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(Dear stonelions, Please forgive me for reblogging your post only to bastardize it with inarticulate keyboard mashing. OTL )
I know nobody is exactly here for words, but words are happening. Depression is terrible and I am going to force myself to go outside in the pouring rain and dark and go for a run because feeling sad is stripping me of my sense of reason.
On another note, I just watched the new Sherlock episode and I’m not sure about the way Adler was handled but overall it was nice to see Sherlock’s humanity. And John in a Christmas sweater.
I might not expressly see the Sherlock/Watson thing though I do think it’s cute and fun to think about anyway, (and to draw) but it makes me wonder. Do people get so excited about these shows that are self-aware because we’re into that sort of thing, or because there are so few depictions of gay relationships in mainstream media that aren’t the entire focal point of the story that we have to imagine them ourselves, and somehow when the original media acknowledges it, it’s like a free pass?
I’m probably not being clear. In short, I wish a show existed with gay main characters where the humour and the entire plot weren’t predicated on their sexuality. Instead, they could just be people doing things, and oh yes they happen to be gay. For once I’d like to have the tension set up between characters pay off like it was no big deal, ya know? The writers are putting it there, but in most cases it usually strikes me as false.
Thoughts? That’s it for words, guys, promise.
Oh honey, if it’s you talkin’ I’m here for the words.
This is pretty much everything I feel about Sherlock except expressed much, much better than I can. But I really really really need to just write this shit down and stick it on a public forum somewhere to feel like I’ve had my say. Voila.
NOTE: Please do not lash back and send me anonymous asks defending Sherlock. First, that’s just annoying, yo. Second, believe it or not, my happiness does not hinge upon what I think of adaptations of Victorian serial novels. I just have no life, and this was gnawing at me so I decided to get it out of my system.
Heeeeeere we go!
John and Sherlock’s Relationship, Also, Sexuality
I agree completely with what stonelions has said above; also I’m impatient and want to post this, so I’m gonna keep this section slim. (HA HA HA HA HA)
Is it just me, or does there seem to be a serious lack of platonic chemistry between Johnny and Sherls? We’re told they’re friends, but there isn’t much evidence for that at the end of the day. So why does John tag along all the time? He’s clearly in awe of Sherlock; he’s also just bored, as we know from the first episode. Ok cool, but where’s the BFFL material, people? All I can remember is Sherls being an asshole and John looking confused all the time. We should be able to get the feeling that they’ve become friends, not explicitly told (unless plot/character development/etc. necessitates it). Do the writers really think their audience is that unobservant? Their friendship feels so forced. This confuses me. What would work better if, say, everything about their platonic chemistry remains as endangered possibly nonexistent as it is now, is to just make them a goddamn couple. Sherls is obviously asexual as fuck (wait that makes no sense whatever), but John-John has feelings right? We could experience the emotional dependency and appreciation, if rather unilateral, in a more believable way.
Or the writers could stop sucking. Either one.
Conan Doyle’s original stories are chock-full of racial, cultural, and national stereotypes; he plays upon these very well, but that doesn’t excuse their presence. This is 2012, people. Sherlock only premiered two years ago. There really aren’t any excuses to perpetuate these ridiculous, archaic racial stereotypes. The most obvious instance of this is the Chinese drug cartel episode. It disgusts me that the entertainment industry continues to simplify, exoticize, and ultimately dehumanize PoC. And why? To keep the middle class white people most likely to invest in their product from feeling threatened. This whitewashing is not only hurtful but also simply unrealistic. I thought London had significant immigrant communities?? Right…? So where the hell are they? The London of the Sherlock Holmes canon reveals its immigrants, its generally nonwhite population, so what’s the holdup?
If I want to see melodramatic white people I can look in the damn mirror. Show me something I haven’t seen in popular media. Trust me guys it’s not that hard.
Irene Adler’s Portrayal
I’m a half hour into “A Scandal in Belgravia” as I type, so disclaimer: Haven’t watched all of Irene Adler’s scenes. However, I think I’ve read up on the final episode enough to discuss it here.
The biggest problem with Adler as depicted in this series is not that she is a strong female character. It’s that she’s a Strong Female Character. Writers continually appear unable to construct a strong or powerful woman character without either making her a vengeful victim or heartless dominatrix. In Adler’s case, they literally made her a dominatrix — she makes her living practicing sexual and psychological dominance over paying customers. Her strength and power is dependent upon the fact that she is hyper-sexual and not attracted to men. Oh yeah, forgot to mention that; Adler’s (as ya’ll probably know by now) a lesbian. Which would be all well and good except for, well, everything. Now don’t get me wrong — gay characters in popular media is an awesome thing, and we definitely need more of it. What Sherlock does, however, is turn sexuality into a theme, a motif, an object. Now, that’s a pretty legitimate literary thing to do if you can do it right, but Sherlock doesn’t. Adler can’t simply happen to be gay, just as John can’t. Of course not, no one wants to harm the fragile sensibilities of the patriarchy. She has to be a lesbian for a plot related reason, not to add diversity and certainly not to enforce realism. It’s a concept we see everywhere in the media — Character A must be female to give Character B sexual angst; Character A must be elderly because she is wise; Character A is compassionate and therefore must be a mother; Character A is black because he’s a career criminal; Character A is wily and therefore Asian; Character A has an identity crisis and therefore must be transsexual. The list goes on and on and on and on and we should be able to break through that. I digress.
The most important thing about Adler in relation to Holmes’ overall character is that she supposedly helps prove his humanity. In Conan Doyle’s original works, Irene Adler is mentioned briefly as the only woman to ever be a subject of Holmes’ romantic interest (however deep is unimportant) and as one of the few people he knows more/just as intelligent than/as himself. In this version, she appears to be both of these things, but the writers did a good job to disappoint. The mistake: We’re not sure how she competes with Sherls intellectually, in that way can’t be sure why he’s attracted to her; it just isn’t clear.
