A Fandom Reality Check

I’ve been part of the Bones fandom for a long time now. I’m used to periodic meltdowns. (In fact, I’ve long thought we should have t-shirts for the old timers saying, “I survived the sixth season of Bones.”)

But in the past couple of weeks, I think we’ve even surpassed the insanity that was season six. I’ve seen meltdowns, major malfunctions, rumors, hate, and general stupidity building to epic proportions – and that’s just on Twitter.

Stop that.

TV shows are entertainment, which means that they should be fun. Connecting with other people to discuss them should be fun. If you’re not having fun, it might be time to re-evaluate.

Much of the turmoil seems to stem from a variety of false beliefs, so here are five realities that are true even when people pretend they’re not. (And no, I’m not setting myself up as Empress of TV – common sense says these things are true of the world; I’m just drawing attention to them.)

1) Criticism is not the same thing as endlessly bashing the show

I know, it feels like a subtle distinction. It’s really not.

Criticism is the act of evaluating a literary or artistic work. It’s limited in scope: you express your views and then you move on to whatever the next thing is you’re going to evaluate. (I know of no professional critics who give the same review over and over.)

Hating on something is just that: it never has an end.

Within fandom, criticism can lead to interesting discussions between people who disagree; it can also lead to new insights about the show.

Repeating the same negative views over and over? Nothing good comes out of it.  Right now, some of the same people who are obsessing about ratings and begging for a season 11 are spending most of their time telling people how much the show sucks. Do you see the irony there? If I followed these people on Twitter or Tumblr and didn’t watch Bones, why the hell would I want to, when everything they say is trash talking it?

Not just about things they’ve seen and not liked, mind you, but also upcoming story lines, which is another issue: criticism requires familiarity with what you’re criticizing. Sure, you can say, ‘I don’t need to see this to know it’s going to suck’ but you know what? You’ve lost all credibility when you do so. If you want me to take your opinion seriously, at the very least it has to be based on having seen what you’re ‘evaluating.’.

It’s one thing to express reservation about an upcoming story. But if you really are dead certain that there is nothing the writers and actors could do to make the story worthwhile for you, then it might be time to find a new show.

It’s their story, you see. They come into our living rooms and say, ‘we’ve got this tale we want to tell you about Booth and Brennan.’ We either say, ‘oh, cool! I like those stories,’ and hang around to watch, or we say, ‘Nah, I’m not interested. I think I’ll watch something else.’

When we get to the point of saying, ‘I already know I’m going to hate whatever story you’re telling this week,’ …it’s time to change the channel.

The same people who created Booth and Brennan in the first place, the same ones who wrote/acted the scenes and episodes you first fell in love with…they’re the ones telling the story now. That doesn’t mean you have to like everything they do – but at least give them the benefit of the doubt and watch the story before deciding to hate it.

2) Your opinion counts, but you are only part of the audience

Let’s assume that eight million people watch Bones each week. (Five million or so live, plus more on DVR, plus more who watch streaming on Hulu or buy the eps from Amazon or Apple) – and that’s U.S. I have no idea about the numbers for other countries. I assume the number at least doubles.

Of that number, how many are, realistically, discussing the show online? Granted, it’s only one platform, but as a starting point, less than 700,000 people follow the official FOX account on Twitter.

Eight million vs. 700,000. And the eight million is US only, while the 700,000 is international.

The online fandom is a fraction of the audience as a whole. Off the top of my head, I can name six people I know in real life who watch the show every week – and not one of them has ever gone online looking for information about it.

All of them are part of the audience. I’m sorry to burst bubbles, but to the network and studio, they matter just as much as we do.

It’s human nature to surround ourselves with people who think the same way we do, and then pretend ours is the only perspective. But it doesn’t make it true.

The showrunners, writers, actors, networks? They know that even the online fandom as a whole doesn’t represent the whole audience, let alone a subgroup.

I once had another fan say to me, ‘Everyone hates Sweets. Everyone. I see it on Tumblr.’ She wanted to sound authoritative, but instead just sounded stupid.

