24 December 2011

Torn Between Two Archetypes

On the one hand there is the man who has a specific skill set at which he is brilliant but causes him to be rather megalomaniacal. He has tunnel vision, ignoring the things, the people, the situations that don't fit into his small view. But within that small, specific world he inhabits he is master. No one can compete and that makes him dangerous to others and, more especially, to himself. 

On the other hand is his friend or accomplice or partner or companion, a man who is equally or nearly as equally brilliant as the other, but with a wider world view that means his brilliance is more diffuse, used in more areas and therefore seen, especially by the first man, as less-than. This second man sees value in humanity and society, respects the conventions of society and social morality more, and lives accordingly. He is, however, drawn to the experiences and adventures inherent in the life of the first man and his dismissal of these same conventions and morality. He also acts as the voice of reason and morality in the actions of the first man, a check to his impulsive myopia. 

Half the shows and movies I watch play with these archetypes. Psych, Sherlock (the BBC series), House, Sherlock Holmes (the movies), White Collar, Burn Notice, and even Doctor Who. I think the reason I like the shows so much is that I'm torn between the archetypes. I can't decide who I like better, who I would ultimately choose. Shawn or Gus, Neal or Peter, Sherlock or Watson, the Doctor or Rory. On the one hand, the brilliant, myopic man lives an adventurous life, an extraordinary life away from the mundane. However, there is no room for the ordinary, for the relationships or the day-to-day that must be lived and can be extraordinary.  There would be no possibility of a relationship with him, as that is exactly the sort of mundanity he dismisses because it doesn't fit into his world view.

On the other, the reasonable, more conventional man appreciates the ordinary in life and understands how the small and the mundane can be beautiful and extraordinary in its own way. He would actually see the value in a relationship. Although we might both be more drawn to the extraordinary and adventuresome ways of the first man than either of us would care to admit.

Perhaps I just want to BE the friend or accomplice or partner or companion. A female Watson. That would be the best of both worlds; I wouldn't have to choose. Which is why, I suppose, I love Doctor Who so very much. There is a constantly rotating cast of Watsons, mostly female, who get the opportunity to enjoy their time with a brilliant, myopic, extraordinary individual and have amazing adventures. If only a madman in blue box would arrive on my doorstep. I can worry about adjusting to life post-adventures later.

3 comments:

Missy said...

I agree. I would want to be the friend, etc. of said mad genius. The ride would be wild but I could still maintain a life that is a bit more balanced. Great post. And I have got to get netflix so I can dish on this Doctor Who show. Sounds riveting!

Scully said...

It is ridiculously riveting. Especially a show that one can only describe as "A 911 year-old alien travels through space and time in a ship that looks like an old, blue police phone regularly saving Earth and the universe and inviting human beings to travel with him and help regularly save Earth and the universe." I mean, on paper it looks unfortunate but in practice it is awesome.

esperanza said...

Awesome post. I think however, either role would give me serious anxiety. :)