I know my followers are probably sick of me
ranting about critiquing “Bones”, but I keep having new thoughts. I do try not to let ‘this is why the show upsets me’ morph into ‘this makes the show evil!!1’. These are merely my personal reactions. Under the cut: why Angela scares me more than Booth does.
one of the reasons this show frightens me is that I fear (a) ending up attached to people who relate to me in the ways Booth and Angela relate to Brennan, and (b) not knowing this is a problem. with Angela, this is less theoretical, because she is the kind of friend I’ve had when there is no one better around.
okay, so Booth can be openly mean to Brennan, or openly frustrated with her, or obviously dismissive. and I understand it. he’s a fallible human being, and the show to its credit presents him that way. even if the show doesn’t always acknowledge that he’s being unkind, his manner at least indicates that.
but Angela — Angela is Brennan’s best friend, the show tells us. she is the one who is unfailingly nice and understanding, who’s there for Brennan. and she does act nicely. her tone is always sweet. she does what look like friend!things.
she treats Brennan like shit. pardon my unequivocal statement.
at one point Brennan and Zack (who has similar social deficits) are discussing the meaning of a fist-bump, and Angela says something like, “aww, I love it when you two try to impersonate humans.” fyi: while I have called myself ‘alien’ in certain contexts, this is not something I want a friend to say about me. we don’t even get to see Brennan’s reaction, because that remark was really meant for the viewers, not for Brennan to respond to. it was meant for an audience.
a similar thing happened to me in 5th grade when my group of ‘friends’ were all joking amongst themselves about how I was an alien, and they were shocked when I sat down in the middle of the recess yard crying and said, ‘you are idiots!’ (this was among the words my parents didn’t allow; I regarded it as a curse word.) to be fair, they’d been doing this for weeks, and I didn’t know I was insulted until I started crying. but it is insulting to be called an alien when the term retains negative connotation.
it’s not better if you add ‘aww’; it’s worse. I get the impression sometimes that Brennan is Angela’s pet geek, whom she’s graciously taken under her wing.
it alarms me how often Brennan will tell Angela to stop doing something and Angela just won’t. for example: stop talking about a certain topic, stop pressing her emotionally, stop trying to convince her to attend x social event. and Brennan always, eventually, goes along, because she has no power over Angela. if ‘stop, no’ doesn’t work, what does?
this tells me that to Angela, Brennan’s ‘no’ has very little meaning. and we the viewers aren’t meant to take Brennan’s ‘no’ seriously either. because of course she wants to discuss the uncomfortable topic of the day! of course she wants to go out dancing instead of staying at home and getting ahead on her work!
but if Brennan’s speech is generally straightforward, and best taken at face value, why are her protests at Angela’s offers of normalcy any different? why is ‘no’ devoid of meaning?
frankly, I don’t understand why ‘but she seemed like she didn’t mean it’ suddenly becomes a valid statement if we’re not talking about sex.
Booth has called Brennan ‘Rain Man’, but Angela consistently calls her ‘sweetie’. her tone seems to me like that of someone speaking to a child. maybe it’s just the way their friendship functions, but it’s distinctly unequal.
and I know it doesn’t look bad, because the show itself has no idea. maybe Brennan herself is only partially aware of this dynamic. after all, she needs friends.
but it frightens me. when I have, more than once, had to get to the point of tears for people I considered ‘friends’ to believe I honestly wanted them to stop pressuring me. in one case, I was sobbing before they let me get the hell out of a shopping mall. and they didn’t understand what they’d done wrong. ‘but it never seems like you’re really protesting!’ I stated my views; what more do you need? this has also happened with my mother, who will persist in trying to ‘comfort’ me when I have clearly explained to her that her actions are only making me more upset.
so Angela scares me. because when someone is “nice” to you, it is extremely difficult to explain the problem, even to yourself. and thus the problem is forever invisible, undefined. To be honest, I am not even sure if the thesis of this post is correct. You tell me.
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