December 24th, 2011, 07:16 AM
Daughter of the Pilani
Yeah, we can forget about working for a few days yet.
January 7th, 2012, 04:12 PM
I went to Hungary, which was awful (grandparent problems and our return flight was cancelled, leaving us in Frankfurt for a night.)
BUT NOW IT'S A NEW YEAR (AND A NEW SHERLOCK.) So, very late happy new year to everyone!
January 8th, 2012, 04:32 AM
Daughter of the Pilani
Sorry you didn't have a great holiday!
I've decided to start watching Sherlock now (I know, what a virtuous New Year's resolution ... ) and I thought the first episode was fun, even though it showed Moffat's weaknesses as a writer and played to fans a bit. What did you think?
January 10th, 2012, 12:56 PM
Wait, did you watch A Study in Pink (S1E1) or A Scandal in Belgravia (S2E1)? Sorry, you probably meant Scandal, but just to make sure! Well, I enjoyed it hugely, especially on rewatching (I saw the premiere in December). I initially had problems with Irene's characterisation, but I worked through those and I honestly don't think she's a sexist character, even though I know Moffat has made a lot of sexist remarks in the past and has been criticised for sexist characterisation. It was really beautifully filmed and I had a deep sense of both content and melancholy at the end...it was satisfying emotionally. To some extent, though, I think series 1 was about building Sherlock up as an amazing, untouchable, perfectly emotionless character, and series 2 is about breaking him in every way possible. Have you watched series 1?
"The Hounds of Baskerville" - I have mixed feelings. I loved the character development there (like, woah, tears...did not expect that, but it WORKS), but the plot can be taken two ways: either a) really implausible, or b) very very fannish, a conscious tribute to scifi and horror tropes which doesn't really attempt to be of either genre itself but nods to them hugely.
January 15th, 2012, 12:50 PM
Daughter of the Pilani
I meant the first episode, and I didn't really get over the issues with Irene's characterisation - it wouldn't be so bad if she were Moffat's only female character who is absurdly hyper-sexual and feminine, but he doesn't seem to know how to create interesting female characters who aren't. River Song, if you watch Doctor Who, is very similar. Characters like that are immense fun to watch but it seems annoying and sexist if it recurs like this.
I also thought episode one jumped a little too much from case to case - I preferred episode two, where it was just the hound, from that perspective. Still, my immediate reaction when I read you were at the premiere was jealousy, so I guess that shows that episode one was actually still very enjoyable.
Episode two was implausible, but I'm willing to assume it was nodding to tropes. I, too, loved the character development and there was some really great acting. It's interesting how you describe the characterisation arc from series one to series two - it makes a lot of sense, and makes me want to see series one even more.
January 16th, 2012, 02:23 PM
I know what you mean - I think Moffat's ridiculously talented and clever, but I can't get over some of the things he's said in the past - and yes, although I don't regularly watch Doctor Who I do know about the controversy over River and also over the Christmas episode. The thing is that I thought Irene was genuinely powerful. Okay, her power does come from sex, but she is also obviously intelligent and her sexuality, in and of itself, is never the object of patronising criticism, which I appreciated. It's never implied by any of the character that her sexuality makes her weak or womanly, and her "feelings" for Sherlock...well, that did initially annoy me, but in the end she still *wins*. She retains a huge hold over him, so despite his role as rescuer his very need to rescue her is an admission that he feels just as strongly towards her as she does towards him, even if that's not sexual. To be honest, I doubt her sexual attraction to him was due to him physically. She says she's gay, and I want to believe that she is and I want to respect her own declaration that she is, so I read her arousal as being a response to him intellectually. Which is perhaps slightly too much to believe of Moffat, but it's how I chose to read that scene.
The Reichenbach Fall broke me. I have never sobbed so hard at any film or TV show in my life. It was just so perfectly beautiful. Martin Freeman was brilliant, and they never took the "easy" route to an emotional response. It all felt so real and true to the characters. Oh God. I watched it with friends and was pretty much shaking from the phone call onwards.
January 18th, 2012, 12:07 PM
Daughter of the Pilani
With regard to A Scandal In Belgravia, I understand what you're saying, but I found it annoying that in the end she was, despite her intelligence, still reduced to the status of your typical damsel-in-distress, and that she was shown to be ultimately reliant on emotion rather than reason. From what I've read, though I can't speak for this myself really, this is in direct contrast to the original story, A Scandal in Bohemia, where Adler actually outwits Holmes - this seems a bit regressive!
