Movies + TV

Robert Downey Jr. Banned from Playing Bisexual Sherlock Holmes?

Guest blogger Neal Pollack has been a satirist (Vanity Fair), a sexologist (, and a cultural anthropologist (McSweeney's). Here, Pollack will explore all the wild, weird, and noteworthy stories you may have missed.

News has broken of late that a woman named Andrea Plunket, who claims to own the U.S. rights to Sherlock Holmes detective stories, will withdraw permission for a Guy Ritchie-directed Holmes sequel if, as Robert Downey Jr. has been blabbing on national TV, the rumors are true that his Holmes is bisexual. "I am not hostile to homosexuals," Ms. Plunket says, "but I am to anyone who is not true to the spirit of the books."

First of all, anyone who's had the misfortune of seeing the first Sherlock Holmes with Downey and Jude Law should have no question about the gay subtext, what with all the mustachioed winking, sweaty bare-chested close-quarters wrestling, and chaste relationships with bland female characters. Holmes and Watson are roommates, for god's sake. Who own a bulldog. The movie is very, very gay.

Second, "the spirit of the books" is also gay. Holmes plays the violin. His first case was called A Study In Scarlet. He wears a natty cape and a hat with earflaps. His name is Sherlock. None of those things are gay in and of themselves, but when put together, it spells homosexual in all caps. Also, as a British film critic recently pointed out, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle actually believed in fairies

Besides, there's something thematically gay about the whole concept of the literary detective, wherein a loner, or pair of loners, uncover people's secrets while exchanging banter. Nero Wolfe? Fat and gay. Hercule Poirot? A gay Belgian. The Hardy Boys? Gay and possibly incestuous. What do you think they did with those "Missing Chums" after they found them? The point is, Guy Ritchie shouldn't be prevented from making a Sherlock Holmes sequel because of gay themes. He should be prevented because the first movie was terrible, full of witless dialogue and loud, nonsensical action sequences. But that, unfortunately, appears to be a minority opinion.

Neal Pollack

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