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We can’t all be charismatic geniuses, and so what might work as idle chit-chat from Sherlock Holmes to, well, everyone he meets, will probably not go down so well in real life. If you ever find yourself close to using any of these lines, or anything like any of these lines, on anyone ever, you can probably expect trouble.
And not the kind of trouble your unique skills can get you out of:
What not to do when seeking a roommate:
John: Is that it?
Sherlock: Is that what?
John: We’ve only just met, and we’re going to go and look at a flat?
John: We don’t know a thing about each other. I don’t know where we’re meeting, I don’t even know your name.
Sherlock: I know you’re an Army doctor, and you’ve been invalided home from Afghanistan. You’ve got a brother worried about you, but you won’t go to him for help, because you don’t approve of him, possibly because he’s an alcoholic, more likely because he recently walked out on his wife, and I know your therapist thinks your limp’s psychosomatic, quite correctly, I’m afraid. That’s enough to be going on with, don’t you think ? The name is Sherlock Holmes, and the address is 221B baker street. Afternoon.
How not to make friends:
Sherlock Holmes: Anderson, don’t talk out loud. You lower the IQ of the whole street.
How not to be Superman:
John Watson: There are lives at stake, Sherlock! Actual human live— Just, just so I know, do you care about that at all?
Sherlock Holmes: Will caring about them help save them?
Sherlock: Then I’ll continue not to make that mistake.
John: And you find that easy, do you?
Sherlock: Yes, very. Is that news to you?
John: No. No.
Sherlock: …I’ve disappointed you.
John: [sarcastically] That’s good, that’s good deduction, yeah.
Sherlock: Don’t make people into heroes, John. Heroes don’t exist, and if they did, I wouldn’t be one of them.
How not to make your friends feel special:
Sherlock: I said ‘Can you pass me a pen?’.
John: [Entering the room] What? When?
Sherlock: About an hour ago.
John: Didn’t notice I’d gone out then?
How not to get along with your family:
Mrs Hudson: It’s a disgrace, sending your little brother into danger like that. Family is all we have in the end, Mycroft Holmes.
Mycroft Holmes: Oh, shut up, Mrs Hudson.
Sherlock Holmes and John Watson: Mycroft!
Mrs Hudson: Thank you.
Sherlock: Though do in fact shut up.
How not to talk to children
Little Girl: They wouldn’t let us see Grandad when he was dead. Is that cos he’d gone to heaven?
Sherlock Holmes: People don’t really go to heaven when they die. They’re taken to a special room and burned.
John Watson: Sherlock!
How not to receive a Christmas present:
How not to join NASA:
Sherlock Holmes: Oh, you meant “spectacularly ignorant” in a nice way! Look, it doesn’t matter to me who’s Prime Minister, or who’s sleeping with who–
John Watson: [muttering] Or that the earth goes around the sun.
Sherlock: Oh God, that again! It’s not important!
John: Not important? It’s primary school stuff! How can you not know that?
Sherlock: Well, if I ever did, I’ve deleted it.
John: “Deleted it”?
Sherlock: Listen: [pointing to his head] This is my hard-drive, and it only makes sense to put things in there that are useful. Really useful. Ordinary people fill their heads with all kinds of rubbish, and that makes it hard to get at the stuff that matters! Do you see?
John: But it’s the solar system!
Sherlock: Oh, hell! What does that matter?! So we go around the sun! If we went around the moon or round and round the garden like a teddy bear, it wouldn’t make any difference! All that matters to me is the work! Without that, my brain rots. Put that in your blog – or better still, stop inflicting your opinions on the world!
What not to do when someone has a crush on you:
Molly Hooper: Listen, I was wondering. Maybe later when you’re finished—
Sherlock: You’re wearing lipstick. You weren’t wearing lipstick before.
Molly: I, uh, I refreshed it a bit
Sherlock: [beat] Sorry. You were saying?
Molly: I was wondering if you’d like to have coffee?
Sherlock: Black, two sugars please. I’ll be upstairs.
[Sherlock leaves the room]
Molly Hooper: …Okay.
How not to deal with a seduction:
Irene Adler: D’you know the big problem with a disguise, Mr. Holmes? However hard you try, it’s always a self-portrait.
Sherlock Holmes: You think I’m a vicar with a bleeding face?
Irene: No, I think you’re damaged, delusional and believe in a higher power. In your case, it’s yourself. And somebody loves you… Oh, if I had to punch that face,[Looks at John] I’d avoid your nose and teeth too.
John Watson: Could you put something on please, anything at all… a napkin?
Irene: Why? Are you feeling exposed?
Sherlock: I don’t think John knows where to look. [Stands up and offers coat to Irene]
Irene: No, I think he knows exactly where. I’m not sure about you.
Sherlock: If I were to look at naked women I’d borrow John’s laptop.
John: You do borrow my laptop.
Sherlock: I confiscate it.
How not to ensure a happy relationship with your co-workers:
Sherlock Holmes: Ah, Anderson. Here we are again.
Anderson: It’s a crime scene. I don’t want it contaminated! Are we clear on that?
Sherlock Holmes: Very clear. Is your wife away for long?
Anderson: Oh don’t pretend you worked that out! Somebody told you that!
Sherlock Holmes: Your deodorant told me that.
Anderson: My deodorant.
Sherlock Holmes: It’s for men.
Anderson: Well of course it’s for men! I’m wearing it!
Sherlock Holmes: So’s Sergeant Donovan. [sniffs] Ooh… I think it just vaporised. May I go in?
Anderson: Now look, whatever you’re implying-
Sherlock Holmes: I’m not implying anything. I’m sure Sally came round for a nice little chat, and just happened to stay over. And I assume she scrubbed your floor, going by the state of her knees.
How not to be humble:
John: You got all that because you realised the case would be pink?
Sherlock: Well, it had to be pink, obviously.
John: Why didn’t I think of that?
Sherlock: Because you’re an idiot. [John looks up, insulted.] No, no, no, don’t be like that, practically everyone is.
How not to make a house a home:
Sherlock Holmes: Anderson? What are you doing here on a drugs bust?
Anderson: Oh I volunteered.
DI Lestrade: They all did. They’re not strictly speaking on the drug squad, but they’re very keen.
[Sgt Sally Donovan comes out of the kitchen with a small clear plastic bag with 3 or 4 eyes in it]
Sgt. Sally Donovan: Are these human eyes?
Sherlock: Put those back!
Donovan: They were in the microwave!
Sherlock: It’s an experiment!
How not to give your friends some space:
John Watson: Hi, I have two tickets reserved for tonight.
Box Office Manager: And what’s the name?
John: Uh, Holmes.
Box Office Manager: Actually I have three in that name.
John: No, I don’t think so. We only booked two.
Sherlock: [from off screen] And then I phoned back and got one for myself as well.
How not to play the game:
Sherlock Holmes: Phone Lestrade, tell him there’s an escaped rabbit.
John Watson: You serious?
Sherlock Holmes: It’s this or Cluedo.
John: Ah, no. We are never playing that again.
Sherlock: Why not?
John: Because it’s not actually possible for the victim to have done it, Sherlock, that’s why!
Sherlock: It was the only possible solution!
John: It’s not in the rules.
Sherlock: Well then the rules are wrong!
What’s your favorite Sherlock quote? Tell us here:
Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.
He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.
Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic