John Francis Daley on co-writing tonight's episode of 'Bones' and sharing a scene with his dad for the first time. (Awww.)

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Image Credit: Adam Taylor/FOX

You probably didn’t need another reason to watch Bones tonight, but here’s one anyway: The hour, which took Bones and Booth into the world of myths, was penned by none other than Bones cast member John Francis Daley.

In a chat with EW, Daly, whose name also earns a writing credit on Horrible Bosses, out July 8, breaks down his first experience writing an episode of Bones, the “nerve-wracking” scene he shared with his father (who guest stars in the ep), and the season finale of Bones. (Preview: “…they are not renewing my contract.” By the way, I’m totally throwing you off with that snippet.) 

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell me how this episode fell into your lap?
JOHN FRANCIS DALEY: [Showrunner] Hart [Hanson] asked if I was interested in writing an episode, and I said, “Of course.” And so when we went to meet with them, Jonathan Goldstein, my writing partner, and I came up with about eight different ideas for worlds to set the episode in. And when we got there, seven of them they had already done, or [they] were doing. That’s the problem with doing an episode of the sixth season of a show — it’s difficult to find something that hasn’t been done on it already. But fortunately, the myth-busting episode was not one that they had done yet, and they were interested. So we were able to use an idea of our own.

How did you come up with this idea?
It’s funny; we had an idea for an animated movie awhile back that would star mythological creatures, like the Loch Ness Monster and the Yeti and all that. And we didn’t really pursue it for a long time and found out after the fact that [someone] was doing exactly that, an animated movie with those creatures — we missed it. So we still thought that the world of mythological creatures is fun and hasn’t really been tapped into a lot. And I figured out a way to incorporate it into a crime-solving show.

So the episode is about busting myths, but not like Mythbusters, right?
Oh, yeah, and that’s something that might be misconstrued. It’s more things like finding Jesus’s face on a piece of toast — figuring out how that could happen. Or a crying religious statue, or a Yeti, or Bigfoot. It’s a different look on what myth-busting is. [But] I watched the show that you’re talking about for many seasons.

What was it like having to write Sweets, who you’ve — in a way — gotten to know all these years by playing him? Was that weird? Did Jonathan help you with that?
We pretty much did half and half on Sweets’s voice. Obviously, I had been doing the show long enough that I pretty much have my finger on the Sweets’s pulse, but Jonathan has seen many episodes and my scenes in them, so he sort of has an idea of Sweets’s voice as well. But, obviously, that was the easiest voice to write in.

Who was the hardest?
The hardest would have had to be either Angela or Cam, Michaela Conlin’s character or Tamara Taylor’s.

Really? I was expecting you to say Brennan.
Honestly, I don’t know. I think Brennan was actually more easy to write for because we figured out how she says things in the most difficult to understand way. So you kind of keep that in mind when you write for her and you’re generally on point.

You told me previously that you hadn’t wanted to make the episode Sweet-heavy because that felt weird to you. Yet, because Emily and David were filming the spin-off, you had to include yourself a lot more. How is the Brennan-Booth absence dealt with story-wise?
In the original draft, they were going to be in a lot of the interrogation room scenes. And, fortunately, they had started to put Sweets into a lot more of those scenes in the place of Booth, anyway. So it wasn’t that difficult of an adjustment to take them out of those scenes and put Sweets in it. But that is how it became so Sweets-heavy, because all the interrogation room scenes that were supposed to have Booth and Brennan in them now have Sweets.

How is it explained that they’re not there?
It’s never really explained. [Laughs] We have enough scenes with Booth and Brennan riffing on each other and being the ones to solve the crime, for the most part. I don’t think that the fan universe is going to be too upset — at least I hope. I haven’t got any death threats yet.

Don’t worry, I’ve never heard anyone say they don’t like Sweets.
But in moderation. It’s like with any good alcohol: You have too much, and you’ll be sick.

Yeah. Shoot for a happy drunkenness.
I give people a good buzz.

In the episode, is Sweets excited about taking on the interrogation role?
Absolutely. And the best part was, when we were writing it, there was a role in the show that I thought would be great for my dad. There had been talk of bringing him on for an episode for awhile now, and this was fortunately the episode where we got to bring him in. He plays someone I’m interrogating in one of the scenes, which is great. I learned a lot of my technique from him, so it’s a funny bit of trivia there. I look nothing like him. No one will know that he’s my dad until they look at the credits and see “R. F. Daley.” Otherwise, we do not look at all alike. But I do look like the mailman in our hometown, so I don’t understand why that is.

