Bones is a television series which started in 2005 and is still ongoing. Temperance "Bones" Brennan, forensic anthropologist, is the pride of the Jeffersonian Institute's medico-legal lab. She's a brilliant scientist who's traveled all over the world in the course of her work and has even used her experience in the field to write a couple bestselling mystery novels. She's the person the FBI calls when a body turns up that can't be identified by normal procedures.She's also aggressive, abrasive, and has all the social grace of a snapping turtle.Fortunately for her (and the members of the public who have to deal with her), she has FBI agent Seeley Booth on her side. A former sniper with a young son and a laid-back loose-cannon personality, Booth is Brennan's partner in crime-solving, mutual irritation, and Unresolved Sexual Tension. With the help of a team of "squints" (Booth's terminology for The Lab Rat, cause they're always squinting at things), the two of them solve murders through a mix of forensics, detective work, and occasional violence.Bones is easy to dismiss as yet another Forensic Drama, especially considering the laxity of some of the science and the better-than life crime recreation technology, but fans are quick to point out that the show's strength lies in its characters. The cases are little more than a backdrop for their interaction and growth. The writing is sometimes uneven and the episodes are more often either brilliant or horrible rather than mediocre, but the dialogue is clever and frequently peppered with moments of genuine emotion. Their behavior and interests help the audience relate to them as One of Us.Rounding out the main cast of the lab are conspiracy theorist Jack Hodgins, the "bugs and slime guy"; hip and snarky Angela Montenegro, the facial reconstruction and crime scene recreation artist; and No Social Skills Zack Addy, a grad student even more socially awkward than the title character. Season two added Dr. Camille Saroyan, a pathologist who'd been assigned to take charge of the lab. Tension resulted, naturally, although it's mostly been smoothed over now. Season three added Dr. Lance Sweets, an FBI psychologist tasked with doing therapy sessions between Bones and Booth as well as profiling some of their suspects. The show also stars a rotation of "squinterns", Dr. Brennan's ambitious and quirky doctoral candidates.An often recurring theme is the nature of intellect versus emotion and at what point you should use which. Most of Brennan's team rely on careful logic, and in some cases are bound entirely to it. Meanwhile Booth brings Brennan along on investigations and has to help put a soft touch to her chainmail glove when dealing with people.A recurring element is wisecracking Hodgins and stoic Zack/squintern of the week performing some absurd "test" to help solve cases. One particularly memorable one was putting a frozen pig through a wood chipper. It's a Long Story.Loosely based on the novels and life of Kathy Reichs, a professor of anthropology and a director of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.Has a character sheet. Not to be confused with the comic book series Bone, the animation studio BONES, The McCoy, the Snoop Dogg horror film, or actual bones.
Adorkable: Most of the regular male cast: Zack, Hodgins, Sweets, Vincent. Brennan is an uncommon female example. Despite geeky traits, Booth (comic book collector, although that is basically his only one) and Wendell are a little too macho to count, and Edison and Arastoo (after being caught faking his accent) seem a bit too smooth. Finn is a genius, but not at all nerdy.
Adult Fear: Brennan's anxiety when she couldn't get ahold of Max, who was babysitting Christine.
Aerith and Bob: Seeley and Jared Booth. Seeley is a legitimate name, but it sounds a little odd when compared to his brother's.
No matter how often Sweets is useful or just plain right, Brennan always dismisses it as coincidence. This has been sort of wink-and-nudge acknowledged as Brennan not necessarily believing it's a coincidence, but making herself believe she believes it's a coincidence, which is not the same thing. Witness the time she tries to get Sweets to explain, and he blows her off with "You wouldn't believe me anyway." The curiosity clearly eats her alive.
Lampshaded (somewhat) by Booth in the first episode, when his way of turning over a new leaf with Brennan is by referring to them as Mulder and Scully.
The Booth/Brennan partnership and UST has often been compared to the Mulder/Scully partnership and UST. Quite a few Bones fans were The X-Files fans first. The core formula for both couples is still there; the Mother Nature, Father Science trope is inverted for both. However, since Booth and Brennan are not (thankfully) Expys of Mulder and Scully, the personalities are different and so is the interaction and dynamic between partners. Not to mention the Booth/Brennan romantic relationships was (presumably) planned from the start, giving a more logical progression to their UST (also adds realism). Unlike Mulder and Scully's romantic relationship, which was not planned from the start and entered into Romantic Plot Tumor territory after awhile.
All Psychology Is Freudian: Played straight by psychologist Sweets who often utilizes Freudian theories and language. However, psychiatrist Gordon Wyatt subverts this stating that "Freud is largely discredited, so to hell with him." Keep in mind Brennan actually feels that Wyatt's psychology makes more sense.
Almost Out Of Oxygen: Brennan and Hodgins wind up in this situation when the Gravedigger buries them alive. Due to the relatively hard science nature of the program, Dr. Hodgins manages to MacGyver a carbon dioxide scrubber, and gets a text message out.
Angst / What Angst: Angela and Hodgins are brimming with sadness after learning they both carry a gene that gives their child a 1/4 chance of being blind, but later Hodgins decides to make the best of it, saying they should take up hobbies that don't require sight (piano for him and sculpture for her).
Anti Intellectualism: Hodgins gets chewed out on a regular basis for his impromptu tests — spam and artificial bone to determine exact circumstances of death by incineration make perfect sense to Hodgins and the viewer, but Cam says (paraphrased): "You say SPAM to a jury and they get a laugh and the perp gets an acquittal!" Bones herself gets harangued for being smart while jurors are slack-jawed morons — she nearly loses an otherwise open-and-shut case because the opposing expert is chatty and handsome. "The jury likes Michael better than they like me, apparently that’s a problem. Are they stupid?" Goodman responds that, "Compared to you, yes they are stupid. However, compared to you most of the world is a little stupid." Bones and her "squints" are supposed to be smart enough to catch crooks with microscopic bone fragments, but not smart enough to intimidate Muggles.
Artistic License - Biology: In one episode Booth gets his sperm analyzed and everyone brags up that he had 28.8 million sperm in 3 mL. Although anything over 1 million sperm per mL is capable of fertilization, the average sperm count for a male in the United States is 120 million in ONE mL. (Or 360/28.8 = 12.5 times Booth's sperm count).
In "The Pathos in the Pathogens" involves a virus that is eating away the victim's corpse. By definition, viruses require living cells to reproduce.
Artistic License - Chemistry: In "The Twisted Bones in the Melted Truck", the bones in question were "melted" by exposure to a magnesium fire. Magnesium burns at 5000°F plus which would have been more than hot enough to melt the bullet which was found intact within the skeleton (lead melts at 622°F, steel at 2500°F).
Background Music: Billy Gibbons gets his very own background riffs in "The Killer in the Crosshairs". Then again, it is Billy Gibbons.
Badass Boast: As badass as one can get in a realistic series: "I shave, sir. I have a driver's license. I've won a couple fistfights. I've saved a life. I've lain with a woman. I've been hustled at pool. I've defied my father's wishes. I have broken hearts and I have been heartbroken. So by all the markers of this society, I am a grown man."
Bones flips out whenever Booth is hurt or threatened. In one episode, she grits her teeth, screams, and guns down a middle-aged stalker who shot Booth. Booth later faked his death so that he could go deep undercover for exactly the first ten minutes of the following episode. When he came back, she was so upset, she hit him. She also smacks the Gravedigger with a metal briefcase.
Likewise, Booth for Bones (see the end of "The Woman in the Garden," where Booth threatens a gang leader).
Ask Booth any questions about his abusive father and he goes from happy guy to Death Glare in a heartbeat.
Booth is related to Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth; the fact that he's also a sniper makes him doubly sensitive about it.
It's just one time, but Dr./Chef Gordon Wyatt gets a good one in "The Dwarf in the Dirt." "FRY COOK?!"
Birth Death Juxtaposition: The death of Vincent and the birth of Angela and Hodgins' son an episode afterwards. Plus Brennan seeking comfort with Booth over Vincent's death led to her becoming pregnant
Bittersweet Ending: "The Hole in the Heart". The Squints pay tribute to Vincent Nigel-Murray by singing his favorite song as they place his casket in the hearse.
