The other night I was idly consuming my own body weight in sweets that I neither enjoy nor think makes me look more classy in company (like the case of 80% cocoa chocolate – grotesque but it’s a connoisseur thing). To offset the considerable horror of what I was doing, I decided to slam on one of my TV favourites. The choice was, as always, between Dr Who, House and Sherlock. All radically different programmes with radically different themes and characters. Of course. My viewing pleasure of just about anything has been dramatically curtailed by the aforementioned because of the sheer stupidity of just about everything else. Indeed, my pleasure in life has been dramatically curtailed by the aforementioned due to my self-diagnosed heightened intellect and incredible cognition for hidden signs.
I find myself thinking like the three leads, in a constant state of paranoia, i.e: my porridge is cooking rather slowly today. Maybe Moriarty has tapped the gas-pipes only to redirect it to a deserted warehouse in Southampton via mobile phone, which is where he will convert it into a deadly strain of an unidentifiable virus which will infect the population of New Mexico. Because of an important political conference, 3 members of the British parliament will go there, develop a fast-moving illness, and be flown to New Jersey in a plane full of dead people to alert Dr House to the emergency. It will be revealed to be Lupus but it is never Lupus, and House will figure out during a fluke dinner with Wilson (did I almost type Watson there?) that it is actually because we are all allergic to lettuce. This information comes too late, however, because the Daleks have put Hitler in a cupboard and taken over the US govt and have started a health campaign, which involves Jamie Oliver, to get everyone to eat 4,000 calories of lettuce a day. On the lost moon of Poosh, the Silence are converting vast swathes of moon fields into lettuce fields which are poisoning the entire population of the Earth and turning humankind into adipose babies. James Corden figured this out ages ago, but he was brainwashed because he is normal, which is stupid in any other language, and Dr Who has abandoned him because he is off chasing a ginger in a short skirt and being emotional about his 800 years of being alone. Because it is my gas-pipes that have been tapped, I only have 10 minutes to notice that my blog stats have stayed the same for the last two days and someone is sending me a cryptic message. If I don’t turn on my phone STAT then I can’t receive a confusing text from a dead prostitute and have a sarky and dramatic exchange with my gay brother about a fez. I then have only 3 seconds to give an arrogant speech to the sky, adjust my bow-tie, send a few beams of green light into my porridge pan with my screwdriver, fall in love with Billie Piper, sexually harrass Dr. Cuddy, make a few racist comments about Jews, and discover a cure for AIDS before Mrs Hudson gets shot. Oh, and figure out the lettuce problem by being very wrong about something very personal. Dr House will reveal that it is only cynicism and Vicodin that keeps him alive. But then Dr Who will say something very simple, but deceptively complex, and Sherlock will curl his lip in a sexy way and Dr Wilson/Watson will smile a resigned smile and I will realise that it is just because I put my porridge on the wrong hob- the left one is always less effective than the right one. Or I could always OD on Vicodin and jump off a building and miraculously survive and regenerate just for the hell of it.
The way that these three programmes intertwine is perfect for someone like me who likes to guess the ending of a book based only on the smell of the pages, and who will only eat foods that can be cooked in under 3 minutes because waiting that extra minute is tantamount to being slow-roasted alive in flames of frustration. But then I started pondering what the endless appeal of the three eponymous stars is. The fact that all three men are tall, British, and quirky-looking is definitely a plus, but the plot thickens…
Essentially, all three are either high-functioning sociopaths, addicts, or aliens learning how to be human. Or all three in the case of Dr House. Interested only in the puzzle, with scant regard for the lives that may be lost in the riddle-solving, all three men are fully compatible with Mary Ann Doane’s conception of the ‘epistemological drive’, which features highly in Films Noir. The idea that men are ruthless truth seekers is somewhat of an ancient concept, but the idea that women exist only for men to investigate, undo, undress, is slightly worrying. The fact that all three characters simply cannot sit still, crack open a yoghurt and fill in their tax-returns is also a trifle suspect. They are constantly on the hunt for more interesting cases, and Dr Who’s TARDIS even cuts out the middle man by simply depositing him miles and years off-course and slap-bang in the middle of some cool drama. This allergy to the mundane is often detrimental, as the boring little details are often intimately concerned with the big issue. Mycroft Holmes particularly likes pointing this out to Sherlock.
Companion-wise, all three are lost without their parrotting little-people. The hangers-on are the most important part, existing merely to ask the stupid questions, walk a chaste few steps behind, hide the drugs, trigger the stokes of genius, and attempt to coax their wayward Einsteins to eat something once in a while and maybe not get sued so often. More often, they risk life and limb to hold the coats and deal with the paperwork. They even sacrifice their personal lives for their pet prodigies. Wilson loses endless wives because of House’s perpetual presence, Watson is so busy dealing with the snarky fall-out of Sherlock’s latest heartbreak that he forgets his girlfriends’ names, and Amy leaves her loveable but normal (that dirty word again!) husband without a second’s thought at a summons from Dr Who.
And why do we love them so? Maybe it is the mystery. Is House a person capable of love? Is he back on Vicodin again? Is Sherlock gay? Is he a virgin? What exactly is the deal with him and Mycroft? Dr bloody WHO?
Maybe it is the fact that all three attempt at morality occasionally, but their ridiculous insight and intelligence leads them to flirt with the bad-boys every now and again. House embraces Death as something that he can compete with. He plays fast and loose with the concept of law and order, and only the drugs stop his world from caving in. Sherlock is obsessed at an elemental level with Moriarty’s evil genius, and is almost seduced by the idea that he himself is Moriarty. He would rather play his parlour trick of guessing everything about you from the obvious rain-drops on your scarf than engage in human relations. And let’s not forget that our friendliest sociopath, Dr Who, was considered the most dangerous and tricksy creature in the history of the universe, necessitating his incarceration into the Pandorica.
Perhaps the appeal it is just because they are abnormally clever, and let us believe that just for a moment we can emerge from the smudge of the masses. That we, too, can be that brilliant and lonely and special.
Whatever it is, I’d better go. The bulb in my lamp flashed a few minutes ago, briefly, but I only changed it last week. Last time that happened the Cybermen got blown up with love and I’d like to try my hand at that.