neadods: (disagree)
Yesterday was Scintillation of Scions. I would love to run in (tired) circles squeeing about how well the raffle did, or the wonderful wide diversity of panels/panelists, and the fun of the Basil Rathbone Birthday B&W dinner.

But there's one thing that I really, really need to vent about today and that's Herlock, the first episode of which was aired in its entirety.

Herlock is a web series with college aged gender-switched Sheridan and Jonny. It was conceived of and written by a cis (I think) man, who said that "I left Holmes fandom for a little bit and when I came back it was entirely made up of young lesbians. So I wrote a Sherlock for them."

...because the fact that they were already fans of Sherlock and Elementary and oh, yes, CANON means that they need niche marketing, I suppose...

Anyway, I can't speak to the lesbian part of it (although Cardi, who was staying at our place, did, at length and at volume). I sure as hell can speak to how women are portrayed and "pissed me off" is a fucking UNDERSTATEMENT.

Sheridan is young and chic and -- like Dr. Sheldon Cooper and Sherlock and Bones -- extremely emotionally disconnected and brusque and socially maladept while "not being autistic or anything."

THIS. IS. PROBLEMATIC.

Look, I *like* Big Bang most of the time and I adore me some Sherlock, this is still problematic as hell and offensive as hell and it needs to stop being a trope. (And at Scintillation? Seriously awkward as a presentation coming just a few hours after an advocate and consultant with autism herself spoke about the presentation of mental illness in Sherlock and the canon.)

But that doesn't begin to cover my problems with Jonny. Do let me vent in boldface all caps about Jonny. Every complaint I had about the presentation of Joan Watson in Elementary is magnified and intensified in Jonny. As M pointed out, Joan Watson may have given up her original career in Elementary, but she also *achieved* it. She had a career goal and she put in the hard work and time necessary to achieve that goal. Elementary itself is arguably less the story of Sherlock trying to unscrew his screwed up life as Joan realizing what it is she really wanted to do when she grew up, and again putting in the time and work necessary to achieve and live that goal.

I ranted at the time that watching Joan do this over the course of a couple of seasons, especially as we watched her toss her interim career as well was feeding into the stereotypes of women as irrational and impulsive, but I cannot deny that Joan is consistently portrayed as competent, consistent (when compared to Sherlock especially) and extremely capable.

Besides, I hadn't met Jonny yet.

In the course of 45 minutes, we watch Jonny, a graduate student in veterinary school on a scholarship throw away everything she has ever worked for and throw away any CHANCE of achieving an independent career. Basically, Herlock is 45 minutes of Jonny researching a horse-based crime, becoming aware of Sheridan Hume, and becoming obsessed with Sheridan Hume - to the point of badly damaging, if not probably ending, her academic career to follow Sheridan Hume, who actively solicits her to leave school.

Wow, that totally doesn't portray women as impulsive, irrational, prone to emotional reasoning, unable to set and achieve self goals, and naturally being relegated to following after their love interest at all, now does it? Hey kids! Don't you want to imagine yourself throwing away everything you've worked towards for that person you just met? Isn't flushing your future for pussy instead of prick such an empowering feminist message?

Oh. Mah. Gawd. Just Oh. My. God. I. Can't. Even.
neadods: (sherdoc)
This is a thesis that needs a lot more fleshing out than the couple of sentences I'm going to spare it tonight, but it struck me tonight that in a world of TV storytelling where it is still assumed that the two leads are going to end up together (regardless of their gender), there are two shows running right now where the main male/female couple is never going to be a couple.

That, in fact, adding romance or UST to their relationship would make said relationship not romantic, but instead creepy and awkward.

I'm speaking of Elementary and Sleepy Hollow. Elementary eventually addressed all of the things that bothered me intensely in the first season, and to my surprise, gave that insight to Joan. She was the one who said that they were getting too wrapped up in each other; she was the one to announce that she was flat-out going to seek outside relationships. (In 99.99999999% of shows, it would have been the guy ordering the woman to shake up her life; in Elementary the woman calmly told the man that this was how things were going to be.)

When Sherlock buggered off, the woman also calmly got on with her life. Joan is no apprentice anymore; when Sherlock returned it was made abundantly clear that they were going to work as equals or no dice.

The other one is Sleepy Hollow. That delicious cheese tray has started to bog down in its own mythology and strange -- I agree with the people who are saying that the showrunners didn't expect it to actually be picked up and had planned only a single season -- but one thing holds solid. Ichabod and Abbie are very expressly NEVER going to be a couple. But the chemistry between them fizzes and sparks with humor and trust and competence - and not one smidgeon of sex. Ichabod's only a step behind 'Three Continents Watson' in the number of relationships he's being suggested as having, but his one true love is Katrina, not Abbie. (Very refreshingly, when Abbie and Katrina meet, they focus entirely on the job at hand, without a trace on either side of jealousy or possessiveness.)