Bland Name Product: "Sea Chimps" (= "Sea Monkeys") were used in one of Hodgins's and Zack's experiments.
Also Hottie Student Body, a thinly-disguised Girls Gone Wild.
Blatant Lies - Dmitri Vladov is an importer of window cleaner. He has no knowledge of any vodka.
Black, White, Asian: Cam, Brennan, and Angela. It fiddles around with the stereotypes, too: Angela is the cool one, Cam is the reserved one, and Brennan is the nerdy one (granted, they're all nerds, but she takes the cake).
Body In A Breadbox: Corpses turning up in unlikely places is such a hallmark of the series that most episodes are named for where the body-of-the-week is found.
Book Dumb: Booth, contrasting with Brennan's TV Genius; there is evidence that this is more an act of Obfuscating Stupidity on his part, so that the various insufferable geniuses he works with are less threatened by him. We know he's Book Dumb, and we know he uses Obfuscating Stupidity to make Bones feel better, but we don't know the degrees in which these tropes are present. Probably he's just picked up a lot more from working with them than he lets on.
Booth is usually presented as more intuitive with a high emotional intelligence which makes sense for someone who has suffered abuse. Several episodes generally present him (and others) acknowledging that within context of the team, his "specialty" is the emotional aspect of such cases. It comes up a lot less though because within context of having to present a legal case and identifying bodies, gut instincts generally don't cut it.
Boom, Headshot: The Gravedigger meets her end when a sniper uses a high-caliber rifle to invoke this trope, and we get to see her head explode, on screen, in glorious high def.
Break Out The Museum Piece: Hodgins and Wendell do this (with a healthy dose of MacGyvering) when they are trapped by a blizzard without power, and they have to solve the case quickly because the murderer might be contagious. The clearest example is when Hodgins actually manages to vaporize some of the metal shrapnel and analyze it. Justified because they work IN a museum.
Angela had to borrow an Amiga computer "from the third floor" to process a 20 year old floppy disk found with a victim.
The Gravedigger is introduced in season 2. Then they waited until season 4 to bring him actually her back in. And then until season 5 to actually convict her. And finally, in season 6, she meets her graphic, but well-deserved end.
The Angela Forever tattoo that Hodgins involuntarily receives in season 4. Finally revealed to Angela in season 5. She does not approve. Followed in season 6 by a Dad tattoo on the other bicep.
In "The Princess and the Pear", Fisher winds up sleeping with a suspect. In "The Gamer in the Grease", he mentions he's had nearly 100 conquests and gets another one while waiting in line to see Avatar.
After learning of Booth and Bones' mistletoe kiss in "The Santa in the Slush", Sweet's first reaction is "was there tongue?". Two seasons later, in "The Parts in the Sum of the Whole", Sweets learns of Booth and Bones' real first kiss, during their first case before the pilot and is pretty dang shocked. Bones immediately replies "there was tongue contact" before he can even ask the question.
British Royal Guards: When Brennan and Booth go to London, they suspect a Buckingham Palace guardsman of killing the Victim of the Week, but it turns out he only beat the guy up for sleeping with his sister. While waiting for the guard to finish his tour Booth taunts him, knowing that he can't react. When Booth discovers the truth about the two, he apologizes to the guard who very subtly acknowledges Booth with his eyes.
Broken Aesop: In "The Goop on the Girl", a suicide bomber at a bank appears to detonate his bomb using the signal from an angry left-wing radio show. Booth accuses the host of spreading "poison" throughout the airwaves and causing the attack, even if he was not legally responsible. The episode ends with the radio host giving a long apology on air, lecturing on the dangers of media-stoked rage, and ending his radio show. Nobody told him, however, that the radio show didn't inspire the bombing. The only reason the show's signal set off the bomb was because it was very close to the frequency used by the actual robbers.
Brennan, Hodgins, Zack and all the interns. To the point where, in stark contrast to the rest, Clark actually seems like this simply for being so very normal.
Jude the Science Dude, a children's TV show host, who veers between competent anatomist and goofy Barney the Dinosaur-type.
Booth is a milder example. His trademark loud socks and "Cocky" belt buckle would not be acceptable attire for a less competent federal agent.
The interns have been working on their various quirks between seasons, but the quirk-180 is just as jarring — for instance, Edison (Mr. Separation-of-work-and-play) suddenly asking if Cam is still dating the gynecologist (she is) and pestering the others for relationship advice on a Valentine's Day episode.
The Butler Did It: Deconstructed. The butler says he did it to protect his employers' reputation, but it's implied that he's falsely confessing for that reason. They even vow to provide him with "the finest legal representation". And all law enforcement officers present immediately pull the how-stupid-do-you-think-we-look expression.
Angela and Camille, the two main characters of color, are both half-white and look very light.
Definitely averted for Clark Edison, although he's not a main cast member.
Double Subverted with Arastoo. He shows up as a thickly-accented, fresh off the boat, Arabic stereotypical Muslim who observes all of the customs of his faith. It turns out that the accent is fake and he is an urban intellectual who puts on the FOB act to keep people from questioning his devotion to the Muslim faith.
Casanova Wannabe: When Dr. Nigel-Murray starts going to Alcoholics Anonymous and has to make apologies to anyone he's harmed, he brings up that he bragged about sleeping with Angela... and Bones... and Saroyan...
Eric Milligan is trained in musical theater, so the show had Zack sing an amazing rendition of "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing".
John Francis Daley's band Dayplayer made an appearance in the season 4 finale.
In the season 3 ep. "The Wannabe in the Weeds" Dr. Brennan tells the cast that her mother insisted that Temperance sang "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" better then Cyndi Lauper. Emily Deschanel gets the chance to prove that later in the episode.
The actor who plays Fisher is also in Avatar. This would not be a problem, except Fisher appeared in "The Gamer in the Grease", which has an Avatar-centric B-plot about him getting free tickets to the movie, and hatching a scheme with two coworkers to keep a place at the front of the line. Ironically enough, he winds up missing the movie completely.
Averted. Bones hooks up with more men than any other female lead not portrayed in a misogynist manner on American television, ever. She once dated two men at the same time, one for sex and the other purely for conversation. They're not amused. She even discusses society's gender roles and sexual hangups from an anthropological perspective that flummoxes her partner Booth.
More recent episodes do the same thing such as Bones reasonably justifying the choice of several teenaged girls to have children without the father, skip college, and live together. Booth, being a practicing Catholic, is flummoxed.
Somewhat inverted once, in that the only time we see Booth securing his gun in his home's hidden safe, it's the only time he might have use for it: there's a wanted killer waiting for him in the living room.
Also, it seems, Chekhov's Bank Account. Practically anytime that it's mentioned that Bones is really really rich, by the end of the episode she donates large amounts of money to a good cause. Except in the season 6 premiere, when she pays Wendel a large sum of money so he doesn't have to work for tuition, without the audience being reminded beforehand about her wealth. Also, at the end of the seventh season premiere, Bones is looking for houses for her and Booth to move into and she casually mentions that one, which is obviously a mansion, costs only $3 million, at which point Booth almost chokes on his beer because he wants to pay for half of the house.
A literal example is Bones' hand-cannon. The subject of much Freudian dialogue throughout the episode, it comes in handy when Booth has to shoot a serial killer through a metal door.
Geller: You're carrying the 50-caliber 500. Well, that's five shots. (cocks his shotgun) And by my count... (snaps the shotgun) ...you only got one shot left. That's one dumbass gun to bring to a shootout! Booth: One shot. (BLAM!)'' One hell of a shot.
In "The Change in the Game", Bones and Booth spend most of the episode at a bowling tournament and are saddled with a "horrible child" as Bones calls her. In between dealing with the girl, Bones states "you and I would never have a kid like that" several times. Guess what she announces at the end of the episode?
Circling Vultures: Used at least a couple of times - once when the heroes were looking for some remains and saw vultures circling so they knew that that's where the remains were, and once when they were lost in the desert and saw vultures circling over them.
Comic Role Play: When the Squints are re-enacting a crime, you can bet it's going to end up as this.
Particularly when one of them tries to role play as Booth simply to try and come up with a theory to why a crime was committed when he's not available (they're the science people, he's the people person).