If you hate a character or story direction, have the courage to speak for yourself. I respect someone who says, ‘I hate this,’ and I suspect the network and showrunners do, too. But I just get pissed off when someone speaks for me.

3) The problem with committees

If the audience is made up of eight million people who all want different things, the writers cannot possibly write to please ‘the audience.’ (Seriously – can you imagine a committee of millions trying to tell a story?)

Even a casual pass through Twitter shows competing wants: this person wants more humor, that person wants more angst, this person wants to see more of Brennan in the lab, that person wants to see more of Brennan in the SUV (i.e., not in the lab) – who should they write to please?

All they can do is tell their story to the best of their ability. We either watch, or we don’t.

(Me? If the Bones crew were writing just for me, we’d have more scenes between Booth and Hodgins. But see, that’s the thing: I get that I’m not the freaking center of the universe, and enjoy the show anyway.)

4) Verbal attacks are not the same thing as expressing an opinion

Last week, a fan made a rude, mocking comment to the Bones writers. If asked, she’d say she was only expressing her opinion, which she’s entitled to do.

But I found the comment disrespectful, offensive, petty, and mean-spirited. I said so, and was promptly criticized, even though I made it a general comment, i.e., I didn’t  name the individual.

The idea seemed to be that it’s okay for these fans to say anything they want, no matter how offensive, but reacting negatively to their rudeness isn’t allowed.

Communication doesn’t work that way. If you say something, it’s out there, and you don’t get to control how people react to it.

The phrase “I’m entitled to my opinion” is used to justify all kinds of hate and ugliness, and it seldom accomplishes anything good. Why? Because people who are merely expressing their views in a polite and respectful way don’t need to be defensive.

Back when Hart Hanson interacted with fans on Twitter, I more than once saw him engage with polite fans, even when they were saying, “I don’t like how you’re telling this story.” But those who attacked and then excused themselves with ‘I’m entitled’? Very different response. As is his right.

Being entitled to your opinion does not come with a guarantee others will listen, particularly if you’re rude in expressing it.

And no, there’s no exemption clause that makes it okay to abuse writers and actors because of what they do for a living. They’re human beings. Tell them you don’t like something, but don’t attack them.

5) Don’t believe everything you see online

Friday night, someone started a rumor that Bones had been canceled. Some people bought it, and then responded in a totally mature fashion: they attacked both other fans and the showrunner/actors. (Because yes, if a show is canceled, that’s exactly a response that makes sense.)

The show’s not been canceled, and the comments being made by the writers and actors (the people who actually have the best intel) that same night indicate that they’re expecting a season eleven. But why let a little thing like logic stop a good panic?

Sites like Variety, Hollywood Reporter, TV Guide – if it’s posted there, it’s probably trustworthy. Something you’re seeing only on social media? Ignore it until a reliable site confirms it. If you panic, you’re letting someone manipulate you. Don’t do that.

A final observation:

If watching a show is making you unhappy, find a different show. As a member of the audience, that’s the most powerful thing you can do.

If being part of a fandom is making you unhappy, find a different group of people to hang out with.

In either case, do whatever it takes to be as happy as possible. Life’s way too short to be unhappy over a TV show.



36 thoughts on “A Fandom Reality Check

  1. rynogeny,
    I always appreciate your realistic/positive and mature outlook on Bones, but also on life. I found online fandom with BSG and then when it was over, a friend introduced me to Bones. I was hooked. The realtionships in Bones led me to bonesology and then fan fiction. I remeber the fans being upset with SYFY over long hiatus, switching times etc with BSG, but really don’t remeber seeing the intensity, negativity, and just mean, ugly comments that I have seen lately. However, I have been disappointed that I see that happening in so many areas of our society. On social media, in mainstream newscasts and even on talk shows. If you don’t like it or agree with it, then no exemptions, and as you said they feel entitled to respond in an ugly mean spirited manner to show their opinion. I joined Twitter because of Bones and bones fandom, but have found myself limiting my interactions for all the reasons you mentioned in many of the areas I follow on Twitter as well as decreasing my TV time.
    As I said earlier, I always appreciate you voice of reason and insights into Bones and human nature in general. Thank you for sharing that. Personally, I need the rational and reasonable view and the method you use to share your opinions whether good or bad.

