When I first read the Sherlock Holmes stories, I thought of Watson as a benign, tubby, bewhiskered chap. And then, well, this dapper, cocky f*ckstorm happened:
And yet somehow, miraculously, Jude pulled it off (at least in the first film). Despite the fact that Ritchie sort of buggered the whole Holmes character, Jude Law’s Watson was a bright spot. And then, the following year, this happened:
And lo and behold, Martin Freeman was a revelation as Watson; the perfect, quiet counterbalance to Benedict Cumberbatch’s showy Holmes. Modest, wry and, above all else, hopelessly devoted to Sherlock, Freeman nailed it. (It’s a sometimes thankless role that Robert Sean Leonard also executed perfectly in the first few seasons of “House.”) We need Watson, we need his sweetness and constancy to temper the acrid sting of Holmes and his ill humors. And so, in a stroke of genius whatthef*ckery, CBS has cast the role of Watson in their Sherlockian pilot “Elementary,” and she looks like this:
Seriously? Bite me. I don’t care even a little bit that they swapped the gender. I’m all for women getting prominent roles. Hell, I’m all for Asian women getting prominent roles. Lord knows Grace Park, Sandra Oh and that fake Hot Topic punk on “Glee” could use some company. But this is the most ill-fitting casting news since they announced Jonny Lee Miller as their Holmes. Listen, you TV executards, we all know sex sells, but Holmes is supposed to be the icy, removed sociopath. Not Watson. Liu is a sexy, charming performer, but sweet she ain’t. Anyone who watched her try to Manic Pixie Dream grind her way through Watching The Detectives will understand. You know what Liu does well? Chilly. She’s like sexy ice water in your veins. Seriously, cast her as Holmes, make the doughy-featured Miller your Watson and I am fully on board. Except for this, CBS, I swear to god, if you turn this Watson/Sherlock relationship into a will they/won’t they “Moonlighting” dynamic, I will fly to Los Angeles and slice your scalp off myself. Watson and Holmes love each other, but they don’t want to f*ck each other. DO YOU HEAR ME? I know, I know, you can’t help yourselves. I understand completely. My Hattori Hanzō sword is all packed and ready to go…your move.
Here, to act as a little refresher, are the impressively variegated performances of Lucy Liu’s career. Truly, she is a chameleon.
Charlie’s Angels: Sexily Sullen (feat. Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Academy Award Nominee Melissa McCarthy)
“Southland”: Sullenly Butch (feat. my best friend’s Uncle Mike)
Kill Bill Vol. 1: Elegantly Sullen (feat. Chiaki Kuriyama and an impressive arterial spray)
“Ally McBeal”: Sullenly Dancing (feat. Robert Downey Jr., Taye Diggs, Portia de Rossi, Greg Germann, Jane Krakowski, minimal Calista Flockhart and the fabulous Peter MacNicol)
Joanna Robinson loved “Ally McBeal,” though not Calista Flockhart and that nightmare baby. Some of your favorite people got their start there. Show some damn respect.