[Laughs] How was filming that scene?
It was kind of nerve-wracking. It was actually one of the most nervous moments I’ve ever had on the show, because I knew that he was probably nervous as well. So I had nerves of my own and sympathy nerves. So it was just double the nerves. But we were able to get through it, and it ended up being a really good scene.

Sympathy nerves? That’s cute.
I have sympathy nerves for everyone. I think it’s the half-Jew in me.

It’s better than Catholic guilt. I have that.
I do as well! Double the shame.

Are there any great Sweets and Daisy moments?
Unfortunately not. In this episode, they wanted to alternate through the interns. So we got Vincent Nigel-Murray, played by Ryan Cartwright, who I think is hilarious. So he’s the intern they’re enlisting to help them with the case in this one. And because it is a pretty comedic episode, I think that he’s great for it. He’s got very good comic timing. That said, obviously, Carla as Daisy is also fantastic and would have been great on the episode as well. But I’m hearing that she’s going to be coming up soon in another episode, so it’s always nice to bond with her.

So in this episode, are we going to learn anything surprising about Sweets?
In this one, it’s pretty much straightforward Sweets. We don’t really explore any of his dark past in this. It would have been interesting, though, if something happened to him with a Yeti back in the day, and he’s still going through the traumatic consequences of that. [Laughs] But no, he’s actually pretty happy in this one. I think there has been talk of exploring more of his childhood in some upcoming episodes, so it’s always nice to change it up a bit and be able to do some dramatic moments as well.

Last time I spoke with Stephen Nathan, he teased a tragedy at the end of the season. Please tell me Sweets is not involved.
I just know that they are not renewing my contract, so I don’t know what that means — I’m kidding. I don’t know. I have no idea. I feel like the cast is usually the last to know if something horrible is going to happen. But my answer is I have no idea.

Bones airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET

(Hillary Busis contributed to this report.)

Comments (88 total) Add your comment
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  • D

    Wow, I thought about “E.F. Daley” for about a millisecond…I didn’t even notice they were related!

    P.S.: Bones was on at 9p EDT, not 8. (AI has the 8p spot now, remember?)

    • Sandra Gonzalez

      Right you are, D. Thank you. Fixed the time!

    • BBL

      JF Daley, here I was sticking up for you, saying it wasn’t your fault Sweets was such a dumb character. This was a disappointing episode, and I didn’t need yet another pile on attack on science/Bones. It’s obvious you share HH’s humongous man crush on Booth. Henceforth, no more JFD or Sweets defense from me.

      • Loker

        I was always inclined to stick up for Sweets too. Fans blame him for stupid plot decisions. But I didn’t know he had a hand in writing or forming his characters. No more sympathy from me. And btw, the concept for the episode could have been fun, but moralizing about faith over science yet again sucked all the fun out.

        Why is Bones an after-school special now? With Booth as the teacher and Brennan as the “special” student.

      • Carrie

        He only wrote one episode! And there’s a whole team that covers the arc of the plot to further it for the whole show, it’s not like it stands on its own. Geez! I thought it was a nice departure and it was funny, too. I still love JFD, and yes, in small doses especially.

      • Mike

        He only wrote one episode. He has no say in how they have made his character up to this episode he wrote. He has to keep continuity with his characters because that is the way he is written by the WRITERS of the show.

    • Color Me Impressed

      Awww how our little Sam has grown up!

  • skylark66

    This was actually a much better ep than I had anticipated with it being B & B lite, so to speak. It was an interesting case, enough B & B throughout the ep and brought in all the cast again. A little too much Vincent for me but overall a very enjoyable ep and am looking forward to next week’s ep. It is so nice to actually anticipate the eps again. Loved the B & B flirting. I am a happy camper tonight.

  • Caroline Wozn

    Err, what the hell was that Yeti storyline? Has the show given up entirely on having Booth acting like a believable FBI agent, or even a semi-intelligent adult? And Brennan never challenges him when he’s being stupid? If it was played for laughs, another fail.

    Seriously, all heart and no brain makes Booth a dull boy indeed.

    • Toast

      The tongue in cheek spoof episodes work once in awhile. But the whole Yeti thing was beyond the pale. And once again, Booth is allowed to use a stupid example (like the polygamists episode) to twist it into his own moralizing and “teaching Bones a lesson” moment.