    • I’m very, very troubled that what we see in fandom is part of the culture as a whole. Increasingly, even the idea that civil dialogue is possible or beneficial seems lost – news, politics, religion, other ideological debates. There’s just no end of rage and attacks.

      Bones is entertainment. It’s a TV show. How can that cause people to be so unhappy?

  2. Thanks for the reminder. You are correct, and unfortunately I often find myself on the wrong side of this issue. I appreciate your article as it is written because I needed to hear this.

    • Thanks! It’s possible to respectfully disagree (either with one another, or the writers) and still enjoy the show as a whole – you and I have not always agreed, for example. I just think people lose sight of that sometimes (caught up in social media, maybe) and it detracts from the fun of discussing something we enjoy (or should enjoy) with other people. I was just hoping that maybe a reminder would help, but we’ll see.

  3. My dear Rynogeny… Thanks from my heart!
    I’m following Bones since 2011 (season 6, just after “Barbie Afganisthan”), I joined twitter & tumblr just for Bones, my love for Booth warm my soul in a beautiful way!
    I hope this difficult times in our fandom will pass, and the next season everyfan will be a better fan and we will enjoy our show and will use our words Brennanly 😉

  4. “If being part of a fandom is making you unhappy, find a different group of people to hang out with.”

    The problem with this statement is that there isn’t one unified fandom for Bones, or any other tv show, for that matter. One subgroup of Bones fans think that the Bones showrunners and writers can do no wrong and they love everthing about the show…that’s your group. There are other subgroups who have loved Bones for many years, but have problems with S10, or particular storylines, or whatever. Fortunately we live in a free country where ALL are allowed to express their opinion, not just you and those with whom you agree.

    “If watching a show is making you unhappy, find a different show. ”

    Again, we live in a free country and it’s not up to you to decide what others can, or cannot, watch. Thank goodness for that.

    • I’m Sub fan XD I’ve been a fan of Bones from day one,I’m one of those “Crazy” Fans who watches for Booth and Bones and their partnership take that away and what do you have C.S.I,I need to see them as partners
      And in Some episodes Booth doesn’t do any interrogation and why does he not go to the lab anymore(ED doing less hours, get that, so why not bring him to her) .
      Do you guys really not care if it’s not Bones but Aubrey & Booth in the field to me it’s not as fun as the dream team of Bones & Booth.

      • I am a silly stupid fan of Bones and depending on the day fall into either group. I have loved the evolution of the relationship and the healing both Booth and Brennan have experienced because of their partnership. I like the crime fighting partnership, but I also like them building a real adult relationship with a growing family.

        I am never fussed about additional cast members adding flavor. We did that with Sweets and Shaw in the field, Sweets and Gordon Gordon on the couch, growing respect between Booth and a few of the Squints. The show has matured along with the characters, but at their core they are the same. Brennan can fall back to a quick distrust and even seem insensitive, but then surprise you. Booth is a hard fist, lion heart kind of hero, but is still human.

        I intend to grow with the show and as long as both Booth and Brennan are still there, I will stay tuned in.

      • Since you’re asking like you really want to know, I’m going to answer your question, but please realize that’s all I’m doing – I’m answering your question, not trying to tell you how you should view the show.

        What I see when I watch, and consider the entire ten years of the show, is that it’s changed from time to time. They’ve added more characters (the squinterns, Sweets, then Aubrey), changed the dynamics of B&B from being partners to being a married couple, etc.

        I think that allows them to come up with new stories. While I appreciate that some people really only want to see B&B, I think if they were limited to just that, the show would have ended years ago. Not having to come up with 22 eps every year where B&B are the main subplot is part of why they’re still on the air. (IMO!)

        That’s my take, based on what they’ve said; and maybe some fans would actually have preferred the show to end years ago rather than have eps where B&B are not the main focus. But I think that’s the compromise – we’ve gotten all these years of stories, including seeing them married and raising a family – in exchange for them being the center of the show, but not the center of every episode.