At least one was oddly plausible; he believes that old, rich families secretly rule the world. He is actually a member of one of these families. Another was actually confirmed by a government official when he suggested it as a viable tool, although it turned out to be nowhere as cloak and dagger as he imagined (it basically came down to looking up information that was available in public records, but the way he described it made it sound like there was a dossier already prepared for every human being the US government knew existed).
Hodgins: You call it conspiracy theories, I call it the family business.
One episode features a team of secret service agents 'comandeering' the lab and the team, requiring them to examine a set of bones. They're firmly told not to speculate about the deceased's identity, but as the evidence mounts it looks more and more like they're examining the remains of President JFK. and if it *is* JFK, then the evidence they uncover all but proves the existance of a second gunman, and a cover-up.)
Contamination Situation: The first season's Christmas episode, "The Man in the Fallout Shelter". The entire team is exposed to an infectious body.
Conveniently an Orphan: Dr. Brennan, whose loss is used to explain and excuse her (seemingly?) detached approach to humanity.
David Barron: Objection. Assuming facts not in evidence. Caroline Julian: What do you mean? The defendant has every needle disease in the book, except HIV. David Barron: Same objection. Plus Miss Julian seems to deeply desire to testify herself. Caroline Julian: Yes, I would like to testify, because then I'd know what answers I was getting. Judge: Alright, settle down. This is a murder trial, not a night at the Improv.
Crippling The Competition: In one episode, the Victim of the Week had done this to himself shortly before he was killed: he slammed his right hand with a desk drawer to break it, in order to remove the temptation of going to a music school to study piano.
Cultural Translation: The original novels were partially — sometimes mostly — set in Montreal or North Carolina. This gets a nods in the pilot, where Brennan tells Booth the nearest forensic anthropologist other than herself is in Montreal.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: For the final sniper cat-and-mouse show down with Booth, Broadsky, as trained snipers are taught to do, camped out on the high ground. Unfortunately, he forgot that in their previous encounter Booth shot his rifle out of his left hand, mangling it; therefore he can only rest the gun barrel on his arm and is incapable of gripping the barrel and aiming downwards. This allowes Booth to do the exact same thing to his other hand before he can change cover.
A Date with Rosie Palms: Alluded to when Mr. Fisher the depressed intern gets in trouble for sleeping with a suspect:
Mr. Fisher: Can I please keep my job if I promise never ever to have sex again with anyone, which, by the way, suits me temperamentally? I happen to be very self-sufficient.
Dawson Casting: Zach is supposed to be the youngest member of the team by a significant margin; in fact Eric Millegan is the third oldest member of the cast after David Boreanaz and Tamara Taylor.
Death In The Clouds: In one episode they're taking a plane to China when a dead body is found, and they have to discover and arrest the murderer before they touch down or else the case becomes "property" of China.
Denser And Wackier: A common comment from season four onwards is that the show begins to dip more towards the comedy part of "dramedy".
In "The Babe in the Bar," when Vincent Nigel-Murray comes up with an idea to preserve the bubbles of the victim's last breath, Cam in her enthusiasm says "If I didn't have self-control, I could kiss you!" The normally Motor Mouth Nigel-Murray is struck silent for several seconds until Hodgins brings him out of it.
Hodgins himself falls victim, when he sees the newsreel Angela dug up to check out Booth's new girlfriend.
In "The Male in the Mail", Edison can't stop staring at Bones fidgeting with her pregnancy-sized breasts.
Double Meaning Title: The sixth season opener, "The Mastodon in the Room", deals with the team getting back together and examining the motivations that had split them up and the problems this had caused. Unlike most episodes however, the case has nothing to do with mastodons. It instead involves the body of a young boy, and as the episode is entering its last few minutes with not even a mention of mastodons you find yourself thinking "Aren't they ignoring the Mastodon in the Room?". Then in one of the final shots, the team returns to their old lab — which in their absence has been turned into an exhibit room for the Jeffersonian — which features an actual mastodon.
Downer Ending: "The Graft in the Girl". Sure, they caught the murderer, but Amy's still terminal.
Howard Epps's introductory episode probably counts as this; sure, the guy on death row got exonerated, just not for the right reasons.
The end of Season 7. Brennan has been framed for an assassination by a guy the Squints and Booth are investigating. The guy managed to falsify proofs of both electronic and physical kinds, and the Squints and Caroline have no choice but to report. In the end, Brennan runs away with Christine, and Booth can only see how his girlfriend and daughter leave him.
Enhance Button: The show RUNS on it. So much so that when they seemed about to avert it in season 5 in "The Predator in the Pool" they felt the need to justify themselves at length...
Camille: Why can't you just lighten up the guy's face and, you know, zoom in? Angela: Because it was a cell phone camera that was aimed by a child. Bones: The plexiglass at this point is a foot thick! Angela: And thirty feet of water. Bones:At night. Camille: I was just asking!
Ensemble Darkhorse: An In-Universe example. It had been a Story Arc looking for a new lab intern and the crew were really starting to like Wendell Bray. When the scholarship that qualified him for the position in the first place went bankrupt, they spent an entire episode trying to find a way to keep him. He was kept on thanks to an anonymous donation. Except they received three times as much money as they needed, meaning everyone was desperate to keep him but didn't want to admit it.
Eskimos Aren't Real: Zack expresses surprise that Hodgins believes in pirates, and Hodgins snarks back that they're not Santa.
Establishing Shot: The stock footage of a lovely summer garden outside 'The Jeffersonian'.
Ethical Slut: Angela really likes sex, and has no reservations about letting people know it.
Very badly in Brennan's case — in the pilot, and the rest of Season One, to a lesser extent, she seems a little detached from reality and certainly lonely, but she gets sarcasm, irony, and most of the normal human interaction going on around her. Four seasons later, her unawareness of pop culture has morphed into full-on ridiculousness about the most basic bits of metaphor.
One actual use of this trope occurs in "The Woman in the Car", where the son of a grand jury witness gets kidnapped. Booth gets the kid's pinky finger in the mail.
Again in "The Corpse in the Canopy", though it's not a human finger.
Foot Dragging Divorcee: Angela's husband that she didn't even remember marrying appears and says he has built a house for her. He won't grant her an annulment/divorce so she can marry Hodgins, but by the end of the episode he relents.
Angela's bisexuality was hinted at as far back as the first few episodes. "You have no idea how open-minded I can be."
A person doing interviews to see how suitable the lab guys were to be allowed access to top secret files (or something) asked Zack what he would do if someone used irrefutable logic to get him to do something treasonous. Zack replies he would ask Dr. Brennan first.
Just before he gets shot, Vincent says, "I feel like I'm going to be dead soon."
Zack is seen to hang on every word that his best friend, Jack Hodgins, says. This makes it all the more heartbreaking when you learn that it was partly because of Hodgins believing in conspiracy theories that Zack was persuaded to become the Gormogon's apprentice.
Functional Addict: Nigel-Murray, apparently, who would get drunk and brag about sleeping with the lab's ladies to his pals (Cam and Angela are shocked, Bones just finds the idea of them being compatible hilarious). He joined AA and got better before he died.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In the alternate universe episode at the end of season 4, Nigel-Murray jokes that Zack is the kind of person who would go to jail for a murder he didn't commit. Sort of a retroactive Funny Aneurysm Moment from a watcher's view, but a straight example in-universe.
Funny Background Event: Brennan describes scoring a goal in hockey as "making a net." Cam gives her the strangest look.
Geeky Turn-On: Hodgins and Angela, frequently. Notable incidents include him naming a rose smelling fungus after her (long story), proposing to her with glowing sea food (longer story), and, of course, the following:
Angela: Okay, what I did was modify my mass recognition program — patent pending — to scan the photographic reconstruction of the crime scene, to find areas of comparatively less chaos. Hodgins: Awesome. Cam:(surprised) You understand what she's saying? Hodgins: Not in the least, but I am so turned on by her brain. I'd like to see her brain totally naked.
Genre Busting: It's a drama-comedy all about decaying bodies, murder investigations and romance.
Genre Savvy: In "The Hole in the Heart" (6x22), Brennan tells Angela she and Booth slept together. Angela, a longtime friend of the literal-minded Brennan, assumes, incorrectly, that it was non-sexual.
