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Last night was the season premiere of season five of Bones, which is the only series which Wolfling and I watch faithfully.

I enjoy the show a great deal, especially the central ensemble of characters, but on a couple of occasions I've posted here about my irritation about the way the writers have treated certain subcultures, especially gamers and kinky people. Members of these groups have been portrayed according to some of the worst -- and most ridiculous -- stereotypes, giving the characters the opportunity to be mystified, chuckle over, and be superior to the weird and troubled 'other.'

Last night's episode featured a psychic tarot reader named Harmonia Avalon (played by Cyndie Lauper), who informed Bones and Angela about a group of bodies under a nearby fountain, and then spent the rest of the episode delivering psychic messages to the characters. Lauper's still-distinctive voice gave her a kind of spacy aspect even when she was being serious, and of course Bones utterly dismissed Harmonia's abilities even as she could find no other explanation for her accuracy -- but she was depicted as being accurate. And to make things even better, I felt comfortable with the selection of cards they used to illustrate her readings, with the possible exception of the Devil to tell Booth that Bones was about to be attacked. Also, while I would have used the Queen of Swords as Bones' significator in the initial reading, when the character's name is Temperance, they really couldn't pass up having that be the first card revealed.

The other thing I appreciated is that the producers chose to not dress Lauper in gypsy skirts, bright scarves, and pounds of crystals and amulets. Granted, such costuming choices would have reflected an authentic segment of the community -- but the fact that instead they had her wearing a soft but business-like black suit with nary a crystal or charm in sight.

In short, Harmonia Avalon was allowed to have dignity, and to be an exception to rationality whom Bones could neither mock effectively nor explain away. However strongly the main characters wanted it to be otherwise, by the end of the episode there was no explanation for her accuracy than that she was indeed a psychic.



The one hole in the depiction of Harmonia's talent is that she was personally involved in the mystery which emerged, but in all the years between crime and investigation she'd never had any psychic impressions which would have brought it to light sooner. They tried to offset this by having her remark on it herself, "Some psychic I am," but it never became something which Bones took up as a way to try to prove to the others that she wasn't actually psychic -- which the writers could easily have had her do.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
watcher457
Sep. 18th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
I like it when they try to get it right. There was a season one episode of Castle that had voodoo in it. Now, I know nothing about voodoo, and the way they did it was admittedly sensationalistic (is there such a word?). The practitioner in question was using people in a ceremony. Dead people. However, the killing of the people wasn't a human sacrifice in the ritual. He killed the person looking for something, and when he couldn't find it, he performed a ritual entreating the spirits to guide him to the thing he needed to find. I sincerely doubt the prop of the dead body was authentic, but regardless, I liked that they made the distinction.
neversremedy
Sep. 18th, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
That reminds me of the elation I felt when Law & Order: SVU episode that dealt with BDSM. The main characters ranged between slightly interested to rather uncomfortable with it, but when one of the witnesses they were talking with became a key informant, she also ended up showing the most reticent of the bunch why she liked bdsm, but did it eloquently. The officer in question started to consider the possibilities by the end of the episode. I'm going to have to find it again, because her description was concise and perferctly explained. ^_^

I think, but I'm not positive, that it might have been this episode. I have to watch it to be certain, though. Of course, their idea of memorable quotations are not what I would have picked. :P
devifemme
Sep. 20th, 2009 08:40 pm (UTC)
I don't watch SVU, but would have enjoyed seeing that episode.

Kink is dealt with so strangly on network TV that it'd be quite refreshing to see a character talking in positive terms about why she likes to be spanked, or whatever.

I like your blog -- would you like to friend?

Hugs, Justine
silverhawkdruid
Sep. 20th, 2009 08:52 am (UTC)
Aah, so it's you that keeps mentioning this programme. I upgraded my telly over here in good ol UK on Friday, and one of the first things that caught my eye was an episode of Bones (one where the medical examiner was got by a powder in a skull, put there by an escaped prisoner who had it in for the team.)

It was the first episdode I've ever seen and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Recognised some of the actors/actresses too, which was nice. There was a guy was from a sitcom, Hope and Faith I think, (its been a while since I saw that) and the ME looked like someone from one of the CSI gang, if I remember correctly.

Looking forward to watching more of the episodes as they come up. :-)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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