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  • Acceptable Targets: Wiccans in "The Witch in the Wardrobe", BDSM practitioners, LAR Pers, comic book fans...
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: A common reaction to the death of Dr. Nigel-Murray. Just when you thought you could deal with him...
  • Badass Decay: In the first couple of seasons Brennan is presented as a capable and skilled martial artist. This seems to have been abandoned in later seasons, noticeable in "Harbingers in the Fountain" where an untrained doctor clumsily wielding a simple scalpel is more than a match for her.
    • In Season 7's "The Warrior in the Wuss", she provides some significant information about Karate, and just about any self-defense instructor will tell a student that just because someone is untrained doesn't mean they're not a significant threat, especially if they're armed and/or highly motivated. Even in the first episode, she was perfectly willing to shoot a guy threatening to burn both of them to death instead of trying to subdue him.
  • Complete Monster: The one that inevitably first comes to mind is the Gravedigger, whose victims are buried alive. And we learn that their motive pretty much amounts to "because I can."
    • The Gormogon. Dear God, the Gormogon!
    • Howard Epps.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Billy Gibbons (Angela's father) forcing Hodgins to get a tattoo of her and then leaving him in the middle of the desert. Good thing he lived. And this is after promising Angela that he won't seek revenge. And then he does it again, this time because Hodgins refuses to let him name the baby something ridiculous.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Parodied, when Zack interprets a Looney Tunes cartoon as an allegory for the Darwinist struggle for dominance between birds and mammals.

 Zack: And then here, he explodes... but not really.

  • Fan Nickname
    • "Baby Duck" for Sweets, and "The Duck Family" for him, Booth, and Brennan as True Companions.
    • "Squintern" (Brennan's six rotating interns) was this until it became Ascended Fanon.
    • Fan Community Nickname: Fox recently started refering to fans of the show as Squinterns.
  • Girls Need Role Models: Could Dr. Temperance Brennan be a better role model for girls? An ass-kicking anthropologist with liberal views about sex, religion and morality, who wears jewelery, skirts and high heels while beating the shit out of bad guys and whose best girlfriends are a similarly ass-kicking African-American coroner whose race is never mentioned and once had a comfortably relaxed affair, and is still best friends with, the man Brennan is now in love with, and a free-spirited Eurasian artist who believes in love while still being a Lovable Sex Maniac. And for that rare creature, the female teenage Aspie, the fact that a woman with ridiculously obvious social problems can not only be accepted as a friend, lover and boss, but does so on national television, is enormously comforting, however unrealistic.
    • This show is feminist to the core. Brennan's views are often consistent with liberal third-wave feminism, even though she is never identified as such (probably to avoid the unpleasant associations with Straw Feminist images). The show's commitment to diversity plays into the same ideology. The writers seem committed to making the show as a whole as thoroughly feminist as possible.
  • Flanderization
    • Very badly in Brennan's case -- in the pilot, and the rest of Season One, to a lesser extent, she seems a little detached from reality and certainly lonely, but she gets sarcasm, irony, and most of the normal human interaction going on around her. Four seasons later, her unawareness of pop culture has morphed into full-on ridiculousness about the most basic bits of metaphor.
    • Oddly inverted for the intern-of-the-week crowd: they all started off with a single trait (Muslim, way too over-peppy, constantly spouting useless facts...), but these easy traits all turned into pretty deep characterization down the road.
  • Gratuitous Special Effects: A particularly egregious example occurs in at the end of an episode where Bones and Booth start shooting nerf guns at each other. The balls are clearly cgi and the actors are clearly pumping empty guns, and it rather begs the question why not just use real nerf balls and save the special effects budget?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: "The Man in the Fallout Shelter" is much funnier now that Bethesda owns Fallout.
  • Hollywood Homely: The Wiccans in "The Witch in the Wardrobe". Booth is repelled at seeing them naked during their ceremony but when we see them clearly in the light of day all of them are at least slightly above-average lookswise.
  • Ho Yay
    • Many moments between Zack and Hodgins.
    • Zack and Vincent seem a bit like a bickering couple in Booth's coma dream.
    • Sweets and Vincent share a very, ehem, interesting glance at the end of "The Babe in the Bar".
  • Magnificent Bastard: Max
  • Motive Decay: In the early episodes, the scientists at the Jeffersonian spend most of their time on historical and archaeological work, and only put up with the FBI commandeering their services in order to justify their federal funding. By the middle of the first season, they're pretty much a dedicated crime lab. More Characterization Marches On, since at least one episode actually addresses this: they find the FBI cases are much more exciting, challenging, and rewarding. They still do the other work, it's just that they're not as enthusiastic about it anymore.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Arguably, killing a random woman because she was in the way was this for Broadsky. Killing serial killers made him vaguely sympathetic, in a Max Keenan sort of way, but this seemed to cross the line. Of course, Caroline disagrees:

 Caroline: Man sneaks into [Booth's] house, threatens [Booth] with a gun. That's unforgivable. He should be lethally injected just for that.

