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Open letter to showrunners of procedurals starring actors we'd like to see shirtless

eddie-cibiran_lDear showrunners,

Hi. We know you’re back in production because your Twitter updates tell us so. You’re busy breaking stories, thinking up cases that will play well in syndication and, just maybe, reveal something about your characters. Do not neglect your men’s chests. Look at what the folks at CSI: Miami have already accomplished with new addition Eddie Cibrian (pictured, courtesy of a People First Look). To stop a gunshot victim from bleeding out, he must take off his shirt and use it as a tourniquet. Totally believable. All this required was a little forethought: Presumably, his character, an officer from the Hollywood division who transfers to Miami, does not believe in belts.

We realize this shirt-as-tourniquet routine won’t work for all of you. Fans of Bones, for instance, already know that David Boreanaz‘s FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth loves his “Cocky” belt buckle. Alex O’Loughlin, on his new CBS medical drama Three Rivers, plays a cardiothoracic surgeon who’ll have actual instruments that can be used to apply pressure. Get creative. Both those jobs are stressful — have them work out to relax. Then shower. Or take baths. (We’ve already seen Booth in the tub once, with his beer helmet and comic book — it’s not gratuitous to do it again; it’s continuity!)

We’ll ask our readers to suggest other ways to get your leading men shirtless, so please continue reading the comments. (Maybe Cibrian is really, really clumsy when he eats? Or perhaps he’s prone to getting residue from the crime scene on his clothing, and it has to become evidence each week? If you’re very creative, you can use that to get two men shirtless at once, like they did on NCIS when Sean Murray‘s McGee had to bag and tag his top, and Michael Weatherly‘s Tony DiNozzo gave him the shirt off his back rather than a fresh one from his desk.)

All our best,


Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

'Bachelorette': We grade the guys. Plus: David Boreanaz stops by on 'Must List Live!'

One has a foot fetish. One is a breakdance instructor. And then there’s the dude who claims to have a number one single…in Chihuahua, Mexico! So they are colorful cast of characters on this season of The Bachelorette, that’s for sure. Jessica Shaw and I recap the first episode and separate the studs from the duds as we look at the men vying for Jillian’s heart. Also in this episode of Must list Live!, we talk about Jay Leno vacating The Tonight Show throne as well as Sam Raimi’s triumphant return to horror with Drag Me to Hell. More? Fine. Bones fans take note as star David Boreanaz pops by to share what’s on his Must List, and we’re still giving away a FREE Comic-Con prize package, which includes a hotel room and full 4-day passes to the convention as well as our Entertainment Weekly Comic-Con party for a winner and a friend. (Super-sexy contest rules can be found here). So click on the video below and get ready for the most dramatic Must List Live! ever.;

'Bones' season finale recap: Zzzzzzz...WHOA?!

I’ll admit it: I’m not a patient viewer. I like things to make sense for the full hour, which could be why the first thing I wrote in my notebook watching Bones‘ Season 4 finale was "WTF is Hodgins rambling on about?" If you’re not gonna make sense, then you at least have to give me clever dialogue and new insights to keep me playing along. That’s where the episode went wrong for me: Maybe the dialogue was purposely confusing or cliché at times because that’s what it’d be like in someone’s coma-bound mind, but by the time I theorized that, I had no desire to watch the episode again, which is what you would need to do to fully appreciate it. The writing of what I interpreted to be Booth’s coma dream revealed nothing new. By now, we all knew that he had a soft spot for Sweets, that he loved Brennan, that he wanted to be a dad to her child, that he would kill someone who tried to hurt her, and that everyone in "The Lab" would do whatever it took to save him if they believed he was in trouble (either with the Grave Digger or the law). I did get and appreciate the plethora of shoutouts to longtime fans, my favorites of which where: Sweets saying that people think he’s Gormogon, but it’s the name of his band; Nigel-Murray telling Zack that he looks like someone who would go to jail for a crime he didn’t commit; Brennan kissing Booth on the cheek after he told her that their club was doing a benefit for sick children, just like she’d done when Booth let Russ see his sick step-daughter before arresting him; Booth dressing like he did in Vegas, when they went undercover and they first played a couple; and "Bren" being accused of cheating after Brennan’s said repeatedly that monogamy is unnatural. But 59 minutes of playing hide-and-seek with references isn’t what I wanted. Nothing these fake characters did was as interesting as what the real characters could’ve been doing. The final second — when we found out that Booth (presumably) has amnesia — was, however, a season finale-sized jolt that will make the fall premiere a Must See. Let’s break it down:

• So my final interpretation of the hospital scene was that Brennan had been typing (or Doogie-Howsering) what we’d heard in Hodgins’ voiceover throughout the episode, while what we saw was the "weird dream" Booth had been having for the four days he was in a coma after having a bad reaction to the anesthesia used during his otherwise successful brain surgery. Is that how you took it, as opposed to it all being from Brennan’s brain (she wouldn’t have deleted an entire novel and, hopefully, she’s a better writer than that) or that Brennan had been reading aloud what she’d been writing and Booth’s confused mind created its own visual and filled in the holes (that idea I could like because it means that some of what we saw was new, for Brennan)? Regardless, the amnesia, however cliché, is also rather poetic: just when Brennan realizes who Booth is — someone with whom it’s worth sharing control of her happiness — he forgets her. The person who was "acutely aware" of their attraction and struggled with it daily suddenly changed, from him to her. I think the dream was a way to show us that Booth’s mind was losing its memory of people — but that it’s not 100 percent gone, so he’ll get it back my November Sweeps. Note: If he somehow doesn’t actually have amnesia, then this episode was a total waste, and I’ll have to kick someone square in the nuts. So back to Booth having amnesia… I like it. For Brennan, it’s the classic "don’t know what you got till it’s gone" scenario. Seeley had been so nice to her in recent weeks, it could be fun to watch them return to that antagonistic relationship they had in season 1, when they frustrated each other more than sexually. And then we’ll get that great moment when he remembers her (which I’m sure will come right as she moves on — the center must hold, but the tug of war must continue). Of course, we do now run the risk of Booth not being able to work, which means the show will be in full "character" mode as he tries to figure out who he is. That makes me nervous, like when my carbon monoxide alarm chirps but just to tell me that it needs new batteries. I just don’t know that Booth the man is as interesting to me as Booth the man who solves cases with the incredibly intelligent woman amidst massive amounts of sexual tension. I want the show to prove me wrong, but I don’t have complete faith that it will.

• The sex scene: Major disappointment. I forgive everyone from the show who lied and said it wouldn’t be a dream — although would they really have been spoiling it if they had been honest with us? It’s not like we believed it was real for a second. (Not like in the Season 4 Angel episode "Awakening," when Angelus was summoned…) I’m just pissed that it wasn’t hot. I pretty much felt nothing — not even the urge to rewind. I guess it needs to be the real Booth and Brennan getting it on to get me excited. The good news: We still have that moment to look forward to. As do Emily Deschanel’s breasts, which will no doubt make another appearance.


'Bones' recap: Happy...sperm

Let’s not even pretend that we care about the case in last night’s episode. To get to the bottom of what binds Booth and Brennan together as partners, Sweets ordered them to play a game of word association that somehow made Brennan realize she wants to have a baby because it’s Sweeps. It would be selfish of her not to pass on her genes, she said. Throughout the hour, we learned the reasons she wanted Booth to be her sperm donor: To Angela, she acknowledged that it’s because he’s attractive, and attractive people tend to be more successful. To Sweets and Booth, she admitted that it’s because Seeley has courage, compassion, and empathy — traits sperm banks cannot quantify on donor bios. Sweets, bless his heart, tried to get Brennan to see that those reasons for her wanting his (exceptional) swimmers might mean that SHE LOVES HIM, but apparently, no one can speak the word "love" directly to Brennan. (Though props to Angela for flat-out suggesting to Brennan that what makes Booth the perfect donor might also make him the perfect dad.) Brennan can keep dismissing her feelings, but at this point, good friends would be trying to help her along and not just off buying onesies.

I spent most of the episode angry that Seeley was so willing to be her donor when she made it clear that they wouldn’t be raising the child together. (He could maybe babysit when the nanny needed a day off???) "I don’t understand why he’d be protective of his semen," Brennan said to the team after announcing over a tibia that she’d decided to have a baby (yes, like a small human, Cam). Oh, I don’t know, Brennan: Maybe it’s because he’s Catholic, or because he already has a son that he doesn’t get to see enough of because he’s no longer romantically involved with the mother? But, of course, Booth was just trying to convince himself that he was okay with the arrangement — because he’d do anything to make Brennan happy. After he hallucinated another conversation with Stewie from Family Guy, this time in an interrogation room in front of Brennan, he told her that he could never NOT be a dad to his child — and she told him that he needed to go to the hospital because there’s something seriously wrong with him. Maybe she should have gotten herself checked out, too, since she also saw his dead friend in the graveyard at the end of "The Hero in the Hold"?


