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December 17, 2014 8:18 pm  #21


Re: The cafetaria scene "So you got a boyfriend then?"

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------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

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December 17, 2014 8:36 pm  #22


Re: The cafetaria scene "So you got a boyfriend then?"

I was kidding, Susi - candlelight dinner for two says it all, and out there the moon, and the excitement of city life ...   


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December 19, 2014 1:33 pm  #23


Re: The cafetaria scene "So you got a boyfriend then?"

Hey there eveyone! http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png
 Hope you all are doing fine. Just chiming in to give my opinion of this scene. Though I think way back I saw a discussion of this paritcular scene in the johnlock thread.

Anyways, about the conversation in Angellos:

I personally see it as John propositioning sherlock. The explanation is rather long so I hope you don't mind. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


Well first of all I should mention that the I think the way John was propositioning Sherlock seems to be his way of hitting on people. This has been demonstrated when he was propositioning Anthea, Mycroft's assistant while being escorted to his flat.If you can remember that scene you'll remember to how John goes about doing it: he says something innocuous, then something considerably more pointed while still allowing for plausible deniability:

“Do you get any free time?” He waits for a positive or negative signal. As soon as he gets the negative signal, he drops it altogether. Neither John nor Anthea ever says anything about dating or sex, and neither proclaims their sexual orientation. Then again at the very end John again tries to hit on Athea by reminding her that they had met before. Again there is no sexual hints like liplicking or anything but I think in both cases no one doubts that John was indeed hitting on Anthea. No one says, “Oh, you’re reading too much into it, John didn’t mean that.” 

Ok now let's talk about the Angelo's scene.

Angellos: 

So far John had got totally-not-so-subtle indication from two (Mrs. Hudson, Angello) people who knew Sherlock beforehand that Sherlock might be interested in men. And also both times Sherlock said or done nothing to refute it. When Angello thinks that John is Sherlock's date he says that he's not - which he isn't. But then again he doesn't say things like "I'm not interested in men" or "don't be absurd!". Maybe because he doen't want to shut down the possibility? http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/confused.png


Anyways, as soon as Angelo's away, John starts to figure out Sherlock’s orientation, even though as far as John knows, he’s probably interested in men. He starts with something innocuous, just like he did with Anthea. And just like he did with Anthea, he quickly moves on to something considerably more pointed while still allowing plausible deniability: “…girlfriends, boyfriends…” Sherlock says that’s dull.

Trying to narrow it down and looking for a signal John asks, "You don’t have a girlfriend, then?"
"Girlfriend? No. Not really my area," Sherlock says.

This gets John’s (and mine too) attention. He looks very slightly pleased and goes in for the kill. “Oh right. Do you have a boyfriend then?” But then the signals get a bit muddier: Sherlock casts John an unreadable look, and John hurriedly adds, “Which is fine, by the way.” Sherlock says, “I know it’s fine.”

Well, at this point I thought when taken in contrast to Sherlock’s statement on "girlfriends", that sounded like a confirmation of homosexuality. So back to positive signals for John! And John agrees. Smiling, he asks, “So you’ve got a boyfriend?” “No,” Sherlock says immediately. “Right, okay,” John says, with a bit of a nervous laugh and smile. John licks his lips and Sherlock narrows his eyes! John continues, “You’re unattached! Like me! Fine. Good.” Seriously I was looking at my screen with a raised eyebrow when this transpired. Because this is an incredibly odd thing for a heterosexual man to say to a man who, by all accounts, is assumed to be gay by some of his acquaintances (who incidentally refuse to be convinced otherwise!), appears to have just denied being heterosexual, and has allowed two people to believe John is his boyfriend. This is the point where even a non-homophobic person would politely note his heterosexuality.

But what does John do? John makes clear he’s single. John says it’s good (why??) that they’re both single. That is the behavior of a man interested in men. It is the simplest, clearest reading, and doesn’t have to explain away anything. To read heterosexuality alone into John’s orientation requires explaining away quite a lot.

And it is so blatantly a come-on that even Sherlock picks up on it, Sherlock who couldn't realize that Molly was hitting on him at the morgue! “John, um ... I think you should know that I consider myself married to my work, and while I’m flattered by your interest, I’m really not looking for any ...

Upon hearing this, this is truly the point, the absolute point, where a heterosexual man would just say he’s not into men. It’s unambiguous, and it’s the least awkward thing John could say now. And as far as I can remember John is never terribly awkward over the entirety of the show. He’s rather direct, really. Yet he just goes back to the plausible deniability he left open earlier: “No. I’m not asking. No. I’m just saying: it’s all fine.” "Good," Sherlock says. "Thank you." Having received an unambiguous negative signal, John immediately drops the topic altogether, just like he did with Anthea.

