House and Holmes Were Carved from the Same Tree


– Dr. House was purposefully based on Sherlock Holmes, Fulbright researcher Dr. Martha Lee Alexander stated at the beginning of her presentation in the American Voices seminar. The presentation underlined the fact that, in the case both characters, the hero is far from perfect.

​In her presentation, Dr. Martha Lee Alexander discussed Dr.House and Sherlock Holmes.

​Alexander continued her presentation ”Defective Detectives: Disability in Sherlock Holmes and Dr. House” by describing the similarities between the two characters. She stated, for instance, that both use a walking stick and suffer from addiction. The characters also share similar views and have similar ways to function, and the working methods of both include minute observation and deduction. Not dictated by the norms of the society, both tend to take matters into their own hands.

Alexander pointed out that in detective series, it used to be the villains or the victims who had different disabilities, but gradually such features shifted towards the detectives themselves. In this context, Alexander wanted to bring up another change that has occurred in the American popular culture: while physique used to be one of the determining features of a hero, nowadays the hero of the story is often a nerd who is smart but socially awkward. – It has become cool to be a nerd, said Alexander.

The annual American Voices seminar, which focuses on the American culture and society, is organised as collaboration between the Fulbright Center and the North American Studies programme coordinated by the Department of English of the University of Turku. This year’s seminar, organised at the beginning of October, was the 22nd.

The Fulbright Center promotes student exchange between Finland and North America. Watch here the video interview of Fulbright-University of Turku Graduate Awardee Alistair Hayden.

Aino Koivisto

Created 14.10.2014 | Updated 14.10.2014