30 Day Television Challenge: Day Twenty

Favorite Relationship: Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, Sherlock

Like Moss and Roy, we have yet another great bromance.

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are well-trodden territory. Ever since Arthur Conan Doyle created the characters one hundred years ago, their stories have been adapted innumerable times.

BBC’s Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch (have you ever heard such a British name?) as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Watson, is a personal favorite.

The first episode, “A Study in Pink”, starts with Watson returning home to London from Afghanistan. A former military doctor, Watson has a touch of PTSD and struggles to reinsert himself back into society. He isn’t employed and can’t afford a spot in London on a soldier’s pension. A friend suggests he should share a flat with another renter. Watson replies, “Who’d want to share a flat with me?”

Enter Sherlock.

Cumberpatch’s Sherlock is a high functioning sociopath. Like the classic consulting detective of Doyle’s work, SHerlock is obsessive, single minded, anti-social, and brilliant. His personality alienates everyone around him. He has no friend, only admirers (Molly Hooper), people who owe him (Mrs. Hudson), people who need him (Lestrade), family (Mycroft), and enemies (Moriarty).

Watson, however, becomes his only friend.


Watson’s and Sherlock’s chemistry is trick to pin-point. Sure, Watson is a doctor and is reasonably bright, but he’s nowhere near Sherlock’s level. However, he is smart enough not to feel threatened by Sherlock’s genius and can appreciate its rarity and value.

More importantly, because of his PTSD, Watson is anti-social. Like Sherlock, Watson is weary of “normal” life, deny though he, Watson, may. Together, they throw themselves at their cases because they need to keep distracted.

But, distracted from what? Watson, allegedly suffering from PTSD, in fact suffers from a need for violence. He thrives under pressure and relishes the excitement. Sherlock needs a constant outlet for his overactive mind, which threatens to crush him if inactive.

They’re both pathologically allergic to boredom.

This binds them together, despite their odd couple status. They need each other. Watson needs Sherlock because Sherlock is his ticket into the battle ground of the London criminal underworld. Sherlock needs Watson because Watson’s sympathetic mind is the whetstone to his razor-sharp brain.

Their co-dependency is what makes their friendship a true relationship.

Likewise, it is the only relationship either has been able to sustain. Watson moves from one fling to the next, while Sherlock’s list of compatible partners is understandably thin.

Sherlock and Watson need each because they have nothing else. They are friends because they both want the same thing: distraction. Distraction from the dissatisfaction with society and normalcy. They are more interested in the moments when the social contract is broken. Ironically, they are the greatest force the social contract has in maintaining itself, but they are unable to appreciate the fruits of their labor. They are anti-social.




~ by braddunne on November 20, 2012.

One Response to “30 Day Television Challenge: Day Twenty”

  1. This.

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