I hadn't realized until tonight how unusual that is. I do know how refreshing it is.
neadods: (sherdoc)
Nobody is going to believe this, but I'm actually warming to Elementary this season... or at least thawing toward it. I still think that the mysteries themselves are ludicrously complex, but this year the personalities involved are being handled beautifully.

It helps tremendously that the three things that bothered me the worst about S1 have been directly addressed onscreen. All of them early in the season, but cut for spoilers anyway )
neadods: (sherlock)
Clearing out a whole lot of things from the linkdump:

The smack talk between the Elementary writers and the Sleepy Hollow writers is a joy to behold and a thing of beauty forever. I fell off the couch at "our protagonist is cuter than your protagonist."
http://shaddicted.tumblr.com/post/63757218835/nowisthewinter-the-twitter-tennis-match-between

I'm not on any Night Vale newsletters or tumblrs (anyone have a rec for me?) and I don't see Cecil as having tentacles. Still, this schmoopy Cecil/Carlos fic is delightful. One smacks his lips. The other molts.
Bad Habits - winterhill
http://archiveofourown.org/works/993680

Annotated photos of the BBC Sherlock set props. For some reason, I find the idea of an Ikea lamp hilarious
http://shaddicted.tumblr.com/post/63644123511/mid0nz-the-annotated-221b-the-lounge-window

Jeremy Brett was gorgeous. That is all.
http://shaddicted.tumblr.com/post/63574242924/deducecanoe-mmmmm

Radio interview with Jeffrey Cranor and Cecil Baldwin
Can Welcome to Night Vale resurrect radio drama? - Q - CBC Player
http://www.cbc.ca/player/Shows/ID/2409883292/

Fan Art associated with that interview; also a streaming copy of the first episode of WTNV
http://www.cbc.ca/q/blog/2013/10/02/welcome-to-night-vale/

Chunky Monkey Overnight Oats (recipe archived so I can find it again)
http://www.stephsbitebybite.com/2013/03/25/chunky-monkey-overnight-oats/

Ditto: Overnight Oats — Kath Eats Real Food
http://www.katheats.com/favorite-foods/overnightoats

These are a bunch of templates for folding paper boxes and cards. I need to add this to my Christmas prep links, but until then, sticking it here.
http://www.paperandmore.com/content/category/howto/templates

Exactly what it says on the tin. Again, archived for self; public for anyone who's interested
Free Hand Embroidery Patterns - Pintangle
http://pintangle.com/2010/12/14/free-hand-embroidery-patterns-2/

The Ben Cumberbatch Vogue article
http://shaddicted.tumblr.com/post/58160242974/swissmisandry-benedict-cumberbatch-us-vogue

What it says on the tin: More Sherlock Macros, R for implications Move drinks away from monitor and read them all; the last is possibly my favorite.
http://221bsherlock.livejournal.com/297307.html#cutid1
neadods: (theater)
I'm not talking about my house being part empty on FB, but enough people have left LJ that I feel that I'm not drawing a target on the house by admitting that I am now in the land of poutine for a while.

M and I got here Tuesday. Yesterday was only one show for me - The Three Musketeers, which was good, but also spun to be very dark. There was a note taped to my seat inviting me to a chat with D'Artangnan and Lord Buckingham after; a large but private reception where the actors answered questions. (D'A said that "gritty reboots are the fashion" when asked to compare this production to the sunny first one of '68. To a woman who'd seen the one in '68!)

The rest of the time I shopped my wallet flat - not good going for my plans for this one to be the "cheap" vacation before JASNA! But there are dark chocolate lemon creams to buy, and minties, and there's a new store called Olive Your Favorites with flavored oils and vinegars for mixing and matching and ZOMG, I spent almost $200 on vinegars alone. (They loooooove me there...) I have GOT to learn to flavor my own oils and vinegars!

I'm light on plays this year, so I'm doing other town events instead. In lieu of an evening show, I took a market class and watched the instructor make labneh, queso fresco, and paneer. Then off to Raja for superb saag paneer.

In writing news, I've joined the John H Watson Society and sent them an essay for their journal. In with the edits, the said that my description of Elementary made her want to see it and she thinks it will inspire others to see it too.