        Second, it’s hard for me to evaluate the effects of some of those changes, in part because while I primarily watch for B&B, I enjoy the other characters, and in part because some of the changes people are upset about this season began years ago. Sweets did interrogations by himself; Booth and Sweets did interrogations together and went into the field, and people were just as upset over it.

        Maybe it’s happening more with Aubrey – I honestly don’t know. But the complaints sound exactly the same to me (and I expect to the writers and actors, as well) so it makes it hard to evaluate. (The Bonesology archive is full of rants about Sweets taking over Booth’s job, taking Brennan’s place, etc.)

        Plus? Last week, B&B were in the field together a lot, were in the interrogation room together, were in the SUV…and some people still didn’t like the ep. I don’t get that, either.

        But mostly, I look at it like this: I don’t think one season can be the same as another, because they’d run out of ideas.

        To *me*, B&B are still partners, they’re very clearly leading the team, are working the cases together, even if they’re not always physically together. It’s like they’re a single unit, (the center) leading the others, and so when Brennan is in the lab, teaching the interns, she’s still part of what she and Booth are doing together; ditto scenes with Booth and Aubrey.

        Plus? I love them together, as a couple, but I also love Booth and Brennan as individuals, and scenes with Brennan and Wendell, or Booth and Cam, or Brennan and Aubrey – all those scenes tell me things about them that scenes of the two of them together don’t. My view of Booth when he and Brennan are together is influenced by who he is when he’s with Aubrey – ditto Brennan. I see her and Christine in the context of how she is with the squinterns.

        And meanwhile, we not only get the scenes where they’re working the case, but we also get the scenes at home, where we see them as a married couple. I treasure those scenes, but I’m aware that the show had to give up other types of scenes in order to include them. Now, many eps include a morning scene at the house at the start; eps used to begin with the two of them meeting at the crime scene. Do I consider fewer SUV scenes a fair trade-off for those family breakfast scenes? I do. I know others don’t, but I totally do.

        I get why others don’t, and as noted, I’m not trying to say this is what you should be seeing. Really, truly not. We see what we see. But all of that is why I’m happy with what they’re doing.

    • I find it fascinating that you quoted from my post without actually reading it. The whole point was that there are many, many different groups within the fandom who all watch for different reasons (beyond the two extremes you reference – though I’m not at all surprised by your incorrect assessment of where I belong.)

      No, it’s not up to me to decide what others watch, and thank goodness for that. But I wasn’t saying people shouldn’t watch – I was saying that people should do what makes them *happy* and that if watching the show is making them unhappy, maybe, just maybe, they should ask whether it’s worth it or not.

      I truly do not get why people continue with something that makes them unhappy. Jobs, family situations…yeah, sometimes there are things we just have to suck it up and live with, even if we’re not enjoying it. But it’s a TV show, and to me (clearly not speaking for everyone here) – life’s too short to spend not enjoying something we do for entertainment.

      You can’t change the show. (Neither can I, or any one else in the audience.) No amount of complaining is going to change things, in part because there’s no way for them to accommodate just one view, and in part because if they tried, and it’s not their view of the show, you’d hate it anyway, because it would no longer be the show they get, but rather them trying to tell someone else’s story (yours) with their characters. There’s no way that ends well.

      So you’re unhappy with the show, a situation no one can do anything about, but are choosing to continue watching, anyway.

      I don’t get that. I will *never* get repeatedly choosing to do something that is making you unhappy. It’s not a life choice I understand.

      • You said “So you’re unhappy with the show, a situation no one can do anything about, but are choosing to continue watching, anyway. I don’t get that. I will *never* get repeatedly choosing to do something that is making you unhappy. It’s not a life choice I understand.”

        Fair enough. It might not be a lifestyle choice you understand, but that doesn’t mean that other people cannot make that choice. It might make sense for them. Maybe they have a crappy life and any tv show, even one thy don’t enjoy, distracts them from their miserable life. Maybe they have invested years in this show and just cannot let it go, despite not agreeing with the current direction. Who knows? Point is, they are free to watch what ever they want, and comment on it, if they so choose. Your choice is to ignore them or not.

