We, the heteronormative viewing public, find ourselves comparing our knowledge with that of the experiences of John and Sherlock. More importantly, we believe that what we’re feeling must be what they’re feeling, because the show is shot from their POV. “Their actions elicit these feelings within me, this must be what these characters are feeling!” - This is ultimately clouding our judgement of how these characters are written and what they are allowed to say, think, and feel.
For example, we laugh when Mrs. Hudson calls John and Sherlock lovers because we think it’s funny for her to blatantly accuse two men of being gay, because being assumed gay is laughable. But John and Sherlock do not laugh. It happens over and over but they never laugh. Their experience within that accusation is different from ours as outsiders looking in.
Another example being our reaction to seeing Janine and Sherlock together in 221b. We’re thinking, “Ow ow! Way to go, Sherl. We didn’t think you had it in ya, you tricky bastard!” We think John must be feeling the same way. We ignore the fact that John can’t even look at them when they kiss goodbye. John does not feel what we feel. We are so self-centered that we think the characters are mirroring our own thoughts and behavior.
*We’ve seen 13 hours of John and Sherlock’s six-year friendship.
*We’ve seen 2 hours of Sherlock’s relationship with Mycroft.
*We’ve seen 10 minutes of Sherlock’s interactions with his parents.
*We’ve seen 2 minutes of Sherlock’s interactions with his university classmates
*We’ve seen 15 minutes of John mourning.
*We’ve seen 2 hours of Sherlock’s interactions with Mrs. Hudson.
*We’ve seen 2 minutes of John’s PTSD symptoms.
*We’ve seen 10 minutes of John spending time with old friends.
*We haven’t seen any of John’s family, not even at his wedding
And we’ve come to believe that we know what these characters are thinking and feeling at all times? That they think like we do? The nerve it takes to rob these characters of all emotion that contradicts what we feel within the 14 hours we spend watching them.
“Martin Freeman’s got lots of quirks and talents, many of which are
on display in the film, but his most remarkable quality as an actor is to be
able—with absolute clarity—to convey that he is thinking two things at the same
time and you know, as an audience, what they are. And I wasn’t the only one on
the set to say to myself later, ‘I wish I could act like that.’ Martin Freeman has a pallet of subtlety, and I thought ‘this is a
new sort of acting that I’ve never seen before.’” –Sir Ian McKellen