My best friend has more genealogy than she knows what to do with. Growing up, I’d hear her tell me about her giant, ancient family, I’d hear her complain that she couldn’t get any new furniture because there were too many antiques, see her show me heirlooms as carelessly as if they could be found on any street corner, looked at her ancestors’ framed immigration documents that hang on her bedroom wall. My best friend jokingly refers to her family as “the bad guys of history” – the slave-owners, the mill-owners, the rich white men who everyone ends up hating in history classes. I’m lucky, she’s always said. My family are all Jews. I never had to feel responsible for the things someone in my family did because the people I came from didn’t do much of anything at all
But I guess I never felt very lucky about it.
When I tell people that Hawaii Five-0 is my favorite drama, I usually get a lot of incredulous looks. Because, really? A re-make of a cheesy cop show? Isn’t that supposed to be regulated to guilty pleasure status? Isn’t that something you’re supposed to watch secretly and pretend you’re so much cooler than?
After this week’s episode, I say, “Screw that.” It has absolutely earned its status as my favorite drama.
The first thing Pip realizes in his time aboard the HMS Icarus is that while all the men say they’re sailing for Queen and country, they’ve all got at least one other queen they’re sailing for, too.
Pip’s Christian name isn’t Pip, it’s Jack. He doesn’t have a last name that he’s ever known, and there are at least four Jacks already aboard, so they call him Pip, ’cause he’s the youngest. He hates it, but when he complains to Bilson, the cook, he just snorts and says, “best not complain, Pip, it’s the ones they don’t name that never last.” Bilson’s like a battered scrub-pine atop a cliff – he’s gray-brown all over, beaten and craggy and knotted. He’s got two queens – the ocean and the ship’s mouser, Madge. Madge and Bilson hate everyone, but they like Pip well enough. And Bilson’s a good galley-master, too. His slop’s edible, far better than anything Pip used to scrounge in alleyways or swallow down in poorhouses. He keeps the larder stocked and warns them all against scurvy, forcing dried fruit on everyone if’n they like it or not. He always saves extra for Pip and Madge, and even if the Icarus is the strangest place Pip’s been in his life, Bilson makes it feel like maybe it’s home.
Ding dong, another Bones plot device is gone. Because honestly, that was pretty much the entire point of this episode. Forget the BMX riders and Sweets and whatever else passed for “plot”, the real take-away is that Hannah is now out of the picture. Even though I’ve gone from hating Hannah to being, well, not exactly fond of her, but not thinking of her as all that awful, she still never was quite able to shake the fact that she existed for no other reason than to be a giant walking plot device. And what’s more, she was a poorly written one. She was a bad choice for the writers to make.
Television writers make terrible choices all the time, because everyone makes bad choices sometimes. And like everyone’s bad decisions, there’s no shame in making a few. But here’s what I love about television so much more than any type of media — not only are the mistakes broadcast, quite literally, to the world at large, but once they are, there’s real-time feedback that allows for writers to hear what they did wrong and fix it. No, they can’t change the past, but they can write around their blunders. You can’t do that with a movie or a book. Once it’s done, it’s done. The ability to grow and tweak your story as you go is what makes television so great, and is the reason I love it so very much.
I just wish someone would convey this point to the Bones writers, because I don’t think they’ve learned a damn thing.
There are many things people can and should take seriously in life. Things like, say, having a stroke, or the child literacy rates in third world countries. Things people should not take seriously are cop shows. They are highly unrealistic. If they were actually realistic, there would be a lot more episodes wasted on false alarms and the highly popular past time of urination on public property which, if my town’s paper is to be believed, covers about 90% of all crimes cops actually deal with. But as far as I can tell, that is not exactly the point of Hawaii Five-0 or, in fact, almost any cop show. It’s to entertain and fulfill all of our deeply-seated needs to see bad guys beaten up and taken down.
So to preempt the peanut gallery of Statler and Waldorfs that seem to take some deep enjoyment in simply lying in wait for posts to go up so they can vent frustrations, let me take a moment to explicitly agree with you on this point — this episode was unrealistic as all hell. If you want to see realism in a cop show, I suggest you break out your DVDs of The Wire, because this show will never fill that need. If, however, you would like to see amusing and endearing people solving crime in stupidly gorgeous locations, congrats! Have we got a show for you.
So was it just me or was this week’s episode Bones … kind of good? I know, it was a weird sensation for me, too. After I watched it for the first time I was like, “I know I thought that was good, but I must have been imaging it.” So I slept on it. And watched it again. Then thought on it some more. And nope. It’s still a good episode. And what’s more, it felt markedly different from its less-than-stellar predecessors. So what was different this week?
This morning, I found myself unaccountably moved by a blog that had absolutely nothing to do with me.
Like the good child of socialists I am, I am extraordinarily fond of NPR. I was browsing through their stories, which I do sometimes while I’m waking up, and I stumbled across an article about a blog called Born this Gay, where LGBTQ individuals send in pictures of themselves as children that they now look back on and go “wow, I was so gay.” And, as a ridiculously heterosexual woman, I there was no reason for me to get verklempt over this, except I did. I so totally did. And I think a lot of it had to do with reading all the stories of gay kids who, despite growing up in often unwelcoming environments, had family who were relentlessly supportive and accepting. Which isn’t a story that you hear that often, and honestly, touched me.