We have a complicated, semi-abusive relationship, you and I. The thing is, I love you, but sometimes I also hate you a little. You delight me, and yet, you frustrate me, because I see how much potential you have and you seem to have a pathological desire to fall just short of it. It’s like you’re afraid of how totally, completely, brain-bendingly awesome you could be.
Don’t take me wrong, darling show of mine. You are still pretty awesome. But, well, let’s take this episode. You did a whole lot of good. You did so much good it was suspiciously as though you were reading my thoughts on how to make Season four consistently better instead of flashing from hot to cold like you’re going through menopause. You were like, 90% perfect.
That’s right, tonight, forget what your plans are, forget what channel you normally watch, you need to tune in to PBS at 9 tonight. Yes, PBS. Because PBS got their hands on a hot piece of British import by the name of Sherlock, and it’s amazing. I downloaded it earlier this summer when it was originally supposed to be a little British miniseries, because I’m just that crazy about Sherlockiana. PBS is now airing it for the parts of America who weren’t nerdy enough to download it initially. Tonight, you should be in the viewing audience, and here is why.
Cenred: Hello, Gwen. I’ve finally caught on to the fact that dramatic violins appear every time you and Arthur get within fifty feet of each other, so I decided to kidnap you. Hope you don’t mind.
Gwen: Didn’t I get kidnapped with Morgana last season for a shockingly similar reason? Are we still re-using scripts?
Cenred: But this time, I have your long lost brother! Haven’t used that trick yet, have I?
Gwen: The long-lost brother trick? Really? Isn’t that a little… soap opera-esque? I thought this was supposed to be the episode I finally got character growth.
Cenred: Think of it this way – you finally have an actual storyline that involves you doing more than saying empty platitudes to Arthur while looking pretty. This time, you’ll be riding next to him being useless and pretty.
Gwen: I suppose that could be a start.
Cenred: Also, if you don’t fetch Arthur to me to kill, I’ll kill your brother.
Gwen: …That too.
Guys, I’m tired.
I’m trying so hard to like Arthur and Gwen together. I am. I really am. I should, by all rights, love them together and be rooting for the whole fairytale of a hard-working little girl to become queen of Camelot, blah blah. I was raised on Disney movies, after all. So why isn’t this working for me?
This episode should have made me switch teams. There was epic pining! There were violins swelling! There were pretty dresses! Dashing princes! But still, nothing. And for one good reason: Arthur and Gwen suck together. No, they more than suck together. They are excruciatingly awful together, romantically. What they really need is two weeks of dating to just get it out of their systems so we could all get over pretending that whatever’s between them is “true love.”
I mean, far be it from me to quote the pixie Grunhilda (played by the utterly fantastic Miriam Margolyes, who was having entirely too much fun with her role) about this whole situation, but what is love, anyway? Here today and gone tomorrow. Respect, that’s what lasts. And if Arthur and Gwen respect each other, I certainly haven’t seen proof of it. Oh, they admire each other. They idealize each other like fourteen year old girls do staring at a poster of Justin Beiber and imagining he’ll take them to the Spring Fling. They like the idea of what the other could become, but that isn’t respect. They say platitudes and what they think the other wants to hear and continue to build up this utter fantasy that I, as a viewer, am supposed to care about and root for.
Well pardon my French, but fuck that noise.
Considering what I do, it’s supremely ironic that until I was a sophomore in high school, I didn’t watch television. I was raised entirely on PBS and Saturday morning cartoons. Which made me a massive nerd. And, like I’m sure every massive nerd who watched this week’s episode of Bones, I was immediately brought back to all those hours upon hours of watching Bill Nye the Science Guy with the addition of The Science Dude (David Alan Grier). Now, I hate science, but for an hour or so I’d be absolutely transfixed, and watching this episode of Bones was a sweet way to bring up all that nostalgia and wonder I used to feel.
While it’s not exactly secret how deeply I love Merlin, I’m certainly not shy about mocking it. Let’s face it, it’s objectively an absolutely ridiculous show, between the trolls and the goblins and the CGI monsters of dubious quality and the talking dragons and the farts and whatnot. But then there are weeks, like this week, where I forget I’m watching a ridiculous show and get so deeply invested I no longer care about gaping plot holes or the massive failures in regards to romantic plot line.
(In fact, I could pretty much write the entire column and then some just about how on and perfect Merlin and Arthur’s relationship was this week, about all the love between them, about how much better the show becomes when they stop fearing the gay and embrace it, blah blah blah, but that seems unfair when we hardly had any Arthur and Gwen interaction to compare it to besides the most awkward hug in the history of the world.)
But no. This week, there was plot. And when there’s plot, there’s Merlin being anguished and endearing and in desperate need of a hug. From Arthur, preferably, in place of Gwen. Don’t look at me like that, it’s not like they weren’t laying what could have been groundwork for it in the first ten minutes or so with all the old married couple conversations about trust, or Merlin crying over Arthur and holding him close and and telling him how much he needs him or … um. Right.
There were some strange goings-on in Bones this week. And I’m not just talking about Vincent Nigel-Murray’s Colin Fisher’s mood change. Maybe it was just that whatever planets aligned to bring Bones and The Jersey Shore together stirred up some strange juju. It wasn’t bad weird, just decidedly… weird.
I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’ve never caught onto the whole Jersey Shore thing. I will watch all sorts of trash television, but I draw the line at this. I personally blame my New Jersey extended family. My friends watch it as a sociological study, much like Brennan, but when you’ve actually met those sorts of people, they’re pretty much the opposite of charming. Let’s put it this way — I don’t support murder, but I think when I sympathize more with the murderer than with the victim, it’s a problem. When Booth had his whole monologue about how the victim was just a kid trying to enjoy the shore, I wasn’t cheering him on. Instead I was wondering where he’d gotten that from. When did we learn anything credible about the victim besides that he didn’t use steroids? Because excuse me for not believing the girl who claimed to have a deep and everlasting connection with him when he called her a “grenade” as far as character assessment goes.