        Since you stated that “I find it fascinating that you quoted from my post without actually reading it”, which is a little bit rude, by they way, because I did read it, I’m going to respond to your original post point by point.

        In your opening paragraphs you mention the perceived meldowns, malfunctions, rumors, and hate that you have observed on social media re: Bones in recent weeks. Then you say “Stop that”. With all due respect, that’s your perception of what is going on. Truly, can you define exactly what constitutes a “meltdown”? Where does genuine discussion of possibilities stop and rumor-mongering begin? Why is it up to you to tell others to stop? Stop what? Talking? Going on Twitter? Watching Bones?

        “Connecting with other people to discuss them [TV shows] should be fun.”

        My guess is that most of those folks discussing Bones are having fun…I know I do.

        On to your five points:

        “1) Criticism is not the same thing as endlessly bashing the show…(I know of no professional critics who give the same review over and over)”:

        – The people you are talking about in this article aren’t professional critics. They are just regular folks who watch a TV show and go online to discuss it…same as you.

        “2) Your opinion counts, but you are only part of the audience….The online fandom is a fraction of the audience as a whole.”:

        – True, but that applies to the “rah-rah every thing is groovy” crowd the same as it applies to the complainers.

        “3) The problem with committees”:

        “The Internet has really changed the way we watch TV. Instantaneously, thousands of people are interacting and reaching a consensus on what they like and don’t like. The scrutiny is mind-blowing and you’d be moronic not to listen to the fans.”

        J.J. Abrams, as quoted in Veitch 2005 (Ross 210)

        “4) Verbal attacks are not the same thing as expressing an opinion”:

        — I agree, but it’s a free internet…what are you going to do, except spend all your time complaining about it.

        “5) Don’t believe everything you see online”:

        — Agreed. I feel sorry for anyone who does.

        You said “It’s their story, you see. They come into our living rooms and say, ‘we’ve got this tale we want to tell you about Booth and Brennan.’ We either say, ‘oh, cool! I like those stories,’ and hang around to watch, or we say, ‘Nah, I’m not interested. I think I’ll watch something else.’”

        I’m sorry, but I don’t agree. Legally of course that is true. Bones, and Booth and Brennan, belong to Fox, and Hart Hanson, and Kathy Reichs. Obviously true. But to me, once folks invest 10 years, or 5 years, or whatever, into this story, it starts to become a little bit theirs as well. Of course we have little or no influence on what storylines are written, or which characters come and go, or even how the actors play these parts. But we can darn well go online ad discuss it and yes, even complain about it, if we want. It’s up to you whether you listen or not.

  5. How do you get from someone complaining about an aspect of the show they do not like to that person being unhappy? I do not like the lack of affection between B&B this season, but that is only one part of the show so I am by no means unhappy with it. Do you like everything your government does? Does that make you unhappy? Are you going to move out of the country (equivalent of not watching the show) because of it? You were fussing about people claiming the right to their opinion .Do you know what you were doing when you were defending your right to respond to another fan’s comment? Basically you were saying I am entitled to my opinion and free to express. I agree some fans have been hateful and unnecessarily rude, but the majority are just expressing their fears at the direction they see a show they love going. Whether you or I want to admit it or not, the fact that so many are this upset shows that there is a problem in the Bones universe that needs to be dealt with.

    • The whole point of her post was that people are making themselves miserable over a TV show. It was pretty clear. And reading their tweets and such, they are so obviously unhappy with the show and that is what is making them miserable.

      And as for there being a problem with the show because “so many are this upset”? No. A tiny fraction of the fandom is online, and an even smaller amount of that are the ones who are complaining. So that is not “so many”. That is “a few”. A few who are trying their damndest to make the rest of us look like ungrateful creeps. There isn’t anything wrong with the show, at least in the opinion of the majority. Most of us are pretty happy with the way the show has been going. And we’re mortified to be represented by the nasty minority that has been tweeting the stars and producers. Be unsatisfied with how the show is going, that’s everyone’s right. But understand that they are not going to change things for you. It hasn’t happened in 10 seasons, its not going to happen now.

