Tuesday, March 31, 2015

For the last time? Oh, no, definitely not.

Sometimes, we just enjoy treading familiar ground one more time.

Steven Moffat got a few good quote on Entertainment Weekly's site this week with the lovely headline: "Sherlock co-creator: For the last time, Holmes is not gay!"

Moffat goes on to explain that his particular incarnation of Sherlock Holmes has a very Victorian mindset about asexuality helping keep his mental powers at his peak. "He's not gay. He's not straight."

Billy Wilder, in his classic film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, had fun playing with that issue, raising the question of Holmes possibly being gay then using it as a springboard to explore why it was that Sherlock didn't care for women.

In a way, the question goes all the way back to William Gillette, who caught Conan Doyle in an "I don't give a damn about Sherlock Holmes" moment and got permission to have Holmes fall in love and marry him off, in his 1899 play Sherlock Holmes. It's almost like Gillette wanted to give him a beard to just ignore the question entirely.

As long as Sherlock Holmes abstains from romantic involvement of any kind, a key point in the original character's make-up, there will be those who want to fill that void. The black market of stories, fanfic, has always been quick to head there, as that genre has long been about scratching itches that the more mainstream channels held back from. And some more clueless creators will always just blindly give Holmes a relationship because they don't fully understand the character. (And yes, I will include William Gillette in there, along with Rob Dougherty. Clueless does not mean unpopular.)

Will the question of "Holmes, gay or straight?" ever be resolved?

It can't be. Because it's not the real question. Just an answer that some of us like to see played out now and then.

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