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 Dr. Watson stupid?

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momus

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Registration date : 2010-12-12

PostSubject: Dr. Watson stupid?   Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:30 am

So, there is a lot of discussion (especially from those people who pretend Sherlock Holmes was real) to whether Watson is a smart guy, but not at Holmes' level, or stupid. Conan Doyle, in that interview you can find on youtube, refers to Dr. Watson as being "rather stupid", but one wonders if that is a comparative statement. In earlier movies, Watson was played as a comic sidekick often. In the Granada versions, Watson seems much more with it, but as Homes is much older, so is Watson than their literary counter-parts (Brett was 50 when he began the series, and in the books Holmes starts doing his detective work in his late twenties), thus a second potential distortion takes place. Watson is a bit of a ladies man in the books and in the series he seems rather not. What are your thoughts?
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KevinP

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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:08 am

Well, Nigel Bruce's portrayal is the only that made me wonder how the heck he became a doctor...
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Gumball

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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:46 pm

I see Watson as a tool by which Doyle can allow us (the reader) to enter in to the mind of Holmes.
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Schmitzbitz



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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:02 pm

Gumball wrote:
I see Watson as a tool by which Doyle can allow us (the reader) to enter in to the mind of Holmes.
Well put - I always figured that Watson couldn't be an ignoramus for the basic reason that Holmes would not have put up with him. Certainly, when compared to the analytical genius of Holmes, Watson seems a touch on the dim side, but remember, not only is he a successful Doctor, but he also unravels the mysteries in some of the stories when asked for an opinion...although, unlike Holmes, only after he has all the pieces of the puzzle (often provided by the detective himself).

Sadly, most television and movie productions of the works seem to portray Watson more as bumbling comic relief...in all honesty, I think that Holmes would have been disgusted with his side-kick as portrayed on the screen, and would never have considered him a close, personal friend; never mind allowing him to chronicle the adventures.

Of all the characters that appear with any regularity in the original tome, I would say that the police inspectors are written with the lowest level of intelligence; he often portrays them as ignorant, bumbling, and foolish; jumping to conclusions before the facts are laid out, and acting rashly based on said conclusions (oft despite the best advice of Holmes himself).
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gandalfpc

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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:04 am

Nigel was an incorrigible bungler so as to humanize Holmes and show his tolerance for all good men rather than being an intellectual eliteist. It can also be noted that only Watson could tolerate such close quarters with Holmes... It was his friendship that was indispensable, not his services.

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Mr_Jeff

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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:27 am

KevinP wrote:
Well, Nigel Bruce's portrayal is the only that made me wonder how the heck he became a doctor...
As far as Nigel Bruce is concerned, he doesn't do the character of Watson justice. However, Nigel Bruce pretty much played Nigel Bruce in every movie he was in. He was a fine character actor, I think my favorite movie with him is The Corn is Green which also starred Bette Davis. Just as a side note, I read that he was shot eleven times during the first world war.
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Preacher

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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:43 pm

I just finished reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. At no time in the reading did I get the impression that Arthur Conan Doyle was painting the a picture of Watson as an idiot. He is a former military officer and doctor. He is not on the level of Sherlock Holmes and lacks the analytical ability of Holmes, but that doesn't make him an idiot. In the book, Holmes and Watson are friends. Watson is viewed by Holmes as someone he can converse with. I really can't see Holmes wanting to converse with an idiot!!
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Guy



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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:53 pm

Gumball wrote:
I see Watson as a tool by which Doyle can allow us (the reader) to enter in to the mind of Holmes.
Well stated… I think Watson the student allows the reader to see into an infinitely higher level of analysis that would, in all probability be too complicated for an engaging read.
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KevinP

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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:04 pm

Doyle's Watson was absolutely not stupid. It was only Hollywood's envisioning of him that was...
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Preacher

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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:46 pm

KevinP wrote:
Doyle's Watson was absolutely not stupid. It was only Hollywood's envisioning of him that was...

