Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pointless Video Time

Happy tax day y'all! To celebrate, here's a video that has absolutely nothing to do with taxes:

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bones: The Don't in the Do

Before you get excited, I'll let you down easy: the "do" and the "don't" in the episode title have nothing to do with a proposal, or a rejection of a proposal, or anything to do with marriage at all. Now, let's get to it:

Tonight's 'Bones' episode started with a bang thud. The thud of dead birds falling out of the sky, drenched in blue paint. In the middle of some sort of an evangelistic meeting. Yet, none of this really had much to do with the episode that was to follow. Except the blue paint...but we'll get back to that.

After this typical, slightly bizarre, very loosely related to the episode opener, we got to the important things.  Booth and Brennan. Or rather, a shot of their house. Despite the fact that no one has ever discussed it, I assume that this house is the run-down, kind of burnt looking house we saw right before the hiatus. The house that Wendall was going to fix "before the baby". Anyway, the baby has been born, and Booth and Brennan are living in a beautiful, you'd-never-know-it-was-a-dump house.

They've received a call about a murder (presumably related to the dead, blue paint drenched birds), but Brennan isn't ready to go. She can't decide what to wear, because none of her non-maternity clothes fit right even though she had the baby. Considering the fact that Brennan is A) a scientist who probably knows you don't shed baby weight immediately after delivery and B) normally shocking rational, I find how upset she is a tad against character. Then again, I suppose hormones could influence this shocking change in character (though, really, aren't the writers relying a bit too much on hormones?). Regardless, she is upset about the fact that she doesn't have clothes that fit, and no matter what Booth says she doesn't feel any better about it.

At the crime scene, Booth (stupidly) informs Cam that she needs to tell Brennan how nice she looks. Considering the fact that Brennan is clothed in a blue jumpsuit, I think this might not be the time. But Cam tries, and Brennan gets more annoyed at Booth for his obvious manipulation of the situation. Booth tries to talk his way out of it by telling Brennan she looks sexy in the jumpsuit--but who would believe that?

Oh, and before I get distracted by all this sexy talk, there is a dead body at the crime scene. And it's covered in blue goo.

Vaziri is this week's squintern, and he's super enthusiastic in a way that makes one wonder what drugs he has taken. Oh wait, apparently none! He is just thrilled that his article is going to get published in a scientific journal. He's made it as a scientist, you guys! Anyway, he isn't supposed to tell anyone this marvelous news, but he lets it slip to Hodgins. And Hodgins tells Angela. And soon everyone in the world knows about this.

The blue goo murder victim has been bitten by every animal imaginable. Vaziri, still on a high from his own scientific brilliance, suggests that they use Angela's fancy and unrealistic machine to match imprints from all the animals to the marks on the body. That way they should be able to remove the animal bites, and figure out what really killed the man. Unless it was an animal bite, it which case they're screwed.

Nope, wasn't an animal! But they don't know what it was, because (as Brennan sternly points out to Vaziri) technology can't be a substitute for human effort. Except for all the times it can. But in this case, definitely not.

The blue goo man has been identified. It turns out he was a hairdresser at a high-end salon. And he was sleeping with most of his female clients. He also had super long hair, which is weirdly important later.

Booth and Sweets question people. Typical questioning things happen. They think maybe it's a jealous woman who killed the hairdresser, but 30 seconds later we find out it's not. Because the hairdresser/murder victim had a drug problem, and that is probably connected to his death.

A competing hairdresser has disappeared--maybe he killed the murdered hairdresser! Oh wait, he gets found and upon questioning we find out that's not the case (also it's way too early in the episode for a resolution). Instead he was supplying drugs to the poor guy, but he claims he wasn't doing it recently.

If the murdered hairdresser was using drugs, where was he getting them? After some intense detective work (tracking a credit card) they find that he frequented a shop that was busted a year earlier for selling drugs. Coincidence? They don't think so!

