damned_colonial: The lamp outside 221B Baker St (221b)
[personal profile] damned_colonial posting in [community profile] queering_holmes
This post is riffing off [personal profile] wrabbit's suggestion in the discussion prompt gathering thread, which is still taking suggestions for new discussions if you have them.

Holmes and Watson weren't the first detective/sidekick duo, but they were one of the earliest pairs to achieve enormous popularity. Since then, similar pairings/duos have become a recognisable type in pop culture.

What are the distinctive traits of the Holmes/Watson pairing? Who are some of the more recent pairings/duos that draw on H/W? [personal profile] wrabbit mentions House and Wilson, of course, but it seems to me that the very common pairing of an exceptional/brilliant and possibly anti-social hero with a partner who's a stabilising influence or a source of exposition or both, owes a lot to H/W. There are plenty of detective duos, of course, especially on television. When wrabbit posted her comment I thought of Jim/Blair from the Sentinel (a police detective with an academic partner), and then last night, watching Hornblower with a friend, I realised that Archie is a bit of a Watson in a way: he exists in the TV canon to make Hornblower less solitary and internal and help the story move along, is Horatio's best friend with whom he shares everything, and is loyal and straightforward to Horatio's awkward brilliance. C. S. Forester didn't originally write Archie as a partner for Horatio in the book series, and Bush (who shows up later in the chronology of the series) doesn't fit the H/W pairing mold at all, but perhaps by the 90s when the TV writers came to develop Archie as Horatio's partner, that type of pairing had become more standardised?

H/W has also been called the archetypal slash pairing and the first slash fandom (btw, does anyone know whether anyone was actually publishing H/W slash in zines before Star Trek slash came along?) If the H/W pairing is a discernable "type", is that type inherently slashy or queer? How many H/W-influenced pairings have considerable slash followings?

Date: 2010-05-10 11:44 pm (UTC)
ingridmatthews: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ingridmatthews
but there's something about the Watson himself (other than the direct influence of the Holmes) that prevents him from being the perfectly socialized specimen that he at first glance seems to be.

Book!Canon Watson admits that he is of 'a Bohemian mind', considering himself an writer/artist first, doctor/soldier/husband second. His life with Holmes is considered an exercise in classic Bohemianism, at least to Watson. His attachment to Holmes is partly due to his rejection of rigid male roles, making him queerly delicious.

IMHO, they are basically a pair of Victorian hipsters. ;)

Date: 2010-05-10 11:51 pm (UTC)
ingridmatthews: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ingridmatthews
I'd have to look again. Musgrave? I've been marathon reading the Complete Series and am getting lost, but I remember being stuck (okay, DELIGHTED) by that particular tidbit. When I come across it again, I'll mark it. ;)

Date: 2010-05-11 12:01 am (UTC)
starlady: Watson is secretly having the time of his life (watson)
From: [personal profile] starlady
So...which is the truth, and which is the lie? I know which is my bet.

Oh, Watson.

Date: 2010-05-11 12:09 am (UTC)
ingridmatthews: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ingridmatthews
To be a classic Victorian Bohemian is to place oneself outside of conventions that are supposed to control your life from the moment of waking to what you wear to sleep. For him to self-identify as one is a big thing, at least from my understanding of the movement, which stresses independent thought, rejection of social mores and stress on intellectual arts over appearances (which were *everything* to a Victorian).

Holmes is described as a perfect Bohemian because his use of his vast intellect is his art. (Being a big old drug addict, social disaster and slob probably added to the effect. ;) Watson may be more concerned than Holmes about his standing in society, but like wrabbit said above, there is a little something about him that simply doesn't fit into the Victorian puzzle.

Edited Date: 2010-05-11 12:12 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-05-11 12:49 am (UTC)
ingridmatthews: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ingridmatthews
Definitely! It is my kink, I'll admit it. I'm sure there will be tons of opinions on it, but to me, it's one of the hallmarks of their unique standing in the society they are navigating through observation.

Oooh, also a thread maybe on Watson and Holmes as observers? Holmes examining outside forces while Watson examines him? Or just staring his lovely hands? *grin*

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