So there you go. This conversation was way more loaded than John’s conversation with Anthea, and more romance is suggested by the camera and setting and context. It’s also an incredibly odd choice on the part of the writers to leave interest in the same sex open for both characters from the first episode if we’re to believe they’re heterosexual/ asexual. If the writers merely wanted to make a joke of people thinking John and Sherlock are a couple, they don’t need to have John and Sherlock be confused about each other’s sexuality. Note that even in ASiB John asks Mrs. Hudson if Sherlock "ever had girlfreind, boyfriend or relationship" Perhaps it would be funnier if we got to watch Sherlock deny it to other people too, but we never do. Even if the writers just wanted this one conversation to go as awkwardly as possible, John and Sherlock don’t need to be forever confused about one another’s orientations after living together for years. And that's why from the pilot I thought something was definitely up. And then throughout the series I've got more consistent readings that both are romantically interested in each other but confused if the other returns the feelings.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, that was my personal opinion. Now recently I've read a well-researched writing which explains how Sherlock is developed like a traditional mystery literature where the audiance plays the part of the detective and the writers play the part of the crimminal. Similar to other mystery literature, part of the challange of the show is to figure out (Sherlock and John's relationship, Mycroft Moriarty and Mary's true nature/ motive etc.) the mysteries of the show before they are unambiguously revealed.

Anyways, as for the Angelo scene the author argues that here (like many other parts of the show) Moffits apply a fairly common technique of mystery literature where the real solution is revealed but dismissed at the beginning. Likening this to the central mystery of Gatiss's favourite author John Le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, the author elaborates that the scene is constructed in a way that technically neither John nor Sherlock denied being interested in each other/ men, but the writers still gave the majority of the audience the impression that they weren’t. That then gives the impression that every gay thing that happens afterward is just another joking nod to the unsquashable gay speculation that has always surrounded Holmes's and Watson’s character, when in fact by repeatedly sort of dismissing the idea, they make an otherwise clearcut and predictable romance seem more mysterious than it is. In a way the mysteries of the show is practically hidden in plain sight and staring the audiance in the face.

(here is the epub version of the writing if anyone's interested)

EDIT: TYPOS!

Last edited by tykobrian (December 19, 2014 1:40 pm)


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December 19, 2014 1:44 pm  #24


Re: The cafetaria scene "So you got a boyfriend then?"

Very good analysis, tykobrian. I can easily see where you're coming from, and your analysis makes sense every step of the way. I still think the scene can just as easily be read differently, though.

My first thought when watching that scene was John trying to get to know Sherlock. John knows next to nothing about him, and when you try to get to know someone, normal questions would be about your job, where you live and your family. The two first are already clear, but the third is not.

His "Alright" when Sherlock said girlfriends were not his area, I interpreted more as "Alright, so he is homosexual. That's something new - but it's ok". When he said "you're unattached, just like me. Good." I figured that was kind of a "we are both in the same boat"-kind of thing. Especially since he says it almost absent-mindedly, as if he's finishing the conversation on his part.

Sherlock not refuting any mention of them being a couple has always been for me because he consideres that completely uninteresting and irrelevant. Just like most of Mrs Hudson chatter, he just zones it out. 

I probably mentioned this before, but this scene was written by Steven Moffat alone, because he needed to expand on the scene that was originally too short. So it was meant, according to him, to be more of a filler. When Gatiss read the scene, he said something to the likes of "You know this will be all they will be talking about?"

I imagine Gatiss as gay saw the undertones Moffat didn't. So even if the undertones are there, it doesn't seem to be intentional. 

Also, the very last scene shows John giving a kind of "How the hell did I manage to get myself into this kind of conversation?"-look (which is hilarious, btw). If he was truly interested in Sherlock, wouldn't it be more fitting that he, say, smiled contently to himself instead?

I do agree, though, it IS a very special scene. Another one of those "If you insist they are not interested in each other, why do you keep adding these scenes?"-thing.

Oh, but another thing that confuses me about this scene:

Why does Sherlock say "thank you"? What is he thanking John for? Sherlock couldn't be bothered what other people think, especially not about Sherlock's sexuality as that is not something he focuses on himself. 

Last edited by Vhanja (December 19, 2014 1:47 pm)


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December 19, 2014 1:45 pm  #25


Re: The cafetaria scene "So you got a boyfriend then?"

Lovely to hear from you again! 


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December 19, 2014 2:27 pm  #26


Re: The cafetaria scene "So you got a boyfriend then?"

