Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sherlock-ed in Sheldon's House

(Assignment for one module. Posted online for another :-p)
Some moments just remain unforgettable and life-changing, despite the passage of time. The first time I got acquainted with each of these three men onscreen was one of those moments.
Oh, it sure would!
Curtesy: Google Images
It was 2006.The Big Bang Theory had arrived in India, and it soon made nerdy look cool. It spawned off a revolution of periodic table curtains, Marvel comics and atomic-printed tee shirts as well as the thick framed spectacles, which were endorsed not only by Leonard Hofstader (Johnny Galecki) but also by some of the Hindi film actresses . It also motivated people to learn science, in its own humorous, silly way. But perhaps one of the biggest contributions of Big Bang Theory was the character of Dr. Sheldon Cooper (played to perfection by Jim Parsons), a highly qualified, brilliant theoretical physicist with zero social or driving skills, an inability to comprehend sarcasm and emotions, an affinity to a particular spot on the sofa and a stickler for ostensible  ”social convention”  ( with terrible timing!).Out of a large ensemble cast that included an Indian astrophysicist and a Jewish engineer (often rebuked for the only one without a doctorate and with a loud mother) , it was the  condescending and eccentric Sheldon who stood out.
Try beating that!
Courtesy: Google Images



Not long ago before Sheldon, we had another eccentric onscreen, this time, a limp medical doctor going by the name of Gregory House (played by Hugh Laurie, a British actor who speaks in an impeccable American accent). If Sheldon couldn’t comprehend sarcasm, House was bursting with his sarcastic wit. Equally brilliant and completely unconventional, House often drove his team and his boss up the wall with his method of diagnosis and his unwillingness to clock in his clinic hours. Unlike Sheldon, House intentionally poked fun at other peoples’ expense and channelled his inner anger on the general public. Although disdainful about everything and a Vicodin addict, House manages to diagnose his cases with an almost unfailing accuracy. As per the makers of the series, the character of House was based on Sherlock Holmes. The similarities are uncanny – the protagonist is Holmes (pronounced “Homes” ) to House. Sherlock’s best and only friend is John Watson, while House’s is James Wilson. House is relatively taller than Wilson and so his Holmes.
The actual gyaan we all need
COurtesy: Google Images

Till 2012, Detective Sherlock Holmes was referred to as Holmes, and Dr John Watson was called Watson. A BBC adaptation of Sherlock Holmes changed all that. The image of a middle aged, pipe smoking Detective Holmes that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had so diligently carved in our head was replaced by a young, tall man with a curly mop of hair, clear blue eyes, with a flair for technology and deduction, an impish impertinence and a disregard for any other human being. Terribly socially challenged at first, Sherlock slowly adapts to society in general with the help of John (Watson), who he considers his best friend. A wizard in deduction and chemistry and a dunce at general knowledge, Sherlock makes for an interesting character. In addition to being a subconscious show off, Sherlock’s traits include building a “Mind Palace” during a case, playing the violin while contemplating,  talking to himself and the desire to be right every time.
Oh, Sherlock!
Courtesy: Google Images

There is one strand of similarity that runs amongst these three, rather complicated protagonists –their individuality. No matter how they are, they accept themselves , rather unapologetically, with their flaws. Despite their innate arrogance, they still form close friendships, the ties of which are literally stronger than blood. It is puzzling that despite our love for these characters, we refuse to accept ourselves for who we are, and spend our time trying to be somebody else. These shows not only provide entertainment, but also inspire us to accept our own personality, no matter how weird it might be to an outsider. By being pressurized to conform to a particular ideal suitable to society and not think out of the box, we curb our own inborn ability to innovate and imagine.

 It’s okay to be different. So go ahead. Be sarcastic like House. Be curious about things beyond your realm like Sheldon. Protect your loved ones like Sherlock. And most importantly, embrace your eccentricity. Be yourself. It’s perfectly normal.

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