Wednesday, June 4, 2014

On Sherlock vs. Elementary Shipping Part I

*Author's Note:  It has been my experience that when I preview articles, all the images are visible, but once published, they are not.  If images do not appear, I will work to rectify that to the best of my abilities and apologize beforehand for any inconvinience.

For Those Who Hate The Idea of a Female Watson Because They Think She and Sherlock Will Eventually Have Sex...

When CBS announced their Sherlock Holmes series Elementary had cast Lucy Liu as a female Watson named Joan, Sherlockians (fans of the rival BBC Sherlock Holmes program Sherlock) were in an uproar.  Not only did they hate the idea of another version of their program, but this twist of having a woman (let alone an Asian-American woman) as Holmes' partner would naturally lead to having them be 'partners'.  This situation where a male and female lead would be expected to eventually sleep together gained infamy in Moonlighting, when Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd finally had sex being the turning point in the comedy's history.  This was seen as when what had been a witty comedy 'jumped the shark' and the quality of Moonlighting went down precipitously afterwards.

Elementary creator/producer Robert Doherty has been adamant that Joan Watson and Sherlock Holmes will never sleep together, though of course this remains to be seen.  Until Elementary ends its run there is no way to know whether Doherty will keep (or be able to keep) his word on the subject.  The casting of Watson as a woman lends itself to a suggestion, however slight, that eventually the two leads will sleep with each other.  This was the case with Moonlighting, with The X-Files, with the revived Doctor Who, and with Law & Order: SVU.  Who's to say Elementary won't face the same hurdles.

Therefore, you'd think that Sherlock, with its two male leads, would be immune from all this.  I however, hadn't counted on the Sherlockians and what I consider their odd fixation on creating fanfiction where Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman's John Watson become lovers.  Other Sherlock fanfiction has Cumberbatch hook up with Andrew Scott's Jim Moriarty.  So far, I don't know of any Sherstrade shipping between Sherlock and Detective Inspector Lestrade, but who is to know?

My confusion comes from the fact that Sherlockians are outraged that Sherlock Holmes could or would want to have sex with (a female) Watson but yearn for the day when Sherlock Holmes has sex with (a male) Watson.  Aren't they being a little hypocritical?  Why do some (not all) Sherlockians want Sherlock and John to do a little bump and grind but don't want Sherlock and Joan to do the same?

Is heterosexual intercourse now considered the unnatural sex act?  Has the pendulum swung so far that a same-sex love story is considered the correct story thread by a fanbase, but a different-sex love story considered outrageous?  I can't explain why any sexual fantasies (hetero or homosexual) drive fans of any show.  I've never had fantasies of having the Doctor sleep with any Companion or any variation of Sherlock and Watson getting it on.   For me, any kind of 'shipping' (be it Johnlock or Joanlock) is frankly...stupid.

Nevertheless, I am endless fascinated by how Sherlockians can be so obsessed with getting John Watson and Sherlock Holmes in fits of sexual ecstasy with each other, but are so infuriated by the thought of Joan Watson and Sherlock Holmes going to bed.

Some things, I suppose, I'll never understand unless someone takes the time to explain them.

With that, I thought I'd take a tour through the Wacky World of Sherlockians:  Johnlock and Morlock (what I call Moriarty/Sherlock 'shipping', unless there's another name for it).  No, not every Sherlock fan dreams of these things, but the fact that there are some (whom I think are in real life straight and/or women) is a source of endless fascination, especially considering how hysterical they were to any suggestion Sherlock would sleep with a woman named Watson.

The following are images I pulled when typing in certain searches on Google, with some personal observations and comments thrown in.

MORLOCK (Moriarty/Sherlock Romances)

Perhaps in this case, Sherlock can be permitted
a cigarette break.

I will burn you...with my passion!

Another name for it is Sheriarty.
Good to know.

"Fingering" now has such a different connotation.

Tell me all about it, Storyteller...

