When you think of Sherlock Holmes’ best pal, Dr. John Watson, you probably picture some dope with a big mustache and not, say, a studly dynamo – but that wouldn’t be totally accurate. Pop culture has routinely taught us that Dr. Watson is an unsexy weenie; even one of the oldest Sherlock Holmes movies, a silent film from 1916, depicted Watson as an elderly fellow with little-to-no sexual magnetism. Then again, he could have been in his early 20s and the Brad Pitt of his day; it’s kind of hard to tell …

Most famously, in the long-running film series that began in 1939, Watson was depicted as a portly buffoon, a “stooge” incapable of even gunning down a simple Hitler effigy at a carnival game, which apparently was a thing.

But canonically, Watson is … hot. In the original Holmes canon, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle makes a point of describing Watson’s acute boinkability, specifically in the story “The Retired Colourman.” Holmes specifically mentions Watson’s “natural advantages” that would allow him to basically hook up with whoever he likes, from the “girl at the post-office” to the “wife of the greengrocer.” And for the record, “You’re good-looking enough to have an affair with our grocer’s life partner” is … a weird compliment to pay a friend.

While Jude Law played a handsome young Watson in the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies, and Sherlock’s Martin Freeman has his admirers (not to mention the TV’s gender-swapped take played by Lucy Liu), Watson’s attractive inconsistency could be a rights issue. After all, Doyle’s estate has previously pursued legal action over the abstract concept of emotionality. But as pointed out by writer Sara Ghaleb on Twitter, this specific story has now entered the public domain, freeing up future adaptations who want to accurately portray Dr. Watson as a “himbo.” 

So we can all look forward to the new movie Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Why Watson Can’t Go Back To That One Grocery Store Ever Again.

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Top Image: Warner Bros.

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