I see this as another case of if it had been a man and a woman having that conversation there would be no debate about who was hitting on who.


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December 19, 2014 2:52 pm  #27


Re: The cafetaria scene "So you got a boyfriend then?"

It's a modern dilemma, isn't it?  "Have you got a boyfriend or girlfriend" is unwieldy, but "have you got a (opposite sex word)" implies that you're making assumptions and dismissing the idea of a same sex relationship.  (Hence John saying that it's fine!). 

I've read a lot of mystery stories over the years, and I'd say that the character's sexuality being the mystery has gone out of fashion.  In my opinion, it would have felt modern and fresh in the 60s, I would think (I'm thinking about a particular story with just this mystery which was written in the 60s, but I won't name it because it would give it away!), stil fine in the 80s, but dated in the 2010s.  (On the other hand, I think it's more common for characters to be gay without it being part of the mystery, including the main characters/detectives).

Vhanja, I think Sherlock says thank you to John for explaining/clarifying the misunderstanding (although it might also be a thank you to him for not making things complicated by hitting on him!  I'm not sure).

 

December 19, 2014 2:56 pm  #28


Re: The cafetaria scene "So you got a boyfriend then?"

Liberty wrote:

Vhanja, I think Sherlock says thank you to John for explaining/clarifying the misunderstanding (although it might also be a thank you to him for not making things complicated by hitting on him!  I'm not sure).

Yes, the first one there makes sense. 


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December 19, 2014 3:08 pm  #29


Re: The cafetaria scene "So you got a boyfriend then?"

tykobrian wrote:

Hey there eveyone! http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png
 Hope you all are doing fine. Just chiming in to give my opinion of this scene. Though I think way back I saw a discussion of this paritcular scene in the johnlock thread.

Anyways, about the conversation in Angellos:

I personally see it as John propositioning sherlock. The explanation is rather long so I hope you don't mind. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


Well first of all I should mention that the I think the way John was propositioning Sherlock seems to be his way of hitting on people. This has been demonstrated when he was propositioning Anthea, Mycroft's assistant while being escorted to his flat.If you can remember that scene you'll remember to how John goes about doing it: he says something innocuous, then something considerably more pointed while still allowing for plausible deniability:

“Do you get any free time?” He waits for a positive or negative signal. As soon as he gets the negative signal, he drops it altogether. Neither John nor Anthea ever says anything about dating or sex, and neither proclaims their sexual orientation. Then again at the very end John again tries to hit on Athea by reminding her that they had met before. Again there is no sexual hints like liplicking or anything but I think in both cases no one doubts that John was indeed hitting on Anthea. No one says, “Oh, you’re reading too much into it, John didn’t mean that.” 

Ok now let's talk about the Angelo's scene.

Angellos: 

So far John had got totally-not-so-subtle indication from two (Mrs. Hudson, Angello) people who knew Sherlock beforehand that Sherlock might be interested in men. And also both times Sherlock said or done nothing to refute it. When Angello thinks that John is Sherlock's date he says that he's not - which he isn't. But then again he doesn't say things like "I'm not interested in men" or "don't be absurd!". Maybe because he doen't want to shut down the possibility? http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/confused.png


Anyways, as soon as Angelo's away, John starts to figure out Sherlock’s orientation, even though as far as John knows, he’s probably interested in men. He starts with something innocuous, just like he did with Anthea. And just like he did with Anthea, he quickly moves on to something considerably more pointed while still allowing plausible deniability: “…girlfriends, boyfriends…” Sherlock says that’s dull.

Trying to narrow it down and looking for a signal John asks, "You don’t have a girlfriend, then?"
"Girlfriend? No. Not really my area," Sherlock says.

This gets John’s (and mine too) attention. He looks very slightly pleased and goes in for the kill. “Oh right. Do you have a boyfriend then?” But then the signals get a bit muddier: Sherlock casts John an unreadable look, and John hurriedly adds, “Which is fine, by the way.” Sherlock says, “I know it’s fine.”

Well, at this point I thought when taken in contrast to Sherlock’s statement on "girlfriends", that sounded like a confirmation of homosexuality. So back to positive signals for John! And John agrees. Smiling, he asks, “So you’ve got a boyfriend?” “No,” Sherlock says immediately. “Right, okay,” John says, with a bit of a nervous laugh and smile. John licks his lips and Sherlock narrows his eyes! John continues, “You’re unattached! Like me! Fine. Good.” Seriously I was looking at my screen with a raised eyebrow when this transpired. Because this is an incredibly odd thing for a heterosexual man to say to a man who, by all accounts, is assumed to be gay by some of his acquaintances (who incidentally refuse to be convinced otherwise!), appears to have just denied being heterosexual, and has allowed two people to believe John is his boyfriend. This is the point where even a non-homophobic person would politely note his heterosexuality.