Brennan discovers something important--she was right that humans are better than technology! Why? Because when she carefully examines the x-ray of the bones (huh, wait, an x-ray might count as technology) she discovers that he has been scalped. I told you that hair was important.

Booth and Sweets go to question the shop owner. There is a weird fountain inside with blue goo. The shop owner tries to run, but Booth tackles him! He is carrying a bag full of hair. It's a lot more hair than one person could have, plus it's a bunch of different colors, leading them to suspect that there may be other victims. 

Side note: Booth is all gruff and grumpy because things are unsettled with Brennan (re: the whole attractive/sexy issue). Sweets picks up on this, and tries to give him advice. For a psychologist he does a lot of unethical poking around in other peoples' business.

Eventually Sweets drags the truth out of Booth, and then goes on a rant about body dysmorphia post-baby. He suggests Booth buy Brennan lingerie, because Daisy loves lingerie, and as well all know women are all the same! This leads to an awkward/hilarious scene where the saleswoman asks Booth if Brennan's boobs are like melons, and Sweets interjects that they're like mangoes.

Back to the case: They question the shop owner, but it turns out that the hair was just for extensions. He cuts it off the dead at a mortuary before cremation--you know, like people do. The dead hairdresser was one of his suppliers.

Which is where it gets complicated. Because the dead hairdresser's hair is not in the pile of hair that they found, despite the fact that multiple scalpings happening all over the place seems weird. Whatever. Anyway, it sort of puts the shop owner off the hook.

Angela takes Brennan to a spa day, because Brennan has admitted to feeling pretty down post-baby. While there Brennan has an epiphany. First Vaziri calls her to tell her that the victim's hyoid bone was broken in a weird way. The, as Brennan is getting a neck message, she realizes the only way it could happen would be if the neck were exposed to someone you trusted.

In a Barber of Fleet Street style twist, it was a hairdresser who did it as he was shampooing the victim's hair. And who better to do it than his own shampoo boy. Booth and Brennan (still in her spa attire) show up at the salon, and the shampoo boy admits it. Oh, and he's the one who scalped the guy, because his hair was "too beautiful" to go to waste. Gross.

So, the case is over. Booth and Brennan eat dinner together, and Brennan comments on how nice it is that baby Christine let them eat a whole meal without interruption. She goes to grab ice-cream from the freezer, and Booth quickly puts the box of lingerie on the table. When she returns she opens it. She's happy, then briefly insulted, then thrilled. So the lingerie was a win. She suggests they try it out, and when Booth makes a move to put the ice-cream back in the freezer she tells him to take it with them. Which is the most risque move we've ever seen from these characters. Unfortunately, right as they are going upstairs Christine wakes up, and Booth goes to look after her.

There you have it. All in all a pretty satisfying episode. Scalping murder solved, lingerie bought and appreciated, a usual lack of sex, and a couple of unanswered questions. Namely, where is Parker in all of this, and does that poor boy even know he has a sister? Now that Booth and Brennan are established in a nice house with a baby, wouldn't Booth want some occasional custody of his own son? Hopefully that will be answered soon.

Does your son even know we have a baby?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Women of Television?

 Dear Vanity Fair & Lee Aronsohn:

I Want More Vagina with My TV, Please

I truly respect and admire the women who appeared in Vanity Fair's “Special TV Issue”. Or rather, the issue that everyone online is calling the "women of television" issue. They have definitely all contributed to the success of their shows. I'm not going to bash any of them for appearing in the magazine. What I’m questioning is why certain women aren't there.

For a special that claims it is focused on women having a great year in television, the magazine focuses on actresses. Are actresses important? Of course they are. Without strong actresses we wouldn't have successful TV shows. But there are a lot of other people who contribute to a television show’s success, and this year a lot of them happened to be women. There are many women who should have been pictured, but aren't: Liz Meriwether, Whitney Cummings, Shonda Rhimes, Molly Solomon, Lena Dunham, Liz Feldman, Nahnatchka Khan, Ellen Degeneres, Emily Spivey, Jane Espenson, Tina Fey, Emily Kapnek, and so many more that naming them all would be ridiculous.