In "The Maggots in the Meathead", Sweets is translating text messages in text-speak. He gets to one that reads "4Q" and decides it doesn't need to be translated out loud.
In "The Secret in the Soil" Sweets gives Booth and Brennan a psychological questionnaire. We don't get to hear the actual question, but one of Booth's answers is "About 15-20 times a day. But I'm starting to think that I really misunderstood the question..."
Girls Need Role Models: Could Dr. Temperance Brennan be a better role model for girls? An ass-kicking anthropologist with liberal views about sex, religion and morality, who wears jewelery, skirts and high heels while beating the shit out of bad guys and whose best girlfriends are a similarly ass-kicking African-American coroner whose race is never mentioned and once had a comfortably relaxed affair, and is still best friends with, the man Brennan is now in love with, and a free-spirited Eurasian artist who believes in love while still being a Lovable Sex Maniac. And for that rare creature, the female teenage Aspie, the fact that a woman with ridiculously obvious social problems can not only be accepted as a friend, lover and boss, but does so on national television, is enormously comforting, however unrealistic.
This show is feminist to the core. Brennan's views are often consistent with liberal third-wave feminism, even though she is never identified as such (probably to avoid the unpleasant associations with Straw Feminist images). The show's commitment to diversity plays into the same ideology. The writers seem committed to making the show as a whole as thoroughly feminist as possible.
The show's Bondage Is Bad stance is much more second-wave feminism, as viewing BDSM as an acceptable lifestyle choice is a key part of third-wave.
Going Commando: Booth admits to sometimes doing this when he doesn't have clean underwear, while at a Radical Honesty meeting. Try to look at him the same way again, I dare you.
The bodies are often found badly decomposed and covered with maggots.
The fifth season episode "The Gamer in the Grease" takes it a step further with an extended shot of half-liquidated flesh sliding off of a corpse's bones. Complete with sound effects.
Had to Come to Prison to Be a Crook: Serial Killer Howard Epps, possibly. He could be a Manipulative Bastard all along, or maybe he learned it while on death row. When we first meet Epps, he's claiming to be innocent and trying to get exonerated, but it ends up he just reveals he's killed even more people than previously thought, so they have to keep him alive while they process the new bodies. When he returns in season 2, Epps is even more manipulative and playing serial killer games, leading the team on a merry chase with body parts as clues.
Brennan rather hypocritically mocks psychology. Which makes it darkly ironic when she persuades Zack to give up the Gormogon using applied psychology. Very ironic, considering that Brennan is an anthropologist, and psychology is a considerably "harder", more lab/experiment-based social science than anthropology.
Brennan:(aside) She's a therapist, isn't she? She talks like a therapist! Therapist:(later interview, out loud) Oh my god. She's an anthropologist, isn't she? She talks like an anthropologist!
Also ironically, one of Brennan's childhood idols is Wonder Woman, a superheroine designed by a psychologist.
Hates Small Talk: Squintern Edison is constantly frustrated by the amount of time the main characters spend discussing their personal lives and dramas, so much so that "can we talk about the job, please" is basically his Catch Phrase.
The Heart: Angela, at least according to Hodgins. Except rather than personal vendettas, it's the minutiae of the body they're studying that she raises their eyes from. Further driven home by the fact that in "The Man in the Cell", Angela receives a human heart in the mail after the publication of a newspaper article in which Hodgins calls her "the heart of the operation".
Hello Nurse: Booth says to Brennan, "There isn't a guy in this country who wouldn't want to have sex with you, including half the gay men."
Booth nearly has one in "Proof in the Pudding", when it's implied that there were two assassins involved in JFK's death and there was a government cover-up to hide this. Given the number of people he's killed for his country, he sees it as a huge betrayal.
Brennan gets one in "The Doctor in the Photo." The Victim of the Week also had one, which was what lead to her (accidental) death.
Hollywood Atheist: Averted. Bones is an atheist and the closest that gets to being plot-centric is another on the long list of personality conflicts between Bones and Booth (who is Catholic).
Hollywood Hacking: And how! A crazy gifted hacker manages to create a virus for a custom-built system he's never interacted with, or even SEEN, by making a very detailed carving in bone, knowing that the bone is going to be scanned in later, because everyone knows image files are routinely executed like commands.
Mechanically feasible, but highly improbable. There have been many viruses that take advantage of how an image/file is opened by an application to sneak code in. So if the hacker knew what software Angela was using AND said software had a security hole, he could theoretically have pulled it off. Insanely improbable, but fundamentally feasible. Which is, sadly, better than about 99% of Hollywood Hacking examples.
This seems to be Bones view on psychology, completely not trusting it and calling it a "soft science". This would not be to bad if not for the fact that she prefers hard sciences like her own anthropology, a science not considered particularly "hard".
She dismisses any implied relation from what "is" to what "could be", so her use of anthropology is limited to what has been proven as fact.
Pointedly subverted in "The Devil in the Details", which takes place mostly in a mental ward.
Dr. Adam Copeland:(to Bones) I've listened to you take shots at my profession. And that's okay. I'm a big boy, and tolerant man. I want you to think about something. I spend every working hour of everyday trying to help people who are living in hell. That's an honorable way to spend a life. Perhaps more honorable than figuring out what happened to dead people who are already beyond pain and suffering.
When Stephen Fry is on the show, his character seems to have a bit of disdain for psychology himself, calling it on its ability to oversimplify and objectify a person's state of mind while arbitrarily projecting solutions that rely on the person's ability to understand and implement them. Then again, he was probably just using fast word play and large vocabulary to turn Brennan to his way of thought.
Honor Before Reason: In one episode the team find evidence a South American official with Diplomatic Immunity was involved with a murder. Getting through the red tape would be nearly impossible, and Cam suggested manipulating evidence to implicate the son, trying to get the official to confess and waive immunity. Booth listened but quickly rejected the proposal on the grounds that trying to cheat around DI would cause international problems, even though such manipulation is used all the time in local law enforcement. They got her to waive immunity based on what the political situation would be back home if they did try to go through the normal channels, she would be killed by her enemies.
Hot Librarian: When Bones is doing an investigation on a flight to Shanghai, she has to borrow hornrim glasses from an elderly passenger. Booth walks in on her with her hair up in a bun wearing the glasses and requests she shake her hair out of the bun and say, "Mr. Booth, do you know what the penalty is for an overdue book?" She doesn't get it.
Played with in one episode where Booth sees Bones using a pair of grandma glasses during an investigation (they were on a plane with few tools so she needed something to magnify things). He promptly suggests she take off her glasses, shake out her hair, and say something subtly suggestive ("Do you know what the penalty is for an overdue book, Mr. Booth?"). Bones is promptly confused and only does so after Booth is gone. She still remains confused.
Hot Scoop: Hannah, the journalist Booth begins dating in season six.
How We Got Here: The episode "Aliens in a Spaceship" and "The Parts in the Sum of the Whole".
Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Usually described as "The X in the Y", with X being a one-word description of the victim, and Y being the place in which they're found. X and Y are usually alliterative too. Exceptions to this pattern are often highly meaningful.
Played Straight, by both Booth and Hodgins to Pellant after getting violent.
I Just Want to Be Normal: Hodgins's family is actually one of the most powerful families in the world and pretty much owns the Jeffersonian. He deliberately downplays it because he wants to be treated on his own terms.
Improbably Predictable: Booth reveals that he knows Brennan's computer password, because he knows how she thinks. He also knows what she changes the password to — twice.
Informed Attractiveness: Brennan. Characters regularly refer to her as being beautiful/hot as if it's obvious. Obviously a subjective trope, however.
In Name Only: The TV series takes nothing from the novel series aside from the main protagonist's name, profession, and tendency for not suffering fools gladly. Most of the inspiration for the series comes from the life and work of Kathy Reichs, the novelist. While both series can stand on their own considerable merits, the two are so different that they might as well be two completely independent franchises.
The novel character is a worldly and rather jaded divorced (not to Booth, who does not exist in the novels) single-mother, former alcoholic professor in her late-forties. A bit taciturn but very much capable of normal social interaction. And she is nicknamed Tempe, not Bones. Reichs and Deschanel theorize that Novel!Brennan is a older version of TV!Brennan, but it's not canonical.
