I like Lucy Liu, and I’m pleased they’re casting a WOC as Watson because TV NEVER does that, but I’m worried they’re just doing this so they can slap them together while avoiding homoeroticism or, heaven forbid, gay people.
in my experience network television rarely ever shies away from homoerotic subtext between two white male leads. what they do tend to avoid is TEXTUALLY portraying two male (or female) characters in a same-sex romance, or even bother to put queer characters in the background. so what you end up with is a lot of closeness between two guys (bcs women rarely get to be co-leads lbr) that isn’t ever allowed to be more than that, instead it’s just teased at. a lot. because the networks know we’ll eat it up. so you get a lot of coded ‘no-homo’ jokes that reinforce how it’s never going to happen, and in fact that the idea of it is laughable, and show creators chuckling nervously about how they’re flattered but the close partnership between the two dudes they wrote was soooo not intended to be read as romantic i mean ew right
which happens on show after show after show
and as I see it that is WAY more of a blatant rejection of homosexuality than genderflipping a traditionally male character. which is all that has happened here. the way i see it there’s a few leaps being made that make me unable to follow most of the concern trolling on my dash:
- that casting a woman is ‘hetting’ up ACD’s Holmes (when neither the original text nor ANY adaptation i can name were ever textually queer to begin with, as awesome as that would’ve been. i’m tired of subtext, when will we finally get some text?)
- that Joan and Sherlock are OBVIOUSLY going to hook up (which isn’t quite so obvious when the Joan is a woman of color, it’s just not) (but also the assumption that a woman would NATURALLY only be brought in so that a romance could happen is faulty because it stems from fandom’s tendency to conflate women with icky girly romance and other things that have no place in their traditionally male-centric canons).
- that Lucy Liu’s casting is the problem and not Jonny Lee Miller’s (when the only problem I can see is that Sherlock wasn’t also genderflipped).
Fandom’s rage over all this is very typical and it’s an extension of the boys’-club mentality that forms around canons that hyperfocus on white straight male homosocial relationships, and that tend to marginalize anyone who isn’t that. The shows (and there are a lot of them) do it, and then the fans follow suit. There’s a lot of valid reasons to not be on board with another Holmes adaptation, but I don’t think this is one of them because I’ve seen it too many times before.