More Than Friends?

Gay Subtext in Sherlock

Sherlock, the BBC‘s updating of Sherlock Holmes, is often called
the gayest show on television.
The reason for this is the incredible strong, emotional relationship between its two central characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman respectively. Not since Sam carried Frodo up Mount Doom as a male relationship with so much love been put on screen. Sadly in the world we now live in men aren’t allowed to be just friends anymore and sex must be involved. When you combine this with another one of the world’s ills – the Youtube tribute video – a strange cultural phenomena occurs. Did you know you get 144,000 results if you type “Sherlock John Love” into Youtube? Why do I mention this?  Well South Korean TV channel OCN seem to have taken inspiration from these tribute videos and create these adverts for the series:

Clearly this sells but why? The short answer? The good old fashioned will-they-won’t-they trope, which the website TV Tropes defines as:
Two characters, often combative but with obvious Unresolved Sexual Tension, resist going into a full blown relationship for a rather long time.  Usually the two characters will be presented so that “they will” is the conclusion to root for; only rarely is the question of whether the writers think they should in any real doubt.
This definition perfectly describes Cumberbatch and Freeman‘s Holmes and Watson. The only difference is that the Holmes and Watson relationship is weighed down with history. What makes Sherlock so good is how closely they stick to the books with tons of nods and winks included in each script by writers Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and Stephen Thompson. In the books, due to the time they were written in, and I believe the author’s wishes, there is no hint of sexual tension, let alone a sexual relationship between the pair. Not even a hint of subtext that reads like a tabloid headline to the modern reader – The Picture of Dorian Gray for the best example of that. So why did OCN use this to sell Sherlock in South Korea? Maybe the journey is more enjoyable than the destination, or some viewers just enjoy the idea of this relationship. Which do you think it is? Thanks to Tor.com for posting the South Korean Sherlock Trailer in the first place.]]>

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