A most excellent lesson in self-defense à la Agent Gracie Hart.
Friendly reminder that Miss Congeniality featured a practical self-defense lesson in the middle of a Hollywood movie while also dealing with with issues of sexual assault and victim blaming, dismantling the myth that all feminists need to look and act a certain way, featuring women of color in the pageant without it being any kind of issue, and bringing in an awesome female villain because women can be any kind of character thank you very much.
Rock on, Gracie Lou.
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This scene was actually when I went from feeling more or less neutral on Joan to actively disliking her.
Because wow, that was patronizing.
I loved that scene in Elementary.
1) Firstly, because it immediately deconstructs the “hero throws and breaks something in frustration” cliche (Sherlock throwing a glass slide in HoB, anyone?) it might even be seen as a parody of that cliche.
2) Secondly, because the dynamic is different between a man and a woman than it would be between two women or two men, the visual of a man smashing something in a temper in front of a woman can be taken as threatening or borderline abusive. Joan Watson immediately shows that she is not intimidated by Holmes’ behavior.
3) Lastly? One of the running themes of Elementary is the deconstruction of Sherlock Holmes as the solitary, antisocial genius, and his becoming a member of a community. Holmes’ gifts are given their due respect, but no one in Elementary plays the game of Because Sherlock Holmes is a Bloody Genius He Can Do Whatever He Wants So There. When Sherlock goes after Moriarty (“M”), Captain Gregson suspends him. When Sherlock doesn’t want to talk about his addiction, Alfredo says “You’ve got to get over yourself.” And when Sherlock behaves like a spoiled child, Joan tells him “Use your words.”
You see Joan patronizing Sherlock. I see a member of Sherlock’s community teaching him how to behave like an adult member of that community.
Additionally, Watson’s done good work for a number of years as a sober companion, not a manchild enabler. It’s quite literally her job to deconstruct people’s shitty self-defeating habits and demonstrate that there are better ways to live your life. She’s not in the business of humoring anyone or playing along with their tantrums, she’s in the business of fixing them. And what she does works! It gets spelled out explicitely in the text of the show: Sherlock himself admits that what’s changed about him, for the better, is her.
In this very episode it’s explicitly spelled out that Joan is right - Sherlock admits that he’s been childish, and that he’s embarrassed. The growth arc on Elementary is easily the best I’ve ever seen for Holmes and Watson. As much as I love and cherish the Granada Holmes, even in that definitive version Watson puts up with too much nonsense. Not Joan. She is the most emotionally healthy Watson ever.
Once Upon “A Family Show”