This particular Vanity Fair article is coming out right after Lee Aronsohn (the guy who co-created 'Two and a Half Men') ranted that current television comedies are too focused on women. During this rant he decided to use female genitalia as a euphemism for his disgust. I don't think this is the place to repeat what was said, but Goggle it. He took things way too far.

Despite my disgust at Aronsohn's rants, I'm frustrated that his idea of a big insult is linking female comedy to our reproductive parts. We have a man proclaiming, "enough ladies, I get it, you have periods" while completely ignoring the fact that women (who yes, probably do have periods) are managing to produce and write incredibly successful shows this year. Maybe someone needs to show Aronsohn the number of viewers that 'New Girl' and 'Two Broke Girls' have, compared to his own, male-oriented show.

This takes me back to the Vanity Fair issue. The magazine has created a lot of controversy because it pictures the "women of television" either naked in bed, or clothed only in lingerie. And yes, maybe this will help them sell magazines. Unfortunately, it also sells the idea that women's success lies solely in their sex appeal. I'm sure lots of people are going to only skim this article, immediately argue with me, and say that the magazine has the right to dress women however they want, and that women have the right to agree. Of course that's true. I'm not even sure I'm opposed to the fact that they are dressed in lingerie. What I'm really worried about is the fact that this particular issue of Vanity Fair is placing the "women of television" (who are actually "the actresses of television") into one pretty package. A few of the pictured actresses have producing credits on their shows, but none of them are executive producers or showrunners.

Shouldn't we be asking for more than this? We need successful women in television to be celebrated more, not less, whatever Aronsohn says. Don't believe me? Just look at the numbers: in the last year we saw a massive drop in the number of women behind the scenes of television shows. Only 15% of television writers and 18% of show creators are women. If you ask me, we need exactly the opposite of what Aronsohn wants. I want more vagina with my television, please.

'Bones' & 'Castle': Game Changing Episodes

Castle: The Limey & Bones: The Prisoner in the Pipe

Let's talk about 'Bones' and 'Castle'. Both of them had important episodes last night, which may well change the course of their prospective series.


In last night's episode of 'Bones' (recapped here), we all knew what was coming: a baby. It was no secret that Brennan was going to deliver her baby last night, and that's slightly unfortunate. Much of the episode was completely expected. The producers and the network released a huge amount of information about the episode ahead of time: we knew that the crime involve a prison, we knew that Brennan would go into labor near the prison, and (if you've been paying attention to spoilers, like this spoof video by Michael Ausiello, Gillian Jacobs, and Adam Pally) we knew that the birth would take place in a barn. In fact, the network even released an extended scene from this episode, showing the manipulation that occurred between Booth, Sweets, and Brennan. Oh, plus the fact that we all knew that they would name the baby Christine after Brennan's mother. Really, there were no real surprises left. And I think that's unfortunate. I assume that spoilers were released in order to achieve a massive number of viewers for the show's first post-hiatus episode. But loyal viewers don't care about numbers in the same way TV execs do. The episode would have been a lot stronger if viewers could have held their breath in anticipation, even a little.

Clearly, my main critique is not the content of the actual episode, but rather the way that it was promoted. Each part of the episode felt predictable, and a large part of that predictability was not due to the quality of the writing, or the quality of the performances, but rather to the promotion of the episode. I knew what was going to happen next to such an extent that I didn't much care what was happening next.

