This Space for Vent
Everyone has had their little stand and rant on a soap box about “Elementary” the new CBS series based on Sherlock Holmes and I’ve decided to share my thoughts and feelings on the matter.
I am not concerned about them swapping the gender of John. As long as they keep the character as a strong army Doctor. John Watson in the Arthur Conan Doyle stories isn’t as hard edged as the BBC series and does seem to just dote on Sherlock and follow him about from case to case occasionally making good observations and providing a place for Sherlock to stay. This is all well and good but if the CBS were trying to show a strong female character working along side an leading male they hopefully will not have her simply sighing dreamily at his “brilliant deductions” and writing it all down in her journal like some kind of fangirl. That would be all kinds of bad.
I am not concerned about the possibility of them removing all the homoerotic subtext because ACD never stated that he wrote it in intentionally. They were different times where “queer” and “intimate friends” had different meanings in society.
Yes the BBC series has hinted at it, yes Tumblr has taken an inch and run miles and miles with it and this is all very wonderful but not essential to the dynamics of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. They just need to be a dynamic duo who solve crimes that the police are no good at. For example Poirot and Hastings from Agatha Christie’s novels have almost no homoerotic subtext (unless you really want to put it there) and everything is just as wonderful both on paper and on screen.
I AM concerned that the asexual ways of Sherlock from the BBC series will be lost. I know that Moffat keeps changing his mind about whether Sherlock is asexual or just abstaining or just doesn’t care at all but majority leans in favour of asexuality which is a marvellous thing because asexuality hardly ever gets a look in. Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory also exhibits asexual tendencies but almost all his flatmates find him an intelligent, egocentric, eccentric pratt that they would rather not have in their lives so they mock him constantly.
This annoys me greatly as Sheldon has many redeemable qualities, as does Sherlock. It bothers me that the only two prevalent asexual characters currently on TV seem to be portrayed as anti-social hyper-intelligent beings with Aspergian like traits and poor understanding of social norms.
For the record Aspergers does not equal asexuality and asexuality does not equal Aspergian or Autistic likes traits, but that is an entirely separate rant.
True CBS may make Johnny Lee Miller’s Sherlock asexual. They may not. It doesn’t really matter because Sherlock Holmes in the Guy Richie films is almost certainly sexually and romantically involved with Irene Adler. Not to mention in the film franchise (and most likely in the BBC series) John Watson marries Mary. There was never any solid foundation that John and Sherlock were in a romantic relationship. You can call them soul-mates. You can call them intimate acquaintances. But it is deep companionship and everything else isn’t cannon.
In summary my main concern is that John Watson’s role becoming a female role may have her running after Sherlock like Eliza Dolittle runs after Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady. Yes they worked together to achieve a goal, yes Eliza has strong personality traits but ultimately she gets portrayed as a love sick doormat who fetches an ungrateful and arrogant man’s slippers. Sure I would have preferred it if both Sherlock and John were swapped for female actors but that isn’t going to happen this time round and in the meantime we have fanart.
So before you start making CAPSLOCK post after CAPSLOCK post about how much is will suck that Sherlock and John wont be “getting their gay on” just stop and have a think about whether slash is the whole point of this story. And for those who DO think that slash is the whole point of fandom remember that slash can always be there if you want it to be there.
For all we know there will be asexuality, homoerotic subtext and forward thinking gender roles. We can only sit in wait and hope that they make a somewhat decent show that does the ACD stories justice, like House momentarily did, and if they don’t we just switch it off and go back to our lives.