This troper reckons that it's more of a crossroads kinda thing. In the pilot, it's reveled that Brennen had broken up with a guy called Pete. In the novels, they were married but are now separated/divorced. So, if she breaks up with Pete in her late 20's/early 30s, it's the TV series. If they stay together, get married and have a daughter, but later separate and divorce, while still staying good friends, then it's the novel. At least, that's how this troper makes sense of both series...
Hodgins dismissivly calls new intern Finn Abernathy "Opie", after the character in The Andy Griffith Show. Abernathy counters by calling Hodgins "Thurston." By the end of the episode they've gained respect for each other, but still use the same nicknames.
Also used with 'Mister' Nigel-Murray, introduced as Brennan's way of subtly mocking him for having not received his doctorate yet. By later in the series, even after he has proved himself, it is used as a fond nickname.
Played With by Booth and Bones herself. Booth originally used the name as a term of endearment and respect for Brennan but after their first falling out he continued to call her it out of a desire to annoy her and always got a "Don't call me Bones!" in response. Later on she came to like the nickname again and he became the only person allowed to call her that.
Interplay of Sex and Violence: A fourth season episode of opens with the squints watching Booth playing hockey and beating the crap out of some guys on the ice (he's the team's enforcer). Cam says she likes it... a little too much. Then she has a Did I Say That Out Loud moment.
Introduction By Hookup: Brennan has a one night stand with her former college professor who has just come to town. The next day she discovers that he's the forensic anthropologist that the defense has hired for a trial she's testifying at.
Irony: The replacement bowler on Max's team (paraphrased): "I'm not superstitious like Victim-of-the-Week, I believe in God!" Amazingly, Bones doesn't say a word (she's undercover, barely, but it must have been a strain).
It Has Been an Honor: Hodgins to Brennan before they attempt to blow up the windshield of the van they are trapped in.
John F. Kennedy: Brennen's team suspects, but can't ever be sure, that the skeleton the Secret Service conscripted them to analyze with state-of-the-art forensic methods was him.
John Wayne: Bones is an admitted fan of the Duke. In one episode she even does a poor impersonation of him while reciting a line attributed to him: "Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway."
Just Partners: Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan and her partner FBI Agent Booth, though everyone can see that they should be together. People actually ask them why they're aren't having sex.
The Kindnapper: One episode involves a kidnapped child, who it turns out has been kidnapped by his father, who thinks his ex-wife is an unfit mother. The father changes the child's name and hair color to hide him at his cousin's house.
Laser-Guided Karma: In "The Graft in the Girl", a woman who dropped out of medical school is stealing corpses from a funeral home and selling them through a fake medical supply house for bone grafts. One of these corpses, who died of mesothelioma, infected at least five people with a deadly disease. The suspect isn't going to trial, though. She didn't last long enough in med school to know that bone dust is toxic, so she gave herself a fatal disease.
Even away from the job Booth is just Booth, almost nobody calls him Seeley. Inverted with his brother who is always called "Jared" and is actually at one point called "a fake Booth".
Colin Fisher is never called by his first name. In a scene where Wendell is speaking to Cam about the other interns, he refers to them as Daisy, Vincent (who almost everyone else calls Mister Nigel-Murray), Arastoo and Fisher.
Hodgins; even his own wife rarely calls him Jack.
Max and Russ are the only people who call Bones "Temperance". Booth calls her "Bones" (the only one she allows to), Angela calls her "Sweetie" and everyone else calls her Brennan with or without the "Doctor".
Inverted with Angela, whom only Dr Goodman regularly referred to by last name.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the episode the Family in the Fued the conflict of the Hatfield and McCoys is referred to as "a story", whereas "there's nothing made up about the Mobley's and Babcocks.", when in fact it's the exact opposite.
Left the Background Music On: In "The X in the File," Bones and Booth are talking about the possibility of alien visitation, when the X-Files theme starts up in the background. Turns out it's the ringtone of an abandoned cellphone.
Angela:"Wait. The evidence actually adds up to an old, fat man with a white beard, in a custom-made Santa suit who smoked a clay pipe and got kicked in the ass by a reindeer?"
Limited Wardrobe: Booth's trademark black suit and belt buckle, with occasional variations in the shirt, socks, and tie. When he's off the job, he usually wears a brown leather jacket, which he sometimes wears to crime scenes. Brennan tends to wear big, dangly earrings and necklaces.
Perotta: Booth was right, you're like a portable polygraph. Sweets: He didn't mean that in a good way, did he?
Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: When Brennan and Hodgins are buried alive by the Grave Digger, their cell (Brennan's car) contains all of the materials a person needs to perform surgery, manufacture oxygen, power a cell phone, and hack a detonator — assuming one has three PhDs.
Lonely Funeral: Brennan and Booth decide to avert this by showing up with the whole team at the funeral of their latest corpse of the week, a loner who had nobody in the world but his mother.
MacGyvering: Practically Dr. Hodgins's main role. He usually ropes whichever squintern there is into helping him. Cam frequently disapproves. Special mention goes to Wendell Bray, who managed to take X-rays with scotch tape supplying the needed (static) electricity during a blizzard, and used a potato battery to power a cellphone.
Magical Computer: Lampshaded in the pilot. But still played straight most of the time. Angela's computer (and Angela herself) can do almost anything with her combination computer-hologram projector. Such as recreating detailed hieroglyphics... from the stains of an object inside a several thousand year old mummy or being able to reconstruct an accurate corpse from a body that had been crushed with a car crusher... enough to be able to identify markings on the bones.
Parodied in episode 100 "The Parts in the Sum of the Whole", a flashback to the first collaboration between Booth and Bones, where Angela, new to the Jeffersonian, reenacts the murder with a flip book animation of stick figures. Caroline Julian says it won't convince a jury unless it's a computer simulation.
Angela has a minor in computer science to explain her tech-savvy.
Malaproper: Bones, after getting out of her "I don't know what that means" phase, and moving onto guessing.
Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Was Brennan drugged or bespelled in New Orleans? And did Booth really see a ghost, or was it just a hallucination?
McLeaned: Vincent Nigel-Murray is killed in "The Hole in the Heart" a few weeks before Ryan Cartwright's new show was set to premier. The dialogue during the death scene even sounds like someone who's more about to be fired than died.
Merchant Prince: In the two-part episode "Yanks in the UK", a powerful American businessman in London uses his political influence to get Booth and Brennan (who are in town for a conference) seconded to Scotland Yard to investigate the death of his daughter, despite the fact that the FBI has no jurisdiction in the UK. Things get more complicated when the businessman becomes a suspect in a second murder.
Misplaced Accent: In-universe; Vaziri fakes a Jordanian accent despite being Iranian.
Mood Dissonance: Or it would be if we didn't know her so well — Bones behaves at a body farm the way other people would at Disneyland.
Mood Whiplash: Constantly. This is a lighthearted sweet comedic show about serial killers, mutilated corpses, cannibals, murder, and death. There's an episode where the team finds a body in a river. The bones have been removed, meaning they can't get a facial likeness from the skin of the head. So two of the characters rig a way to inflate the eyeless, boneless, water-rotted face like a balloon — literally — to give it the rounded shape of a human head. This scene is played for laughs.
Monster Fangirl: Howard Epps gets married to one while he's in prison. Then he escapes and kills her.
Moral Guardians: Booth is extremely conservative many times, and becomes annoyingly overbearing when defending his beliefs. For example, when trying to convince Brennan to have their baby in a hospital (a Catholic one, as noted by Bones) while she wants to give birth at home because hospitals tend to be infested with germs and bacteria, and then proceeds to show how the ENTIRE PLACE is covered in dried up bodily substances such as blood, spinal fluid, etc. He then tries employing Sweets into scaring her to his choice, and gets chewed out over it. Moments like this make some people want to slap Booth upside the head.
Motive Decay: In the early episodes, the scientists at the Jeffersonian spend most of their time on historical and archaeological work, and only put up with the FBI commandeering their services in order to justify their federal funding. By the middle of the first season, they're pretty much a dedicated crime lab. More Characterization Marches On, since at least one episode actually addresses this: they find the FBI cases are much more exciting, challenging, and rewarding. They still do the other work, it's just that they're not as enthusiastic about it anymore.