      Ryn pointed her scope at those who were rude and unrealistic. She wasn’t slamming everyone who doesn’t like what they see. She was *very* specific in this post to make that clear. And if you couldn’t see that…its honestly not her fault.

      • “And we’re mortified to be represented by the nasty minority that has been tweeting the stars and producers.”

        Interesting. Why would the actions of people who are wholly unconnected to you “mortify” you? Why do you feel that they represent you in some fashion? In your own words they are but a “tiny fraction” of the entire Bones fandom. If the stars or producers allow the actions of a tiny fraction to color their view of the whole, then shame on them.

      • The squeaky wheels seem to be the loudest lately. And if they are the loudest, and the rudest, would you want them representing *you* online? Its never fun to have someone scream at you with invective, although its a consequence of being in the public eye. So when those “fans” spew, that tends to stick out like a sore, throbbing thumb to those that work on the show. I don’t think its unreasonable for us to be embarrassed by the actions of a few fans, even though they don’t really represent the majority.

        Bones fans are the best. They just are. We’ve moved all over the schedule and they’re still there, cheering the show on every week. The “dim nasties” (as Hart calls them) are most definitely a minority, and that can only be a good thing. But it doesn’t mean that those of us who still enjoy the show and understand the concept of story/show evolution can’t defend it and them against those who disagree. They can complain, we can counter. Seems fair.

      • Amen NM and Ryn. I know this is old, but this nip picky mega sensitive shit is making all of us look bad. Karen, Ashley, put your glasses on and re-read. She was stating her opinion, very politely I might add, about the loud majority. She didn’t say you weren’t entitled to your opinion and I agree that Ryn was quoted but you didn’t read it. All you saw was what you wanted to see. If you’re feeling so damn persecuted, then stop responding, move on, and grow up. Sheesh.

  6. “They can complain, we can counter. Seems fair.”

    Yes, I agree that’s fair. That’s been my point all along. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

    However, this article is complaining about the complainers, and suggesting that they just “find another show”, aka shut up and get lost, which seems quite contrary to the “everyone is entitled to their own opinion” point of view.

    To be totally fair, I am now complaining about the people who are complaining about the complainers.

      • No. She. Does. Not.

        Quit being disingenuous. She says that if the show makes you unhappy, find a different show. You can’t take her out of context and then expect me to debate you rationally.

        I think you and I are never going to see eye to eye. I can’t imagine defending the behavior of some of these fans and you can’t imagine not defending them, apparently. That’s fine. But I’m done banging my head against this discussion.

        Have a great week.

      • Allowing everyone to express their own opinion has always been my point. I concur that you that we will never agree, on this point at least.

        You have a great week as well!

  7. I am a consumer of the Fox television show Bones. I have watched live and bought dvds for years. I can complain all I want to whomever I want. I don’t need anyone else giving me suggestions about my life. No one here is Dr. Oz or Oprah!

    I do not like anything I’m reading about what to ‘expect’ in the next few episodes beside, the pregnancy being written into the program.

    I remember what happened in s6 and it wasn’t pretty. It lost Bones quite a large portion of it’s audience. That is fact. Check the numbers. Unfortunately for some people I don’t hate Bones enough to leave the show/fandom. The train wreck is going to happen whether I complain or not or whether I watch or not. So I’m gonna watch the train wreck and voice my opinion. It makes me feel better to voice it rather than keep it all in. Just as it must make some people feel good to point their finger at others and complain. Brennan is a character that appreciates honesty. I’m just being honest. We’re all here for the same reason. There is room for differing opinion. I don’t see why it’s offensive to express that. I’m sure Mr. Nathan can block people who have opinions he doesn’t like or have someone else handle the tweeting from his account. Isn’t that what interns do?

    In fact, I think Mr. Nathan said he’d rather us complain than go away and stop watching.

