Tag Archives: The Big Bang Theory

Woman-Haters and the Challenge of Unconquerable Males

An Unrepentant Old Bachelor? Never!

Sherlock Holmes, by Sidney Paget. Via Wikimedia Commons

 A romantic subplot is a necessity for almost every book/film/play whatever, but every once in a while you come across a character that just doesn’t get one. You can’t figure out it when he (I’m going to look at male characters for this post) has a magnetizing personality and women obviously find him attractive, yet either he doesn’t notice women, or he views them as a distraction, or he despises them. Or some combination of all three.

The most obvious of these is Sherlock Holmes. Never married, never courting (unless it’s a ploy to gain information), making disparaging remarks about the “softer passions” – he is unapologetically a bachelor. And fans can’t stand it. They can’t imagine that he’s never met a that was able to change his mind, that he could resist all female charms and stick to his claim of being happy without a woman by his side. Enter wild stories about secret affairs with Irene Adler, or periods of marriage after falling off Reichenbach Falls. Sherlock Holmes without a romance? Never!

I wonder, sometimes, if female readers are so insistent on this point because it feels like an offense to our sex to find a male the author claims is unconquerable by us. I know my first reaction is to view it as a challenge – what kind of women would get under this guy’s skin? How would she go about it? Could I write a believable character that does? And thus wild theories are born, fanfiction get written, and fake videos of the character’s romance goes up on YouTube.

Though this is just a guess on my part. There’s probably more reasons why people get a kick out of pairing up the “unattainable male.”

Another example: Henry Higgins in the original version of My Fair Lady (actually entitled ‘Pygmalion’ before it was a musical). He was an unrepentant old bachelor, and while Eliza might entertain ideas of him “making love” to her, he never would bend to her (the play has her go off and marry Freddie). If you’ve seen the movie, you know they’ve changed the ending. There’s a possibility Henry Higgins will be won over – in fact, he practically admits it himself when he says he’s grown “accustomed to her face.” There is no way he can remain immune to Eliza’s charms.

Until recently, I was going to include Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory in this category. As Leonard declares, Sheldon “doesn’t have a deal.” Which, of course, mean every Big Bang Theory fanfiction on the planet tries to pair him up with someone, usually with Penny. But the current season of the show itself has been toying with the romantic possibilities of this character, so it will be very interesting to see what category he ends up in…

The temptation to play around with such pairings is obvious: tension between “normal” characters and strangely “romantically resistant” ones. Wouldn’t that make a great story? Sparks flying, tension growing, both trying to win without giving in… yeah, it’s almost a missed opportunity when the author/creator resists the idea. (Of course, they usually don’t go there because they’re trying to include other themes in their work besides romance.)

What about you? Are there any characters out there you’d love to see get paired up?


Filed under Misc. Books, Pygmalion

Sci-Fi and Me: The Uneasy Truce

After discussing Fantasy last week, I decided to examine its sister-genre, Science Fiction, next.

I used to swear I hated science fiction. And I had good reason to – every sci-fi forced on me in school was invariably depressing (I’ve never been a fan of depressing stories, I usually read to escape to a happier place). What do people see in The Chrysalids other than a somewhat unique (and bleak) view of a post-apocalyptic future? The other memorable short story I recall involved astronauts landing on a distant planet and discovering the aliens had put them in a zoo to watch.

So I never watched Star Wars as a kid. I’m pretty sure some hard-core sci-fi fans out there would quibble with me here and say Star Wars is more like fantasy, but it looked sci-fi enough for me not to watch it (space ships and aliens, anyone?) Except this left me so out of the cultural loop that I had to give in eventually. I couldn’t hear endless repetitions of “Han Solo” for the rest of my life without finding out who he was.

So I watched it. And loved the unabashed cheesiness of it. The adventure and romance and imagination of it all. (And it was not exactly depressing).

This happened again when I watched the newest Star Trek movie. I didn’t LOVE it, but I didn’t hate it (or feel hopelessly lost) either. Now, Star Trek is worse than Star Wars for random jargon and devoted fans, as far as my (uneducated) eyes can see. (What’s Klingon, anyway?) But maybe it’s a somewhat interesting fandom – and the character of Spock is intriguing.

And, um, yeah, I haven’t mentioned that I was a huge fan of Doctor Who while it was available on Canadian television (mostly tenth Doctor stuff). Again, cheesy, but sometimes a show that’s not embarrassed by its cheesiness can be good.



Filed under GENERAL Bookish Thoughts, Randoms & My Life