And down will come baby, cradle and all


It happens to everyone at one time or another. But I didn't think it would happen to me in quite this way.

My Bones just aired on Fox last night. Okay, so not my Bones. Not exactly. But they sure had my theme and a lot of my little character moments. It was like someone took my spec, rewrote, and slapped it on the air. Only, obviously that's not what happened at all. In the biz they call it parallel development or some such.

Excerpt from their Bones

Angela picks up a baby whose mother has died in the MOW (murder of the week).

I want, like, a million of these!

What do you think she meant by a million? Two?

Okay, so that's their take on the Angela / Hodgins relationship. Here's mine.
Excerpt from my Bones
Angela and Hodge are talking babies and she's feeling her way around the subject of maybe not having any.

Dr. Jack Hodgins
I would love-- love to have children with you. But I'd rather have a life with you than a hundred kids without you.

A hundred is a lot.

Dr. Jack Hodgins
How do you feel about two?

I don't know. Confused? Terrified?

Dr. Jack Hodgins

Maybe. A little.

Seriously?! Who's gonna believe I didn't just nick that wholesale from this week's episode?

The thing is, I don't believe their take on it. Angela is this fiercely independent woman. It took Hodgins months of planning and romancing and cajoling to make her decide to give up her freedom and marry him. This is the same person who wants a million babies? Nu-uh. Then there's Hodgins, this romantic family guy (not like that Family Guy) who wants nothing more than to settle down with Angela in a little bungalow somewhere. And he's reticent about having kids? That just doesn't work for me. I feel like my take on it is actually truer to the characters. Of course, now that it's aired, their take is right and mine is wrong. Oh, those TV people have all the power!

And don't even get me started on all the coochie-cooing that went on in that episode. Or the fact that the baby had nothing to do with the murder. You could have just plucked her right out of there and the murder would have been unchanged. Of course, then there would have been no show, because the investigation was just an afterthought anyway. Plus, what the hell was she doing in the tree? You can't just put a baby in a tree and not explain it...

You got me started. And I clearly said "don't get me started".

So anyway, Hart Hanson, since I know you're reading this (I mean, who isn't?), I don't want to be an assistant on your show anymore. I want to be a baby writer (because obviously I know how to write about babies). Just let me know when you want me to start.

Artery Cloggery
We have these Neapolitan soy ice cream sandwiches in the freezer right now, from Fresh and Easy. I really hate Neapolitan ice cream (especially the strawberry part), but that hasn't stopped me from snarfing a few.


Anonymous said...

As a working screenwriter - no, not on Bones - let me offer a comment or two.

I'm not familiar enough with the show to suggest whether your character reading is correct or not. Only watched it occasionally. But the scene they shot has a couple of advantages over yours:

First of all, it's shorter ... and therefore sharper. It's funnier.

Second, their scene appears to come through the action. It's (apparently) an aside in the context of the investigation. Yours is a separate scene about wanting family/kids. Folding those character beats into procedural scenes is just good writing.

Ultimately, yours feels a little on-the-nose. They're taking a spontaneous character reaction and playing with it, whereas your characters are saying exactly what they feel.

I also wouldn't read their scene as him being reticent about having kids - just because he doesn't want to have, well, a million kids.

Just food for thought. Dismiss as irrelevant as appropriate.

Jane said...

Thanks for the input, Anonymous.

As the scenes are shown here, I totally agree with your comments.

For the record, the rest of the scene (in my Bones) is all about the investigation, and the nature of the murder leads naturally to this conversation.

Now, a question for the audience.

I can see how this snippet looks too on the nose. It does to me, too, plucked from the script like this. But, my scene is the final beat of an emotional storyline, whereas the scene from the aired episode is the first beat of a comic one. Given that Hodgins and Angela often have grown-up conversations about how they feel, is it still too much?

What does everyone think? Your two cents are always welcome - no matter if you're a working writer or just a beginner like me.

Carlo Conda said...

I think you're going to have to scrap it anyways. ;)
You can still have this exchange, but build on what they did tonight instead of have it be an alternate discussion.
It can be kind of helpful that you've seen a snippet of your spec on the show, especially since it was done very differently. You're kind of lucky, actually. Heh

adam _______________________ said...

I don't know if I'd go as far as to say that it's too on-the-nose. But there's a TV term called "gilding the lilly," which I heard recently from some working writers. It's often used in joking writing where you just have one too many jokes in a single line or two on the same point/idea. Where instead of 1-2-3, maybe you just 1-2, or just 1.

You might be gilding the lilly -- just building on this idea a bit too much, letting it go on too long. There's a difference between having an open, adult conversation, and saying too much on a delicate conversation. They're in a serious relationship, and dancing around discovered expectations.

In other words, babies are serious what-have-you, and in your scene the honesty between the two characters diffused that tension a bit. And it's also a tough comparison because theirs was more on the funny, you were more on the character drama.

I also agree that in the produced episode, it didn't seem to me like he was reticent about having babies. It was just the number.

But I wouldn't sweat your being on the nose. You're clearly on the right track, yes? You're mining the same character territory. Good for you. And my condolences.

Sucks, huh?

schmetterling said...

Could not the comic beat be an emotional distancing from the tradgedy of it all?

Or am I reading this wrong?