Friday, January 31, 2014

Ten million Elementary viewers can't be . . . wrong?

If you don't like Elementary, don't watch it. Yes, I know.

Lord, how I know.

I sat down to watch the latest brand new episode of the show about the man called "Sherlock Holmes" again last night, here in the midst of new Sherlock season, and found the effort as much a struggle as doing homework from a college econ class while there's a party going on at your best pal's house. At the first commercial break, I startled the good Carter awake and went looking for something else on the on-demand menu. Eventually I settled into the latest episode of Lost Girl, Canada's series about a succubus. The succubus was solving a mystery of her own, and it was a comfortable watch.

So tonight, after a third viewing of Sherlock's "The Empty Hearse" with friends seeing it for the first time (and enjoying it all over again), I gathered up my will power and sat down to attempt getting through Elementary one more time.

Elementary seems to be on completely non-Canonical ground these days, and the lack of all the cookies that Sherlock likes to throw in like pitons for anchoring the Sherlockian climber's tether to the show was a very noticeable absence. The stout woman in flannel whose name was Gay seemed like a slightly offensive way to get a "Sherlock is gay" joke in, which is kind of a Sherlockian trope these days, so I grasped at that straw until I puzzled over whether or not I should be getting excited about a dinosaur fossil. That got me to the credits.

Past the credits, my first real emotion of the show came from watching Jonny Lee Miller, in his top-button-buttoned dress shirt, standing uncomfortably rigid and twitchy beside a table, showing how uncomfortable and twitchy his character was at having to deal with sponsoring a fellow addict. Miller's performance made me relate very strongly to his character's tense, uncomfortable stance. He's very hard to get comfortable with, seeming uncomfortable in his own skin so much. But I gritted my teeth and watched on. His hobby of the episode of drilling into skulls didn't help the relaxation factor, either.

Seeing Joan Watson chopping shallots, I pondered what she might be cooking, and who gets to dine on said meal with her. It's hard to imagine her settling down to the result of her well-prepared efforts with her house-mate. If her choice of sleepwear is any example, Joan lays out a creative and interesting meal. I think Mr. Elementary enjoys Joan in her nightwear, because his monologue on "dead clade walking" is much more relaxed and listenable than anything else out of his mouth on the show prior to it.

This week, Mr. Elementary sliced up a case file and threatened to eat it in hopes of absorbing the information the way a planarium worm absorbs memories from a fellow worm by eating that worm. As a detective method, it makes no sense, of course. As a joke on Joan, it doesn't seem like he's joking (or funny). But as a way of showing that he knows about planarium worms, which only smart people must know about? Right on target.

Sherlock Holmes did always like the dramatic little exposition moment at the end of a case. Mr. Elementary chose to do his by holding a hand-drawn "Will work for food" sort of sign next to a fossil display in a museum. It wasn't cool, by any stretch of the imagination, but he was, at the core of it, doing something vaguely like Sherlock Holmes would do at roughly the same point in a case. So I'll give him that.

On that positive note, we'll call my homework for the week done. Which is why I'm still watching the show, of course. I was a Sherlockian long before either Sherlock or Elementary aired, and when a show with a character named "Sherlock Holmes" is seen by nearly ten million people every week, one has to do one's homework to see what they're accepting as a character with that name.

Man, do I wish that task was more fun, though.


  1. I can't commiserate with you about Mr Elementary. But I, too, just watched "The Empty Hearse" again. Because, why not?

    Sherlock's true love appears to be his city. (Well, The City & the rest of the city.) The show is produced in Cardiff but makes great use of location time in London. Sherlock Holmes never looks better than when he's looking out on those ancient & modern buildings....

    1. He's almost like London's superhero, standing over that terrific scene. I love a good "stand and look while the music swells."

  2. You know how much I hate to agree with,. . . but I do on this one.

    1. Thanks, John, I appreciate the vote of confidence. I don't even think I hate the show anymore, I just feel kind of numb.