TL;DR The show tell us, “Since she doesn’t end up shagging the hunky Main Male Character, she must be gay.” Ugh, makin’ me sick…
Other Women, also entitled, Everyone Else
I can’t begin to name the typecasts from which the female characters in this series were regurgitated; there are so many, it’s frankly a tad overwhelming. Here, I’ll make this one quick.
Molly - Submissive, doe-eyed, love-struck, occasionally clueless. Possibly the most dynamic, subtle, and smartly written character in this entire gig.
Sgt. Donovan - Insipid, enjoys pointing out the pointless and/or obvious, useless in character development, useless in plot development, dumbest person in Scotland Yard, sucks at her job, never seems to actually do anything in her job. All around quite the achievement.
Mrs. Hudson - Pseudo-domestic wafer thin fragile noise box. Really, really dumb.
Extra Lady Characters - Objects of John’s Oh So Hetero Everyman desires, emaciated (a couple exceptions to that one), either Caucasian or a light-skinned persons of color.
Not much to say about Mycroft except that I wish the writers had kept his character more low key. He’s basically just a plot catalyst and deus ex machina. :\ Phooey. Also, the whole point of Mycroft (I’m talkin’ canonically here folks) is that he’s actually far more intelligent than Sherlock, but the joke is he just doesn’t choose to really use his smarts for anything. He’s simply a lazy minor government worker who spends most of his time at gentleman’s clubs (the old kind, not the kind with strippers). The writers kinda fucked up in Sherlock because they miss the joke by making Mycroft a highly concerned and active parliament guy. Of course this really all boils down to my personal preference and nothing more! :)
Content, Cases, Etc.
It may be because I’m just not the sharpest crayon in the box, or it may be because I’m so much more used to American storytelling styles than British ones (there is a disparity and it’s really fascinating I think! I digress.), but I always feel like I’ve missed something. For instance the Irene Adler thing. Sherlock becomes obsessed with her after he believes her to have died and goes into this ridiculous teenage wasteland mourning period. But why? The show has clearly established that Sherls has few human connections, and those few connections take time and familiarity. He neither spent any significant time with or becomes familiar with Adler. So why the fixation? The audience is provided little reason. It seems like the writers just forced her into the plot, and at the end of the day, what has this achieved? I have no clue! Have I missed something? Am I paranoid? Am I just really dumb (yes)? In every case so far there seems to be this intangibility and sense of disconnect. Maybe it’s just me.
Aside from that, the cases so far seem to be run of the mill, improbable police procedural stuff, and not the thought-provoking Law & Order type. Of course, this is a character driven show, so plot naturally takes a step back. But really, with source material as rich and exciting as Conan Doyle’s original stories, how can you possibly miss the plot mark? It’s like The Walking Dead TV adaptation — watching that show is like slogging through a slow churning magma of bad character tropes and cheap plot twists. But what the heck, guys? It’s a zombie apocalypse! How the fuck do you make a zombie apocalypse boring? It even lacks interesting philosophical meditation, which is a staple for great zombie literature.
When a writer/director/producer is literally handed time-tested, sure-fire material, a huge budget, high quality production, and a guaranteed audience, they better make a damn good show. Sherlock unarguably falls short in the round supporting character department, and a show like that depends upon side characters to give the main characters good context to work and develop within.
Whelp that’s pretty much it. I’m not interested in getting into debates over this, and I’m not critiquing Sherlock because I don’t like the fandom or something! This ain’t about you honey.
First and last BBC Sherlock fanart.
Ok done talkin’ about Sherlock now!
“You died… on a Saturday.”
ahahaI’m a terrible person; sorry, Mom
Johnlock your relationship is more turbulent, masochistic, and destructive than the ones in Miyamoto Kano mangas.
Oh wow okay I actually don’t really want to watch this because I have a ridiculous fear of free falling. :[
Shirley calm down if Jimmy had really shot himself with a piece that size at point blank range the back of his skull would be ripped right open. I mean damn.
I always feel like I’ve overlooked something big when I watch this show.
now touch wieners
Jesus H. Christ John. After all this time you STILL can’t see through diversions???
I’m disappointed in you…
Piss me the fuck off…
furrow those brows, Johnny. I am so ready to see you defend your man it’s not even funny.
Shit — is Sgt. Donovan about to actually do police work instead of standing around making not at all creative remarks and stating the obvious!?!? Dang…
Ok ok ok guys.
So ya’ll know by now that Sherls fakes his death in the most recent episode. To what end I have no idea because I’m not done watching it.
I do know that Martin Freeman furrows his brows more than usual in this one.
Anyway. Way back in 1893, Conan Doyle was sick of writing Holmes and wanted to focus on other work, so he killed him off. Essentially, the public was so disappointed and pissy that he ended up writing The Hound of the Baskervilles almost a decade after he stopped writing Holmes, and continued writing him for something like 25 years. Incidentally, The Hound of the Baskervilles is probably one of the most well known and revisited Holmes stories.
Soooo I guess my question here, or confusion maybe? is what seems to be the fandom’s collective surprise over the latest episode’s events?? I’m not hugely invested in the characters, thus my hardheartedness, but it feels like fandom (or at least what shows up on my dash, which is a lot) wasn’t expecting his death or something. I don’t know where I’m going with this at all.
Ok back to Johnlock.
Wow Sgt. Donovan.
You are being so helpful.
What a useful character.
Good job, writers.
You are exploding sexist character norms
all while making her an important catalyst for the plot.
Have a cookie.