Mundane Made Awesome: Wendell and Hodges frantically attaching wires while Angela yells, in the background, "Guys! The phone!" and rock music ramps up the mood... the fact is that Hodges and Wendell are frantically hooking up potatoes for a very, very big battery.
My Friends... and Zoidberg: The second season opens with a new person in charge of the team at the Jeffersonian, A Token Twofer in Dr. Saroyan who, after an episode with some small conflict between her and Brennan, defends everyone on the team at the Jeffersonian by way of strong arming a federal prosecutor into taking a case to trial.
Saroyan: Yeah, it's scary, the whole country will be watching the trial and you don't want to go to trial with less than a sure thing, but you put my people on the stand and that's a sure thing.
Everyone: Not Zack.
Bones doesn't think much of Sweets's choice of career.
Bones: We're all scientists here. Well, not you. Where's your evidence?
Nausea Dissonance: This comes up all the time. The Jeffersonian crew are all unfazed by decaying corpses and the like, while other characters get squicked to varying degrees, including having to vomit.
Surprisingly, even Bones is not immune to this. When Angela plays a scenario of a girl with a belly-button ring shimmying in a narrow space, in the part where the girl's belly-button ring gets ripped off, Bones immediately looks away from the computer screen and takes a few deep breaths. Angela calls her out on this.
Brennan: That just... makes me feel sick.
Angela: You pick dead bodies out of mass graves, and yanking out a belly-button ring makes you sick?
Booth: Hey, I've shot a lot of people in my time; I gotta admit, that whole belly-button thing makes me nauseous too.
Nightmare Fetishist: Sweets pops into the Jeffersonian to discuss the Gormogon in "The Knight on the Grid." The team is somewhat disturbed by how enthusiastic he is. We later find out that in his youth he was a fan of both Black and Death Metal and still has the clothes — or lack thereof — to go incognito at a concert.
In the episode "The Man in the Fallout Shelter," Brennan mentions a Fourth of July fiasco when Hodgins and Zack tried to spike the eggnog.
An agent from the State Department asks Bones about an incident involving a South American drug lord:
Bones:(makes call) Yes, you said to call if anyone asked about, you know, him. Agent:(stunned after taking the phone) ... They're checking my credentials... I am to wait here until somebody comes to destroy my notes.
Booth: That time you dropped a dead monkey down the elevator shaft.
In "The Bones on the Blue Line": a sexual position described on page 187 in one of Brennan's books.
The newly-personable Edison refusing to talk about what he did while working for the NSA. Naturally this drives conspiracy-buff Hodges nuts.
The case we never see solved: a skeleton curved all the way around into a backwards circle. This is before Brennan is pulled off the case for her father's trial.
Dr. Nigel-Murray's hedonistic trip during the one-year break using the money he won on Jeopardy!.
We never really find out Angela's birth name, only that it was so bad she had to change it.
No Social Skills: Zack, and Brennan to a lesser extent. As Angela puts it when they attempt to fist-bump (and immediately start deconstructing the entire concept) "It's so cute when you try to behave like earthlings." What's strange about this is that from what we see of Zack's family, it's normal. Like, mind-numbingly normal. His descriptions of them fit the stereotype of the average American family to a T. If anything, this seems to have exacerbated his strangeness.
Not So Different: Broadsky invokes this when comparing himself and Booth, as does Bones when comparing the two. Booth vigorously rejects the notion but has trouble with the fact that Bones sees them as similar.
Nude Nature Dance: In one episode, when a self-proclaimed witch is found dead, Brennan and Booth decide to check out a local group of Wiccans. They show up at a ceremony in the woods just as the (all-female) group begins to disrobe and start dancing.
Booth does this continuously; notice he is more prone to having great ideas and Eureka Moments in times of greater urgency.
In "The Bones That Foam," Angela had apparently figured out the ruse — that Booth was smarter than he let on, citing it almost by name.
Max Brennan is a natural at this.
Odd Couple: Booth and Bones' outlooks on very nearly everything are polar opposites. Certain other characters have noted that they really shouldn't work as well together as they do because of it. Dr. Sweets drafts a book centering on exactly that during season 4 (Opposites Attract: Yin and Yang in the Workplace), but seems to eventually change his viewpoint after discussing it with retiring psychologist Gordon Gordon Wyatt.
Sweets: Ok, now I'm hearing a caveat. Gordon Gordon: It's a small one. It's just... that Brennan and Booth aren't in any way opposites. Sweets: Wow! Small? What is that, British understatement?
Odd Friendship: Angela and Brennan have opposite views on most things, yet are great friends.
Oh Crap: Broadsky, the evil sniper, the Dark Booth, killing people not on orders, but as "the hand of God". Part of his games is that he steals other snipers' identities for his work, including Booth's to buy the land he's hiding on. When Booth tracks him down and they confront each other across the gate leading onto Broadsky's land, they make it clear that Booth is constrained by the law, and entering without a warrant would make any arrest worthless.
Booth: I don't need a warrant. [hops the fence] This land belongs to Seely Booth.
Older Than They Look: Daisy's actress, Carla Gallo, is actually a year older than Emily Deschanel and ten years older than John Francis Daley (Sweets). Sweets himself falls victim to this. In his first appearance, he's 22, but looks like Sam Weir if he grew a foot taller.
Old Shame: In-universe with Cam's role in an amateur schlock movie as '70s bloodsucking vampire with a Funny Afro, from "The Suit on the Set".
Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Mostly averted. The squint squad is a team of highly-focused specialists, and many episodes will have someone rattle off some fairly dense bio-babble that needs to be translated, even for the other scientists.
Zack, on the other hand, seems to be a whiz at math, chemistry and physics, besides his doctorate in forensic anthropology. Early on, Zack is revealed to be working on an engineering degree as well as anthropology.
Hodgins is also revealed to have three doctorates — explaining why he can do bugs, plants and material science (don't say 'dirt' around him) It's best not to look too closely at how long it would take to get the background/experience the team has, and their relative youth.
Also Vincent, who can spout random useless facts on a wealth of topics. And yes, there are people who can actually do this. He won a large sum on Jeopardy! doing this, and promptly spent all of it.
One of Our Own: When Bones and Hodgins, and later Booth, are kidnapped. Saroyan, Hodgins and intern-of-the-episode Wendell take offense when a substitute agent calls the team (minus Booth) "her people," with Hodgins and Wendell quickly correcting her that they're "Booth's people."
Angela often served this function before Cam signed up. After, she apparently felt more free to be nuts.
Recurring intern-of-the week Clark Edison tends to act like this whenever he shows up. Ironically, his straight-laced nature compare to the other interns makes him come across as equally quirky.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Done in-character. Arastoo (the Muslim squintern-of-the-episode) slips his around Cam, then decides to not even bother with the accent any more when it's revealed that he was faking it all along — he thought his religion would not be accepted if he did not have a heavy accent like he was a recent immigrant.
When Booth is trapped on a ship set to explode, he's reunited with Corporal Teddy Parker, the dead guy he named his son after. Teddy is 100% tangible and picks up stuff, helps Booth open doors, Booth physically picks him up... but disappears just as Booth gets rescued. Later, Brennan (who sees him later, but doesn't know the guy's identity) points out that some of the stuff Booth did to get out really did require two people. An odd episode to be sure. In-universe, Booth was drugged (though this is not confirmed by anyone other than himself) and it's later established that he has a hallucination-causing brain tumor but still, you can read it as you like.
An earlier episode involves college students filming a Blair Witch knock-off in the woods when one character was apparently "possessed" by the ghost they were looking for and goes on a killing spree. Although the real course of events is solved, it turns out the camera actually caught the ghost on tape. Angela and Hodgins decide that it's an optical illusion, and try to convince themselves of it very hard.
Max Keenan does NOT take it well if you threaten Brennan or her brother Russ, as seen in the episode "Judas on a Pole". The rest of the time, however, he comes across as more bumbling than menacing. This is very much intentional.
Brennan: I don't want you to kill people for me, just buy me a sweater like a regular dad!
Also Angela's dad.
Booth is on record as saying that if "God Himself" told him to sacrifice his son, "That's not gonna happen." Considering that he's a devout Catholic...
