10 Things I Learned From: Sherlock

January 10th, 2013

FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES AND OTHER PEOPLE WHO HAPPEN TO BE FREQUENTING BITE: Hello! And hi. My name’s Anne, I’m a writer, and I have been given the glorious opportunity of sharing with you the life lessons I’ve picked up from various pop culture staples. This week, we begin with one of my favourites: BBC’s Sherlock, one of the shows I will recommend, nod along to its award nominations and make you watch it if you haven’t; otherwise you’re going to miss a lot of references, or at least not understand why I keep telling everyone to watch Sherlock.

Sherlock is good. It’s great! It’s something I didn’t understand the appeal of until I started to watch it, and then I learned that it was a blessed gift from the heavens (a.k.a. the BBC). So let’s not waste time. We have some lessons to learn, some life to look at, and more importantly, some oxford commas to include. LET’S DO THIS:

1. BBC’s Sherlock > Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock

Am I wrong? I don’t feel wrong (because I’m not wrong). I’m just stating facts: IT’S JUST BETTER (not to be confused with “It Gets Better” which is also a great campaign, let’s just be real). LISTEN: I love me a little RDJ and some Lane Pryce as Moriarty, and of course Rachel McAdams should be our collective best friend, but where Guy Ritchie did Sherlock Holmes for the Guy Ritchie, Stephen Moffatt (of Doctor Who) does Sherlock for the story. Does that make sense? Am I writing words that register? If not, here are more: Sherlock Holmes is more popcorn, Sherlock is THINKING. Both make you want to go to England, but only one makes you want to solve crimes.

2. You’ll Want to go to England

IS THERE AN ECHO IN THE HOUSE? Yes to both the statement I am making and the question that I asked. Look, I’m not going to lie: I’ve wanted to visit England since I saw Black Beauty in grade school, but I’m a poor person, so I’ve yet to make my way overseas. That said, you can “pretend” to “visit England” by “watching Sherlock” (using “quotes” makes everything seem “more important”), or you can use the show to fuel your willingness to just SAVE ALREADY and hop on a plane and go. Either way, you will want to go to England. Which I wish I had known before I started watching Sherlock at Christmas when I spent every dollar I’d earned on mulled wine and ingredients to make more mulled wine.

3. You Will Think You Can Deduce Anything

Did you guys know Sherlock Holmes is a consulting detective (she asked, knowing how stupid and obvious the question was)? Great. Then you will also know that by watching Sherlock, you will convince yourself that you are also a consulting detective, and by a “consulting detective” I mean, “make up narratives about people using clues that don’t exist”.

For example, show of hands, how many of us work for the police? Zero? Perhaps less? Right. So instead of moving on with our lives, we will instead use tiny things like the amount of cat hair on one’s coat to assume that so-and-so has a cat and is also having an affair. Since we are neither detectives nor consulting ones, this deduction will be both wrong and offensive.

4. You Will Develop Stockholm Syndrome

For one man, and one man alone: Moriarty. Because he is played by a great actor named Andrew Scott, you will — despite him being ACTUALLY insane and terrifyingly so — kind of hope he prevails or at least sticks around for every episode.

But maybe what I actually mean is…

5. Reality Will No Longer Really Exist

I mean it will, because for the love of all that is good, these people are actors and this is a TV show. But reality will kind of blend together in that you will all of a sudden be invested in these actors as well. Not in a fan-person way (unless that’s how you roll, and in that case, hey — you do you, pal) but in a way where you will actually watch their other work and maybe even go see The Hobbit on New Year’s Eve with your friends because “Hey, sure, yeah, I liked Martin Freeman in The Office and I like him as Watson, so sure, why not?”

But you need to be prepared for this. Some shows — like Breaking Bad, Downtown Abbey and even Mad Men sometimes — don’t really create this type of reaction. Aside from maybe Tumblr gifs or Jon Hamm being hilarious (so yes, we all care about Jon Hamm), you might not follow the aforementioned careers. Why? Because British TV casts every British actor in the world, and at least once you will say, “OH THAT’S WHAT’S-HIS-NAME FROM SUCH-AND-SUCH!” and you will care, and you will watch more of their work. Then it will be too late for you.

6. You’ll Realize that BFFs Are the Most Important Thing

You laugh now, person who’s never seen Sherlock, but that laughter will turn to tears (of agreement!) when you realize that best friends are another synonym for “Sherlock and Watson.” And who loves best friends? Everybody. Even you. Even the person who says they hate best friends (so… Sherlock, then? In season one? Whatever).

The moral of the story is that upon viewings of Sherlock, you will realize one very important thing: You and your best friend can solve crimes and go up against the world’s most dangerous villain. And while you will also realize that is not actually correct, you can revel in how many times I used “best friends” in a paragraph about a TV show.

7. The Police are Incompetent

Not all police, I’m sure. I’m sure 99% are the very opposite of incompetent. (“Competent” I believe is the word I’m looking for). What I really mean is fictional Scotland Yard. Fictional Scotland Yard can’t do anything, ever — aside from hire Sherlock — so basically, if you’re in a movie, and you’ve got Scotland Yard on the case, assume the worst. It’ll go horribly wrong. It won’t be solved. Only someone gone totally rogue will have your back. Hopefully, it will be Sherlock Holmes.

8. Benedict Cumberbatch is the Star of Sherlock and His Name is A BLAST, Let’s Not Kid Ourselves

I KNOW I AM LATE TO THIS PARTY DEAL WITH IT, but here’s the thing: Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock, and his name is the best. Seriously, it’s better than yours and it’s better than mine, and it’s better than that person you once said, “Hey, cool name!” to in passing. Do you know how self-conscious I feel about “Donahue” now? “Donahue” and its three syllables. Like some sort of chump. You win this round, six syllabled Benedict Cumberbatch. But next round? We eat a bunch of cheeseburgers and quote lines from Mean Girls. THEN we see who the real winner is.

9. You Will Also Get Oddly Obsessive About the BBC

It is very strange and it never happens with U.S. or Canadian networks, but it happens with the BBC. Why? Because there are 5,925,285 Canadian/U.S. networks, and also, even they are like, “Well, yeah, obviously the BBC rules.” Or more honestly, I DON’T KNOW WHY. Or how. But you will be transported into a gateway that will lead you to a garden of BBC dramas that make Downton Abbey (a show I ADORE) seem like the worst thing you have ever even seen. Those who have done it understand. Those nodding right now? You have also gone down the Luther and The Hour path, only to find yourself completely entrenched with a TV network you once ignored and thought only broadcasted the news. (I was wrong, England. And I am sorry.)

10. You Will Find 10 Reasons to Write About Sherlock

No, I will not end every one of these lists with a “and by the by [META]”-type closing, but it’s only fair I warn you that if you start watching Sherlock, you will also try and justify writing lists to make your friends watch it too. (Also this is my first official “10 Things I Learned From” entry, so let me have this.) That’s just the way it works. And you will think you are immune. I did. For two years, I not only dismissed it, I REALLY dismissed it, and judged people who talked about it all the time. “It’s a TV show, nerds!” I would say. “[Something judgemental!]”

Oh, but did I ever learn the truth. First, that I was wrong and 2) that I would eat my words. For now I am the nerd. And while I still quote 30 Rock like some sort of NBC poster child, I now recognize the error I made in dismissing the little British series that could/did consume the world. Well, we’ll see who’s laughing in the end, BBC.*

*Hopefully me, because I’m sure your comedies are also a delight.