Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Dr. Cuddy and Inspector Lestrade

For those who don't know, Inspector Lestrade was a Scotland Yard plod ("the professionals" as Watson called them) who frequently crossed paths with Holmes and Watson while they were on criminal cases.

Holmes rather looked down his nose at Lestrade with vague amusement but did take advantage of his services in several stories.

While noodling about character relationships in House/Holmes I ran it this way: House/Holmes, Wilson/Watson, the Ducklings/the Baker Street Irregulars, Vogler/Moriarty (he was for a while...until "No Reason") and Cuddy/Lestrade.

Lestrade represents the Establishment....complete with all of its rules and regulations, attention to duty and Victorian properness.

In the same way, Cuddy represents the Establishment at PPTH by virtue of being the Dean of Medicine. She's part and parcel of the "system" that runs PPTH. She reins House in and enforces the Clinic duty hours on him. She is a workaholic and understands her duties well. As for Victorian propriety? Okay, she dresses provocatively but, quite honestly, with all the frills and skirts, she really dresses rather fussily for a Dean of Medicine. She pays close attention to her appearance.

So, I'm reading "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box" and come across this description of Lestrade: "A shower of rain fell while we were in the train, and the heat was far less oppressive in Croydon than in town. Holmes had sent on a wire, so that Lestrade, as wirey, as dapper, and as ferret-like as ever, was waiting for us at the station."

Now, I'm the last person to call the glorious Lisa Edelstein "ferret-like" but she is thin and angular. So, the comparison remains apt. (That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Vacation Truncated

Without going into the gorey details....I broke a tooth last Monday night. Really. Broke the damned thing eating a cheese pizza. I mean, really. How dumb is that?

Waited until Wednesday to get a temporary cap. It turned into bona fide, full blown dental surgery. So, to make myself feel better....while still in the flush of adrenaline and "What The Fuck Just Happened to Me?" I went next door to the bookstore and picked up a very portable copy of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Go Bantam Classics!

Much pain on Thursday/Friday. I told Mr. C that I felt like someone had taken a chisel to my head. He just stared at me in that "House" know the one....the big eyes stare, the head tilts, the chin rises?

Yeah, that one that silently says, "You're an idiot, woman. Someone DID take a chisel to your head."

I was supposed to leave for vacation last Monday.

So, what with being waylaid for a few days....I took the opportunity to relax at home, and use Anbesol liberally (honestly, Mr. C wants me to take Vicodin and said, I quote, "Ah, yes. Anbesol! That well known gateway drug. Next stop, heroin.")

So, instead, I drink Cheap White Wine ("CWW") in copious amounts and read my Sherlock Holmes.

For some strange reason I picked up the second volume first. Dunno why. Blame it on the pain. I've finished "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (yeesh) and am just now wrapping up "The Valley of Fear."

While I really have no screaming comparisons to make between "House" and the Holmes stories from my current reading, I did want to quote a little something from the introduction.

It's about Watson and I've really been dwelling (perhaps unhealthily?) on the Watson/Wilson respect debate I mentioned previously.


I submit for your inspection one John H. Watson: medical man, late British Army surgeon, raconteur, journalist, connoisseur of women, Knight of the Battered Tin Dispatch-Box, valiant and loyal friend.


Watson was the first to confess that his friend's analytical mind worked on a plane he himself could scarcely conceive, and although in The Hound of the Baskervilles he poked some good-nautred fun at himself for fancying he had mastered the science of deduction in the matter of Dr. Mortimer's stick, he never pretended to skills beyond his own considerable ones. (emphasis mine)


A man for his time, then; for the detective himself was not above bludgeoning cadavers in the dissecting rooms or attempthing for no little time to transfix a dead pig with a harpoon in a butcher's shop, all in the pursuit of criminal knowledge. But to his credit, a cipher without key or a pair of spectacles abondoned at the scene of a crime were of infintiely more interst to him than an unimaginative corpse. So they are to us, and hence the reason for this collection [of stories].

If there is a Valhalla for superhuman sleuths and their all-to-human compatriots, it will allow them freedom at night to catch the racing hansom cab in the mustard fog and provide them a cozy cluttered place by day to feast upon cold pheasant and tales from the tin box. If the detective should suffer over much from the artistic temperament, and his fellow lodger should dwell overlong upon the fairness of a wrist or the timbre of a feminine voice, so much the better, for us and them. Literature never produced a relationship more symbiotic nor a warmer and more timeless friendship."

Excerpted from "On theSignificance of Boswells" by Loren D. Estleman. Introduction to both volumes of Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories; Bantam Classics, NY, NY 1986 reissued in 2003.


Boxed Set: ISBN 0-553-32825-5

The reason I quote these passages is because I'm convinced that the Sherlockians and the Holmesians (who are quite in the know on these matters) would agree that Holmes held Watson in high esteem.

Also, I just think it would be amazingly cool if, at the end of the House's run, we find that it's all been told through Wilson's eyes.

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.