Monday, July 17, 2006

The Pacing Detective

During the summer hiatus there hasn't been much to write home about but my tiny mind has been pacing much the same way Holmes paces when thinking about a case.

When I was a kid, I read everything written by a man named Ernest Thompson Seton. He wrote pretty up front and honest animal stories. They weren't all happy and cute. Some of them were downright cruel. But it taught a little girl about the vagaries of Nature. How She can be truly wonderful and then suddenly downright evil. I recommend them.

The subject heading of this post is a play on Seton's "The Pacing Mustang" and I use it because I did my homework. While there are far too many stories to quote in which Holmes paces during a case......well, that's my point exactly.

Both House and Holmes pace when concentrating.

That might be an apt comparison but, as with everything in House, it's not cut and dried. Holmes paced to think and to burn nervous energy. House does 8,000,000 other things to get the same effect....the pacing isn't quite the focus that Doyle made of Holmes'.

Also, of note, House paces when he's in pain. Holmes did not. House uses it more to work through the agony of his "bum leg" than to think. For thinking he has the BOUO (Ball of Unknown Origin) and his cane. (Among other things.)

(Shallow shameless request, Shore & Co., when we get Citizen Cane to make a return appearance could we puhlease go back to the Derby Cane? I know that it's fun to watch House play jai alai against the wall with the shepherd's crook but it's just lost a certain j'en c'est qua.)

Whining is so unattractive. LOL

Interestingly enough, over on, there is a discussion of who is the superior sidekick....Wilson or Watson. Or, more to the point, who is more respected by his House/Holmes.

Predictably most are saying Wilson. However, some of the rationale has been because Watson wasn't Holmes' peer as Wilson is to House.

Which, aside from our Pacing Mustang, is what brought me over here during these hot, House-less days of summer.

I respectfully disagree with the conclusion that House respects Wilson more than Holmes respects Watson.

I was watching "Silver Blaze" last night (Brett) and it occurs to me that this would be a fair comparison: House and Wilson are, in fact, peers. House is the Head of Diagnostics; Wilson the Head of Oncology. House is a genius; Wilson is the "Oncology Boy Wonder". That's what they are. Peers.

OTH, Holmes, I would venture to argue, sees Watson as more than a peer. As a matter of fact, as I read the canon, watch Brett's interpretation and reflect fondly on Rathbone's.....I would argue that Holmes admires Watson as something quite a lot more.

Holmes first meets Watson while he (Holmes) is tinkering with Blood ID (ASiS). Holmes, we must remember, is an "amateur" dectective. The idea of "detecting" in Doyle's era was still a blossoming business proposition. Appropriate only in Edgar Allan Poe novellas and as entertainment in salon tea parties.

My distinct impression is that, unlike House and Wilson (who are literal peers), Holmes looked up to Watson as a professional man of medicine--an MD, which Holmes certainly was not. (Nor, I venture, would a man who didn't care that the Earth revolved around the Sun, want to be.)

One other thing that differentiates Wilson from Watson in the respect category is that Shore makes Wilson sticky. Watson was a clean character. Yes, he'd been married three (arguably) times but one was a bit of a mystery, one ended in widowerhood and the other carried on. Wilson is a cad. A rogue. A philanderer. (Until the tables get turned.)

Much as I think Doyle made Holmes revere Watson.....Shore makes House find Wilson to be both amusing and a bit of a puzzle.

There's much more to their relationship than that (thanks to Laurie and Leonard in the main) but my comments focus on who is the more respected sidekick.

I would have to go with Watson.


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