Tuesday, 29 December 2009

347: Sherlock Holmes Is Only Sometimes Very Gay

This article, “Sherlock’s dear Watson” by Robbie Hudson is a decent run-down of various gay interpretations of Sherlock Holmes:

Previously I had posted this full-page cartoon strip from Viz in 1992. “Sherlock Homo” was presumably inspired by the realisation that Holmes sounds like homo, and then they tried to see how many clichés could fit into available panels. It’s basically mincing and innuendo, but it isn’t sneering, unpleasant, or rapey (i.e. obsessed with unwanted butt sex), so the fun that they’re having trying to cram as much into this is effectively conveyed.

Holmes, his behaviour and mannerisms, lends himself to gay interpretation. Holme’s hauteur, emotional oddity and repression and sudden burst of flamboyancy (particularly in Jeremy Brett’s portrayal). The disdain for women. The penchant for dressing up. And of course there’s the Holmes-Watson partnership – which has a secure place in the popular consciousness. Two men living together, in what is an emotionally turbulent relationship. Watson subtly undermined, ever subject to Holmes’s whims, yet whenever Watson eventually rebukes him Holmes declares his fondness and admiration for his chum.

by Mike Williams
from “Playboy”, September 1976

Basically just a transvestite gag, but playing off the fact that a couple of times Holmes goes around dressed as beggar women.

by Roy Raymonde
from “Playboy”, date unknown

Again this cartoon plays off the cross-dressing aspect in Holmes’s history. But as in Cyril Connolly’s “Bond Strikes Camp”, it’s now employed as one element in a wider panorama of gay behaviours, all with the intention of sexually enticing the unwitting heterosexual. And that’s what makes it a particularly “Playboy” sort of cartoon. Once Hefner started allowing cartoons about homosexuals into the magazine then he also started slipping in cartoons about transvestites. In particular, how the male in the cartoon has been tricked by the canny tranny. Since, as various articles have led me to understand, the cartoon editors at “Playboy” only select the cartoons for Hefner to make the final decision, it’s fairly obvious that the prospect of accidentally fucking an attractive women who is really a man hits some sort of psychic sensitive spot for Hefner. One day I may do a round-up of tranny gags in “Playboy” – it’s certainly a bit of an obsession.

By Michael Heath
In “Punch” 13 February 1980

The other name associated with Holmes is his arch-enemy Moriarty. A quick gag about the most unlikely possible pairing. I like Holmes’s distraught expression.

from “Private Eye” 1 October 1965
This is mostly a piece mocking trendy British films of the period. But it takes its comic spin by changing “Elementary, my dear Watson” into “My Darling Watson”.

from “The Peter Serafinowicz Show”, 4 October 2007
Peter Serafinowicz as Sherlock Holmes
Alex Lowe as Dr Watson

And here we get actual-man-on-man action. Watson’s craven admiration only encouraging Holmes’s predations. A nice touch to have the sketch close with the camera panning away onto the portrait of the queen herself as Holmes’s repression and oddity finally gives way as Watson desperately but futilely resists.

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