Tapping into a nation’s mythology: Bones investigates the JFK Assassination

Bones episode “The Proof in the Pudding” (aired January 21, 2010) taps into one of the United States’ most compelling mythologies: the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  The episode starts with the arrival of a “General Services Administration” unit to the Smithsonian Institute.  The Bones team is held in lockdown at the building (on a Friday evening, to boot) until they discover how a victim, whose bones the GSA has wheeled in, has died.  The team is strictly forbidden to identify the subject.

After Dr. Lance Sweets informs FBI special agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) that “his people” are being held hostage, Booth spends much of the first half attempting a way back into the building.  The best scene is when he tries to pry open the locked double glass doors into the lab with his bare hands, and then knocks on them to get the attention of Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Dr. Camille Saroyan (Tamara Taylor).  Unsuccessful, he shoots the glass door, swaggers in with “Hiya Bones,” and is immediately tackled by (Secret Service) agents.  Dazed, he looks up from the floor saying “Bones?”

The JFK assassination might be one of our country’s most favorite and most controversial topics.  Decades after JFK’s death, burning questions, documentaries of greater and lesser merit, and conspiracy theories, remain and abound.  Was ex-Marine and looney-tune Lee Harvey Oswald the lone shooter?  Was then FBI lead J. Edgar Hoover responsible for JFK’s death and Martin Luther King’s?  Was Lyndon B. Johnson the mastermind behind the assassination?  This episode does little more than speculate on the possibility of a second shooter.  In fact, the episode isn’t so much about the JFK assassination as it is about the dynamics and inter-relationships between the Bones team itself, particularly the reactions of Booth and Brennan.  The implication is that the government was doing a possible dry-run to test the team.  It’s also implied that Dr. Brennan deliberately hid the truth from Seeley Booth in order that he, a former soldier and sniper, retain faith in his government.  Which brings us to an important question: Do you hide the truth to protect the one you love?

Our fascination with JFK is perpetual.  The indie film The House of Yes illustrates this quite well.  Several years ago, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper went off onto a hilarious tangent to end his show, after 60-year old Marianne Fahenstock, claimed to be “the Mimi,” the White House intern JFK slept with.

I am with, the Mimi. I know where you’ve been because I too have been there myself. Yes, that’s right. I too slept with JFK. I am the Anderson.

You might point out that I was born four years too late to have actually slept with JFK. Technically you would be correct. But why quibble over details? After all, isn’t it possible deep down, that you also slept with JFK? “Who, me,” you ask? “Oh, no, I couldn’t have,” you protest. “Not possibly.”

Believe whatever you have to. I, for one, am not willing to live that lie any longer. The truth about our Camelot obsessed society is that each of us in our own way has slept with the JFK. Only once we admit this to ourselves individually and as a nation can the true healing begin.

Similarly, perhaps each of our of us in our own way is somehow complicit in the assassination of JFK.  The actual truth, I fear, we’ll never know.

via FOX on Demand – Bones


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