As I fell asleep last night, pondering Sherlock, as one does…I kept going over a comment someone left on a gif set I reblogged yesterday about not forcing a love story into it, and just enjoying the show for what it is.
It annoyed me at the time - leave Johnlock stuff to the Johnlockers, and all that - but then I started thinking about it. I thought, but what is it? If it’s not a love story, then what is it?
Taking a cue from our beloved Sherlock himself, I started a process of elimination. Whatever remains must be the truth, right?
So. What is it not?
It’s not a detective show. The cases are second fiddle at best, even in the first two series. The cases are the backdrop, they provide the context, but they aren’t the focus. It’s not about who done it. It’s not a detective show, it’s a show about a detective. Okay, so that’s ruled out.
It’s not an ensemble show, particularly of judging by the hundreds of tumblr users complaining daily - and accurately - about how poorly drawn and underexplored the secondary characters are. This is not a show where every character gets equal screen time or equal treatment. Characters are missing back stories, histories, they’re shadows moving about in the background, the boys up front, glowing so bright and so real and so fierce.
Because that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s about the two of them.
Okay, so it’s not about cases and it’s not about the ensemble. It’s about John and Sherlock. So, going back to the original question, what is it about John and Sherlock? What story is being told here?
There are so many adaptations of Sherlock Holmes and they all tell basically the same story - friendship, loyalty, love, partnership. That’s the essence of who John and Sherlock have always been. Those things are all most certainly present in the BBC show, and I would never argue that they aren’t.
Okay. But. Here we have two writers who like to leave their unique mark on classic stories (Doctor Who, for example), they want to “fix” the stories they read as boys, they like to take things to new places, push, explore, make new what is old. They wouldn’t be telling a story that’s already been told.
They pulled John and Sherlock apart at a far younger age than in canon. Separated them, divided them. Put obstacles in the way of their reunification. John’s crushing, debilitating grief - something notably absent from canon - and Mary’s pregnancy, betrayal, Sherlock nearly dying on John for a second time, John’s trust issues. All this stood in the way of the boys easily coming back together the way they did in canon.
Canon was much more about the cases, certainly. There was more of the mystery, more about the detecting. This show is about John and Sherlock, full stop. These two are so very different from the canon Holmes and Watson, so much more complex and broken, so much more human. John’s so angry. Sherlock’s so heartbroken. There’s a lot of focus on that, on how messed up these two are.
So why? Why are they telling the story this way? What is it?
It’s two men struggling to understand how they can function in the world. Two difficult, complicated men. Men who have few friends, who are solitary, and burdened with grief, insecurity, trauma. Men who deal with problems in profoundly unhealthy ways, who repress and deny their real feelings, who believe they don’t deserve happiness.
They’re broken, unhappy, alone, and then what happens? They find each other. In a scene that is right out of a romance film. Eyes across a room and all that.
In the pilot script, in a scene that was cut, it’s implied Sherlock was suicidal before he met John. John’s suicidal ideation was heavily implied in ASiP. They literally saved one another’s lives just by meeting, and countless times since. They make each other laugh - honestly, do we ever see them really laugh with any other character? - they make each other mental, they make each other feel alive. They shine when they’re together, practically lit up from the inside out. They get jealous, fiercely jealous, of the other spending time with anyone else. They take care of each other, they depend on each other, they fall to pieces when the other one isn’t there. They’re intensely connected to each other, truly unable to function without the other one. (PTSD returning, drugs, drinking heavily…etc.) They’re only content when they’re together. They are emotionally two halves of the same whole, light and dark, moon and sun. I’m literally just describing.
This is the story being told. This is what the show is.
Back to the original comment, about forcing the show to be something it’s not, I actually find it much harder to make sense of this narrative if it isn’t a love story. If you remove from Sherlock the idea that it’s building to these two finally getting their shit straight and allowing themselves to be happy together…then what is it?
It isn’t a detective show, it isn’t an ensemble show, it isn’t a retell of canon. It’s different, it’s darker, it’s more human. It’s about stumbling through life and screwing up and making bad decisions and doing things that hurt you because you think it’s the right thing to do at the time. It’s about blundering around and not seeing what’s right in front of you because you’re so used to being alone that you haven’t learned to recognise love when it’s staring you in the face. It’s about grief and loss and pain. It’s about how hard life can be.
It’s about finding the person that makes life easier to bear. The person that takes your pain away when they’re laughing beside you, that makes you smile at the most incongruous moments, that you can’t help but forgive even when you don’t want to, the person that makes you a better person, the person that accepts you for who you are and appreciates you, even at your worst. It’s about finding that one person with whom you lock eyes and suddenly the rest of the world falls away. The one person you absolutely cannot live without.