Paranormal Episode: The Gravedigger trapped Booth in an old submarine and he saw his late friend, Parker. Brennan seemed to see him too at one point.
Parental Substitute: Mostly in backstory, and related to Abusive Parents. Booth and Sweets are both abused by their parents... but rescued and raised with great love and care by substitute parents, Booth's grandfather in his case, an older couple who adopted him for Sweets.
Playful Hacker / The Cracker: The "hacktivist" who claims he's only trying to expose government corruption. His methods are a little unorthodox: he explodes an innocent girl with a tiny bomb on a stick, rearranges her spine into a riddle, soaks it with donated FBI agent blood, sneaks it into a museum(?), puts the rest of her in an FBI file room, etches a computer virus into her bones to short out the Angelator, and explodes a reporter who was on his side because he was on the verge of revealing him. He's been studying Bones & Co. for a very long time and is doing these things to challenge them personally. And he does all this while under house arrest with no computer access.
Polymath: Brennan, Zach and Hodgins hold about eight doctorates between them.
The Pratfall: A disturbing-but-still-funny version. Booth is in a hurry to find a missing head. He slips on a muddy riverbank, and slides on his rear into the water, then triumphantly holds up the head.
The B-plot of "The Gamer in the Grease" is basically a big ad for Avatar. Apparently Bones takes place in an alternate universe where said film is as hotly anticipated as a new Star Wars flick, with people camping out to see it and painting their faces blue. And where Joel Moore has a doppleganger. Or just isn't in Avatar.
Toyota has a lot of scripted references, some quite obvious.
The Sienna, which Angela describes as having plenty of room and says how much she loves the backup camera.
The Prius, when Hodgins swerves and the Prius beeps at him, prompting Angela to say "Look! The Prius helps you stay in your lane!"
Two season six episodes in a row ("The Shallow in the Deep" and "The Babe in the Bar") feature some almost comically blatant product placement for Windows Phone 7, which fills up the entire screen for several seconds as Brennan is using it.
Season Six has another incredibly jarring Prius advert, this time without any plot significance at all. The same scene devolves into Big Lipped Alligator Moment territory as it ends with Booth and Bones giggling like six-year-olds while calling a dead man names like "bonehead" and "asshat."
Booth always drives a black Toyota SUV on FBI business, which is improbable given that in the real world US Government vehicles are invariably domestic.
Bones using a Windows phone to send pictures to Hodgins' giant screen with the Windows logo and namedropping Skydrive three times in the episode with the severed feet.
"The Pinnochio in the Planter" has an extremely off-putting scene: Bones, Booth and Sweets are in a car, talking about the case of the week, they stop abruptly to marvel at the fact that the car can park itself; Booth makes a lame joke and then end scene.
Putting the Band Back Together: The whole purpose of the sixth season opener: Brennan and Daisy went to the Molucca Islands, Booth's in Afghanistan, Hodgins and Angela are in Paris, Cam's still in DC, Sweets is on sabbatical, and the interns have either taken new positions at other places, lost the funding for their scholarship, won the lottery, or in a clinic. But the core team returns (with Caroline's urging) to help save Cam's job.
Vincent's constant churning out of random facts, which usually have little or no relevance to the case at hand.
Zack or the intern-of-the-week getting used as a medium to play out the way the murder went.
Bones rarely praising her interns for their hard work. When Edison, who's African-American, implies she's a literal slave driver ("What'cha like me to do next, massa?"), it goes over her head. Bones herself thinks she's just being "kind," in a way: since no one can measure up to the high standards she sets for herself, she doesn't bother.
Age jokes about Sweets.
Smurfs are frequently mentioned.
"Buck and Wanda" is starting to get there.note Booth and Bones have taken on these names when going undercover on multiple occasions. Examples include S6E23 and S8E10.
Sadistic Choice: In the episode "The Corpse in the Canopy", Christopher Pelant hacks into a UAV Drone and targets a school for girls in the Middle East while simultaneously hacking into Hodgins' bank account. The only way to save his money was to shut down the system, but if they shut down the system the Drone will destroy the school and kill the young girls and teachers there. Hodgins doesn't hesitate on the choice.
In many ways, it is subverted to show that Pelant truly does not understand the team. What was meant to be a Sadistic Choice is actually a very simple, but painful, one for Hodgins who, while happily rich, isn't particularly attached to said money.
The Scourge Of God: Brodsky, season six's villainous sniper. Booth has to remind people the guy is pretty much just a crazy murderer with a severely skewed moral compass.
What Sweets thinks is happening to the team in "Proof in the Pudding".
What Cam's daughter thinks is happening when Cam got her into Columbia University behind her back using a spruced-up version of her college essay. She declares that she's not going to cheat and will earn her way into Columbia — because she wants to be as upright and honest as Cam.
Sex Is Interesting: Angela, though it is consistent with the character's general portrayal.
Sex With The Ex: Bones and Booth have both indulged in this with past flames, Bones with her old boyfriend (and thesis supervisor!) when he came into town, Booth has had a couple of "one time only" sleepovers with his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his son.
Standard Cop Backstory: Brennan, Booth, and Sweets were all victims of child abuse. Brennan and Sweets spent time in the foster care system, and Brennan and Booth both have a dead parent and a string of failed romances.
In the hundredth episode, Sweets is a very adamant Bones/Booth shipper.
Cam, and even Clark seemed to have joined in on the Booth/Brennan shipping in season six.
Angela has been on that ship from the Pilot.
Brennan's father Max is definitely a shipper by season six, asking Angela if Brennan and Booth were together, declaring his daughter much prettier and smarter than Hannah Burley, and then buying his daughter a conch shell toothbrush-holder with two holes. Just check the quote at the top of the page he was disappointing they weren't sleeping together.
Booth's grandfather, Hank.
Ship Tease: Every single episode, more or less, but especially the Christmas episode where Booth and Brennan kiss. And that only came about because Caroline was feeling "puckish".
Booth gets one in the '09 Christmas episode ("The Goop on the Girl"). Booth gets caught in the blast of a suicide bomber and his clothes become covered in DNA evidence. So naturally, Brennan strips him to his undies. Merry Christmas, indeed. Also serves as a setup for Not What It Looks Like.
They certainly do love to give Christmas presents: in the 2005 Christmas episode, Hodgins had to hit the showers after a biological accident and for about half the episode appeared in a towel and nothing else.
Shut Up, Hannibal!: Bones hits a guy with a bedpan rather than hear his psycho-rant about why it's OK to eat people.
Brennan: Nobody wants to hear that rambling psycho-speech!
Sleep Cute: Bones and Booth, cuddling in bed, have made it to the opening credits as of the seventh season.
Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: The show has always balanced humor and drama, but the DVD box art has grown progressively sillier over time. Season 1 has Bones and Booth posing against a white background. By season 3, they're playing poker with a cigar-smoking skeleton.
When you have Raised by Wolves Bones be the one who can navigate Japanese manners with politeness and sensitivity. This is the person who often can't even figure out how to compliment someone in the looser and less formal American society without making it an offhand (or sometimes just outright) insult.
Also as noted in "The Maggots in the Meathead", she can quite readily pick up and understand cultures and social groups to the point of appreciating various similarities and differences. Mostly, it's just her tendency to be fairly literal in her own culture that makes her seem socially stunted.
Booth foils one of Broadsky's assassination attempts by shooting his rifle, as he couldn't get a clear shot at Broadsky himself.
Their final hide and go seek sniper showdown is not only of their skills but their philosophies. Booth has pursued Broadsky to his base of operations, where Broadsky is not only intimately familiar with the territory but armed with a customized precision rifle that insanely outperforms Booth's FBI-approved mass-production longarm. But Booth has Bones and the squints, who figure out that as a result of the previous encounter, Broadsky's right hand is broken, therefore he can only rest the gun barrel on his arm and is incapable of gripping the barrel and aiming downwards. This allowes Booth to do the exact same thing to his other hand before he can change cover, taking Broadsky alive.
Bones is usually a drama with some hints of comedy. But a 4th season episode "The Double Death of the Dearly Departed" is a pure comedy. It's filled with out-of-character actions that in any other episode would be considered utterly ridiculous. Such as Brennan and Booth stealing a body because they can't get a warrant to examine it, as Hodgins distracts the funeral guests. However due to Rule of Funny this episode actually works and currently has an average rating of 9.2 out of 10 at TV.com.
