Lately I've been poring through old seasons of Bones episodes on Netflix, catching up on the series I've only caught glimpses of in the past. Even though we always end up watching during dinner (ooky) and it's fairly formulaic, I'm finding a deep love for all the female characters on the show. Of course, I love the guys of the show too - Seeley Booth with his structured shoulders and unwavering sense of loyalty, Hodgins and love for all things conspiracy, Zack and his endearing quest for real friendship, despite what his brain wants (even though his character has since taken a turn for the worse - sigh). I'm not loving Sweets yet, you'll have to give me some time with him.
Since I'm just working my way through season 4 right now, everything I write after this could be nullified in later seasons (please no spoilers posted here!), but I'm pretty impressed with how they've handled Bones, Angela, and Cam so far. Angela especially - this has to be the first time I've ever seen a female character allowed to explore her sexuality onscreen. Buffy's Willow did some groundbreaking in this area, but she was strictly regulated to the straight camp with Oz, and then the gay camp with Tara, but not allowed to waffle inbetween.
On Bones, Angela is allowed relationships that only last 3 weeks out of every year and promise sex and adventure in an artist's retreat. She can get married to a hulking, beautiful man who builds her a house on an island, only to sober up and later get a divorce. She falls for Hodgins and they play with new relationship sex, engagement, etc. And best yet, she's now (where I am in the series, at any rate) allowed to reconnect with an old girlfriend of hers from college. None of the other characters judge her, or give her any grief for shacking up with a lady. Even the lesbian "wink wink" comments are kept to a minimum. Even though they keep knocking you over the head with the fact that ANGELA IS A FREE SPIRIT, I appreciate her character development nonetheless.
Bones (or Dr. Temperance Brennan) is a great character that is rarely seen - the logical, brainy female who is still allowed to have a sex life and remains unashamed of her sexuality. She's not cold and wound up and just waiting for a man to release all of her sexual tension - instead she's fully embraced all the "human" aspects of her own behavior and preferences. I did get a little worried one episode when Bones was juggling two guys and having a great time - and then her partner Booth and therapist Dr. Sweets came down on her, like her behavior was somehow inappropriate.
Unfortunately, Cam hasn't gotten a lot of airplay yet but I can't wait to see more of her. She's initially presented as a tough bitch who needs to immediately assert her dominance over the group, combining particular skills of ex-cop with her extensive knowledge of dead bodies. Luckily, any hint of her and Bones competing for female dominance of the lab has been tossed aside and Cam's separated herself as just as brainy and beautiful as the rest of them, just slightly more professional and funny. I'm hoping they'll make more use of her in the show, since currently all I know about her is she likes hockey, loves fashion, and has no problem scoring dates.
In light of viewing the Bechdel test for this year's Oscar movies, I thought it was a great time to stop and celebrate some killer female leads I'm seeing pop up on TV.