The other thing that really really bothered me was the portrayal of her homosexuality - she says that she's gay, but then is attracted to Sherlock? I want to believe that that's a response to him intellectually too, but it actually seems to go along with the constant portrayal of lesbianism in the media as hyper-sexualised (by which we inevitably mean, in our society, conventionally attractive to heterosexual men) and actually only really a performance which hides real heterosexuality.
This idea that women are only gay to look hot to men and then will turn straight if a sufficiently alluring man turns up is pervasive and really damaging, I think (another example of a similar thing is Katy Perry's I Kissed A Girl). I wish I thought episode one subverted that in some way, but I really don't think it did.
You probably were aware of those arguments anyway, but hey, I get het up about stuff... Good episode otherwise though.
The Reichenbach Fall, though. Wow. Easily the best episode in the series - it came close to breaking me, too, and I've only seen three episodes of the show, can't imagine what it'd have been like if I'd seen series one. There was some absolutely fantastic acting and I loved the way some bits were filmed. Sherlock's fall from grace was done perfectly, so it seemed inevitable. I don't mean it was predictable, though just enough of it was to make it horribly gripping, but that everything followed reasonably on from the last in what became a horrible avalanche.
Can't believe we're not getting any more of this until next year - I need to procure series one somehow...
January 18th, 2012, 12:39 PM
I initially thought that too, but in A Scandal in Bohemia, Irene only escapes because she had a tip-off about Holmes being likely to pursue her, and about what he looked like, so she could actually then piece it together and flee. And there, too, she is motivated by emotion - she wants to escape Holmes and the incriminating photographs because she wants to marry her lawyer fiance, Geoffrey Norton, in peace. So while parts of the story are subversive (at the end, Watson notes that Holmes never mocked the intellectual capabilities of women again), her actual actions in the story are not as amazing and self-sufficient as they are often made out to be. Also, many attacked BBC's Irene's awareness of her sexuality with the point that it's un-canonical - but the original Irene Adler was an opera singer who sometimes cross-dressed and who had obviously had several affairs before being married, which would have been regarded, by Victorian eyes, as being deeply "sexually immoral"! I'm not saying that there aren't issues with BBC!Irene, but sexing-up-the-original is not one of them.
That very definitely did anger me too; one of my major hang-ups is the portrayal of lesbians and bisexual women in mainstream media. And in a part of my mind, I do acknowledge that Moffat isn't really subtle enough to have made her an example of someone with fluid sexuality. (Which is annoying, because the warehouse scene: "Just in case anyone out there is still listening, I'm not actually gay!" "And I am. Look at us both." could be a truly wonderful, enlightened demonstration of how sexuality is rarely concrete or objective.) So really, I do pretty much agree with you on that one on one level. What is interesting, though, is that Sherlock's asexuality (though I must say that I saw him as gay in series 1) is handled pretty well and very sympathetically. While I'd hesitate to comment on its accuracy, the series has a lot of asexual fans who say it rings true. So perhaps it IS possible that Irene's "oh-wait-she's-not-ACTUALLY-lesbian" moment was an illustration of sexual fluidity - or, well, it's even possible that she was lying at the time, for some reason, or that she's bisexual but greatly prefers women. While I admit that the general message was a bit off-putting, I can think of reasons why it shouldn't be.
No, I definitely appreciate you bringing this up, because I had many of the same issues myself after watching it. The media firestorm after it only brought that back up and caused me a great deal of internal turmoil, and while I interpret the episode in a slightly different way to most commentators, I'm somewhat aware that that might partially, subconsciously, be because I'm a huge fan who is also a gay feminist, and I don't want to have to dislike my beloved show. That's would be pretty weak of me, I know, so I hope I can actually justify my general positivity over Irene's character. I do have major problems with Moffat, of course, but the fact that Gatiss is co-creator tempers my It-must-have-been-Moffat reflex.
Fall. kxueuyrk. Everyone's favoured theory seems to be that "Sherlock fell into the rubbish truck, John's view was obscured because of his standing spot and by the cyclist, the spectators were the homeless network, and his body was swapped with that of one of Molly's corpses. She then faked the DNA records." That just seems FAR too simple to me, because it occurred to me about 5 minutes after it ended, and so we were probably meant to reach that conclusion when it was actually something else entirely.
