The Curious Case of Benedict Cumberbatch

If you’re anything like me (American, consuming predominately US-centric media), you remember the abrupt emergence of Basilica Cumberbund as a leading man and somehow a sex symbol out of seemingly nowhere. Like, we were just supposed to accept his promotion to one of People Magazine‘s Sexiest Men Alive because he played the bad guy in one Star Trek movie?

Then I remember that media outside of the US exists (kidding, obviously), and that Benito Cucumber rose to fame from the British show Sherlock, where he plays the eccentric genius with Shawn Spencer-like vision that highlights important things he sees. Now listen, I know British humor is a thing. And bless you, Mr. Bean fans. All I’m saying is that watching a detective show about a smart guy with super observance skills and a quirky sidekick after having seen all of Psych is… a bit of a letdown. There’s no catchy theme song, no flashbacks to explain how or why our intrepid detective is the way that he is, or a look into the inner politics of the police station who hires him as a consultant. (At least, not so far. Who knows. I might have to eat my words later.)

If anything, it’s far more reminiscent of House, where a curmudgeonly expert solves problems for people only for the sake of solving the puzzle, without a regard for the humans attached to the problems. It even stars a Britsh actor as well (though the casting director famously had no idea Hugh Laurie was British at the time of casting)! So I suppose anyone who projected sex appeal onto Dr. House cannot reasonably ding people for doing the same to Buncha Crunchabunch. But lots of actors can play a cold, calculating, look-down-your-nose stiff that talks a mile (or in this case, 1.6 km) a minute. And they don’t need seventeen layers of extremely pale powder caked onto their faces to achieve it. (High def has not been kind of a lot of makeup artists, that’s for sure.)

This is not an indictment of Eggs Benedict himself. He’s a good actor and hey, what the hell does it matter whether I find him attractive or not? I’m just confused by the fact that so many people who do love him, love him because of Sherlock. To me, that’s like falling in love with Kiefer Sutherland (something we all should do, tbh) because of his role of Jack Bauer, where he does nothing but torture people and look not nearly as good without his beard.

So yes, watch Sherlock (now streaming on Netflix) if you loved Encyclopedia Brown as a kid or if you’re the kind of person who likes to shout out the answer to riddles before the characters on screen do. Watch it if you like cozy mysteries or dysfunctional friendship dynamics or shows that are inexplicably 90 minutes instead of 60. Just please, don’t watch it to fall in love with Benefits Cauldron because he is playing an objectively pretty terrible character with a very specific sense of [British] humor and they make him as unattractive as possible at all times and honestly, he wouldn’t love you back anyway.

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