Be it Morlock, Jimlock or Sheriarty,
this is pretty tame...

...compared to others.

It should be noted all these involve Sherlock and his greatest enemy.  What about his best friend (by default)?

In a world that apparently doesn't trust two men having a close and intimate bond without it being sexual or sexualized in some way, I now enter...

Johnlock (John Watson/Sherlock Romances)

Been over to Irene's again, have you?

You can call me Sweetheart
if I can call you Sherley...

Johnlock Meets Wholock!

Taliban MY Banana, Holmes...

Sherlock fans obsessed or insane?
Perish the thought!

Well, that's ONE way of doing it, I suppose.

Is that a magnifying glass I feel?

Note again, that all these were procured from a simple Google search for "Morlock" and "Johnlock".  Now I go to the Elementary version, known as...

(Joan Watson/Sherlock Holmes Romances)

What kind of shipping is this?
They're not even TOUCHING!

It's a well-known fact that coffee
is a prelude to coitus.

I'm sure it's MORE than that.

Moffat would have made this 
a threesome with Clyde.

Oddly, this is as romantic as they've gotten so far.

FINALLY, some action!

Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!

This isn't to say that there aren't Elementary fans who haven't fantasized or hope that they end up together or have written something where Joan and Sherlock find themselves in the throes of hot and wild sex, or Sherlock fans who really are appalled at all the shipping going on.  It just seems that Sherlock fans, the first to criticize Elementary for even bringing up the possibility however vague that the show will eventually feature a romance between the leads, are the same ones who are fixated with the idea that THEIR show will eventually feature a romance between the leads. 

This kind of dual thinking is something I simply don't comprehend.

Again, this shouldn't be thought of as bashing same-sex relationships.  People are free to love and make love to anyone they wish who is of legal age and with the consent of both parties.  I just don't understand why certain Sherlock fans are up in arms about having a female Watson potentially serving as a romantic interest for Holmes when a.) most Elementary fan art (though perhaps not fanfiction) makes them more friends than lovers and b.) Sherlock fans are the ones more obsessed about sex between Watson and Holmes than their hated rival.

At least we don't have any Sam and Dean Winchester shipping going on, as far as I know... far as I know.

UPDATE:  On November 5th I found that there IS such a thing as Wincest, or fanfiction and art involving sexual intercourse between Supernatural's Sam and Dean Winchester (who are brothers on the show). 

I guess I spoke too soon...


  1. First off, I am 100% against "shipping." I wholeheartedly despise the "JohnLock" and other "shipping" that you mentioned. Season three of Sherlock even poked fun at the absurd fantasies of the series' ludicrous "shipping" fanbase. I think you are exaggerating the number of those "fans." Sure, there are quite a few on Tumblr, but the large majority of real Sherlock fans are not "shippers." You seem to be making generalizations based on a small part of a community.

    When hearing that there was going to be a female Watson, I was certainly skeptical because I expected there to be a romance between her and Sherlock, since almost every TV series that has a male and female almost always end up together. I was against based on the fact that it would be terribly cliched. To my surprise, the series has managed to avoid it for the most part, with occasional tension between them, which is great! Their platonic is one of the best parts of Elementary, and I hope it stays that way, because there are not nearly enough male/female platonic relationships on TV.


    1. I am mocking (w/love) Sherlockians who do have these odd fixations and calling out what I see as hypocrisy on their part: no romance between Joan and Sherlock, great romance between John and Sherlock.

      The female/male co-leads eventually having a romance is something many shows have struggled w/(X-Files for example). I too wondered whether Elementary would/will fall into that trap, but so far they have avoided it and hope they stay away from it. I just wanted to have a little fun at 'shippers' and especially those who don't want Elementary to go down that route but who are panting at the mouth to have Sherlock go down that route.

      It just strikes me as both silly and hypocritical.

    2. In that case, I am all for the mockery!

      By the way, my general opinion of "shipping" is that I prefer the US postal service....


    3. I'm more FedEx myself...


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