Monday, January 7, 2013

Watson Face

My study abroad group saw Taking Steps by Alan Ayckbourn at the Orange Tree Theatre in London 2010. We first read it and Martha and I ate it up. Gosh, we still quote it ("I'm a dancer, Mark!"). Our favorite character in the play and the production was Tristram Watson. He's inarticulate and unassuming and adorable. He inadvertently causes most of the hubbub, and he has a GREAT face. The character has a great face. You can't not see a wonderfully lovely face when you read him. Matthew Cottle, as Watson in the Orange Tree production was perfect.

a much younger Matthew Cottle than we saw,
but you get the idea.
Martha and I started referring to this type of unassuming lovability in a man's face as being "Watson", i.e. "he's such a Watson" or "he has a Watson face". The unspoken sign of a Watson face is putting your wrists together and framing your face at the chin, smiling and squinting, like it's too much to handle.
Martin Freeman, such a Watson
It just so happens that Martin Freeman as John Watson in Sherlock also has a Watson face, absolutely appropriate, but the name derives from Taking Steps. Other Watson faces? Rory Williams from Doctor Who, Martha says Mark Ruffalo, which I partly agree with and William from Series 1&2 of Downton. 
Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams
William from Downton (Thomas Howes)
Amy from Doctor Who sums up the Watson face very well :
"You know when sometimes you meet someone so beautiful - and then you actually talk to them and five minutes later they're as dull as a brick; but then there's other people. And you meet them and you think, 'Not bad, they're okay,' and when you get to know them ... their face just, sort of, becomes them, like their personality's written all over it, and they just - they turn into something so beautiful. Rory's the most beautiful man I've ever met."

I know very few Watson faces in real life, but I know some and I love them. They're wonderful.


  1. Darren Boyd from the hulu show Spy (I love it and am addicted). He has a perfect Watson face.