The Big Picture
Romance is best when it develops over time – we see this in relationships in TV shows Friends, Psych, and Community. Bones has multiple romances that develop over the seasons. Angela Montenegro and Jack Hodgins are great characters in Bones because of their odd professions and unique humor. Angela and Hodgins’ romance works because they respect each other and their relationship adds value to their work together. Their romance, unlike Booth and Brennan’s, doesn’t play too long with the “will they or won’t they” trope, making it more gratifying.
The best television series romances are those that develop over time. Great “will they or won’t they” relationships like Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Ross (David Schwimmer) on Friends, Shawn (James Roday Rodriguez) and Juliet (Maggie Lawson) on Psych, or Jeff (Joel McHale) and Annie (Alison Brie) on Community would not have worked if their romances had been sown up during the beginning of their shows’ run. Bones certainly had a good time teasing out the potential romance between its two leads, Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and FBI Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz). However, this may have been an example of a show waiting a little too long to confirm something that the audience largely suspected. Although Bones and Booth had to wait several seasons for their romance to be deemed “official,” the supporting characters Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin) and Jack Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) were always the more romantic couple anyway.
Why Angela and Hodgins Are Great Characters
Bones’ idiosyncratic humor was always to its benefit. Unlike crime shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit or NCIS, the series wasn’t focused on the glamorized ideal of crime fighting. The characters that work in the FBI Smithsonian Lab have the difficult task of analyzing rotting corpses and determining their cause of death. It doesn’t seem like a particularly enviable task, but it’s one that characters like Bones, Booth, Angela, and Hodgins have made their life’s work. The series chose to use the characters’ odd profession to its advantage, establishing a strange (and often morbid) sense of humor about the self-professed “weirdos” that are forced to dig through crime scenes for remains of the dead.
Although all of the characters on Bones could be described as “quirky,” the jobs that Angela and Hodgins played on the tram are particularly usual. Angela never intended to be a crime solver; she had originally wanted to be an artist (often selling her paintings on the streets), and had only been brought in by Bones to help solve one case before it became a professional obligation. There was always tension surrounding Angela’s legitimacy and longevity with the team. Unlike Booth or the FBI Psychologist Lance Sweets (John Franics Daley), Angela has not dedicated her life to criminal justice. She feels deeply insecure about working in such close proximity with those who have legitimate training and often feels that she could be “doing more” if she wasn’t involved with the Smithsonian Lab in an official capacity. After a few grueling cases revolving around innocent victims’ deaths, the life of a hustling street artist seems much more compelling in comparison.
Similarly, Hodgins’ role on the team is as an entomologist; his interest has always been in minerals, plants, and microorganisms, not human remains. While Hodgins is able to leverage his skills in order to help Bones identify a cause of death (thus allowing Booth to arrest those responsible), he never entered his field of study in order to lock up criminals. Hodgins likes to have a sense of humor about being the “bug guy” on the team, but he often finds that his profession isn’t taken seriously. The evidence that Hodgins provides is often essential to the resolution of the cases, but it’s not always treated with the respect that it deserves.
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Why Angela and Hodgins’ Romance Works
While a “street artist” and a “bug guy” don’t feel like the most natural pairing in the world, Angela and Hodgins end up being the perfect couple for each other. Their romance is teased early on in the first few seasons as a case of mild flirtations, but Bones wasn’t content with forcing them to stay apart. Both characters add something valuable to the team, and thus, they should be able to find value within their work together; it’s clear that both Angela and Hodgins respect each other enough to acknowledge that their relationship is more than just a simple workplace crush.
One of the issues that Bones had as it continued was coming up with excuses to keep Booth and Bones apart; it was more than obvious that the two actually cared for each other, but the series often used a last-minute plot twist to force them to stay a measured distance away from each other. In comparison, Angela and Hodgins’ marriage couldn’t have been more abrupt; after a break-up fight leads them to an unexpected stay in a local prison in the episode “The Witch in the Wardrobe,” the two characters hold an impromptu wedding ceremony. Just like everything in both characters’ lives, it’s unexpected, a little weird, and completely charming.
The early establishment of Angela and Hodgins as a married couple allowed the series to spend more time developing them both as a couple. Both characters suffer from a major absence in their lives; Angela finds that she’s able to spend less time with Bones when professional obligations overwhelm them both, and Hodgins feels increasingly insecure without the presence of his working partner Zack Addy (Eric Milligen), who exited the series after a shocking storyline in the third season. This forces both Angela and Hodgins to rely more on each other, making their relationship feel important to their respective mental health statuses. They’re both expressive characters, and the show granted them to mature in a graceful way.
The presence of a child in their lives forced both Hodgins and Angela to grow up, and it’s incredible to think about how much both characters matured throughout the course of the series. Hodgins is initially a caricature of a forensic investigator, and Angela feels like a comic relief character inserted to “lighten up” Bones’ stuff attitude. However, Angela and Hodgins’ time together revealed new things about them both, showing that they were far more than just their professions. By the end of the show, they had worked through the sorts of issues that not even Booth and Brennan had to deal with. If Booth and Bones’ romance often felt like a slow burn that took a little too long to get cooking, Hodgins and Angela were always the funnier, cooler, and more entertaining couple.