I was watching another episode of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix this morning and marveling at the pure genius that went into constructing that particular half hour of television, as has happened more than once with that show. (The simple touch of a Cosby sweater! Genius!) When I was done, I checked my normal internet channels and was brought back to Elementary-land by an exchange I'd been having with Rob Nunn about that fiesty post on Rick's Cafe Texan from January.
The sudden mental juxtaposition of Elementary and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was fascinating, in that it revealed in stark contrast, the two New York Citys we're given in media.
In Elementary, we're given that bleak, uncared-for urban sprawl, where it often seems like there must be no paint stores, as everything looks dingy and abandoned, even where people live. (Unless, of course, they're very, very rich and a suspect.) And it's winter a lot of the time.
The New York of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a different place, the sunny New York City of opportunity and colorful characters, where visits to Central Park are an integral part of life, and spring and summer prevail.
The song "New York, New York" famously declares, "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere!" and in Kimmy's case, one feels she is going to make it. In Mr. Elementary's case? He came there broken and is all about just managing to barely hang on. The seeming message: "Yes, New York is so big and bad that it actually can bring London's greatest detective down to our level."
And that's the message I often hear in praise of Elementary over other Sherlock Holmes adaptations. He's painfully flawed, and thus relatable. We should not aspire to better things, like the true Sherlock Holmes who was at the top of his field for a reason. We should content ourselves that life is hard and we can't see we're sleeping with Moriarty or that we may or may not have killed someone in a drug-addled haze. The dingy loser version of movie and TV New York is the perfect city for someone like that.
But the opportunity-filled city, where the hopeful come to win, that we see in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? I'd like to see the Sherlock Holmes who was created to exist in that town. Of course, that guy probably never had to leave London.