Last night I watched this show called Elementary, which is a police procedural about this guy named Sherlock Holmes who solves crimes along with his sidekick, Watson. It’s set in present day, and, just to set the scene for you if you haven’t had the chance to catch it, Holmes is this kind of quirky genius with something like Asperger’s and who’s also a former addict (he never indulges in any illicit drug or alcohol use onscreen, so it appears that the only things he’s really to addicted to are slim-cut pea coats, cuffed pants and natty European scarves. And adorable stubble.). Because of his
fashion drug/alcohol addiction, he has to have Lucy Liu babysit him 24/7 as something called a “sober companion” and live with her (platonically) in a fantastic Victorian house that looks like a crew from Vanity Fair magazine is going to show up at any minute and do a full-on photo shoot for their Hollywood issue. You know, random tufted velvet chairs set at odd angles and stacks of antique books artfully scattered around otherwise empty, but moodily-lit rooms. Sherlock’s the coolest addict ever, for my money.
Anyway…on to my point. Whenever Sherlock Holmes arrives at the murder scene (trailed as always by Watson), the police detective, played by the old, but still cute Aiden Quinn, introduces him to the gang–“Everybody, this is Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock, everybody”–and NO ONE BATS AN EYE.
That’s right. No one says, “Hm. Sherlock Holmes? As in THE Sherlock Holmes? Like the famous guy from the books and movies and TV shows????” Instead they just, “Oh, hey. Nice to meet you. Come check out this murdered body.”
This really bothers me.
I’m not stupid, ok. I get that they’ve taken the stories out of Victorian England and dumped them into today, but it’s just soooo disconcerting to me that nobody even flinches at that name. I’m pathologically hung up on it. I just can’t get over the fact that all these people on this TV show live in a world where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s genius detective character never existed. C’mon, isn’t that just the tiniest bit cuckoo?
Alright, it’s just me.
So what happens after nobody recognizes Sherlock and Watson is I get distracted from the show because I start thinking about things that are way, way above my intellectual pay grade, for instance, the Butterfly Effect (is that a real thing in the world of philosophy, or just a bad Ashton Kutcher movie?)–in effect, if Sherlock Holmes never existed, that would mean Sir Arthur Conan Doyle maybe became a barber or a valet or something, which would mean probably half the detective/mystery books and movies and TV made would never have been created, including THIS SHOW, not to mention Robert Downey Jr. would be substantially less rich…at which point my brain snaps loose from its moorings, and I enter a dissociative state.
All this from a TV show.
(Sidebar: I’ve experienced this dissociative state a lot recently, because I’ve been preparing to take the GRE by studying math. And nothing can make me black out faster than f(x). Just saying. In fact, I have a substantial amount to say about how the trauma of my high school math experience has informed my recent experience. Maybe I need to do a cathartic, inner-healing blog post about math. What do you think?)
A final thought: Lucy Liu is fantastic. I adored her in Kill Bill. She’s one of those who graduated from the Clint Eastwood School of Acting–where you stand ramrod straight, make your face look like granite and stare at the other person in the scene with daggers in your eyes. That girl can do eye-daggers better than anybody I’ve ever seen. I really kind of love her.