At the end of last season, I declared that Fox's "Bones" had gone batshit insane. It's not out of the ordinary for a hit show to go off-track for a season, maybe two, especially after a major cast shakeup. I felt bad writing negatively about the show, not because I'm working for Fox (because I'm not), but because I knew showrunner Hart Hanson was reading my stuff. Fortunately for me, he gave me his blessing to "write bad things about the show."
Well, I'd love to, but I can't. Because "Bones" is back. It's different from the show I first fell in love with, but it's back. In fact, it's batshit back.
This season, the cases have been so well written that they're easily on par with the first and second seasons, if not even a little more complex and intriguing. I cry over pretty much anything, but this season, nearly every episode is hitting an emotional chord. The victims are more human, and so are the people who survive them. I don't know if it's new writers or what, but the stories are just so much better than last season. One episode that stood out to me was "The Bond in the Boot," which dealt with a CIA agent (who was actually kinda dorky, not Bond-y) who had sent his girlfriend a seemingly abrupt goodbye which ended up being a secret message encoded with information that helped solve his murder. Heartbreaking. I have a soft spot for techies in love.
Then there's the most sensitive issue for those of us who were fans of Zack Addy (Eric Millegan) - the interns. Last year, they were not-Zacks. Human apologies for a lousy plot idea. (There. There's your bad thing, Hart.) But this year, they're much more settled into their roles at the Jeffersonian. Some of them more than others, as in "settled in the pants of regular characters," like Wendell (Michael Grant Terry) and Daisy (Carla Gallo). Now that we're not subjected to an introduction every week, they've been able to come into their own as characters. And Vaziri (Pej Vahdat) suddenly losing his accent because a Muslim with an American accent seems suspicious ("The Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood")? That's just kinda groovy to me.
Another notable change is the ick factor. "Bones" has always been a hard show for some people to watch during dinner. I'm not one of those people, but this season, I've had to put my fork down and look at the floor a couple of times. Last week, in "The Gamer in the Grease," the victim was mostly intact, until he was taken out of a vat of grease and his flesh and organs slithered off. In the "Bond" episode, the victim was basically liquefied and melting. And still had eyeballs. My gracious, the eyeballs this year. Kudos, Hanson & Co. - you're totally grossing me out. And this is awesome. I love this stuff. "Evil Dead 2" - which featured a classic eyeball gag - is one of my all-time favorite movies. Ever. To say nothing of the earlier work of Peter Jackson ("Dead Alive," "Meet the Feebles"). If this is the direction "Bones" is taking, I'm not going to complain. Just don't go all blockbuster on me.
On that subject, I had no problem with the "Avatar" tie-in last week ("The Gamer in the Grease"). Anything that can throw a curveball into the squints' crimefighting schedule and bring out the geek in them is fine by me. I dig nerds, especially the "Bones" boys. And seeing Brennan (Emily Deschanel) get all giddy over mummies in "A Night at the Bones Museum" was just spectacular. It's about time we saw what weird pop culture thing got her all high-pitched and fangirl.
So, sorry Hart. Your show is great this season. I will not be writing bad things about your show. It's going to have to start sucking.
*This week's episode, "The Goop in the Girl," features Zooey Deschanel, sister of Emily, who has the exact same birthday as I do.
*I rarely get to talk about the ethereally beautiful and talented Michaela Conlin, so I was psyched to see this article a while back. She actually has the same exact birthday as two close friends of mine and grew up in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania where my cousins grew up. So I'm practically related to this show.
*And I really wanted to give an encore mention to the two-part interview I conducted with Eric Millegan (and Hart Hanson) about his bipolar disorder. Eric is such a great storyteller, and anyone who has ever dealt with mental illness in their lives, directly or indirectly, should read what he and Hart have to say. (Part 1 and Part 2)
Follow Jamie Frevele on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jamielikesthis