Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Can Holmes and Watson consummate and not ruin the show?

This blog post is Sherlockian, I promise. But give me a moment.

The theme from the TV show Moonlighting came up in my shuffle, driving home from work today. For a few minutes, I waxed nostalgically on Maddie Hayes and David Addison, and what a wonderful couple they were . . . until they slept together.

Now most attributed this to the end of their "sexual tension." But I realized, as I listened to that song, that it wasn't about the sex at all. Before they consummated their relationship, they were two single people who just couldn't quite get together even though we all knew they loved each other. They misunderstood, they quibbled, they fought . . . and that was okay, because they were two single people who couldn't quite get together.

Then, BOOM! Consummation! They are now officially a couple. A couple that misunderstood, quibbled, and fought. Suddenly they go from star-crossed lovers to unhealthy relationship. One of those is hopeful. The other is not. Which is why most "opposites attract" romantic comedies end with a "happily ever after" assumption at the credits.

So then I thought of another TV show with a detective duo in love, Hart to Hart. They didn't need sexual tension, they were just in love and having sex (not specifically shown, but c'mon!). The show was about them working together as a functional couple from the start.

Which brings us to Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Are they Maddie Hayes and David Addison, or Jonathan and Jennifer Hart?

They're very opposites-attract-y, and even though season four didn't give them a big "I love you!" moment at the end, it could be argued that montage was very much a "happily ever after." The whole series could be looked at as one long romantic comedy arc, where the secret that breaks the two apart is Eurus Holmes, even though Sherlock doesn't know she is his secret. (A bit of a stretch, I realize, but one could build a case for it.)

As Dave and Maddie style partners, Holmes and Watson work. As a couple, though? I don't think either Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, Moffat and Gatiss's Sherlock or Dougherty's Elementary has given us the Hart to Hart version of Holmes and Watson yet. That would seem like an adaptation still waiting to happen. And as so much fan fiction involves the pair getting together, rather than just happily being together against the world, one has to wonder if that version will ever come along in a mainstream media adaptation.

You just never know. Our three most recent Sherlocks are perfect examples of something none of us probably thought we'd ever see, once upon a time, so we might just see Holmes to Holmes yet. (Sorry, John, you have to take his name for the show to work.)

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