Brovember Day 3 – Holmes and Watson
Continuing our exploration of the ins and outs of pop culture Bromance, today’s subjects hail from late 19th Century England. A relationship which has, in many ways, set the standard for the hero and sidekick dynamic so prevalent in today’s fiction, we would be remiss not to acknowledge the strange friendship between Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson.
Fiction’s most famous detective, Holmes was introduced to the world by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle way back in 1887. And although he was the main attraction in the novels and short stories in which he was featured, they were almost exclusively told from the point of view of Holmes friend and partner Dr. John H. Watson. The initial story actual opens up like the pilot episode of a sitcom… Holmes realizes that in order to maintain his bachelor lifestyle, he’ll need to find a roommate. A mutual friend introduces him to the eccentric Sherlock Holmes, and despite Holmes’ unusual behaviors, the two become friends and Watson assists in and chronicles Holmes career as a consulting detective.
While often presented in media as a bumbling sidekick, it should be pointed out that Watson holds a doctorate in medicine. They don’t just hand those out, not even back in the 19th century, so it can be assumed he’s a clever fellow in his own right. Holmes, on the other hand, is a brilliant autodidact who has studied in fine detail any science which might aid him in solving crimes. So, for instance, he knows an awful lot about chemistry, and can identify the geographic source of a soil sample on sight alone but is laughably ignorant when it comes to astronomy. And why need he understand the physics of the solar system? Is that going to put some cockney pickpocket in a cell, wot wot?
As far as the actual friendship between Holmes and Watson goes, most of the heavy lifting is done by the good doctor. Holmes is a very unusual man, probably somewhere on the spectrum, and is sometimes lacking in the social graces. Watson is the only true friendship in which he seems interested, and he avoids romantic dalliances like the plague. Watson compared him, in this respect, to an automaton.
Complicated relationships are the most rewarding, though. So while Watson has to deal with a never ending stream of Holmes’ needy bullshit, he also has the pleasure of a friendship with a very fascinating mind. And, not for nothing, but there’s probably a whole lot of “runoff” since Holmes doesn’t make time for the ladies… at least until Watson went and got himself married.
Tune back in tomorrow for the next installment of Brovember!
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