Television: Bones

We all know I love Bones; I generally count it as my favorite television show. I like the characters--their interactions, their chemistry. The ensemble cast is fantastic.

This is not to say, however, that this show doesn't sometimes go off the rails. Why do the Christmas episodes always play out like bad fan fiction, for example? Daring the two leads to kiss? Finding reasons to strip Booth down and create tension? It's just dumb. I feel like I'm being pandered to in those situations. As in, We know you want them to kiss, but we can't mess up their relationship, so here's how we do it: we get the D.A. to dare them to kiss. See?! Um, thanks, but an overly contrived situation is not what I want at all.

This season--at least at the start of it--was about how Booth had sort of "fake" fallen in love with Brennan while in a coma. His brain had created some parallel life in which he and Brennan were married and were expecting a baby. They owned a night club together! All the best buds were there! Again, can anyone say "fan fiction fodder" three times fast?

And the origin of this fantastic voyage? Brennan's own Mary Sue story, a book which she wrote, read aloud to Booth while he was in his coma, and then deleted.

Of late they've seemed to drop this particular plot point. They've also dropped the whole Booth-can't-remember-basic-stuff subplot as well. For a while there, Booth couldn't remember what kinds of clothes he liked to wear, how to fix plumbing . . . Stuff he evidently knew before. He'd come out of the coma a changed man; Brennan found him distinctly different in a variety of ways. That served a purpose for a handful of episodes then abruptly disappeared, as best I can tell. I'm not sorry that it did, but I can only suppose it'll have to come back sooner or later. I'm just having a hard time visualizing the context, seeing as how they've ignored the situation for so long now.

I still love Bones, of course, and I'm not going to stop watching. Yet. We'll see where this season ends.


Movie Review: The Princess and the Frog

Voices By: Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David, Jim Cummings, Jenifer Lewis
Directed By: Ron Clements & John Musker
Written By: Ron Clements, John Musker & Rob Edwards (screenplay)
Walt Disney Pictures, 2009
G; 97 minutes
4 stars (out of 5)


Disney decided to take a step back with The Princess and the Frog, returning to the old-fashioned 2-D animation of past classics like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. But Disney also decided to take a step forward by creating the first African-American "princess."

I put princess in quotes there because Tiana isn't one. Nor does she particularly aspire to become one--unlike her friend Charlotte, the pampered Garden District-dwelling daughter of "Big Daddy" (John Goodman). Charlotte and Tiana are friends only because Tiana's mother was hired by Big Daddy to create a wardrobe of princess dresses for Charlotte when both Charlotte and Tiana were children. Charlotte's big plan, enabled by her father, is to marry visiting Prince Naveen. The union is supposedly suitable to both: Naveen is a spoiled and disowned prince with no money, and Charlotte has money but desires to be a real princess.

Meanwhile, Tiana is a hard-working girl holding down two waitressing jobs in the hopes of saving enough money to open her own restaurant some day. Friends invite her out for a night of dancing, but it's clear that Tiana is all work and no play, the concern being that she's frittering away her youth and happiness by being too focused on her goal. The returning theme is that love and family should mean more than anything.

The plot is somewhat thin. Naveen runs into Dr. Facilier, a "shadow man" (Voodoo practitioner, one supposes, though it's never said) and is turned into a frog. Like the old fairy tale, he needs to kiss a princess to be restored. Alas, he mistakes Tiana for such and she reluctantly agrees to kiss him--which turns her into a frog, too. Long story short, Naveen's laziness doesn't jive with Tiana's workaholic ways, but they're forced to work together to achieve the goal of getting back to being human.

The standout here is Jim Cummings' turn as the firefly Ray, a brave, loyal and likable sidekick.

The music is also very good, though I was sorry they cut short the Zydeco-inspired "Gonna Take You There."

The writers are also careful to balance Dr. Facilier's "dark" magics with Mama Odie's lighter ones.

It's a little bit fun to see Disney poke at the princess-loving girls by sidelining Charlotte--whose enthusiasm is a tad over-the-top. But young girls going to see this movie are probably not going to understand it. After all, in their eyes most of the movie is about frogs. Beautiful clothes and tiaras get only a passing nod. The departure can be applauded on a certain level, but my guess is this is also the reason The Princess and the Frog hasn't had better box office results.