If you look at the percentage of ethnicities and the percentage of women on television now, it’s such a different time. That’s how you keep things current. You update and you change them accordingly.
People probably thought the same thing about the president of the United States, how is it possible that you have someone who’s not Caucasian, in that vision. I think things are shifting quite a bit.
It’s nice to be able to portray an Asian-American on camera without having an accent, or without having to be spoofy. And I think that’s a big step forward, because there are still representations of people that are more comedic. And that’s not what I’m playing.
I’m just playing somebody who represents anyone else who would be living in America or outside of it, who is just a regular person.
THIS IS WHY I LOVE ELEMENTARY
INSTEAD OF THE PUNCHLINE OF THE JOKE BEING “LOL SHE’S ON HER PERIOD” THE PUNCHLINE OF THE JOKE IS HER CALLING HIM OUT AND TELLING HIM HE’S AN ASS
I THINK THIS IS THE FIRST. FUCKING. TIME. I’VE SEEN A SHOW CALL SOMEONE OUT ON THE “WELL CLEARLY IT’S YOUR PERIOD AND THAT’S WHY YOU’RE UPSET” AND CALLS IT EXACTLY WHAT IT IS
I am reblogging this to my main and side blog because fucking yes
Joan Watson won’t take none of your shit.
This is calling out problematic stuff characters said done right. Say what it is and say that it’s wrong.
Elementary, Sherlock Holmes and Homoerotic Subtext
You have two characters. One has a brilliant, once in a lifetime kind of mind, but is introverted and unconventional, bordering on rude. The other is more personable, slightly romantic, caring but with a tendency to be a bit solitary. Note that none of these personality traits are specific to one gender, or one type of sexuality. Now, these two characters solve crime. That is Sherlock Holmes in the tinniest nutshell I can cram it into. Elements such as gender and sexuality are not even peripherally relevant to the narrative and don’t become relevant at all until we take into consideration the social context that the narrative exists in. Playing around with such elements might deviate from very strict canon, but it does bring some fresh variations to the tired world of Holmes adaptation. All good, right?
Yeah, no, a lot of people seem to be pissed that CBS made Watson a woman because this eliminates the element of homo-eroticism that exists in other adaptations, even the source material. A sad day for progressive Holmesians, apparently.
I agree that we need more gay on television. Gay characters need to exist outside of comedy shows, and two strong lead characters being gay would make me happier than you would believe. But I wasn’t getting that from any other Sherlock Holmes adaptation, so I’m not missing it in Elementary. It’s just in Elementary I don’t have the option to write Holmes/Watson slash in my head, like I have done with all the other adaptations.
Is that the problem people are having here?
I have a hard time convincing myself that homoerotic subtext is somehow inherently progressive. The writers of the BBC’s Sherlock series occasionally throw these slashy moments to their audience and so many fans hold them up going “did you see the gay?” Well…no, I didn’t, not really. I saw subtext again, just intended subtext rather than my interpretation. Then I saw the writers pull away and crack the “lol, no homo” joke.
The problem is that, those of us who have spent so long seeing homoerotic subtext in things seem to have forgotten that homo-eroticism can also be text. And in this day and age, when we should be far less cagey about the subject of gayness, we need more homoerotic text. I would love to see a gay Holmes and Watson, but I need us all to be clear that, putting our own fannish interpretations aside, we have not been given that in Sherlock or any other adaptation that I can think of off the top of my head.
So I guess what I’m getting at is, in the fresh, reinvigorated world of a modern day Sherlock Holmes, why is mere homoerotic subtext more progressive than making a traditionally white male character a woman of colour?
And even if we did currently have an adaptation with an actual gay Holmes and Watson, would making another adaptation with Watson being played by a woman of colour be such a travesty? They are neither one more canonical. Such logic would just lead us to the oppression Olympics. Strong LGBT characters and strong characters of colour are under-represented in the media and while Elementary’s Watson being a gay woman of colour would present us with a glorious hat trick of representation, at least Elementary is giving us something.
If homoerotic subtext is your thing, and you really can’t stand to see Holmes and Watson without it, then of course, feel free to skip Elementary. You can even accuse me of being homophobic if it makes you feel better. I’m just gonna love my Asian-American lady Watson and wait patiently for that bona fide gay Holmes and Watson.
In response to your latest post - do you have any feelings on Lucy Liu as Watson in CBS’s Elementary?
asked by Anonymous
I have many feelings, all of which are pretty positive. Yeah, there’s a bit of an issue with genderswapping Watson - the more emotional role - and I would much rather see Holmes genderswapped, but I love the fact that Watson is not only a woman, but also Asian. It’s so rare to see a popular character be a woman of colour, so I think CBS did a fantastic thing by casting Lucy Liu. I’ve seen the trailers and I can say I am extremely excited for Elementary. Plus, as an Asian female myself, I love the fact that there’s a positive representation on screen, especially as a character I love.
I understand the decision to take Elementary’s Watson out of the military. Since she’s a doctor in America and a woman, she wouldn’t see too much action. It would be a bit of a stretch to be canon-compliant in that case. Also, I’ve seen the argument ‘Watson is a soldier!!’ too many times and I can only roll my eyes at that. BBC’s John is a soldier and that’s a very important aspect to his character, but that wasn’t the case for canon Watson. Watson in the books was more of a doctor than a soldier and was probably in the army for 2-5 years, max. As long as Liu’s Watson is a foil for Miller’s Holmes, she’ll be Watson to the core.
I’m far more disturbed by the amount of sexism and racism I’ve seen from fans and the Sherlock crew. There have been several adaptations already where Holmes and Watson have been genderswapped and nobody has blinked an eye at genderswap fanfiction, so I don’t understand the animosity regarding Liu’s casting. There have been a lot of photosets comparing Liu to other Watsons and claiming she ‘doesn’t belong’ and the blatant racism disturbs me greatly.