If that’s not a love story, then I don’t know what is.
|—||inkskinned, “My father’s recipe for the man I should marry” (via partygirlmeltdown)|
if anyone ever asks me what tumblr is i’m gonna show them this video and just walk away
GOD ITS 5AM AND IM TRYING TO HOLD IN MY LAUGHTER
OMFAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAG YEKASJFKJASDKLFJAKL YES
*hand over mouth, wheezing* THIS IS TUMBLR, IT IS, IT SO SO SO IS!
I love this
"you come here often?"
"hey baby did it hurt when you fell from heaven-"
"FAVOR THE BOW, EH? I’M A SWORD MAN MYSELF"
Yeah, I was a player like you, then I took an arrow in the knee…
to all the young babies who follow me:
hello you precious angels listen to your wise old fandom grandma and don’t ask celebrities about your otp or fanfiction or fandom in general trust me babies when you are a few years older you will not regret heeding my words and will thank me for averting that massive amount of embarrassment
I can’t wait to get married because its like a sleepover every night with your best friend.
That’s the cutest description of marriage I’m not even joking
OMG! It is! That’s exactly it! <3
Found it! :-D
\o/ Yessssss! That’s the one!
(for the record, I would be the parent saying ‘go break his little legs, will you, honey?’)
Happy Father Figure’s Day
you know how the central relationship in all action movies seems to be two tough dudes bro-ing it out? well that’s boring. here are some alternatives:
- two tough chicks bro-ing it out
- younger woman and older woman who develop a mother-daughter relationship. also kill people
- triplet HACKERS
- a girl, her father, and her father’s scandalously young gay lover. (all of whom are assassins)
- younger woman and older woman who totally get it on bow chicka bow wow. also kill people
- sisters, one on a suicidal rescue mission for the other
- two lady-spies who try to honeypot each other
- a teenage girl with mysterious powers, and her two boyfriends
- a middle-aged ex secret service couple suddenly called upon to SERVE THEIR COUNTRY
- platonic male-female friends who kick ass together and love and depend each other. but no hetero
- lesbian mercenaries
- asexual husband-wife duo. they kill their enemies without mercy and cuddle in pools of their blood
- all-women gang of international thieves. based in hong-kong
Yes please give me all the thing
I would like to subscribe to all of these services, here’s a pile of cash, can you start now? Now’s good. Is now okay? Yes, now. Please.
You all know mr. acafanmom - he of the printers and refrigerators. I’ve written extensively about his inability to communicate emotionally here (warning: it’s - god help me - Sherlock meta). He and I have what can only be described as RADICALLY different communication styles, and what some words mean to him are NOT what those same words mean to me.
(Case in point: “a couple of days ago,” which to me means “two days ago,” and to him means “anytime in the last three weeks.” And if you think I’m joking… well, pity one of us, because I’m not.)
So that we’ve developed - well, he’s developed, more as a self-preservation move so I won’t go ballistic over the wrong word, if you can imagine that, hahaha - a kind of short hand for a couple of the more inflammatory things he tends to do. So that (and my therapist - years ago - thought this was brilliant), if he’s sincerely trying to joke about something I might also take offense to, he lifts his little pinky first. Then I glare at him and pretend to break it off, but THEN I do actually understand the manner in which he means it and we go from there - usually, it’s funny.
The other thing he does - this is less successful, but he persists - is to say, “if there’s two ways of taking this, please assume I mean the [good/non-inflammatory] way.” That is, he’s asking me to assume, lacking clear evidence to the contrary, that he’s just not communicating well, and not that he’s being deliberately [whatever].
In the same way… I can’t help but wish that here on Tumblr, we could figure out a way to make it okay for people to go, “Did you really mean to say X?” before we take them out for saying it. We’re all like bandits at a gunfight with itchy trigger-fingers, and someone’s going to get hurt.
So. This is my blanket, in-perpetuity permission to ALWAYS FEEL FREE to ask me what I meant by X if I’m not being clear. Sometimes when I write, I’m doing it with shorthand that my own head fills in, and so ideas get lost, because, duh, it’s right there, when actually, duh, it’s really not.
I would like to join as a signatory to the Acafanmom Peace Accord of 2014, with the further stipulation that I delight in respectful disagreement offered in this spirit.
Oh God Yes.
And phrasing it that way always works best.
"Did you mean X when you said "adsfjlskdjf"?"
Add my signature!
That would be refreshing, indeed! *adds signature*
This is the official ‘i care’ symbol. This is how it works:
Basically you reblog this, and your followers know that you care and that they can message you about anything anon or not and you will reply back or at least look at their message.
reasons why summer is fucking gross:
- very hot weather
- very humid weather
- 7583498754397864596 waterbugs
- 60000 bees/wasps/hornets
- no sweaters allowed
- sweat everywhere
- millions of mosquitos
- lack of rain (or too much fucking rain which leads into point #2)
- skyrocketing electric bills if u use an AC
- feeling the need to shower every hour
- did i mention bugs
Don’t forget the bugs. Because *horrific shudder* BUGS!