  • Narm: The birth of Booth and Brennan's baby. Slow-motion in a manger.
  • Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize: Notably averted at least once. When Wayne Knight (who played Newman on Seinfeld) shows up, you expect him to be the killer. He wasn't.
  • Never Live It Down
  • Nightmare Fuel: Too many examples to count.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name
    • Hodgela, for Hodgins and Angela.
    • Booth and Brennan are usually abbreviated to BB, but the introduction of Booth's girlfriend in season six, whose surname also starts with a B has led to a few fans crying for Teeley.
    • Also, Swaisy for Sweets and Daisy.
  • Primal Fear / Nightmare Fuel
    • The Gormogon. "He's very fast, and very strong..."
    • Also, what the Gravedigger does to victims.
    • There was one episode where they realized the victim had been stabbed in the neck. That didn't kill them. It just mostly-paralyzed them so that when they were buried alive in concrete, they tried to swim to the surface with only their little finger.
  • Shocking Swerve: Third season finale.
  • Squick: The entire concept of the show is about bodies that are mangled too far for regular forensic teams to analyze, so this can be considered par for every episode.
    • The "pony play" episode.
    • "The Princess and the Pear". Guess what the "pear" is. And a version is made for use further south. If it's any comfort to folks, Pears of Anguish don't actually work -- they're psychological torture as the force needed to use them on either location is more than a Pear could exert. The Pear would break long before the human would.
    • "The Critic in The Cabernet". Red wine. Body. How do you think they discover it? ...EWWWW! The liquefied man was somewhere between this and Nightmare Fuel.
    • Then there's the flattened girl who is often being compared to a pizza. They even use a piece of sheet metal to pry her off the cardboard she's stuck to. Thanks a lot.
    • Then there's the person that was in used fry batter stuff... it's the usual, right? Bones says that it's not her department and walks off... and then, when they pull the body out, the skin starts falling off, the organs start slipping out, and Bones quickly returns, since it is now in her department.
    • "The Babe in the Bar": an episode with a person who drowned in the mold of a giant chocolate bar. All of the decomposition gasses were trapped in her body and liquified it. Also, they didn't find the body until after the bar was set and they had begun cutting it. Cue liquidy goo spewing out of the giant candy. Imagine if they had started eating it before they found her?
    • "The Bullet in the Brain": Aside from the Gravedigger's head exploding and seeing her headless body, there's also the woman's body half-dissolved in lye, that Brennan and Booth find. Both of them immediately start retching. Keep in mind that they have been working together for about five years by this point, and Brennan has identified remains from mass genocide graves.
  • The Scrappy
    • Dr. Nigel-Murray. What makes it bearable is that it's clear that Cam really doesn't like him, and he gets on the nerves of the others as well, so they're in the same boat as the audience.
    • Daisy tends to get this reaction from the fandom as well, but that may be from hitting a little too close to home for them.
  • Tear Jerker
    • "The Graft in the Girl"
    • "The Man in the Fallout Shelter":

 Angela: Can you imagine what it was like for her, waiting and wondering, never knowing what happened?

Bones: I don't have to imagine.

    • The season three finale still makes my eyes water.
    • And let's not forget to mention when Cam adopts Michelle that one moment when she goes up to her room to get the salt shaker.
    • Booth and Brennan sharing "scars" from their childhoods as a way to comfort Sweets after discovering whip scars on his back.
    • "The Superhero in the Alley," when Angela completes the victim's comic book for him.
    • Bones tearfully telling Booth that she can't let go of her relationship doubts despite how she feels about him.
    • "The Finger in the Nest". Poor Hodgins. Poor Sweets. Poor Brennan. Hell, this episode is one Tear Jerker after another. Particularly if you're a dog lover.
    • The sixth season premiere, "The Mastadon in the Room", in a good way when Hodgins and Angela are talking about their baby.
    • "The Doctor in the Photo" brings out Brennan's oft overlooked woobie side. Her tearful breakdown and confession to Booth at the end is especially emotional.

 "I'm with someone now and she's not a consolation prize."

    • As a man who has been on the tail end of a rejected marriage proposal what happens to Booth at the end of "The Daredevil in the Mold" is particularly jarring.
    • "The Shallow in the Deep", when Angela gives faces to all of the slave ship victims.
    • "The Blackout in the Blizzard". TJ Thyne can make the chemical composition of coins bring tears to your eyes.
    • The death of Mr. Nigel-Murray, especially when Cam talks about calling his mother.
    • When the squints realize that Zack is Gormogon's apprentice. When Bones pressed her forehead against Zack's and he started crying, this troper burst into tears.
  • The Unfair Sex / Double Standard: While the show is feminist and portrays a wide range of strong female and male characters, it will occasionally veer into this category generalizing men as Acceptable Targets, whereas you do not dare do the same to women.
    • For example, in "Yanks in the U.K., part 2":

 Hodgins: I thought women loved it when we fought over them

Cam: "Women" is an unacceptable generalization.

(10 minutes later)

Angela: Men are stupid.

    • Or in "The Finger in the Nest"

 Bones: Pitting animals is a common pastime in evolving cultures where violence is more commonplace and animal life has no value.

Angela: To men.

Bones: Yes, it's always men.

  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Wendell and Hodges frantically attaching wires while Angela yells, in the background, "Guys! The phone!" and rock music ramps up the mood... the fact is that Hodges and Wendell are frantically hooking up potatoes for a very, very big battery.
  • The Woobie: Sweets and, to a lesser extent, Zack. And if you don't feel bad for Hodgins during season 4, there's something wrong with you. Heck, Brennan herself-underneath that Insufferable Genius exterior lies a very vulnerable, fragile soul-the times when it's exposed tend to quite sad.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Zack as the apprentice to Gormogon.
  • Audience Reactions: Did Brennan really, honestly try to tell Stephen bloody Fry of "a writer called Shakespeare" and "a play called Hamlet", as if he had never heard of them? This resulted in some humour for Brits watching.
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