Now, let's switch shows and talk about 'Castle'. This show actually went to the other extreme. The producers have been promising that the last couple of episodes of this season will change the course of the series. Many viewers, myself included, have taken this to mean that something will finally happen between Castle and Beckett. What that something is remains to be seen--but at this point I think we'll take almost anything. Last week's episode was important, and painful, because Castle finally learned that Beckett had heard him tell her that he loved her, and had then lied about hearing it. While 'Bones' didn't put its viewers on edge enough, 'Castle' put them on edge too much. I was filled with nervous anticipation during the whole episode (would Beckett figure out why Castle was being so distant?), and none of that nervousness had dissipated by the end of the episode. Nothing was really resolved at all, and the lack of resolution was to such an extent that I actually was in a bit of pain (okay, okay, I know I shouldn't care so much about a show--but I do). Now, the fact that I cared so much is a credit to the show. But, that being said, it actually made me hesitant to watch last night's episode. I seriously contemplated taking a break for a week or two so that I could watch several episodes in a row and hopefully see some closure on screen. But, of course, I write this blog so that wasn't really an option.

During this week's episode we continued to deal with the fall-out of Castle learning Beckett's secret. Castle is clearly pulling away (even returning to his partying and sleeping around ways), and Beckett actually noticed. Finally her detectives skills are worth something (where were they last week?!). Lanie gave Beckett some reasonable advice: talk to Castle, tell him how you feel, he's probably pulling away because he's tired of waiting. Now, clearly that isn't all true. It was painful to watch Castle hurt and trying to deal with it, and Beckett hurt and trying to deal with it, and realize that if they just talked to each other honestly for one second none of that pain would be necessary. At the end of this episode things were actually worse than at the end of the last one. Beckett began to doubt that Castle cared for her, and wondered if he could ever change his womanizing ways. Castle continued to believe that Beckett didn't care for him (it wasn't helpful that she was so friendly with the visiting Scotland Yard detective). Great. Rip my heart out right now.

Clearly I didn't enjoy either of the last two episodes of 'Castle', but I didn't enjoy them because they made me care so much about the characters that it actually hurt a little. On the other hand, I didn't really enjoy last night's return of 'Bones' either. However, my lack of enjoyment there was due to the promotion of the episode. With 'Castle' there was too much nervous anticipation (I was so focused on their relationship I couldn't focus on the murders), and I cared too much. With 'Bones' there was a lack of anticipation, and because of that I didn't care enough. Hopefully both these shows can find a happy medium next week!

'Bones' airs Mondays on FOX at 8/7C

'Castle' airs Mondays on ABC at 10/9C

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bones: The Prisoner in the Pipe

Finally, the hiatus is over! Bones returned tonight (4/2/12) for an all new episode.

The episode began with Booth and Bones arguing during a hospital visit. Booth was insistent that the hospital was the best place for their daughter to be born--and he especially liked the fact that the hospital was Catholic. Brennan, on the other hand, used her ultraviolet light to examine the hospital, and was pretty disgusted (but not shocked!) by the amount of blood and amniotic fluid coating everything. She insisted that she wanted a home birth.

A little girl discovers body parts in a toilet. Turns out they're from a suspected escaped prisoner from Jamestown prison. He was hated by everyone because of his giant ponzi scheme.

Booth tries to get Brennan to agree to a hospital birth by roping Sweets into it. It all seems a tad cruel, because he forces Sweets into it by promising they'll be better friends. Anyway, Brennan sees through Sweets attempted manipulation.

Brennan and Booth drive to the prison to investigate. Brennan decides she'll be perfectly safe because she's pregnant and prisoners tend to respect pregnant women. Also, in the car Booth brings up the hospital birth again. Bones remains strong, but she does promise him he can baptize the child and raise her Catholic. Booth is shocked, and clearly touched by the gesture, but Brennan ruins it a little when she says, "Children need mythology, it helps them make sense of the world". Booth is insulted that Brennan called his religion a "myth".

Turns out the prisoner didn't escape. He was killed within the prisoner and stuffed down the sewage pipes. The guy was severely beated first a couple of times, and Booth questions a prisoner who broke up the beating once--asking him who was behind it. Booth forces the prisoner to tell him that the murdered man did the prison books, and that the warden pulled him into her offices right before he disappeared. The warden admits that about $500 disappeared before she realized he was assigned to the prison's finance department.