    • Sue1

      He was using the story to teach Bones a lesson—but did he see one? Are we supposed to believe he saw one? I think not.

  • Toast

    So BB flirting is now reduced to Booth making up juvenile grievances and Bones accepting abuse on her character and her intelligence. I absolutely do not want BB together this season. I did not hang around for 6 years for this. I can treat it like Grey’s Anatomy last season and we’ll let bygones be bygones, ONLY IF Bones fixes its own problems the way Grey’s did. No way would I accept BB as a couple as they are now. If this was supposed to be cute flirting, the show is severely delusional.

  • Poppy

    Forget Booth. Go hit that finder guy, Bones. You deserve it!!!

    • MJ

      Yes! Go have fun!

      Has Bones even had any fun since Booth lectured her about casual sex back in London and again in the cheaters’ episode? (BTW, the cheaters’ episode will never stop being funny thanks to DB’s private life getting splashed in tabloids. It’s like a perverse easter egg within the show. I’d like to see ED in a fur coat on an anthropological dig somewhere too. I have a sick sense of humor. Sorry.)

      • Telia

        Heh. I actually caught a rerun of the episode where Brennan has two dates and Booth lectures her about never, ever cheating. It’s actually better now that DB’s sleazy ways are public knowledge. Makes it funnier. On topic, heck yeah, let Bones have some fun. At least she’s not going to confuse figging with love.

      • Ays

        I don’t think she has. She was trying to have a bit of fun on the Cougar Cruise, but Booth couldn’t handle it despite having a girlfriend and nipped it in the bud.

        I’m all for Bones finding someone to have some fun with. I think at this point she needs that more than trying to “lose her imperviousness” so that she can be in a relationship with Booth. And, it would make Booth finally see how much damage his “serious as a heart attack” relationship did.

  • Zack

    I guess the only thing HH is worried about is his new show.What he is doing to his main characters has made bones so boring.And list me as one who hates Sweets.

    • Hi

      I’m actually hoping and wishing the new pilot is a huge success so that he has less time for Bones.

  • Hi

    “I think Brennan was actually more easy to write for because we figured out how she says things in the most difficult to understand way.”

    –> If that’s the writers’ collective understanding of Brennan, no wonder she’s such a gauche, insensitive robot. Hey, here’s a tip- go watch seasons 1~3 of your own show.

    • heliotrope

      I’ll buy them the DVDs if the current crop of writers promise to watch. I never even cared if BB ever got together. I knew it was a cheap and easy way to write personal dramas since they started with the cutesy BB tags in season 5.

  • lokeli

    #$%& as another that dislikes Sweets. I know there are many. Just remembering if you can’t say anything nice. Through the years of Sweets I have heard many others.

    • Loker

      Oh, I know. Sweets is wildly unpopular. Unfairly so, IMO. The fans blame him for every stupid mistake Booth makes and for every lame platitude HH wants to spit out. Sweets is totally the scapegoat for fans. But now that I know JFD is part of the writers’ room, I don’t like him anymore.

      • rex

        Give the guy a break. He only co-wrote one episode.

      • Liusi

        Yeah, but to get to the point of co-writing one episode, implies he’s been involved beyond just following script directions. And the way he talks about writing Brennan’s character takes the party line on “lets make Brennan robotic and play her for laughs and teach her lessons about how to be human.”
        JFD, goodwill from F&G only lasts so long.

    • KL

      I’ve been a fan of John since Freaks and Geeks and is the reason I started watching Bones. I think Sweets is a great character and can actually relate to him (young, new person coming to a well-established “work family”, most being way older)

  • Corbin

    I enjoy Bones. I became sick and tired of having to find out what day and time it’s showing (I think the only days it hasn’t been on are Saturday and Sunday). Now I just wait for the season to come out on DVD.

  • Zack

    More Sweets in the interrogation room what are they doing to me killing the show completely.

  • Dan

    I just don’t understand what the showrunners are thinking the last two seasons. The show that once had intresting characters, plot and chemistry is now just… bad! I kept hoping that once Hannah was gone it would get back to the old show but the damage is way deeper than that. I have only really enjoyed one or two episodes this season so I guess it is time to find something better to do than watch a show only for it’s old merits.
    And sorry but this episode was just boring.

    • Telia

      Totally. I’m not clinging to the excellence of seasons 1~3. But if they’re taking the cheesy romance and juvenile humor route- it needs to be fun and funny!

