Reaching for Emotional Comfort Food

Season 2 contains my favorite episode, "The Alien in the Spaceship."

Season 2 contains my favorite episode, “The Alien in the Spaceship.”

I like to think that everyone has something—a book, a movie, a TV show, a radio drama—that they turn to when life isn’t going so super awesome, or even when they’re just tired or a little stressed.

My favorite emotional comfort food is the television show Bones, which is now in its tenth season. I’m glad there are new episodes to look forward to, but I’m equally happy watching previous seasons. Over. And over. And over (much to my husband’s consternation).

The reason for this obsession is simple: Bones features confident, intelligent women using their brains to fight bad guys.

This isn’t one of those police procedurals in which there’s a token lady or two (often a tomboy cop). From the second season on, fully half of the starring cast is composed of brilliant lady scientists, and two of them are people of color. Frequent guest stars include more awesome ladies, as well as more people of color.

The basic premise isn’t all that different from other science-based procedurals like CSI or NCIS: A team of scientists examines the evidence using advanced knowledge and technology, and the cops use their guts to hypothesize and suss out motives.

The evidence, however, consists primarily of human skeletons. Dr. Temperance Brennan, nicknamed Bones, is a forensic anthropologist who can reconstruct a person’s life and how they were murdered from the impressions and marks left on the bones.

The murders Bones and her partner FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth solve are fascinating, but the dialogue between the two of them is stimulating as well. Brennan relies on hard science to inform her worldview, and has a tendency to reduce everything from body functions to human emotions to scientific facts. Booth believes in god and his instincts, and their differences come out in frequent discussions about culture, love, children, work, and religion.

Bones isn’t perfect—in later seasons there’s a tendency to reduce female happiness to getting pregnant—but compared to most other shows, it holds up pretty well against my stringent feminist criteria.

The next new episode won’t air until March, so you have plenty of time to watch the previous nine seasons.



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5 responses to “Reaching for Emotional Comfort Food

  1. I haven’t watched Bones in ages, but I do enjoy it but not sure it would fit my comfort food category. I am more of a Hot in Cleveland/Big Bang Theory comfort seeker.

  2. Reblogged this on to Middle Earth! and commented:
    I have always loved Bones since finding it at its 5th season (and spent nights binge-watching seasons 1-4). Then I wasn’t even that sensitive about feminism and racism…I just like the primary character being an intelligent woman who is not apologetic for her success and brain capacity. Glad to be able to re-appreciate this awesome show.

  3. Beth L

    I enjoyed it in the beginning but after the marriage/baby found it a bit trite in the relationship aspect. Have you tried reading any of the books it’s based on? I read one but it didn’t wow me…

  4. 22

    Bones is always a good go to for me as well :) it was the show that got me hooked on crime dramas…Brennan is an amazing character, but I adore Angela

  5. Sheila

    I’ve read the whole book series and enjoy the TV episodes. Aside from the fact that Temperance Brennan is the main character and her profession is a forensic anthropologist there is nothing else in common between the two…except Kathy Reich who produces the series and writes the novels. Book Tempe works in Charlotte and Montreal – two countries, two sets of police investigation characters , one family, and pets. Book Tempe speaks both English and French. Book Tempe is divorced with a grown daughter. Book Tempe travels afar to provide professional consultations and while usually the smartest person in the room is no way the prima donna that TV Tempe is. Book Tempe is a recovering alcoholic, often tempted by demon rum when the stress of a case or her disfunctional family members fray her nerves. TV Tempe’s ego is her blessing and her curse. Great books and TV and worth the time.

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