I’ve been watching the episodes of the recent, modern-day take on Sherlock Holmes, and have noticed an annoying trend in both this and in other television shows and movies I’ve been watching recently – the assumption that people of the same gender doing things together are assumed to be (or are only resisting being) a couple. In Sherlock Holmes, it seems everywhere the duo goes, they tend to get grouped together as being lovers, rather than just friends. Whenever the perception is corrected, everyone seems to fall over themselves to say things to the effect of “not that there is anything wrong with that”. How did we get here?
One of the reasons I enjoy the older version of Doctor Who over the new one is that there was never any approach to any kind of relationship, sexual or otherwise, between the characters, just companionable enjoyment of the worlds and times they visited. With the new incarnation (and even just before in the Fox failed pilot) everyone is constantly stressing about their relationship with everyone else. Every female companion (and some male) falls madly in love with The Doctor, leading to many soap opera like exchanges, pauses, and jokes about who is bedding whom. It may have been just my own growing up that saw these things more, but in the 1990s, science fiction turned into soap operas, where you had to keep track of who was in a relationship with whom and how that could effect what was happening from week to week. You could miss a week or two and not feel lost when you started watching again, because you didn’t miss the change of relationship.
Anyway, back to the point. How did we get to a point where it isn’t possible for two people, of any gender, to spend any amount of time together without there being some subconscious lead-in to a physical relationship? I don’t want it to devolve into the easy answer that the adversary is doing it to further cause people to distance themselves from each other. I just want to get back to a time (if it ever existed) where a relationship or sex wasn’t even a factor in how you saw two people sitting together.