Un-Funny Bones

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Recently a friend, aware that I have an interest in all things Buffy, asked me if I'd ever watched some show called Bones. He asked this because it stars David Boreanaz, whose major claim to fame is his role as Angel, Buffy's (first) vampire boyfriend. I had to reply that I had not, and could have added that I had no particular interest in ever watching it.

I wasn't even that into David B. when he got his own spin-off; anyone with any sense knows that Angel was infinitely inferior to Buffy. There are so many reasons for this, the first being that Angel lacked both the sparkling repartee and the psychological complexity of BtVS; it was pretty much just a crime show with a vampire doing the detective work. Secondly, Sarah Michelle Gellar might not be the best actress in the world, but she's still more talented than David B, and thus better suited to carry the weight of an entire series. (If you don't believe me, just watch "I Only Have Eyes for You" from Season II of BtVS--I could hardly bear the way DB overacted when he was possessed by the spirit of the school teacher murdered by her teenage lover.) He also didn't age that well; I admit I thought he was very hot when he first showed up as Angel in the very first episode of BtVS, but it wasn't long before he got all thick and jowly, which was odd and unfortunate, given that his character was supposed to be eternally young.

All of which is to say, I endured rather than enjoyed Angel; I watched it because as an academic who does Buffy studies, I needed to know how the story played out--until Season Five when Spike joined the crew, that is--then I watched it because Spike was on.

So I was very gratified to find a summary of Bones from Twisty Faster of I Blame the Patriarchy. She provided reviews of several shows she's seen recently, including this on Bones. She notes that it

encouragingly, has a female lead who a) isn't costumed in a cat suit and b) is supposedly some genius forensic anthropologist. But uh-oh, she is relentlessly patronized by Buffy's former vampire boyfriend, who has morphed into a studly overprotective cop for this series. "I'm not letting you out of my sight until we determine the identity of the killer!" he declares. "I can take care of myself!" the genius forensic anthropologist protests angrily. I see where this is going, and nod off. When I come to, sure enough, there is the genius forensic anthropologist, on her knees in an abandoned warehouse, bound, gagged, whimpering, bleeding sweetly from her forehead, fetchingly chained spread-eagle at the wrists. She is being menaced by a psychopath who is of course about to cut her up alive and feed her to hungry dogs. Buffy's vampire boyfriend saves her just in the nick of time. No matter how much booksmarts a chick has, she's never gonna escape the chained-on-her-knees-in-the-abandoned-warehouse scene.

I try to imagine Buffy's stud boyfriend chained on his knees in an abandoned warehouse, getting saved by the genius forensic anthropologist, and laugh myself back to sleep.

The thing is, in BtVS, Angel the stud boyfriend WAS chained up in an abandoned warehouse/ church undergoing renovation/ derelict mansion, and it was a Buffy, a mere slip of a teenage girl, who saved his studly ass--time and time again. The humor and drama to be mined in such a situation was one of the things Joss Whedon was going for when he created BtVS--along with a matter-of-fact assertion of female power and capability. All of which is one more reason Joss Whedon rocks and one more reason I won't watch David Boreanaz in a show not written and/or created by said JW.

4 Comments

"Bones" is supposedly based on the true life of a genius forensic anthropologist and I have watched enough episodes to notice the thick layer of Hollywood bullshit that this womans life has been lacquered with. If you are a big fan of things like "Seven" or "Silence of the Lambs", then you are gonna love this show. It is super graphic and gross. One of the suppporting characters is the offspring of ZZ Top, seriously.

Despite the over-the-topness of this show, I find myself watching it anyway. Maybe it's because all the super annoying stereotype characters are kind of attractive. There is a little bit of sexual tension, maybe that's it.

I do like David Boring-as... Like the movie goddesses of yore, his empty beauty allows me to project just about any fantasy I want to upon him. Sometimes, that is enough.

I tried to watch “Bones” out of curiosity, but David seemed so smug. It’s so bizarre that Joss Whedon’s kick-ass, sharp-witted “Buffy” seems a heroine of the past. I think there should have been a Faith spin-off, instead of trying to keep the struggling “Angel” alive. Who is our “Buffy” now? Yes, I know you like “Veronica Mars,” but I really disliked how they handled the rape issue in the first season and I took off after that. Maybe it’s better, more believable now? Let me just state: I’m really glad I don’t go to her high school. I prefer my Monsters to come from the Hellmouth, thank you very much! Teenage boys *much more scary* than vampires!

I only watched Angel for Spike, too.

P.S. Thanks for the link to Jana's post. Haven't read it yet, but it looks interesting!

Frankengirl:

I'm not sure it's fair to expect another Buffy to come along soon--part of what made it so exceptional was the fact that it was so, well, exceptional.

I wasn't at all crazy about the way VM handled the rape thing either, but I like enough things about the show to remain interested in it.

Re: a spinoff with Faith.... Judy Dushku, the mother of Eliza Dushku, the actress who plays Faith, is a prominent Mormon feminist. (That's right, Eliza grew up Mormon.) Anyway, at Sunstone in 2003, Jana Riess gave a presentation on her book What Would Buffy Do? The Vampire Slayer as a Moral Guide and Judy was the respondent. She talked about Eliza's decision to abandon her role as Faith--she was offered a spin-off and turned it down in favor of the dreadful Tru Calling. What was truly odd was that it was clear Judy absolutely didn't understand the brilliance, the politics or the appeal of BtVS--for one thing, she said more than once that she was a bit baffled by the show's success, and she repeatedly referred to it as "The Buffy show." I wouldn't swear to it, but I don't think she once called it by its right name. It was really jarring.

Thanks for the info on Eliza (and mom)!

“The Buffy Show” - Ugh, how awful!

I got the sense from the little I read that much of the cast got antsy at the end to move on - not our sexy Spike or sweet Xander, though! They would have stayed.

I seem to recall Joss writing about how he started working with the cast as a “democracy” and although that worked well at the beginning (when everyone was fresh and relatively unknown), it started to fall apart at the end when some of the cast got a bit big-headed.

It’s hard when the fans seem to appreciate a show and its writing more than those actually involved! But I can understand the desire to try out new characters and venues; to spread one’s wings and fly from the “nest.”

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on March 21, 2006 9:00 AM.

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