I find this hilarious.
neadods: (kbo)
I've just submitted the Schodinger's Watson essay. As the venue has to be child-safe, it was rather a challenge to not actually be able to use the direct quotes about menstruation, prostitution, or "...and a penis."
neadods: (sherlock)
1) Elementary's first season will come out on DVD August 27.

2) According to Blogtor Who, there's going to be a SherlockBBC con in Birmingham. Which some incredible moron has titled "Elementary." Because that won't cause any confusion (or come across like the start of a pissing contest) *at all.*

3) Because I don't think I've said this in public, Elementary fans can breathe a sigh of relief that I'm not going to be harshing the squee over S2 because I won't be watching S2. I watched S1 through because I'd pitched several articles about aspects of *all* the 21st C interpretations and thus needed to talk in an informed manner about Elementary as much as the Ritchie movies and BBC.

If the ratings stay the way they are, the show will run for quite a few seasons. I don't begrudge that. May your fandom continue to make you happy.
neadods: (sherlock)
Congratulations are owed. You know who you are and why )

For those who I know hoped for what you saw, congratulations. For those of us who still don't like it, the season's over. So good news all around, really.

Elementary

May. 10th, 2013 08:48 pm
neadods: (sherlock)
Latest episode under cut. Pass over if you don't want squee harshed although FWIW I'm bitching about something new )

I was amused to overhear a couple of people enthusiastically discussing the episode behind me in the line for lunch at work. Not a context where I expected Elementary to show up.
neadods: (sherlock)
Interesting. Elementary going well beyond just a line or two of canonical homage tonight. This is the second adventure E has beaten Sherlock to.

I wonder - are the two shows going to try to divide canon up - what one does, the other won't touch? Will they ignore each other and do as they please? (Likely, considering that Elementary is rapidly heading back into original territory.) Considering the threats and posturing between the two sets of producers, will either try to legally declare a story off territory for the other? I wonder because they're so blatantly drawing a line of demarcation - one has Lestrade, one has Gregson. One has bees but only alludes to the violin; the other has a violin but no bees. Etc.
neadods: (sherlock)
I'll give Elementary its due tonight.

First, the mystery was actually plausible (by TV standards) and required no-one to be suicidal, stupid, or profoundly oblivious.

Second, one thing it has done ABSOLUTELY RIGHT from the beginning is not make a big deal out of Lucy Liu's ethnicity. "This is New York," the show basically says. "This is what New York looks and sounds like." (I believe that this was one of the biggest draws of the show to Liu.) And so I was not actually surprised but I was extremely pleased that when given an option to be sensational, the show simply repeated "This is New York. This is what New York looks and sounds like."

I'll even throw in a third: I thought the continuity shout-outs were a nice touch.

WARNING: Probable spoilers in comments.
neadods: (sherlock)
I'm not going to say anything catty about this; Elementay's killing its timeslot, ratings-wise; CBS would be idiots if they didn't renew it.
neadods: (Default)
I can't get this out of my head, so I'll work it out through my fingers. Note: *non-plot* spoiler for latest Elementary below.

So, over the weekend, M and I had a total fight long discussion about Joan Watson. While I'm not entirely convinced by her POV, I found her thesis compelling enough to put both our takes here for the hive mind to chew on.


MY TAKE:
I have felt that the casting of Watson as a minority woman has turned out to be a case of 2 steps forward, 1000 back because Joan is saddled with so many anti-feminist cliches. The ones at the head of the list are:

- She makes emotional decisions
- She walks away from things she starts
- She is inarticulate, unable to explain either feelings or actions (and instead either avoids or lashes out)

After years of training to be a surgeon, she has a crisis of conscience and gives it all up after one crisis. Her second job is, according to Sherlock, not just in a different field, but probable self-punishment. When tempted back to medicine, her reaction is to look back at her experiences via photos... and delete them. When tempted to a new and different thing in her life, she dumps her only paying job to take it.

She cannot tell her boyfriend or her family why she changed her jobs. She cannot tell her former doctor friend why she isn't coming back *and* she does not admit, even when directly credited, that she ordered the test that saved a girl's life. She only seems to talk to her therapist, and even then she doesn't actually *communicate,* evading and talking around some of her decisions - such as her decision to stay with Sherlock without pay - AND without telling him what she has done!

And finally, the scenes in the latest episode that made me want to smack her, there's her reaction to her friends' concern - stomping out, and then snapping "that was out of line." She could have shut the whole thing down with a "this is how I feel and it's not what you see" - but instead, she completely blames them for caring, even though viewed from the outside her actions have been a textbook checklist for a woman being groomed for abuse.

