Bones Review: Joke's Over

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I thought last week was going to be the return to form for Bones, but it turns out I was wrong. (See what I did there? Except I'm not joking.)

"The But In The Joke" was the third of the four bonus episodes filmed during Bones Season 7 and it had me asking "Can the real Bones Season 8 please stand up?" Tonight felt as out of place as the rest of this season and as a series-long viewer, this is getting frustrating.

Stand-Up Comedian Booth

What has always set Bones apart from other crime-solving procedurals are the season-long story arcs, or partial-season arcs, that draw us to the characters. The case of the week is a backdrop for character development that's ongoing and not contained within one episode.

Because of the four standalone episodes to which we've been "treated" so far, we're not getting a whole lot of that development we've come to know and love from this show.

Sure, we spent part of the season learning about Sweets' love life. Yes, tonight Booth had a slightly more prominent role than he's had in previous weeks. But nearly all of the focus of this season has been on solving the (incredibly gross) case of the week, not on actually developing the characters.

Aside from seeing Booth crack wise at the open mic night, the one good thing to come out of tonight was Angela getting her groove back.

We've heard her murmurs of discontent this season, perhaps more loudly than in years past. She's sad for humanity and the world. Woe is her! She only has "excellent technique." She's growing tired of the gore.

Truth be told, so am I. Gross-out for gross-out's sake is...well, gross. I'll never be able to look at peanut butter the same way again and Fear Factor would probably like its bugs back.

Tonight's Zed character helped Angela see herself as an artist again and not just as Angela, Worker of the Jeffersonian Mega Computer. Furthermore, it helped Hodgins see her that way, too. This is a girl who craves adventure and excitement.

At first I thought the writers were angling towards a Hodgins-Angela split. I'm glad it was just a hiccup in their relationship, room for them to talk and grow. Growth is good. Breaking them up for the sake of creating drama would be very, very bad.

Aside from the Angela story, the episode just felt sort of "meh." I guess that's what happens when four episodes created to air outside of a regular season are dropped into a regular season. I could barely come up with lines to post in the Bones quotes archive because of how bizarrely out of place this episode felt. So far, the only standalone to work well this season has been "The Patriot in Purgatory."

The joke's over, writers. We want our show back.

What did you think of "The But In The Joke?" Are you as tired of the four "bonus" episodes as I am? 


Editor Rating: 2.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (139 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.


Why couldn't they have killed Fisher instead of Vincent. I know I know he has that other show but Fisher is annoying. Gross out factor getting too much. Loved Bones laugh at the end, it reminds me of myself.


Us obviously don't watch it often or you would know that Booth and Brennan aren't married. I love this show, I have since the beginning. I still can't wait to watch it every Monday. The think the writing is still great, people change and things change and they have showed that very well. I also thought the end of this week's episode was cute, it made me laugh. I can't wait to see next weeks episode. And those who can't except change, maybe you need to find a new show to watch.


The episode was disjointed and the Prius commercial scene was especially annoying (if the show is moving along and the episode is good enough, I can forgive product placement scenes as the price paid, but the epi didn't earn it). Still, there were very well delivered lines like, "This is weeeirrrrd... what's on my back?!", "Everyone here is this weird combo of smart and dumb", "'This guy's going to rub me down with peanut butter?!', 'Yep, and then cut off your clothes.'" "'What if we sedate you?', 'Depends. What 'ave you got?'" that made the 6.5 minutes before the opening credits pretty amusing. Later came the philosophical, if hard to catch, "Middle class, suburban hang-ups and sexual values". For the most part the regular actors seemed barely able to keep a straight face, breaking character to smirk or smile and these "wink wink" moments (Fisher's especially) reminded me of laugh-track pauses on old sitcoms.


Disappointing episode. I did actually laugh out loud at the beginning - Jay Paulson was hilarious and the setup of having this guy glued to this week's set of horrifying human remains was very funny and seemed very meta, as if the writers are aware of how insanely over-the-top the gore has become and decided to write a satire episode to address that fact. The "gross factor" has been hard to take in a show that is far more about delving into the lives and relationships of the characters than it is about the cases they are working on. I think that "Bones" is a clear descendant of "M*A*S*H" - a tragic comedy or a comic tragedy depending on the episode. Having the victim be a comedian and the entire episode be a sort of overview of comedy (for those humans who have never encountered it before?) was too contrived and most of the scenes that were supposed to be funny weren't.


Love the show. Didn't like this squent. Need Caroline back in.

Miranda wicker

@Keith--I actually like a great deal about Bones, which is why I haven't stopped watching it. You and I will have to agree to disagree about what, exactly, it is that makes Bones a different procedural from others on air in the past/currently. I maintain that this was never intended to be a show with a season comprised of standalone episodes. Law & Order it is not. And to those who've said Bones' laughter at the end was over the top, YES! A million times, yes! It was painful.


Not loving this show anymore. What was that fake laughing at the end of the show. Blah.


I completely disagree with this: "What has always set Bones apart from other crime-solving procedurals are the season-long story arcs, or partial-season arcs, that draw us to the characters." And I hope the reviewer doesn't get whatever it is she likes about Bones, which I guess is very very little ("We want our show back."). When I re-watch episodes of the show from the very beginning, I mostly skip the Gravedigger and Pelant episodes. This was a semi-touching (Zed-Angela-Hodgins) and pretty funny (characters & scenes could have been right out of "Punchline"). Fisher was a his best. Sweet's was in the role he's cornered (interviewing, profiling). And Booth's arrow-through-the-head lame sense of humor and what jokes Bones finds funny ... Great show!


I really enjoyed the show. The ick factor was actually funny and Booth was spot on with his stand-up routine. He's usually so grim and condescending it was a refreshing change. Brennan as usual can do no wrong, but sometimes it feels like she's just another character, not the "back Bones" of the show.
As for the other characters, I love them all (except for Pelant, may he roast in flames before he dies). I agree that there isn't enough Caroline (cher) any longer, she has a wicked sense of humor. So does Fisher with his deeply neurotic personality. I totally get Cam and Arastoo, he's always been a favorite intern and their relationship isn't taking over the show, it's like our little secret. Angela and Hodgins are always good, I just wish there were more time to develop their characters on a personal level. Same with Sweets and that darling Southern intern.
Anyway, I love the show, even the "fillers" and look forward to next week's episode, same as always.


Some of the series havent seen Either havent got channel Or we dont have them in the Uk

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Bones Season 8 Episode 8 Quotes

Bones: Now you don't have to unfold and refold a map.
Booth: Wait a second, I like maps. What's wrong with maps?
Bones: Well, maps cannot tell you the amount of traffic to expect en route to your destination. See? Now we can relax and talk about interesting things.
Booth: This is not how the cowboys settled this country.

Hodgins: Babe, I need your secret stash of peanut butter.
Angela: Hodgins, I bring in my peanut butter for a little comfort food every once in a while.