'Bones' recap: The Good, the Bad, and the Beaver

I wonder which came first to the writers: The idea to have a frat-themed crime or Booth’s theory that people have to be bad to become good? I suppose the theory makes sense: The only way you develop problem-solving skills is if you actually face problems. It holds true for Jared, who’s never had to stand alone because he always had big brother Booth or the U.S. Navy behind him. Anyone else find themselves sighing "Booooooth," out loud, when he gave Jared (now dishonorably discharged and sober) that pendant of the patron saint of travelers to keep him safe on his solo motorcyle trip through India? "You’re not alone." [Booooooth.] I love it when he’s protective.

We all love it when Booth takes care of Brennan. That end scene (embedded above) was one of my all-time favorites. For two reasons, probably: (1) I’ve never related to Brennan more than at that moment. I, too, have never done anything bad on purpose. Well, not since high school when I was a passive party to a senior prank that involved setting two mice loose in the school cafeteria. (They didn’t move from under our table, so my friends started fake-screaming while I sat there with my head in my hands pretending that I was somewhere far, far away. If I’m remembering correctly, my mother just laughed at me when I told her about it.) Just hearing Booth talk about dining and dashing made me tense up. I would have had to have been so drunk to go along with that. Or maybe just tipsy. Who am I kidding? I would’ve followed perfectly-lit Booth and his black leather jacket anywhere. (2) Emily Deschanel was perfect in that scene. It really felt like she was processing what Booth was proposing. That was exactly how someone who’s never been bad before would’ve behaved: "No, I can’t. Really? No. Are you serious? No. Ohmygod!," followed by screaming, laughing, and the repeated shouting of "Whoooooo!" Booth, of course, tossed money down on the bar, as any good boyfriend would have done. He found a way to give her what she needed — one less reason to feel socially stunted — but watched out for her and made sure she was safe. He really does care about her. And he always gets a great parking space, doesn’t he?


'Bones' recap: Seeley in a suit is worth it, Brennan

As much as we all like Booth’s playful side (when it’s written well), I still love serious Seeley most. Loyal, respectful, protective, intense, and afraid of getting his new shoes wet. Yes, please. Some thoughts on last night’s episode, which kept Bones on a roll:

• That corpse — or rather, decapitated head — was the most disturbing image we’ve ever seen on the show. It wasn’t so much that it looked gross, though it did, especially when Cam took her sweet-ass time SAWING INTO IT. It was the idea that the young woman’s brother, a member of the Tokyo police Booth had befriended when he traveled to Japan for an exchange program, had to look at it repeatedly. Having the decomposed flesh still on the skull made it more painful, right? It was still her, not "remains." You couldn’t stop thinking what was done to her. I tried to imagine if it were my sister, and I got sick to my stomach.   

• I actually missed not having an intern. Brennan talked about finally making a decision on a permanent replacement for Zack, but then this episode didn’t have one in it. I guess the lab would’ve been too crowded, what with the allegedly androgynous Dr. Tanaka, who accompanied Booth’s friend Ken Nakamura (a.k.a. Nake with the Sake), assisting in the investigation. Dr. Tanaka, who was played by an actress named Ally Maki, didn’t look androgynous at all, which made Cam, Angela, Hodgins, and Sweets look ridiculous for even debating his (really?) gender. Though, I will admit that Cam and Sweets celebrating their victories after Angela announced that "it moved" when she hugged Tanaka goodbye was enjoyable.

• The final Booth and Brennan scene was sort of a letdown. I like that they keep ending up at his place, which shows how comfortably she fits into his life, but that dialogue lacked the emotional impact we’ve come to expect. I think the writers put their best stuff into those scenes between Brennan and Ken…


'Bones' season finale to feature guest appearance by Motley Crue. Discuss.

Motleycruebones_lSPOILER ALERT! Fox has confirmed that Motley Crue will guest star on the May 14 season finale of Bones, performing "Dr. Feelgood." This sounds like one of Booth’s hallucinations to me, but maybe not. A corpse is found at the popular nightclub, The Lab, where the Crüe plays, and the team investigates with "Booth (David Boreanaz) and Brennan (Emily Deschanel) working together like never seen before." (How did Fox resist putting an exclamation point at the end of that sentence? Impressive.) Also guesting in the episode, Ryan O’Neal (Brennan’s dad, Max) and Brendan Fehr (Booth’s brother, Jared).

What are your theories? Go.

addCredit(“Motley Crue: Chris Walter/WireImage.com; Bones: Eric Ogden/Fox”)

'Bones' recap: Goofy done right

This is what I want from a lighter episode of Bones: A fast pace, some fun for everyone, and Booth still wearing a suit. Thank you! So the team attended the wake of 50-year-old Jeffersonian colleague Hank, who died of heart failure from a congenital defect — or so we thought until Brennan attempted to pay her respects (to a fabulous Danny Elfman-esque soundtrack) and realized that he’d been murdered. Booth didn’t want to believe her because he has respect for the dead — unless they owe him $20 from the fantasy football league — but his attempt to silence Brennan failed. ("Drink up, will ya?" "Why?" "’Cause I’m hoping you’re gonna pass out.")

