The television show Bones aired “The Murder of the Meninist” last week. Buzzfeed found the episode problematic, because the issues raised by the Men’s Rights Activists in the show were neither sufficiently debunked nor were the feminists portrayed in a flattering enough manner. Normally I’d move on to the next story, but, as a former viewer of the show, I was intrigued.
I stopped watching in 2012 after the atheist-with-a-heart-of-Asperbergers, Dr. Brennan, gave birth in a stable to her daughter, Christine. Get it? Atheist gives birth in a stable. To Christine. Ha ha Christians, take THAT! The show already had a personal rating of meh, so giving it up wasn’t difficult.
Is it harder to delve into the DVR settings to figure out how to stop recording a show, or easier to simply delete the ones being recorded unwatched? According to the scientific experiment I’ve been conducting for four years, it is the latter.
Yay! Science! Thanks to this experiment, I just happened to have the “Meninist” episode in question in a “watchable format”; that is, with the ability to fast-forward through the annoying bits. I often find commercials more entertaining than the show they appear in. Adjust your definition of “annoying” accordingly.
The first indication of a problem is use of the word meninist, which was from a satirical Twitter account taken seriously by feminists. The “free bleeding” protest movement, which I believe started as a 4chan joke, is another example of the absence of any satire gland in feminist brains. Nobody in any sub-branch of the broadly-named Men’s Rights Activists movement (MRAs) calls themselves a meninist.
The show starts by featuring a major subplot involving “wheelchair guy.” One of the regular cast members has somehow ended up a paraplegic. No, I didn’t care enough to look up the details. He is going through the angry & bitter stage of grief, saying hurtful things to his wife and coworkers, and generally resenting the mobility of everyone around him. This makes everyone uncomfortable, including the viewing audience. We see shots of people walking up stairs, camera angles forcing him to look up at people, his coworkers moving freely on the second floor, and his rage at the slowness of the wheelchair lift. Apparently the crime lab can’t afford an elevator. Fellow cast members pointedly look on with a mix of pity, concern, and distress.
Each individual line, camera angle, and facial closeup is so overdone that they somehow add up to being more comically stupid than the sum of their parts. I was cracking up the first few minutes, and had to rewind so Codex could chastise me. After a second viewing, she was laughing too. The subplot resonates throughout the show and wheelchair guy gets his comeuppance, which does nothing to assuage his anger, when the burning meat puppet experiment explodes bloody goop all over him. Wheelchair guy is having a bad week, but that doesn’t excuse any of us for using the stairs. Shame on us.
Thank goodness the uncomfortable situation is interrupted with the body drop. Awkward morning coffee scene ended by a dead guy. Symbolic.
Science magic is used to find out who the victim is. His completely burned and melted credit card is restored and it turns out he bought something from an auto parts store. They bring in the clerk (because the FBI can’t use phones or visit clerks in the wild) who is a cute but vapid woman who [cough] wants to take a selfie with the cute FBI agent grilling her. It turns out the victim was a real jerk, and assumed she “couldn’t possibly know anything about multi-port fuel injectors just cause I have a hoo-ha.” Buzzfeed objects to the depiction of the clerk. You can read the article if you really care.
Yep, nobody is going to click on that link 🙂
Our victim turns out to be the co-founder of a men’s rights group called Men Now, and is the victim of spousal abuse. They can determine this using more science magic. His face has been bashed in repeatedly. I mean, he could be a bouncer or a boxer or maybe just an unlucky bloke, but the story has to lurch along somehow. Spousal abuse victim it is.
The first suspect is the bitchy ex-wife of the victim. He is apparently paying her $10,000 a month in alimony, and they recently feuded because he’d tried and failed to get it cut back. Ex-wife has no motivation for murder: why would she kill the guy paying her so much money? Buzzfeed, of course, objects to this portrayal because ex-wives are victims and certainly never at fault in bitter divorce proceedings.
At this point in the episode, astute viewers may pick up on a pattern the writers repeat throughout the show. A character will raise a point in favor of MRAs, but in the next scene criticize the movement. The pattern is repeated when they talk about feminists. This gives the illusion that none of the regular cast is either an MRA or a feminist. Most of the criticisms knock down straw man arguments set up by another character, so the whole episode ends up filled with non-sequitur comments thrown in to make a point and awkwardly advance the story.