And "The Death of the Queen Bee" is mostly Shout Outs to horror movies, complete with Scare Chords every few minutes.
A more regular example is Family Guy's Stewie Griffin. No, not Seth MacFarlane, Stewart Gilligan Griffin appeared in cartoon form on a television, as part of Booth's anxiety-induced fantasy while donating sperm. And again in the usual episode-ending interrogation sequence, except without the TV. When he starts talking to "Stewie", Bones takes him to the hospital. Booth has a brain tumor. Surprise! It's worth noting that Stewie was one of the few pop-culture references Bones actually "got" instantly.
Also, Cesar Millan showed up in one episode, in an obvious plug for his own show. Several scenes were devoted to showcasing his dog-taming skills as the main characters oohed and aahed.
Stalker Without A Crush: The season four episode "Man in the Outhouse" has Noel Liftin, a stalker who was previously on the show as a Stalker with a Crush; Boothe pays him $50 to "stalk" one of their suspects and get more information. He proves to be frighteningly good at it.
Stealth Pun: When, during an interrogation, Gordon Gordon Wyatt gets thoroughly irritated at being called a fry cook. At that point, he's a chef. Played by Stephen Fry.
Straight Gay: To the max in "The Dentist in the Ditch." The victim played amateur full contact football, his entire team is gay and his ex is a bow hunter.
Take Five: In an early episode, Booth tells the Jeffersonian technicians that he needs the room for a few minutes, to a room full of blank faces. Hodgins ends up explaining to them that Booth wants them to leave so he can talk with Bones in private.
Many, most of which seem to be pointed at Sweets and Psychology as a whole. In the (admittedly odd and written by an "Unreliable Narrator") season finale, Sweets' surrogate declares that psychologists are glorified bartenders. Unknown if this is used for comedic effect, because they do like riling up Sweets.
Sweets gets one on Brennan in a season 4 episode, when he is able to pick out a murderer from a crowd of college students. She is "amazed" he was able to do that, and questions him on what he saw. Sweets doesn't answer her, simply saying "You're not gonna believe me anyway," and walks out of the room.
Brennan: How did you do it?
Sweets: You're not gonna believe me anyway... You're just gonna say I guessed. So have it your way. I guessed.
What actually happened was when Booth fired the weapon used to kill the Victim of the Week in front of the suspects, Sweets picked the one who involuntarily winced, which Brennan probably didn't notice.
From "The Salt in the Wounds": "Of course, you aren't a medical doctor, either." Bones had been asking for it. Nullified when it turns out the chiropractor's the killer, but still very sweet.
"The Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood": "What are you supposed to do, preach abstinence? It doesn't work in Alaska, why would it work in Verbena Court?"
Played rather darkly in "The Girl in the Fridge" where Bones is testifying in court, and her Spock Speak is hindering her testimony, making her appear unsympathetic to the jury. Until the prosecutor, with a little help from Booth, brings up her childhood, which disturbs her enough to start speaking in Layman's Terms.
Invoked by Booth in "The Proof in the Pudding" where part of his plan involves Bones burying the Secret Service agent holding the team in lockdown under technical jargon so he will let them perform a questionable experiment. Bones doesn't disappoint.
Therapy Is For The Weak: Definitely. They resist Sweets' much needed therapy sessions for over a season. Even now, they would cheerfully leap out a window before admitting they're actually coming to Sweets for therapy, rather than profiling and the like. Finally, Sweets gets so fed up with Booth's weak excuses that he threatens to jump out of the car if Booth doesn't admit that he actually wants advice from Sweets. Even then, Booths adds afterward that he didn't really need Sweets' help, he was just making him feel better about himself.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: Analyzed carefully in the show. Booth is a former sniper and while he acknowledges the acceptability in dealing with enemy soldiers and criminals, he doesn't take it lightly. When Brennan had to kill someone to protect Booth, she is also noticeably troubled by it, but only the first time. She kills the stalker who shot Booth (who took the bullet for her) with a throat shot and was shown having no problems at all with the killing and even declares how she's killed and it wasn't that hard in the 2-parter in England when trying to talk Scotland Yard into giving her a gun like they did Booth.
A Threesome is Hot: A guy at the bar tries to get Brennan and Hannah into one at the end of "The Body in the Bag" — they tell him to get lost.
Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Angela is noticeably taller than Hodgins. Commented on in "The Man in the Cell." But it's O.K., because apparently "short guys have better leverage."
A trailer spoiled that Hodgins and Angela kiss while being trapped in jail. It didn't let on that they then got married when the judge showed up to free them.
The trailer for "The Hole in the Heart" cuts to black at end but features a voice-over by Brennan. This gave away that not only was she safe but that whoever did get shot was going to be with her. Which made it extremely obvious Nigel-Murray was going to die when he appeared in the scene with Brennan and Booth.
Translation Train Wreck: In-universe with the English instructions of toy Angela is trying to assemble in "The Prince in the Plastic".
Angela: So you think that we should feel like big giant losers that we're not spending Christmas with family? Hodgins: There's more than one kind of family.
Turn In Your Badge: Season 2 episode "Judas on a Pole" offers the most classic example of this, but also toyed with a few times throughout the show, when Booth gets decommissioned or confined to desk duty for needlessly discharging his weapon.
Twerp Sweating: Booth intimidates Cam's daughter's boyfriend in "The Plain in the Prodigy".
Unresolved Sexual Tension: Word Of God says it's the whole point. The writing and long looks show this, but some fans don't feel the chemistry part. It is lampshaded by pretty much every guest character, ever. As of "The Doctor in the Photo", she's openly lamenting the fact they never got together. It's pretty sad. After they're trapped in an elevator for a day they make a promise that when Bones is no longer scared and Booth is no longer angry they'll give their relationship another try. As of "The Hole in the Heart", it's heavily implied that They Do.
Vigilante Man: The sniper who shot The Gravedigger as she was going into court. Booth loathes being compared to him, which Bones does constantly ("He kills bad people, just like you do!").
We All Live in America: In the episode "Mayhem on a Cross", Norwegian police are depicted as wearing what appears to be riot gear and guns, violently kicking in the door spurring a fight between policemen and musicians and concert goers. In reality, Norwegian police are typically unarmed and many policemen may only arm themselves in extreme situations, such as when approaching a suspect they know to be armed.
In "The Graft in the Girl" the team tries to solve a murder where the victim is still alive.
Plus, there's when Bones and Hodgins are buried alive in "Aliens in a Spaceship" and have to figure out and tell the others where they are.
"The Ghost in the Machine" plays with this. The victim is very much dead and doesn't play any tangible part in solving his murder, but all of the characters treat him as if his spirit is still with his body and the entire episode is seen "through the victim's eyes", with the victim's skull always immediately Behind the Black.
Who Shot JFK?: "The Proof In The Pudding" is built around (possibly) answering this question.
William Telling: When Bones and Booth were undercover at the circus doing a Knife Throwing Act, she made him throw a knife at an oversized prop apple on top of her head. She sprang it on him all of a sudden during the show.
Sweets: Like with any subculture, storm chasing attracts a variety of distinct personality types. Booth: Adrenaline junkies. Sweets: Yeah, they're the ones most likely to put their lives and the lives of others in danger. There's a name for them. They're called— Booth: Insane. Sweets: You know, that’s a real word and people just throw it around.
Inverted in Aliens in a Spaceship. Bones gets highly annoyed to have her trust, based on personal experience, that Booth will save her and Hodgins from their current predicament called 'faith'. Hodgins laughingly points out that she just gave the dictionary definition of 'faith', apparently only knowing about the religious usage.
You Look Familiar: One actor played at least two minor roles on the show—first as a patient of Sweets, whose session Booth interrupts, interested in having a sex change; and again as a patient of Sweets who's interrupted, this time as someone who may have multiple personalities.
Are we sure its not the same patient?
I think it is the same patient, maybe all the interrupted sessions create more mental issues <grin>
Actor Larry Poindexter, who played Senator Bethlehem in the pilot, also played the victim of the week's ex-husband and one of the suspects, Dr. Bradley Perkins, in S8's The Doll in the Derby.