YES YES YES WATCH SERIES ONE NOW. One thing: Many people dislike aspects of the second episode, The Blind Banker, because it can be seen as a bit culturally insensitive. I personally had a little less difficulty with it than I did with Scandal. I don't think it's malicious, but some of its implications are a bit unfortunate.
Last edited by Eyes of Wolf; January 18th, 2012 at 03:11 PM.
January 18th, 2012, 04:23 PM
Daughter of the Pilani
That's really interesting additional information about A Scandal in Bohemia - when reading commentaries that have a clear bias, sometimes such details can be (ahem) obscured... Good to know.
Yes, that warehouse scene could have been great and subversive and then wasn't - disappointing, really, though hardly surprising... I know it could be construed as a positive message, but with Moffat's track record and the way most people will interpret it, I'm not optimistic. I understand where you're coming from with being a gay feminist and not wanting to find fault with the show, as a feminist myself (let's talk about media portrayal of women!) and with a lot of (some gay) feminist friends who adore Sherlock and Doctor Who.
The point about Sherlock's asexuality is interesting too; I can see how it could be good for raising awareness but on the other hand I guess it might be seen to typify asexual people as reason-obsessed and not liking (as opposed to being attracted to) people in general - I don't really know.
Some people I've been speaking to seem to think that Sherlock's corpse's face was actually that of Moriarty's latex mask of his face, but I genuinely have no idea, myself (sorry, I'm very boring!) I'm going to try and find series one and will bear what you say about episode two in mind.
January 19th, 2012, 01:01 PM
The issue of whether to be true to the canon is an interesting one, because even before Scandal, many fans felt that women in Sherlock series 1 were a) under-represented and b) weak. To some extent that makes sense, considering the source material, but given that the show has gone to the trouble of creating three original female recurring characters (Sally Donovan, Molly Hooper, and Sarah Sawyer in series 1) it would be nice if they were slightly more well-rounded. I could write long essays on the character of, say, Lestrade, who appears rather less than Molly. I suppose my feelings on Molly's character might change based on whatever it is she did last episode that we didn't see on screen.
And that's exactly it - the way the casual viewer will interpret it is rather more damaging than the way I do, having agonized over every scene exhaustively. Discussing female representation in media = my idea of a perfect day.
Mm, that's true - I hadn't actually thought of that. I mean, the fact that his asexuality is there in the first place is lovely, and pretty interesting, but it's true that in some ways it could be seen as negative. Also, Holmes has been construed as asexual for as long as the stories have been the topic of study at all - he's just about the "safest" character possible to define as asexual.
I've seen that theory, too! There's some variants on that one, like the body being that of one of Moriarty's agents who had been hired to kidnap the children due to his resemblance to Sherlock...after a while, though, all my theorizing becomes a bit far-fetched. Also, while I see Sherlock as having had a plan to survive, I prefer to believe for the time being that he thought there was genuinely a chance he would die, simply because it makes the rooftop scene that much more emotional.
January 19th, 2012, 04:19 PM
Daughter of the Pilani
Yes, there is a difficult issue of how to approach adapting a nineteenth century series in any respect, and I appreciate that they've added female characters, though you're right some are less three-dimensional than they might be.
It's going to be interesting to find out what Sherlock asked Molly to do - I have a feeling it might have been to do with faking his death, though I, also, would like to think he thought he could really die (a bit of a trope, but still!). I reckon it'd be a bit of a cop-out if the corpse was just somebody who resembled Sherlock; I'm expecting something a little more, well, implausible.
I suppose, with the asexuality thing, any awareness is good, really. It's true he's been seen as the literary blueprint for asexual characters.
The thing that really gets me about the representation of women in the media (very briefly) is the way so many people seem to think that it's OK that women should be defined solely on feminine traits and only cast if they're absurdly conventionally attractive, because, well, feminism happened and it's all sunshine now! Women should be allowed to be feminine, they say, and (by inevitable implication) anyone who's not, to the last societally-dictated degree, can sod off. And that's not just the media, either... *mutters about double standards*
I recently came across this really excellent blog post about the poses women on fantasy cover art make and how ridiculously sexualised and impractical they are; amusing and (horribly) illuminating.