  8. Since words are (effectively) being put in my mouth, let me re-state this as clearly as possible for those who might care:

    I’m not telling anyone to stop watching the show, or to leave the fandom. It’s not there. As Natesmama said, it’s not in the post.

    Four points:

    1. It’s possible to voice your opinion about something a show does that you dislike in a civil way that might actually be heard and respected by the people you presumably most want to hear you.

    2. To *me,* people who seem to spend most of their online time posting mean or hateful comments about a TV show or its writers do not appear to be happy people. Since I don’t know them, I could be wrong in that. Maybe they’re having a good time. Given point one, it should be obvious that I’m not talking about people who simply dislike something about the show.

    3. I believe that we’re responsible for our own happiness, and if something is making us unhappy, we should take whatever steps are necessary to change that.

    For some people, yeah, maybe that’s evaluating whether whatever enjoyment they’re getting out of the show is worth the unhappiness. Again, this is not me saying, ‘stop watching.’ If being permanently angry isn’t making them unhappy, or if they want to be unhappy, more power to them. It strikes me as a sad way to live, but we’ve already established that my opinion is irrelevant. (I’m fine with that.)

    4. As noted in the post, everyone is absolutely entitled to their opinion, whatever it is. And I – and the writers, and everyone else – are entitled, A) to ignore such opinions when they’re expressed rudely, and B) to express our own opinions about how they conduct themselves in a public sphere. As people have noted – it works both ways.

    So, no. No one is being told to stop watching the show, or to leave the fandom, for that matter. (Although I have recommended that a few people who are being made unhappy by the *fandom* – not the show – find other people in the fandom to hang around with.)

    • People are just so damn sensitive anymore Ryn. ITA with you. Sometimes, people just need to stop and think for a moment before responding. If another person’s opinion bothers you that much and you don’t like the response they give to your thoughts, move on.

  9. I think that enjoying a television show is kind of like putting up with a loved one….That may be extreme but here’s what I mean. I really enjoy watching Bones but there are about 3 or 4 things that bug me no end….and I love my husband but he does about 3 or 4 things that make me crazy. So you can accept those things and go with the flow (and perhaps complain loudly), enjoying the situation, or you decide not to put up with it any longer and quit messing with it.

    Right now I like a lot more things about Bones than I dislike, so I have been watching. I may voice an opinion, but as an intelligent and responsible person I should avoid being rude.

    What has distressed me the most on the public forums are the attacks that seem personal toward people in the cast or running the show. I don’t see any reason to make rude comments about the personal lives or personal choices of people on the show. They have a right to privacy and respect just like any one else in the world, even if they are on a television show. i think all of us need to be careful that our comments about what we dislike are not personal insults.

    Just my two cents worth.

    • Yes, a thousand times over.

      People make fun of me for liking the show, suggesting I’m too mindless (i.e., stupid) or enthralled by the writers to form my own opinions. It’s rather obviously not true, as the people who actually know me (or who read my posts here and at the forum) know.

      I just express my opinion – politely – and then move on. And if the day comes when I dislike more than I like, I’ll stop watching.

      The last show it happened with, I still had good friends who were watching it, and it wouldn’t have occurred to me to hang around in the forums trying to ruin it for them, nor would it have occurred to me to verbally abuse the showrunners.

      As a society, I’ll never get how we wound up with so many people so confused about the difference between criticism and attacks. It’s incredibly sad to me.

  10. First – I really enjoy your thoughtful reviews each week – thanks for taking the time to write them.

    I came across Bones on Netflix during season eight. I binged watched every episode in a couple of months. I think watching it like this gave me a different perspective than maybe someone who has been there from the beginning watching an episode a week, then a hiatus, etc. I watched a whole season and could see the progression from epi 1 to epi 22. Could see how even the “clunkers” here and there had some things that needed to be shown in order for everything to make sense in the end.

    So now when I’m watching each show live and on its own without the big picture it does get frustrating – I’m not sure why certain things are being done or not done. But because I have evidence that this show usually does things for reasons, I’m willing to see how it all pans out.