I’m not sure which physical comedy bit I enjoyed more: Booth coaching Brennan to put on a sad face (which she was incapable of because she was happy that a murder investigation had interrupted the mourning) or Brennan using the wrong hand gesture to tell Booth that the undertaker and widow were having sex. I’m thinking the latter. Her enthusiasm won me over. I must have still been giddy because I wasn’t even bothered by the RIDICULOUS sight of Brennan and Booth stealing the body, which Hodgins saw through a window as he gave a toast to Hank. How much had Booth had to drink to go along with that plan? (He was packing a flask.) All I kept thinking was that Angela would not be happy when she found out that they used her car to transport the body back to the Jeffersonian so Cam could find the evidence needed to get an injunction to stop the cremation of the body. 


'Bones' recap: Which one of them is 'acutely aware'?

This episode could not have come at a better time. Not because it taught us about the rivalry between death metal and black metal bands. (Apparently, it’s over who can use the word "legendary" in the most annoying manner.) But because there’s been mixed feelings on the characters of Brennan and Sweets as of late: Why has she emotionally and socially regressed? Why is he being integrated so heavily into the investigations? Regardless of whether you saw the final scene in Sweets’ office as Brennan’s redemption for her recent blunt blunders or an example of the reasoning and empathy she’s actually capable of, you have to admit it was effing fantastic.

So Gordon Gordon (guest star Stephen Fry) returned to tell Booth that he was retiring and to chat with Sweets, who’d asked him to read the manuscript of the book he’s writing on Booth and Brennan. Being the brilliant, cryptic man that he is, he informed Sweets that his premise was completely wrong: Booth and Brennan are not opposites and they aren’t sublimating the attraction they feel for one another because it would threaten their professional relationship. One of them is acutely aware of it and struggles with it daily. He wouldn’t say which one. Did he mean Booth or Brennan? I say the answer is clearly Booth. Brennan knows that she respects, trusts, and cares for Booth (and that he has sexy symmetrical features) but I don’t think her mind is ready to acknowledge her romantic feelings for him. In order for her to feel Big Love, she has to believe it exists first. That’s what she’s focused on: The idea of it instead of the idea that HE is it. Booth, on the other hand, has been dealing with his feelings since at least "The Baby in the Bough," when he let the "we" and "our" slip. (Probably before. Remember how he reacted when Brennan kissed him on the cheek when he let Russ visit his sick stepdaughter in the hospital before arresting him? That little foot stomp. Swoon. There are so many moments I could point to here…) And let’s talk about that final scene last night (embedded above.) He wouldn’t have revealed that information about his past — if it hadn’t been for his grandfather, he probably would’ve killed himself as a kid (presumably to get away from his violent, alcoholic father) — for anyone but her. And did you see the way he looked down at the pocket over his heart when she put his handkerchief back in it? Yes, her hand might’ve lingered, but he reached his up to touch where hers had been and gave that look that David Boreanaz gives so well. The kind you rewind to see again. He knows how he feels. And he knows he can’t rush her. And that’s the struggle.


'Bones' recap: Bridezilla and Dr. Burn in Hell

Mayimbialik_lSo much to talk about, where do we begin… How many of you had to put down your pasta while watching this episode? Definitely one of the bloodiest we’ve seen. The case was a dead Bridezilla, who’d been run over by an SUV — twice. I’m always a fan of the Angelator, but that recreation of the smushed head — ewwwwwwww. Was it her fiancé or her maid of honor (guest star Mayim Bialik!?, pictured) behind the wheel? No. And I’m sorta disappointed that we didn’t get to see Booth seriously interrogate the latter. I miss that Blossom sass. Was it her ex-fiancé, who was named Joe Fillion (a shoutout to David Boreanaz’s buddy Nathan, who he thinks is doing a hit-and-run on Bones with ABC’s Castle)? No. He just happened to hit a dog the week before, which is why they found a black hair in his tire. (That, and because a guy who broke down talking about the incident wouldn’t have thoroughly washed the memory of it away?) Or was it Owen Smith, the last guy the cheating bride met using a dating service that sends a picture of any potential match within 100 yards to your cell phone and allows you to choose "Date or Hate," and if both parties select "Date," then sends you the other person’s cell number? Sorta. She said "Date" to a composite photograph the creator of the service forged because he’s tired of these women who say they want a "funny, smart, successful guy" not giving him the time of day. (Note: They did not say "honest.") He drove up to meet her in the alley of the Champagne Lounge, and when she flipped him the bird, he snapped and ran her down.


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