I finally finished that durned "Sexpisode" yesterday.
Catching up on my podcasts this week, and after listening to the Three Patch Podcast take on Hamlet, monster Holmes, and deathfic (As well as pre-ordering the t-shirt. I love their artist's work.), my smartphone queued up the rest of their previous episode . . . the notorious "Sexpisode 3."
Yes, the one that gave me the vapors back in September during its "Sexy Headcanon" segment from Gridlock 2015. SO MUCH random coupling . . . or tripling, I guess . . . fried my poor midwestern late-baby-boomer brain. I backed slowly away from it after that segment then, but coming back to the episode and bits like its thoughtful look at the Sherlock-John-Mary triad, I was a little more secure that the ladies of Three Patch weren't going to terrorize my inner old maid any more.
I really enjoy listening to Three Patch, much more than I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere and the Baker Street Babes of late, because they always make me think. The old, cozy Sherlock talk is a little too relaxing for my sleepy old brain, and the view of that new Sherlockian planet that internet connectivity has taken us to is fascinating, and a bit energizing. Like one of those old B movie sci-fi plots, we rocketed to Mars in our future Sherlockian world and found it populated by women.
And listening to Three Patch today, acclimating all the more to the environment of Planet Cumberbatch, coming to see it as Sherlockiana Now and the old Sherlockian scholarship as the different thing, it became very apparent that the Sherlockiana of the 1940s and 1950s was Sherlock Holmes studies as done by men. Think about it . . .
Locating 221B Baker Street. Charting its floor plans. Enumerating and classifying Canonical characters. Researching and hypothesizing to make Watson's dates exact and reliable. Bring in the math and spatial dynamics wherever possible and, good gawd, spending so much time trying to work out that damned Musgrave ritual.
Not to be all gender-stereotyping, but this was Sherlockian scholarship created by men for men.
Had it been women who created it from the get-go, perhaps the focus would have been on something else even back then: Relationships. Reactions. Emotions.
For when you distill it down, that's what the amazing multiverse of fanfiction is: studies of human interaction. Taking the fascinating specimens of the Canon and putting them in experimental conditions and seeing what they do. True, there is a bit of experimenter bias going on, but that was true of the old Sherlockian scholarship as well. Sherlock was a golfer, a Buddhist, or a wine lover pretty much according to how much to writer wanted him to be. Now it's more who winds up in bed with whom as we explore their reactions to class structure, death, gender issues, power dynamics, and all those other ways humans relate to other humans (even if Holmes and Watson are not exactly human in a given fic).
We saw a Golden Age of Sherlockiana in the 1900s. We're seeing a Silver Age of Sherlockiana evolving in front of us in the 2000s. And as much as the Bronze Age of Sherlockian of the 2100s might be too much for my poor brain to wrap itself around, I would still be very curious to see what it's going to look like when that third wave hits.