Angela discovers that the man was killed with a shiv. The warden gives them a huge box of handmade weapons that were removed from the prisoners' cells during the last prison search. They are all labeled with cell numbers. Booth and Brennan examine them.

They continue to examine the weapons in the prison, although Booth is hesitant since Brennan is due any day. Brennan finds a weapon that she believes matches the wound. It is made of tightly wound paper, and some of the paper has print on it. They send it to Angela to investigate to try and see what it says.

Daisy and Sweets start to have sex in Brennan's office, which is actually pretty disturbing. Daisy's foot hits the tray covered with bones and she realizes that they have micropitting from some sort of acid. She immediately takes them to Hodgins to investigate. Sweets is still on the floor partially undressed when Cam walks in. It's a tad awkward.

Brennan and Booth now know that the man's body was put in acid, and that is probably how it was broken down before it went into the pipes. Booth interviews a prisoner who was caught up in the murdered man's ponzi scheme, and who also works with acid.

He lawyers up, and Bones and Booth start to head back home. Booth points out to Brennan how tired she is, and tells her that he loves her. He also says that she is nine months pregnant, and needs to realize that it's okay to slow down. She actually listens to him, and they start to leave, but then Hodgins calls. Hodgins tells Brennan that the type of acid that the prisoner had access to does not match the type of acid that caused the micropitting on the bones. Brennan insists on going back into the prison, even though Booth tries to stop her.

Brennan reenters the hospital with Booth close behind. She tells him that she is fine, and just having Braxston Hicks contractions.

Angela calls them and says that the piece of paper had a recipe on it. They go to the prison kitchens and find the cookbook that the recipes were torn from. Brennan looks at it and manages to get prints off pages in the book (by using cocoa!).

Hodgins realizes that the bones were probably worn down by a vinegar compound. Also, whichever prisoner stuffed him into a pipe stepped on him first. If they find the prisoner they can match his shoes to the fragments on the dead man.

Booth wants Bones to leave the hospital right away, because he doesn't want her to give birth there. Brennan perfectly matter of factly responds, "Why not? It's an accredited heathcare facility, isn't that what you wanted?"

They realize that the man who probably stuffed the man's body into the pipe was a prisoner named Haze Jackman. Brennan walks right into a large group of prisoners without any guards. She tells Booth she'll be fine because she's pregnant, and that seems to be true, as the prisoners are careful not to touch her. That being said, they won't let Booth follow her, and appear shocked at her presence. She yells for Haze, and he jumps up and begins to fight. All the prisoners begin fighting each other, and Booth frantically tries to get to Brennan.

The prisoners continue to riot, but are careful to not touch Brennan. Haze almost does attack Brennan,  but Booth manages to step in and stop it.

They are 10 miles away from a hospital, and Brennan knows they won't make it. She makes Booth pull over. They stop right in front of an inn. The man won't let them in because he is totally sold out, and has a wine group staying there which is worth lots of money. Brennan tells him that she will squat and have the baby on the lawn if he doesn't give them a place to safely deliver.

They end up going into a barn. Booth jokes that they are having the baby in a manger. After she delivers the baby, Brennan admits that their may be some miracles in the world after all.

Brennan and Booth return to their apartment (presumably after having the baby checked out). Everyone  from the lab jumps out and yells surprise. They have brought food and gifts. This is the first time we have seen Booth and Brennan in a home-space since the hiatus, and I think that they are still in an apartment (?). This doesn't mesh with the episode right before this one, when it was insinuated that the house would be finished before the baby was born. Perhaps they'll address the living situation in the next episode.

Booth announces that they named the baby after Brennan's mother, Christine. We all knew that was coming. Then, something we didn't know--the baby's middle name is Angela. This was actually a very touching moment, and everyone was clearly thrilled.

Next week Bones, Booth, and baby will be back! The episode deals with Brennan's first case post-maternity leave, and he baby's first day in daycare.