    I also just watched showrunners, which features our lovely Hart Hanson and I learned that the people making TV for the most part know what they are doing – and also that what fans want doesn’t really matter, for the most part. One lady said she likes to give fans they don’t even know they want! (wasn’t that a line between B and B about a sandwich). I guess that says to me that complaining is not going to make one bit of difference.

    Basically I’m going to enjoy this show, warts and all, for however much longer it has.

    • Wasn’t Showrunners fascinating? I loved it.

      I don’t know where we picked up the idea that it’s reasonable for the audience to determine the story. I have this image in my head of our ancestors sitting around a camp fire, and one of them says, ‘let me tell you a story’ – and everyone immediately starts correcting him, telling him he’s doing it wrong, etc.

      The weirder thing with TV is that you know that if they tried to give the ‘audience’ what it was demanding (bearing in mind the question of which member of the audience they’d try to please), they’d then be criticized it for being too predictable.

      With Bones, it’s odd, but having watched S4-S6 in real time, where at times it seemed like it would never ‘work out,’ (Avalon’s promise in S5 notwithstanding) …I still, three years into their being a couple, grin giddily over their family stuff sometimes. (And I’m really not just B&B, but also the team and the individual characters.)

      In any respect, I think that perspective perhaps gives me patience when things don’t immediately make sense. I’m willing to wait and see what they’re doing, what story they’re telling.

  11. Thank you so much for an excellent article. I’ve been a Bones fan from day one and I enjoy watching every week, whatever the circumstances of the episode. I watch because I enjoy relaxing over a rare hour of television, watching characters that bring a smile to my face and a laugh to my lips, in between the criminal activity of course!

    You bring up a variety of good points in your article. I think the main problem with a majority of “fans” is that they forget this is only television. These characters aren’t real, but so many fans treat them as such. Which I suppose is okay, until the bashing and arguing start. I freely admit that there have been times in the past that I’ve visited fan sites, etc. to find out what’s going on with the series. I never stayed long on those sites because I got tired of reading the tweets, etc. of the “fans” on those sites. What often times starts out as interesting input ends up in arguments. I know it probably sounds harsh, but there are “fans” who really need to get a life! Enjoy Bones, but enjoy REAL LIFE at the same time. Life is too short to invest all of your time and energy in a fantasy world of fictitious characters!

    There are very few current series I watch anymore — only two or three. I’m not a great fan of television in general, but I appreciate the actors, directors and writers of Bones. They’re the ones responsible for every direction the series has gone and I thank them for a great show. I totally agree with your statement “If watching a show is making you unhappy, find a different show.” Why hang around and complain about something you don’t like anymore? Find something you do like…and watch it until it makes you unhappy and you can complain about it, too!

    • Yes! I don’t watch much TV, and regard my Bones fandom stuff as a hobby, really (here and at the forum) but I never lose sight of what it means for it to be entertainment, to be a TV show.

      My family has asked what I’ll do when it does finally leave the air, and I laugh and tell them that I’ll miss it terribly…and I’ll read more.

    • I think sometimes the characters are so well written it is hard to remember that these are not real people. I find my self getting caught up in that myself from time to time. The back stories and all the nuances make me care about what happens to these people as if they were friends. That’s part of what makes a show fun for me to watch. So I can understand why people can get emotionally wrapped up and even overwrought over things that happen on the show. And that’s why it’s a good idea to have a reminder once in a while that what we are watching is FICTION. It’s almost sad to say it, but these people don’t even exist. But I sure will miss them whenever the series shuts down…..

      • I know what you mean. Although I do pretty well at remembering it’s fiction, and that it will one day end, I also know that I respond to the characters as if they were real people. I think it’s because they are so well fleshed out, with such complicated, well-told back stories.

        It’s hard for me to explain because while it wasn’t like the loss of a loved family member, I did grieve for Sweets, did experience, to a degree, that grief and shock when someone you care about dies suddenly.

        So yeah, those emotional connections are there, and will make it hard to let go when the show does end. At the same time, I never lose sight of how incredible it is to have been able to see so many years of their lives.

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