January 23rd, 2012, 01:00 PM
I can't see him crying - even just the minimal amount that he did on the rooftop - if he wasn't genuinely in pretty big danger. It just takes away a lot of the poignancy of that phone call if he thought he was 90% likely to survive. A good theory I've seen recently is that he took the bug camera from the flat with him (and that was the "Something of yours you might want back" he referred to in the text). The whole connecting-it-to-the-laptop scene is kind of superfluous if the camera isn't mentioned again - so, of course, it must be important. On the roof, he asked Moriarty to explain himself, which is quite OOC for him, so it's possible he was recording the whole thing on the camera for later proof and needed the explanation. This doesn't actually explain how he survived, but I'm pretty sure it's correct.
A lot of people don't even really know that asexuality exists, so for a show as popular as Sherlock to openly address it is amazing. (Although Moffat gave an interview with the Guardian at the weekend in which he appears to have said that Sherlock is straight but represses his sexual feelings. I'm sorry, is he writing the show I'm watching?! I thought the ENTIRE POINT of Scandal was that Sherlock has no sexual feelings towards Irene at all, despite being fascinated by her, and perhaps even romantically attached to her?! Her nakedness shocks him, yes, but there's no indication that he's at all aroused by it!)
Personally, I felt that season 1 portrays him as openly gay - I'd be interested in what you think of that. So, at the moment, my own take is that he's asexual but homoromantic (or biromantic). I doubt they'll ever clear it up decisively, so at the moment I'm happy with my interpretation!
Grurghhh, yes. There are so few female characters in any kind of visual media who aren't absurdly beautiful in an idealized, male-orientated way. Of course some women are - and some women are aggressively sexual - but when every so-called "confident" female character in film is wholly constructed around sex, her characterization looks less like a manifestation of confidence and more like a male fantasy.
That's a brilliant post - I read a similar one recently on the positioning of women on classical music CD covers (on which they are, if sharing a picture with a man, invariably in a "supporting" position in the composition).
January 24th, 2012, 12:22 PM
Daughter of the Pilani
That's an interesting theory and seems pretty likely. Another one I heard today was about the fall itself. Sherlock (or whoever it was) fell face-down, but we see the corpse's face and it's not badly injured - in fact, the blood was coming from the back of the head, which certainly suggests forcefully that all is not as it seems...
I agree that any publicity for asexuality is good and would say that asexual homoromantic seems by far the best way to characterise Sherlock's (a)sexuality so far. And they won't clear it up, they'll want to keep us guessing! I also think it's pretty absurd to suggest Sherlock was attracted to Irene, but I suppose any excuse to imagine sexual tension...
You put the point about media representation of women very well. Classical music CD covers are frankly ridiculously sexist - people go on about how the classical music world is much less image-focused than the pop music world, but actually it's nearly as bad. I'd be interested to read the post, if you can still find it.
January 24th, 2012, 01:23 PM
The Mail on Sunday did a double page spread on the theories last Sunday. It's hilarious that they can't seem to decide whether they love Sherlock or hate it. They kicked up a fuss about Scandal being shown pre-watershed at the time it was aired.
Sometimes I think that Moffat doesn't actually believe half of the things he says in interviews, or that he tailors his answers to the audience to the extent that they seem like things he doesn't believe. At fan Q&As, he and Gatiss are pretty happy with suggesting that there's sexual tension between Sherlock and John, and then he turns around and says "Oh, no, how on earth could you get the idea? They're both 100% straight."
I feel that they're basically in a committed romantic relationship already and just haven't noticed yet.
Unfortunately I've completely forgotten where I read it...sorry! Exactly, a lot of the more elitist classical music fans can go on for ages about how pop singers "aren't talented and just exploit their sex appeal," (not like ours, the implication goes.)Which is just...pretty short-sighted. At the moment you have to be ridiculously beautiful to be a successful operatic soprano. I don't think it's a coincidence.
January 24th, 2012, 03:40 PM
Daughter of the Pilani
The Mail is a funny thing - I hear that they accompanied their shock! horror! piece on Scandal with a large photo of Irene... the hypocrisy in that, as in so much they do, is astounding.
Yeah, I think it's pretty much Moffat and Gatiss's business to outrage us as far as possible without actually alienating us. They know they can get away with it and I guess they think any publicity is good publicity. And it's certainly working, after all!
Ha. No. A lot of things aren't coincidences, and that's certainly one of them. At least opera singers have the excuse of having skill as well as looks. Don't worry about the blog, though, it's fine.