No, seriously. From the outside, this is what has happened over six+ months:
- Isolation from friends
- Isolation from family (Sherlock has to broker that peace)
- Gave up her job to work with him full time
- Gave up her home to live with him full time
- Showing interest in nothing but what he does, a subject that has never interested her before.

Joan Watson has suddenly made a former client the center of her world and blown off everyone and everything else. That's enough red flags to make a parade, and she doesn't explain herself, just lashes out when people dare question that - even after she's been arrested doing the new work!


MAUREEN'S TAKE:
It is unfair to extrapolate this year of Joan's life as "normal" for this character, and thus unfair to look at her actions and say "the producer is saying X about her or all women," especially because you cannot become a surgeon in the first place without smarts and long-term discipline.

That having met her family, it is reasonable to say that Joan was more or less told that she had to grow up to be either a surgeon or a lawyer or some other high-powered job and was groomed for it rather than picking the career on her own. Furthermore, she was probably told from childhood that achievement isn't enough, it has to be HIGH achievement.

That whatever happened in the operating theater and the following suspension wouldn't just rattle her confidence, but shatter her world. That the Joan that we've met is broken and flailing and rudderless not because she's a damsel in distress, but because anyone of any gender needs time to process that the lifelong plans are not going to happen as projected.

For the first time in her entire life, Joan has a clean slate. She is able to look at the world without her parents' or her own expectations and truly decide what SHE wants to do; if she wants to go back to the plan or start a whole new one. This process inevitably involves false starts, mistakes, being overwhelmed, etc. Elementary (because God knows it's not about well-crafted mysteries; even M won't defend that part of it) is primarily about Joan's evolution from "Mommy's little surgeon" to her own adult self.

That we've probably seen exactly what Joan was like as a med student; throwing herself into studies so that she can be the best she can be in the shortest amount of time possible; not being the best is intolerable. That her friends were completely out of line with the intervention and if they were worried about her situation and what it looks like, they should have talked to her one-on-one, maybe even come to the brownstone and met Sherlock rather than making snap judgements themselves and confronting her.

And while M didn't really defend Joan against the charge that she is crap at communication, M's willing to give her a partial pass on the basis that Joan is still processing all of these life changes and that's not easy to put into words.


So there you go. Two opposing views of Joan Watson, both of which interpret the same data presented by the show. (And I'll tag this post... at some point.)
neadods: (facepalm)
Another Elementary, another insanely, unworkably complex plan. I can think of three ways the baddie could have gotten away with it, not to say that he won't yet, because a good lawyer can blow holes in their lack of concrete proof.

And I really wanted to like Joan, but tonight I kind of wanted to hit her with a brick.
neadods: (sherlock)
I'm not waiting for the next link roundup to pass this one on because it articulates everything I hate about the Moriarty character, from canon onwards: I'd Prefer Less Moriarty.

It's hard to sample the article and not just copy the entire thing, but here is the meat of it:

"Moriarty is always portrayed as an End Boss, the ultimate mastermind behind whatever the sinister plot is. He’s the baddest badass the Holmes character ever meets, and when he shows up, boy is it on. You know the stakes have risen.

Except that’s not what’s appealing about Sherlock Holmes in the stories (emphasis added). ...

The thing that bothers me about Moriarty, and especially when it came to Sherlock and now Elementary is that not only does he come in as the big bad, he also brings with him the old personal vendetta. He’s not The Napoleon of Crime, he’s The Guy Who Really Effin Hates Sherlock Holmes, and he doesn’t just do crimes, he has it in for Holmes specifically. Once he walks on stage, Holmes stops solving crimes and starts a deadly game of cat and mouse where this time it’s personal. What we tuned in to see is cast aside: we know who the bad guy is (Moriarty) and what the endgame is (defeat Holmes)."

So. Much. This! I LOATHE Moriarty as a character in canon and moreso in spinoffs and pastiches. He warps far more interesting and smart canonical characters into minions, or they're ignored because we're all supposed to be more impressed by and afraid of The Big Badass.

Dave then goes on to nail the heart of the problem with turning detective stories into mano-a-mano thrillers:

"It also bugs me at this point because it turns the plot into exactly the kind of plot I hate, the one where the good guy and the bad guy just have a giant pissing contest around the city and usually a bunch of faceless innocent nobodies get caught in-between. I hate this story. I don’t like it when the hero is in a situation where, honestly, we’d be better off without him."

Moriarty is not only a fairly uninteresting character, he diminishes Holmes. We already KNOW what's going to happen, just like we already KNOW what's going to happen when Superman fights Lex Luthor, Batman fights the Joker, the Doctor fights the Daleks, etc., etc., etc.