      • Rose

        Dan, I agree. They have made Temperance Brennan the butt of all these jokes so that she isn’t even believable any longer as the best in her field. Every week it is Booth making some joke at her expense where you just feel bad for her. I don’t watch TV to feel bad for a character. I just want her to dump the whole gang and get a better set of friends. At least they are making it easy to stop watching this show after this horrible season. What happened to the writing? It has gone done so much.

      • ladu

        Telia, I agree. It’s not like I’m harping on past seasons. My expectations are low- just a few jokes and some special effects and a solid plot. This could have been a fun case but the actual mystery was weak. I get the Myth Busters inspiration, but doesn’t JF Daley like mysteries or watch other procedurals?

      • Hannah

        Bones doesn’t get embarrassed, that’s the beauty of her character. Booth knows that and that’s why he loves her, that’s the beauty of their relationship.

    • ladu

      Hannah was never the cause of the bad season. She was always the sign of bad writing. Now that she’s gone and the roadblock’s not there, it’s just revealing all the problems that the writers have with writing believable characters. Who cares about BB when B and B are not-funny angsty shadows of themselves?

      • Ays

        Yes! I never had a problem with the premise of Hannah, but the way she was written, and that is the fault of the writers. I don’t think Winnick was a great actress either, but that’s another rant.

        I didn’t mind the episode last night as long as you took out B & B. Isn’t that sad? The ensemble was actually pretty good.

        At this point, the way I see it is that there are two options for salvaging S6: either it was all a dream (nightmare) of Bones’ while in Maluku or it turns out that aliens do exist and they abducted B & B after The X in the File and performed some freaky alien lobotomy or replaced them with poorly-done clones.

        At this point, the alien thing is sadly believable, and it might be fun to watch Hodgins figure it all out.

        Perhaps the writers should read some fan fiction to get a feel for the characters. Even the badly written stories right now have a better handle on the characters than the canon writers do.

      • Hannah

        I don’t think it was the way Hannah was written, I think it was the actress who portrayed Hannah. She was a horrible actress, plus I think her interpretation of Hannah was just off. I wish they would have killed her instead of letting her off easy…

      • Hannah

        Just saw that you actually know her name and agree with the bad actress thing. Kudos to you for going that extra step!

  • Lady V

    We always have this love/hate relationship with some character in a show and “Bones” is no different. For (me) Sweets is the main stay for the series. I’m not sure what the producers are thinking about, but getting rid of Sweets won’t up the ratings. Brennan and Bones should take a step closer in their relationship. They are a team and work well together.

  • Doug

    I know they play the old “Temperance is a super intellegent pragmatic scientist with poor people skills” all the time, but I have to say that in last night’s “Chupacabra episode” she was just mean-spirited, cruel, and unfeeling. Over the years her character has softened and become less rigid and callous, but she was just an impossible b*tch last night. I love the show, but her attitude and performance were just wrong last night.

  • Bob R

    When they were all leaving the bar at the end of the episode, I really thought that was the time the sniper would return and shoot one of them

  • Garry

    Is it odd for me to say that I like every character on the show EXCEPT Brennan? I’m sick of her taking every slang expression, and every figure of speech SO literally, while not knowing a thing about any aspect of popular culture. It makes her sound like a moron, not a genius. She is still incredibly insensitive about the feelings of others, and drives me crazy when she starts pontificating about the biological aspects of how we feel emotions like love, etc. etc. She has major Asperger’s Syndrome up the @ss, but no character in the entire history of the show has ever said it outloud, especially to her face. I’d like to see how she’d deal with THAT.

    But I do like every other character, INCLUDING Sweets. So there.

    • Kelly

      I can’t even defend Brennan from comments like this (though unlike DB fans, I won’t attack these criticisms).
      You can only hang on to the memory of season 1~3 Brennan for so long. I don’t disagree with the criticism itself.

      My main problem is that they writers have made her this way so that Booth can continually swoop in and be her guide in all things human/heart related. It’s not an equal balance and it doesn’t make Booth look better. It just makes one look retarded and the other one a judgy moralizing windbag.

    • Deven

      Instead of a warming, competent, professional women, the writers appear to have become brain-damage victims. They’ve made Brennan and Booth into caricatures of their earlier selves, and unlikable, to boot. We don’t need more of how Brennan can be…we need less of Booth telling her how to live. We especially don’t need jokey scripts. I believe we need believable cases, professional interchange and sweet nothings between two blind-hearted lovers.

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