For example, Brennan and Booth finally track the victim back to his place of work, the Men Now office. Shockingly, a nice woman works there. She explains that many women support men and are not feminists. The woman’s husband is the co-founder of the movement, and gives a very impassioned anti-woman speech that consists of the anger and bitterness one often hears at actual feminist rallies. You know, from the feminists.
By the end of the scene, our nice office lady is spouting off about bitches and feminazi’s. Normally, viewers might excuse this because she just found out that their partner has been murdered, and they believe a prominent feminist who recently hacked their website and took it down for two days is responsible. The details are brought about in the pro-then-anti pattern displayed in the dialog, and repeats in the transformation of the nice coworker to nasty coworker. Neither the victim nor the Men Now members are depicted as sympathetic.
The detectives race off to find the feminist suspect, who is holding a rally at a hotel that pays their female staff 2/3s of what they pay the men. Yes, you’d expect a wage-gap trope in here somewhere, but the show writers don’t even get that right. The official figure repeated ad-nausea by feminists all over the internet is 77%. This figure has also been debunked many, many times.
The rally is pretty milquetoast compared to actual leftist rallies one typically sees on the news. The scene is played for laughs, as Brennan has been a member of this particular feminist sect since college, yet she is forced to cart off the leader for questioning. The group of women continue chanting, as though absolutely nothing has happened. Buzzfeed objects to the depiction of this “mob”. It’s unrealistic. They have a point.
The team mow through a few more suspects. Frankly, the mystery is completely uninteresting. Nobody cares about the victim at all. His skull was bashed in, his body tossed in his car, and the whole thing was set on fire. The FBI agents don’t care, the lab workers don’t care, the feminists certainly don’t care, the MRAs don’t care, his ex-wife doesn’t care, and all of this leads to the audience not caring either. Shocking.
The issue of circumcision is raised. The following dialog occurs between Dr. Brennan and a lab assistant, a Cuban named Dr. Fuentes, while processing evidence in the lab. Just to be clear, this is at work, while they are working.
Fuentes: In Cuba, very few boys are circumcised. Did you know that having a foreskin greatly enhances the man’s sexual pleasure?
Brennan: There’s no scientific proof of that, Dr. Fuentes.
Fuentes (smirking): No, but I have ample anecdotal evidence.
Why doesn’t this go immediately to HR?
Fuentes and Brennan speak again, when suspicion falls upon the victim’s co-workers. Fuentes points out that it could be the totally obnoxious meninist male partner. Brennan calls that sexist, and says it could equally be the totally obnoxious meninist male partner’s totally obnoxious wife. Women are equally likely to whack someone with a heavy metal object, break his skull, and drag him to his car.
Fuentes: I meant that [accusing the man only] as a compliment.
Brennan: I suppose you should feel flattered when women are catcalled walking down the street?
Fuentes: I know I do.
Brennan: Is this something that happens to you frequently, Dr. Fuentes?
Fuentes: Oh yes. Either call to me, or simply make love to me with their eyes. [sports a big smile]
Seriously, do the HR cops know what is going on in this lab? Do the show-writers know that the catcalling video was debunked? No. No they don’t.
Finally, Booth and Brennan are interviewing meninist wife when angry meninist bursts into the interrogation room with lawyers and bravado and some truly rude language, which prompts Brennan to punch him so hard in the face it breaks his jaw. The consequences? Extra paperwork for Booth. Anybody else would be in a jail cell. This is pointed out in the show, but hand-waved away.
In the end, it turns out the ex-wife did it. She promptly blames her beta-orbiter boyfriend, who claims that he is being abused. No attempt is made to explain why she’d do it and get those sweet, sweet alimony checks stopped.
Oh, right, spoiler alert.
“Bones: The Murder of the Meninist,” raises a couple of points about the Men’s Rights movement but spends far more time building up and tearing down straw man arguments and provides nothing in the way of facts. Buzzfeed’s real complaint is that the show doesn’t portray women favorably. It does portray them realistically, though.
If you enjoy this show, then more power to you. I find it difficult to judge anyone for their television viewing choices. In this case, however, I’m definitely looking down on you from the Ghost Adventures rung of the entertainment ladder.