But what does John do? John makes clear he’s single. John says it’s good (why??) that they’re both single. That is the behavior of a man interested in men. It is the simplest, clearest reading, and doesn’t have to explain away anything. To read heterosexuality alone into John’s orientation requires explaining away quite a lot.

And it is so blatantly a come-on that even Sherlock picks up on it, Sherlock who couldn't realize that Molly was hitting on him at the morgue! “John, um ... I think you should know that I consider myself married to my work, and while I’m flattered by your interest, I’m really not looking for any ...

Upon hearing this, this is truly the point, the absolute point, where a heterosexual man would just say he’s not into men. It’s unambiguous, and it’s the least awkward thing John could say now. And as far as I can remember John is never terribly awkward over the entirety of the show. He’s rather direct, really. Yet he just goes back to the plausible deniability he left open earlier: “No. I’m not asking. No. I’m just saying: it’s all fine.” "Good," Sherlock says. "Thank you." Having received an unambiguous negative signal, John immediately drops the topic altogether, just like he did with Anthea.

So there you go. This conversation was way more loaded than John’s conversation with Anthea, and more romance is suggested by the camera and setting and context. It’s also an incredibly odd choice on the part of the writers to leave interest in the same sex open for both characters from the first episode if we’re to believe they’re heterosexual/ asexual. If the writers merely wanted to make a joke of people thinking John and Sherlock are a couple, they don’t need to have John and Sherlock be confused about each other’s sexuality. Note that even in ASiB John asks Mrs. Hudson if Sherlock "ever had girlfreind, boyfriend or relationship" Perhaps it would be funnier if we got to watch Sherlock deny it to other people too, but we never do. Even if the writers just wanted this one conversation to go as awkwardly as possible, John and Sherlock don’t need to be forever confused about one another’s orientations after living together for years. And that's why from the pilot I thought something was definitely up. And then throughout the series I've got more consistent readings that both are romantically interested in each other but confused if the other returns the feelings.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, that was my personal opinion. Now recently I've read a well-researched writing which explains how Sherlock is developed like a traditional mystery literature where the audiance plays the part of the detective and the writers play the part of the crimminal. Similar to other mystery literature, part of the challange of the show is to figure out (Sherlock and John's relationship, Mycroft Moriarty and Mary's true nature/ motive etc.) the mysteries of the show before they are unambiguously revealed.

Anyways, as for the Angelo scene the author argues that here (like many other parts of the show) Moffits apply a fairly common technique of mystery literature where the real solution is revealed but dismissed at the beginning. Likening this to the central mystery of Gatiss's favourite author John Le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, the author elaborates that the scene is constructed in a way that technically neither John nor Sherlock denied being interested in each other/ men, but the writers still gave the majority of the audience the impression that they weren’t. That then gives the impression that every gay thing that happens afterward is just another joking nod to the unsquashable gay speculation that has always surrounded Holmes's and Watson’s character, when in fact by repeatedly sort of dismissing the idea, they make an otherwise clearcut and predictable romance seem more mysterious than it is. In a way the mysteries of the show is practically hidden in plain sight and staring the audiance in the face.

(here is the epub version of the writing if anyone's interested)

EDIT: TYPOS!

Wow, this is by far the best reading of the scene I have read so far (and I have read many). Very plausible and convincing. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png

Because you cannot understand this scene on its own, you have to compare it with other situations in which John hits on women to see the parallels. Interesting enough, in the Sherlock Chronicles there is a deleted scene from HoB in which John uses exactly the same approach with good-looking young Corporal Lyons: "Get out of here much, do you? From Baskerville, I mean?"

As for the detective literature meta - it is excellent and I am impatiently waiting for the whole thing to be published. 

Last edited by SusiGo (December 19, 2014 3:11 pm)


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

December 19, 2014 4:21 pm  #30


Re: The cafetaria scene "So you got a boyfriend then?"

Actually, I think Sherlock did realize that Molly was hitting on him in the morgue. Sherlock gets this slightly panicky look when she asks him to go for coffee, and to me, I immediately assumed that Sherlock had thought that Molly wouldn't have the nerve to ask him out, so he had thought it would be safe to flirt with her to get what he wanted from her. When you look at subsequent episodes, he slowly starts to consider her more and more of a "real person" the more she surprises him, as when she fought back in the Christmas scene in ASiB, and then when she's the only one who realizes that something is wrong with him in TRF, and it really began right in that first morgue scene.


