Elementary's odd choice of head-thwacking singlestick has been on my mind of late. The impractical side of martial arts in an age of handguns comes on strong with that one, especially when the Holmes-imitator captaining Elementary seems to insist his Watson needs to know it above all other self-defense measures. Because when one thinks of Dr. Watson and self-defense, one usually thinks guns.
Dr. Watson has packed heat since the start.
"I have my old service revolver and a few cartridges," Watson offers in A Study in Scarlet when Holmes lets him know a killer might be coming to their place. He doesn't get to use it in that tale, but when BBC's Sherlock updated it as "A Study in Pink," the good doctor definitely showed he was more than able with a gun.
When CBS created Elementary, much ado was made about their shiny, new female Watson, and as much as I've criticized their Holmes for not being Sherlock Holmes, I've always left Joan Watson alone. The sexism charges were flying fast and furious back at the show's start at even a hint of displeasure from critics regarding Joan Watson. And I do like Lucy Liu a lot. Just the chance to see a favorite actor at work like that will always get a few free passes.
But this goofy singlestick thing just makes Joan Watson's lack of a gun stick out all the more. And one has to wonder if she doesn't get to use a gun just because she's a girl.
While the choice of a female Watson might be all non-sexist, putting her in short skirts and not letting her be armed in a role that puts her in constant contact with murderers is sexism in the extreme. And if one is going to have a female Watson, for Doyle's sake, let her be freakin' Watson.
Watson is the solid friend at Holmes's back. He or she is everything a consulting detective needs in a partner. Including someone who can deal with dangerous men in a way other than smashing some porcelain over their head, in that stereotypically girly self-defense ploy. And Watson gets to use a gun.
Now, I'm not talking pro-gun or anti-gun here for society as a whole. Just Dr. Watson. A classic character who's been around for a very long time. What's a little amusing is that our modern British Watson is a gun guy in a country with gun control, while the modern American Watson is non-gun in what seems a pretty gun-loving country. One would think it would be the other way around . . . except for that girl thing.
Is this American Watson not getting to shoot people just because she's a girl? Adding that factor to her complete failure as a medical professional, her total income dependence on the Holmes family, and the possibly-too-short-for-her-age skirts (though I may just be an old fuddy-duddy on that one, if the use of the term "fuddy-duddy" hasn't already closed that case), it would seem like changing Watson so much along with the sex change is the most sexist route of all.