Thursday, March 25, 2021

A pre-show guide to dealing with "Irregulars" haters

 As one of the world's biggest Holmes and Watson fans and a person who quietly is still on the other side of the Elementary fence, it seemed appropriate, on the eve of Netflix's The Irregulars, to ponder what's about to come from the haters in our ranks. You know they're out there. We've already heard pre-judgement from numerous opinionated sorts on the Zoom calls. So what does a Sherlockian do with such folk?

The easiest to ignore of the haters is the "I'm proud to say I've never watched a minute of it" hater. It's the sort of statement that practically has no natural response. "Good for you!" seems like a sort of bad faith pandering. "How do you . . . " -- well, that statement isn't even worth finishing. It's just a very confusing statement. 

How anyone in Sherlockiana can go "I neither see nor observe but can solve the case anyway" sort of statement is beyond me, so we just ignore those haters as irrelevant and move on.

Next we come to the hater who uses the "It's not Canon!" line. But even the [Cue heavenly choir] Granada Holmes had revisions like John Clay being a part of Moriarty's scheme's during its most faithful moment, and as sad as Jeremy Brett's later illness what, Mycroft Holmes with x-ray vision was still a part of that series. The Canon is a book. If it's not the book, it's not Canon. Let's move on to specifics.

Those who hate the supernatural tone? Hmmm. The Hound of the Baskervilles. Supernatural scares are Canon, even if their solutions might have been more mundane. Sherlock Holmes stories can be scary.

Sherlock Holmes doesn't look right. Sherlock Holmes doesn't talk right. Sherlock Holmes is Will Ferrell. Y'know, casting is something we can quibble on. But you can't hate a whole production for one actor in one role . . . unless your fandom's name has that one role specifically identified. "Sherlock"ians do have a certain leeway to be picky about Sherlocks. Although at this point, I would hope we've learned that everybody gets their own Sherlocks, and you just leave them alone about it. You don't constantly tell your pals, "YOUR SPOUSE IS UGLY. I WOULD NEVER HAVE MARRIED THAT SPOUSE!" No, we must allow for our own Sherlocks, just as we allow for any other personal choice of relationship.

Yet there will be haters, some just because they want their existence acknowledged, some of actual ill intent. But the best way to deal with haters? Don't defend. Praise.

Praise hard.

During my days as an Elementary hater, one of the things that seemed to justify my hate the most was the fact that the initial fans could not tell me what reason they had for liking the show. I had a thousand reasons for hating it, but it seemed like I would rarely get praise of the show in rebuttal. There was the simple "But I like it!" response, which wasn't something one could argue with, but didn't help the pro-Elementary cause. And then there was the "But Sherlock isn't that great!" which the drag-the-other-fellow-into-the-mud rather than just being better approach that politicians have loved of late. Neither of those will put a hater off their game, trust me on this.

If you really like something, the best game to play with haters is to ponder why you like it and double down on those facts. Because they are facts. Reverse the positions of the previous paragraph and let the haters go "But I don't like it!" while you just gush joy back at them. Offense has always been the best defense. And a joyful, laughing offense doesn't just defend, it invites.

I have been living happily as a fan of Holmes and Watson for years now, embracing its every flaw, double-loving its every perfect move. And while I haven't won over too many of the staunch haters, it does bring one's fellow fans out from their Munchkinland homes just the same as if you dropped a house on a bad witch and had the good witch call "All clear."

So I wanted to put this essay out there, just to prepare everyone, in case I watch The Irregulars on Netflix tomorrow and turn into a were-hater once more, without having properly chained myself in the basement. I don't think I will, but you just never know, do you? Never been a big fan of heavily druggie Holmes, but being more heavily Watsonian than in past debuts, I'm hoping to counter that bias with a good, action Watson.

As the song says, "It's only a day awaaaaayyyyy . . ."

1 comment:

  1. Don't mind the supernatural TONE - just so it is NOT a supernatural cause. Will watch the first episode just in is not as bad as it looks.