This is not interesting storytelling because there is no actual tension in reaching a predetermined outcome!

Moriarty sucks. Moriarty sucks precisely because we already know what's going to happen the moment he shows up. And what's going to happen is not what we signed up for - no deductions, no "singular" cases, no twists. Just the overwhelming stench of ammonia and testosterone.



PS - This is also proof that I can read and rec a pro-Elementary, anti-Sherlock article without bursting into flame. Just in case anyone wondered.

PPS - Yes, I know that the "fic rec sherlock" tag really doesn't have a lot to do with fic these days.
neadods: (Default)
So, I'm starting to kick around the prep work for my March presentation to the Tin Box, which is on canonical stories with plots that don't translate to modern times. (Yes, that will be a future pitch.) It's going to include Scandal, because hello, dynastic marriage. (Nobody focuses on Irene as blackmailer, ever notice that? It's always the sex or the slippery opponent angle or the love interest. But I digress.)

Anyway, all we know of Irene in Elementary is that she has been the textbook fridging - her death made S the man he is today and *is the direct reason why he met Joan Watson.*

Which makes me wonder how interesting it might have been to have called the character ”Mike Stamford."
neadods: (Default)
I'll let the notoriously anti-Elementary Sherlock Peoria say it for me in the last word on this whole "more truefan than thou" episode:

"After Shreffgate, I have found my heart has grown three sizes for the fans of Elementary. That doesn't make the show any better, but given the choice of joining Jonny Lee Miller's fan club and becoming one of the Sherlockian Master Race, I guess I'm gonna have to go with Miller."

PS can have his delusions of exclusions. Whether I like the source text or not is irrelevant; I'm perfectly willing to accept that Elementary is just as valid an entry to Holmes fandom as any other.

Have some Sherly belly.
sherlybelly
neadods: (bleh)
Cut even though this spoiler really isn't a surprise )

And then there's the Joan issue. Not that John recast as a woman of color is a problem, but the constant demeaning sexism she's putting up with? So far Sherlementary's "father" and a Baker Street Irregular have implied she's a whore; [spoiler] asked if Sherlmentary was banging her, Sherlementary himself tried to hire her as assistant *and housekeeper* -- that there, THAT'S a big damned problem.

It's everything I feared, listening to the producer going on and on about his Sherlementary's woman issues. He didn't cast Joan to be an advance; he cast someone he could have the hero and just about everyone associated with him treat as second-class snatch and everyone's supposed to be so pleased on the rare occasions when he can be arsed to be halfway nice to her. More spoiler )

What the fuck is next, Joan singing "he hit me and it felt like a kiss"?

Hell of a rewrite for literature's most famous friendship.
neadods: (Default)
I've had Elementary stuck in my head for the last couple of days, and not in the ZOMG!WTF? sense. A couple of weeks ago, the show did something I never expected to see - a plot that can not only arguably, but easily be tracked back to Doyle canon.

Moreover, it's canon that Sherlock hasn't referenced and which I rather confidently expected it to next season. The Problem of Thor Bridge may not have the keywords that Moffat and Gatiss have teased us with, but the concept of a love triangle involving an employee and framing a romantic rival for a crime are general enough to be used in a wide variety of applications.

But Elementary got there first. After Moffat making "sue" noises at CBS, will CBS return the favor if Sherlock uses the Thor Bridge framework? And is Elementary planning on doing other canon that Sherlock hasn't yet covered? Technically, isn't even canon that Sherlock has covered fair game?

That's where Elementary's hewing to the original inspiration. But the other thing stuck in my head is the way that Elementary is not only not hewing to canon but breaking entirely new ground. Canon, and Sherlock, made a large subplot about the friendship between two unexpectedly compatible men.

The relationship between Sherlock and Joan in Elementary, as I've bitched often, is about employment. They didn't randomly find each other; she was hired. For a few episodes I got a flicker that maybe Joan would find satisfaction and fascination in Sherlock's job while Sherlock would find that Joan was a friend who didn't need to be paid to like him, and that was how the most famous friendship in literature would be established.

But as the season progresses, only half of that is coming true. Over the course of several episodes Sherlock has started making gestures that show that he's growing to not just tolerate, but like Joan. On the other hand, there's no reciprocation from her. She doesn't seem to enjoy his work, she's said she looks forward to not doing it with him anymore, and she's making quite a few noises along the lines of "disengage, I'm movin' on."

And I've got no idea where they're planning on going with that.

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