A Bone to Pick with “Bones”

07/02/11 3:30 PM

I get sucked into the crime/thriller show marathons that stations like TNT run (Law & Order, anyone?). Bones is one I watch, although I don’t love that show as much as L&O or SVU. But I do have a bone to pick with the writers of Bones: it always irritates me when a character is a writer, but she NEVER writes.

Dr. Temperance Brennan, or “Bones,” is a forensic anthropologist and is wicked smaht as we say back here in Beantown, but a wicked smaht person does not a writer make. I know she’s in the exceptional category and she can compartmentalize and hyper-focus andย  such, but that still doesn’t take away the fact that writers need to write. A lot. Especially when they’re cranking out bestsellers in their “spare time,” as this show seems to suggest. I think I’ve only seen her character actually writing once (and I’ve seen a lot of the shows, though not all), and that was a hospital bedside scene where Bones was waiting out Booth’s coma.


This sort of portrayal does a disservice to new-ish writers or people who “want to write a novel” because it suggests that it’s easy.

It ain’t easy. It takes work and practice and commitment and daily effort (or full weekend effort or full night-time effort…keyword is effort).

One of the reasons I appreciate Sex and the City (also now in marathon runs on E!, gawd help me. I’m dreaming about Mr. Big again), is because it shows Carrie writing in every episode. And not just sitting there tapping away on her keyboard and making it look easy. It shows her stopping and thinking and getting up and procrastinating and late nights and deadlines (remember when Aidan was stripping her floors and she was on deadline and had to go to a hotel to get some quiet?).

What other shows — past or present — get it write (ha!). I mean get it “right” in terms of how it portrays writers? What other shows get it wrong? I’ve been trying to think of other shows where the main character is a writer, but beyond the ones mentioned and maybe Dave’s World (based loosely on Dave Barry), I’m coming up empty.

Weigh in. Can you think of others? Do you get annoyed, too?

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Posted by Robyn | in Creative Writing | 9 Comments »

9 Comments on “A Bone to Pick with “Bones””

  1. Laura Matthews Says:

    You need to check out Castle. Start at Season 1. Very fun and sexy show, and yes, he WRITES.

  2. Robyn Says:

    Ooh! I’ve seen the commercials. He IS a cutie. Glad to hear he writes. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Steve T Says:

    Great point, Robyn. I immediately thought of these two classic characters attempting to write and realizing, as you said, “it ain’t easy.”


  4. Robyn Says:

    Oh, I forgot about that episode of Seinfeld. Totally classic! Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Geoffrey Cubbage Says:

    There was a somewhat comforting episode where we find out that Angie writes all the sexy bits and convinces Bones not to make the books all about forensic anthropology, at least. Not sure which season it was in; I wound up having to watch a lot of them in a row when my girlfriend got sick.

  6. Robyn Says:

    Ooh — I don’t think I ever saw that one, but just your description of the scene fits the characters perfectly. I’d still like to see Bones spending a weekend holed up writing and trying to make a deadline. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Ghenet Says:

    I haven’t see Bones but yes, that is annoying! It’s up there with people thinking that it’s soo easy to write a book. Which it isn’t. I loved Sex and the City and how they portrayed Carrie as a writer.

  8. Christopher Truscott Says:

    I remember Melrose Place. Before everyone started sleeping with each other, they had character development and plots. Early on Billy was working on his “great American novel” while driving a cab. It turned out to suck and Allison couldn’t bring herself to tell him. Sounds about right.

    Wow, I can’t believe I remember that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Robyn Says:

    I never watched Melrose Place, but I love that it had a scene like that. Truer than any reality show, that’s for sure.