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December 19, 2014 5:06 pm  #31


Re: The cafetaria scene "So you got a boyfriend then?"

REReader wrote:

Actually, I think Sherlock did realize that Molly was hitting on him in the morgue. Sherlock gets this slightly panicky look when she asks him to go for coffee, and to me, I immediately assumed that Sherlock had thought that Molly wouldn't have the nerve to ask him out, so he had thought it would be safe to flirt with her to get what he wanted from her. When you look at subsequent episodes, he slowly starts to consider her more and more of a "real person" the more she surprises him, as when she fought back in the Christmas scene in ASiB, and then when she's the only one who realizes that something is wrong with him in TRF, and it really began right in that first morgue scene.

I don’t think Sherlock realized Molly was hitting on him. Otherwise why would he be surprised (“What happened to the lipstick?”) in the lab that she removed her lipstick? I mean he even says that he thought the lipstick suited her (“Really? I thought it was a big improvement, mouth’s too small now.”) so he couldn’t understand why she’d think it wasn’t working for her. Looks like it completely went over his head that molly wore lipstick to appear sexually attractive to Sherlock and was actually asking him on a date of sorts.


 


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December 19, 2014 7:12 pm  #32


Re: The cafetaria scene "So you got a boyfriend then?"

I've never read the scene in a heavily romantic light, although I kind of like the Johnlock idea.
For me, when I first saw the scene (god is that long ago now), I remember thinking about the characters, what they would want from each other.

Well, Sherlock is realising that he has found someone who he can bear to spend time with, so he will make an effort for once. Therefore he says thank you, and tries to clear up things and tries to apologize with the "married to my work" line. I'm sure he only bothers because he has a vague feeling that the one chance for finally having a real friend is sitting right in front of him. He must have been lonely before, no matter how hard he denied that feeling to himself. The laughter scene back in 221b kind of shows that... Sherlock seems happy and relaxed in that moment, but it's not the happiness of a solve case alone. It's more the knowledge that he could share the experience with someone I think.

John is new in the city, and knows that he is anything but stable. The way he moves around in his appartment in the beginning of the series made me think: this is a man who is totally lost and has no purpose to live for right now. He would maybe even consider suicide if he wasn't a man of strong morals and convictions that keep him from such a choice.
So in my opinion, John realises he really needs to latch on somebody, to find new people to support him and to keep him away from bad memories and destructive thoughts. Sherlock is an interesting man, John is probably intrigued, but I think the reason he says it's good that they're both single and unattached is maybe just selfish. At this point, I don't think he is thinking actively about relationships, but he is very relieved that Sherloock would be available as a mate, as someone to spend time with, to do things together, with no girlfriend or boyfriend to interfere. Except Mike, Sherlock is at that point the only person who could quickly grow close to John, and even two friends aren't that much of a back-up for someone like John at that point. John seems very sure of himself in that scene, but I think his asking about Sherlock is maybe just a caring habit. He seems mostly confused in this scene - confused why Angelo thinks he's a date, confused because Sherlock doesn't give an easy answer. Probably he's thinking, this man is really mysterious, what is it about? but I don't think he really thinks more about it.

About John and romance at that point: I'm very sure John knows that he isn't quite ready for a relationship. I think he is just testing waters after having been in the army, and trying out pick-up lines, trying out what flirting could be like. That he has many girlfriends later, but not really a stable, longtime relationship is kind of proof for that. I don't think John relationships fail only because Sherlock gets in the way, I rather think John is maybe just not in the right mindset for a relationship, and knows it. Which doesn't keep him from trying, of course, and I think in series 3, even with all the Mary stuff going on, he is more sure of himself as in series 1. Or maybe just more sure of Sherlock?
 

Last edited by Whisky (December 19, 2014 7:25 pm)


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December 19, 2014 7:59 pm  #33


Re: The cafetaria scene "So you got a boyfriend then?"

I like your analysis!


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December 21, 2014 2:21 am  #34


Re: The cafetaria scene "So you got a boyfriend then?"

tykobrian wrote:

I don’t think Sherlock realized Molly was hitting on him. Otherwise why would he be surprised (“What happened to the lipstick?”) in the lab that she removed her lipstick? I mean he even says that he thought the lipstick suited her (“Really? I thought it was a big improvement, mouth’s too small now.”) so he couldn’t understand why she’d think it wasn’t working for her. Looks like it completely went over his head that molly wore lipstick to appear sexually attractive to Sherlock and was actually asking him on a date of sorts.


 

Oh, no, I found it quite clear that he fully understood that Molky was trying to date him and he was trying to make sure she didn't do that again! By pretending to be oblivious, he could discourage her without losing her help.


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