You are so right. Most actors that played the part could not convey the intense intelligence of Holmes. So to make him seem more...Holmes...they dummied down Watson.
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AlanJohn

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PostSubject: Watson stupid?   Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:16 am

At no time in the books is Wartson portrayed as stupid. This idea came about in the earlier films of Holmes. He doesn't appear as stupid in the TV series.
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tiltjlp

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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:56 am

Dr. Watson had the good common sense to allow a rather insecure Sherlock Holmes to have the limelight. Holmes had a need to feel superoir, and Watson wisely played along. Nigel Bruce was perfect for the role, I feel.
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esoxhunter

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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:00 am

I know this is an older post, but since I really like this topic I thought I'd jump in.

I agree with everyone who has said that Watson is not at all a stupid man, nothwithstanding the ACD interview. The written stories themselves and the later BBC and other radio programs consistently depict Watson as a competent lay evidentiary thinker, albeit not a spectacular one, as well as a respected physician. (I find this interesting, because at least from what I've read ACD himself was only a mediocre doctor.) Watson is like the everyman reader who enjoys trying to solve the mysteries but, like everyone else on the planet, doesn't come close to possessing Holmes' acumen. And Watson is certainly no less competent than Scottland yard detectives Lestrade and Gregson, whom Holmes describes as the best of a bad lot. Although the Bruce radio depiction of Holmes at times make him appear less than brilliant, much of that is attributable to his semi-incoherent mumblings and not his actual approach to problems and situations.

I think Watson is an interesting character study in and of himself. Unlike Holmes, who at least arguably is a progressive social thinker as reckoned in late 20th Century terms, Watson is clearly a social conservative who strongly supports the British peerage system and who frequently addresses perceived social underlings as "my good man" and the like. At the same time, Watson is clearly a humane and compassionate individual, as well as a fiercely loyal friend to Holmes. Watson is a man of character, despite his obvious penchant for the opposite sex (which may have been intended by ACD as a contrast to Holmes aversion to most things female). We can all relate to Watson in ways we can't relate to Holmes, which makes his choice as Holmes' sidekick a brilliant one.
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Churchwarden

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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:31 am

Dr. Watson was an intelligent man or he couldn't have been a doctor, wrote the Sherlock Holmes stories or have been Holmes best friend. However, though not at the same level of intelligence as Holmes, he learned a lot ... like George Harrison learned how to write songs from working with Lennon/McCartney for years.
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tleek

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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:10 pm

I just bought the leather bound complete sherlock holmes and have read through the first two novels and a few short stories and Watson is in no way stupid. He doesn't have the sort of brilliant detective genius powers like holmes but he's a smart man ha.
I think the original stories are great and im surprised I never thought to read them until now. Now I havnt been able to stop ha Laughing
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Churchwarden

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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:41 pm

I just bought the leather bound collection myself! The Sherlock Holmes stories are A+ reading! Very Happy
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tleek

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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:21 pm

They sure are!!
some of my new favorites!
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szyzk

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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:56 pm

I agree - Watson was a more than competent sidekick for Holmes. It was only the portrayals of him that started the comic relief angle.

I just bought the Annotated SH Vol. 1 before Christmas, and for Christmas my wife gave me the Nook with all of the SH short-stories and novels already loaded on. I know books can be a tactile thing but for the amount of reading I do I much prefer the Nook, and now I feel badly because I have this hulk of a hardcover laying around undisturbed!
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tleek

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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:19 pm

[quote="szyzk" I feel badly because I have this hulk of a hardcover laying around undisturbed![/quote]
Im sure someone would be happy to put it to good use, at least for a time, friends or family members perhaps?
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szyzk

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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:46 pm

tleek wrote:
Im sure someone would be happy to put it to good use, at least for a time, friends or family members perhaps?

Reading is, sadly, a lost art. The only family member or friend who reads is my grandmother, and she has no interest in Sherlock. I suppose I'll hold on to it until I find someone who is in need of it!
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whitebriar

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PostSubject: Re: Dr. Watson stupid?   Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:43 am

>>I just bought the leather bound complete sherlock holmes .....>

i also picked up that volume--it was a good purchase--it joins several more Holmes/Doyle books on my shelf--

i have read the stories many times and i never tire of them--
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