Wednesday, February 18, 2015
... just completed the second part of the first Series Three episode & what I'd noticed before - ie the explicit foregrounding of scripting & acting is now becoming integral to the narrative. Who can separate the competing versions of the suicide - & who would want to as to become so concerned risks being trapped within the plot (one of the sad types who blog about shows)? In other words, this is what happens when TV builds its own cult status & simultaneous reflection within social media into its ongoing development. As Sherlock laments - everyone is a critic (& would that be a knowing echo of Oscar Wilde - just as Mycroft's "the horror" displaces Mr Kurtz's last gasp to taking the parents out for the evening ...). Hall of mirrors stuff.
For it is all very clever - perhaps too clever. First, if you play too many false catastrophes (Sherlock & Watson stuck in the tube compartment explosive) the viewer becomes numb to excitement - the Cry Wolf effect. Second, if you exploit the 'chemistry' between your central characters too much (certain exchanges sound like off screen jibes between Benedict & Martin) what happens when the affection & buzz begins to pall? Right now you sense they're both enjoying the unexpected stardom. (Wasn't this the Moonlighting syndrome - the Bruce Willis & Cybil Shepherd antipathy behind the scenes fuelled the writing but only so far). And how far can Ben & Martin carry it - or rather, their agents, the heads of programming, the ratings wars? (For let's turn TV back on its real underpinnings).
This is TV talking about itself & actors commenting upon their own professional (& personal) lives. Script as origami - fold back upon fold. Ironies aplenty - intentional & unintentional. Thus - just days after Benedict ties the knot, he says (as Sherlock) he doesn't do marriage. The inflatable mattress & extras of one of the suicide scenarios are just how TV film sets work. Donning the Holmes hat as you walk out into the street is just how The Celebrity braves the cameras & fans. Molly's new man is a Sherlock - or is that Benedict - wannabe ... & of course, Sherlock has many overcoats (said with such a knowing smile to the costumes department & the tailors reissuing the model to cater for a sudden demand via the fan sites ...).
Orson Welles would love this series. The Harry Lime eyebrow raised to another degree of knowing. (That's the next challenge for Cumberbatch - start ad libbing & outdo your script).