“i love, and am loved by, a better man than he”

seriously, how does anyone read that line and then cast irene adler as holmes’s love interest?

Fanfic writers, that’s who. William S. Baring-Gould, in his 1962 keystone work of Sherlockian scholarship “Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street” (which imo is full of a lot of tongue-in-cheek silliness) tried to prove that, during the Great Hiatus, Holmes and Irene hooked up and she had his baby, who grew up to be Nero Wolfe. Film/TV writers are also fanfic writers and they seem to be absolutely obsessed with the Shirene OTP. I was disappointed when the BBC Sherlock writers fell into the same old rut. I am STILL waiting for Irene to be done right. I may have to wait forever.   

Holmes obviously had a lifelong crush on Irene. He used this as one excuse for never getting romantic with any other woman. So the leap from idealistic crush to real romance becomes “elementary” for fanfic writers, I suppose.

I’ve seen several posts just this morning railing about the fact that Fox Mulder and Scully never consummated their unstated romance (until the movie anyway). Neither did Emma Peel and Steed. Neither did Holmes and Watson (and the BBC writers claim they won’t, either). And neither will Joan Watson and Sherlock on “Elementary,” according to the writers. I can think of scores of pairings that never take that leap, because that “sexual tension” keeps people reading/watching, waiting to see if it will ever happen. One of the reasons I kept reading canon was to see whether Holmes would EVER show how much he really cared for Watson. I had to wait until nearly the VERY LAST STORY (“The Three Garridebs”) for that to happen.

I think it is safe to say the technique works, yet I don’t think any less of Booth and Bones, now that they are married with a kid.

Fanfic writers have proven that if they don’t like the official direction writers have chosen to take, they can always change it.  

I think it comes down to the obsession with the hero getting the girl, really.  Irene is simply the only woman in the Sherlock Holmes canon he possibly *could* get, so therefore Irene it must be.

To be fair, slash fanficcers suffer from the same malady, to an extent.  As a collective, we’ll hook up ANYBODY. ^_^  

But actually what really grabbed me about your comments was the ‘maintaining sexual tension’ thing.  This is an axiom of television series, ever since the TV show Moonlighting, in the 80s.  It had great sexual tension between the two main characters, and when it at last gave in to popular pressure and hooked them up, everything imploded.

But my problem with that is, it’s sloppy writing predicated on this fucked up conception of sex and relationships, where getting into the sack is the end goal and everything presumably just works out from there.

Anybody who thinks a relationship really works that way is probably either single or divorced.  It’s so shallow to imagine that a healthy relationship doesn’t have tension, stress, and sexual tension.

Bones, for example, doesn’t have any problems on this front even though the two characters not only hooked up but had a baby and settled down together, because the writers understand that Booth and Bones are still who they are—vibrant, fully realized individuals in themselves—and that a relationship is a continuous negotiation between individuals.  You are always learning each other, and working through differences and coming to compromises and—especially when both parties are fully fledged adults with their own lives and careers—figuring out ways to fit each other into your lives.

So yeah.  Mulder and Scully were one thing, and notable for the fact that the tension in the series had NOTHING TO DO with their feelings for each other.  Was anybody seriously watching X-Files to find out whether this was the week they’d get together?  I think mostly we were watching to find out whether this was the week when Mulder would get mind-fucked by Cthulhu.  Whether they hooked up, or didn’t hook up, or felt any attraction to each other at all, was irrelevant to anything except their own inner lives, and I always felt it was perfectly in character for them to choose not to actually do anything about it (professionalism, for example; obsessive focus on other issues, for another).

(I never thought Steed and Peel had anything between them.  I always figured they were just a pair of incorrigible flirts.)

But I figure, anytime you find a writer who can’t pull off ‘sexual tension’ after two characters get together, you have found a writer suffering from ‘happily ever after’ syndrome.  It’s not really about the characters as people, for them.  It’s about the hero getting their prize.

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