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Erik is a huge fan of Bones, and I don't mind it, so every once in awhile I end up watching an episode or two. I have to say, I got really sick of the forensic science shows about halfway through the first season of CSI, but Bones manages to keep things interesting for the most part. Once you get over the fact that most of this is probably stretched, hoaky science that has been morphed and battered to fit into the framework of television, it's pretty good!
What I like most about it is the main character is a very intelligent, pretty, atheist woman. She has flaws, but they're appropriate. She's a little socially awkward, but not painfully so. She's very blunt, but does have capacity for empathy. It's great that the character never feels forced, and is never the butt of the jokes.
How great is it that we have a woman being portrayed in this way on television and no one is making a huge deal about it? This is apparently, for a lot of people, very normal. As a girl/woman (cue Britney Spears song here) at an engineering school that is 25% female, I find this encouraging. I'm all about girls choosing to do whatever it is they want to do, and if all girls truly wanted nothing more than to stay at home, cooking and raising children, I wouldn't care. I just want girls to know what all of their options are before making those decisions, and a character like Bones can show girls that they can be the calculating, logical scientist just as much as any man can.
Admittedly, I'm more surprised that no one gets all uppity about her being an atheist. You'd think with all the confusion about what an atheist is, and how people very rarely even acknowledge their existence, a character like this on mainstream television would be almost impossible. Maybe this means people aren't so terrified of the idea of an atheist anmore?
A particularly interesting vehicle of the story is that her counterpart is religious. They never "convert" each other, they talk about each other's religious beliefs, and they're still friends. Look! You don't even have to agree about the existence of god to get along! How novel! Bones is probably the best advertising for atheism and skeptical thinking there has ever been.
And they never show her eating babies either. So that's cool, too, I guess.