‘Bones’ Executive Producers: Baby Birth Turns Brennan into a Basket Case

by | April 2, 2012 at 11:00 AM | bones, Interviews

David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (FOX)

Despite the fact that Brennan (Emily Deschanel) is ready to pop out her baby at any minute, she refuses to stay in the lab when the remains of an escaped convict are found and it turns out that he actually was murdered inside the prison walls on tonight’s all-new episode of “Bones.”

Booth (David Boreanaz) pleads with his baby mama not to tax herself, trying his best to get her to deliver in a hospital, but the best laid plans and all of that — and Brennan gives birth in a very surprising location.

Of course, with baby making three, there has to be some change in the dynamic of the series, a topic that was addressed by Executive Producers Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan in a conference call with reporters.

“I think the most important thing for us is to keep the show on the same footing it’s been for seven years, which is this is a murder show, and Booth and Brennan are always going to be working together to solve these murders,” Nathan says. “So we don’t ever intend to take that away. That’s not to say that it won’t be incredibly difficult for them, but it won’t be because of any bureaucratic nonsense that it will make it difficult. It’ll just be them working together, the difficulties they have working together as they always have.”

With seven new episodes remaining this season and a pickup for an eighth year, Hanson and Nathan also addressed the changes that Brennan and Booth will go through, which of their extended family members will return and how the birth of the baby brings Brennan and Angela (Michaela Conlin) closer together.

Se How Emily Deschanel’s Real Life Pregnancy Influenced the Show:

With the arrival of the baby, can we still expect the same format of primarily focusing on the case of the week, or will there be more time spent on showing the new parents and what it’s like at home for them?

Stephen Nathan: There’s always been that balancing act in the show of their personal life and the cases, but we’re a murder show, so that will not change. But when we do go home, they have a new arrival, which changes their lives, so the baby will be a part of the show, because it’s a part of their lives. But somebody is still going to be murdered in a heinous and cruel way, and we will be revolted at the beginning of the show as we always have been and, hopefully, we’ll catch them.

Hart Hanson: The balance won’t change, but the context will.

The arrival of the baby has to change Brennan in some ways. Can you address that?

Hart Hanson: We’ve always seen Brennan as a character who, because of her upbringing, was kind of afraid of life, did not want to engage with life, or had to be protected by a veneer of rationality, logic and science. The first thing to come and to breech those walls was Booth, who made her lead a more dangerous life — at least emotionally in that her happiness is contingent upon another person’s happiness. And now she has a child. You might be able to avoid a lover as someone whose happiness, your happiness is contingent upon, but definitely not a child. So that’s what she is contending with. She is now a big open bruise because of another human being and she will find that very disorienting.

Stephen Nathan: Brennan is so objective even about herself that she is caught off guard by all these new feelings. I think that’s what’s great for us in terms of writing the show. We get to see a character who is as astonished by these new feelings and this new behavior as the audience is. We saw that in the first six episodes when the hormones were going crazy and she was crying, which she had never done before. She has different emotions that she’s unaccustomed to, so all of that will continue.

Hart Hanson: There’s a story [coming up] where one of the victims is a kid, and Brennan turns to Booth and says in a very shocked way, “I find I have a great need to go see Christine, and it makes no rational sense;” and that’s sort of what Stephen is talking about is she’s just shocked that someone has gotten so deeply into her heart.

Stephen Nathan: We’ve done that actually in the second episode back. It’s the first time she is going back to work, and she has to deal with leaving Christine for the first time. Emily just did a wonderful job. It’s a great new area for us to explore.

Booth was really kind of chauvinistic in that he didn’t want them to buy a house using Brennan’s money, so he found a house that was in disrepair, but had great bones. Is the house going to be ready? Is he going to give at all on the issue that she makes more money and can do more for this child financially?

Stephen Nathan: They’re dealing with it. It’s back and forth. It’s what happens in any couple. The need to compromise and the ability to do so are not always the same.

Hart Hanson: I’m really glad you said that because a lot of feedback that we get is that Booth is perfect and Brennan isn’t — and Booth is not perfect. He’s not perfect, and he has to, in his own way, give up as much as she does in this new life, and that is an ongoing — what is it — field between them that they have to plow. It’s like how much is she going to pay for and how much is he going to pay for? We get a lot of comedy out of it, as well as character stuff. It’s a good, fertile field for us. I’m going to leave the field metaphor alone now.

Stephen Nathan: But the house is not in the shape it was in the last episode.

Because that could be comedy as well as they try to fix that…

Stephen Nathan: Yes, it’s comedy, but it’s a little too dangerous. It requires a tetanus shot.

Will the FBI become an obstacle for Booth and Brennan at work, especially now that they’re going to have the baby and they’re living together?

Hart Hanson: We’re not planning a storyline in which the FBI says, “You can’t be partners.” We discussed it and then we thought, “God, if we tell that story, there isn’t a single audience member who’s going to go, ‘Oh, my God, I wonder if they’ll never be allowed to work together again?’” So it may come up time to time, especially from Sweets (John Francis Daley) that it’s odd to have a couple working together, but it’s not the oddest thing in the world.
You talk about Brennan going back to work. Is this going to be a big space of time, or does she not really want to take maternity leave once the baby is born?

Stephen Nathan: There’s probably six weeks or so, maybe eight weeks between the time the baby arrives and she goes back to work.

Hart Hanson: She gets oddly about the same amount of time as Emily had. We did not want to do a story where our main crime solver was at home for a number of episodes. That seemed to us to be a really good way to lose a ton of viewers and momentum, so it’s right back into the fray. Mind you, we do contend with, as Stephen said, we have to contend with who’s going to take care of the baby, and how is Brennan going to juggle her being a mom living with Booth, how is Booth going to juggle her and the baby and do their jobs. But they’re still doing their jobs.

Stephen Nathan: Yes, we didn’t want to turn the show into some sort of domestic show where the murder was a secondary aspect. The murder is still the primary focus of the show, and their domestic lives are crucial and important and what we love about the show, but people are still dead.

When people have babies, usually it brings in extended family. Are we going to be seeing any of that on the show?

Stephen Nathan: Yes, yes, we will. We’ll certainly see some of the people, we’re going to see Brennan’s dad. He’ll return. We’ve already seen Booth’s grandfather this year under sad circumstances. Certainly going into next year, we’re going to see the extended families.

Early seasons, Angela and Brennan were very, very close, always had heart-to-hearts and fans really seemed to enjoy those. Are there going to be more now that they’re both sort of in the same place in their life — new mothers in very strong relationships?

Hart Hanson: Stephen, I’m looking at you with consternation in my face. There are two episodes that we’ve done in the last month that have good Angela and Brennan stuff in them. It’s not all over the baby, by the way, not all over the fact that they are moms. That’s certainly helps, but—

Stephen Nathan: But we’ve had a few, especially one where Angela and Brennan kind of leave the lab and play hooky. We do have them, and Cam (Tamara Taylor) is also now involved in sort of that kind of relationship. She’s become a bit closer to Angela and Brennan. But Angela and Brennan … we do see them quite intimately in a few episodes.

Hart Hanson: Angela has her own issues with how she’s changed, being a married woman with a child that we explore a little bit; and so she is better situated to understand what Brennan is going through feeling that she’s changed, although Angela is more nostalgic for who she used to be, I think, than Brennan is. She’s more reflective. But yes, in my mind, it’s come up at least three times in the last six episodes and, in fact, at least one really strong storyline.

“The Prisoner in the Pipe” episode of “Bones” airs in the series’ new day and time: Monday night at 9/8c on FOX.