, Boothy, but they could have had one of the fat ladies jumping in with a little more fat pride. It could have been a tad more nuanced. As it was, the show left me a little bit unsettled, thinking about how other people might view it; I think that the framing kind of suggested that we were supposed to be repulsed by some of the content, and that make me sad.

It also made me a little bit uncomfortable that the show focused kind of lasciviously on eating in the club scene. I get that it was supposed to be a feeder/feedee club, and that, hence, you know, eating. But I think that it kind of underscored the food obsession myth that Sweets parroted.

This show also introduced us to Booth’s grandfather, who seemed mainly thrown in as a Wise and Plucky Mascot character to advance the Booth-Bones love plot and dispense sage advice. Which, you know, not handled terrifically, but I did like one scene in which Bones was being her usual slightly neuroatypical self, and Booth’s dad was appreciating her for who she was. A lot of the characters in this show are always chiding and chastising Bones, but Booth’s grandfather likes her as she is, and in fact particularly seems to value her because of who she is, recognizing the neuroatypicality as a part of her, and thinking that she would be a good partner for his grandson.

I liked that. It’s not often that I see characters affirming Bones just as she is.

So, mixed bag this episode. Some things weren’t handled quite the way I liked, but it didn’t push over into the failzone too often. The episode itself wasn’t terribly stellar, sadly, but, you know, it was nice to watch one thing this week that did not completely infuriate me.

5 Replies to “Bones: The Foot in the Foreclosure”

  1. I was troubled by Sweets’ endorsement of the food obsession myth and the feeder/feedee club scenes as well. It seemed to be presented in a very superficial way – lacking the emotional depth of exploration seen in the pony play episode you mentioned. I also liked how Booth’s grandfather really embraced Brennan and her neuroatypical qualities without judgement or criticism. I thought the car scene when Pops complimented Brennan with the “you should be on a game show” line and Booth chimed in with “I tell her that all the time” and “She doesn’t need the money, she’s loaded” was very telling. With these lines, Booth revealed a lot of pride and admiration he has for Brennan. Yet, in previous episodes – especially “Bond in the Boot” – he was very dismissive of Brennan’s money and in the “Dwarf in the Dirt” episode (and many others as well) his admiration and acceptance of Brennan (just as she is) really fails to translate.

  2. I think that Booth’s attitude about her money very much plays into his own ideas about money/worth/class, and that’s actually one of the things they have presented in a very balanced way through the series!

  3. Obesity is not the result of an obsession with food and the fact that a professional person would say so suggests that someone somewhere has issues they are not dealing with. Obesity is multifactorial. Weirdly, one of those factors is poverty. Another is genetics. How about not choosing to spend all your time obsessing about food and exercise? (I was anorexic in college and all I thought about was food).

  4. one of the interesting things about Bones is that sometimes the characters do/say really faily things, but it’s clear that it’s part of the characters (Booth: “What’s a PC term for fat?”). It’s clear that these things aren’t the values of the show as a whole, or the voices of the writers. And I dig that. It’s hard to portray characters who are sometimes not cool (as in the pony play episode), while making it clear that it’s the character, not the show’s creators/the show’s ethos, that feel this way.

    I love this about Bones. It kind of simultaneously shows us that people have crappy fail-y attitudes about social topics, and that people can also discuss them and better understand them among themselves (if that makes sense). I am reminded of the episode featuring the trans woman who was missing and Booth just failing with the pronouns, and Brennan correcting him again and again.

    I haven’t seen this season, so I can’t comment…but tell me they didn’t cast R. Lee Ermey. I like him, but he is typecast as a parent every time a family has military background. There is more than one kind of military man…seriously.

  5. OuyangDan – I’m pretty sure Ralph Waite (the grandfather from the Waltons, and Gibbs Dad on NCIS) was cast as Booth’s Grandfather… I thought he played the part well – some of his lines were a little cliche – but he did bring a lot of warmth and humor to the role.

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