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Remote Life: Markings at Bunche Hall incite togetherness among avid TV show fans

The columns outside of Bunche Hall are one of a few locations on campus that have been marked with writings that tie in with the show “Sherlock.”

By Samantha Suchland

Feb. 20, 2012 11:57 p.m.

If you’re not a fan of the shows “Sherlock,” “Doctor Who” or “Game of Thrones,” you might have walked by the chalk writings at Bunche Hall without giving them much thought.

But if you are a fan, you’ve probably whipped out your phone, taken a photo and gloated about attending UCLA on every social network you happen to be a part of. Or at least that’s what I’ve been doing.

Messages like “I believe in Sherlock Holmes,” “Bad Wolf” and “Ned Stark” have been accumulating on the walls of Bunche for weeks, making Bunche a mecca for television fans.

They’ve also validated my choice to attend UCLA, where people don’t just like their television but plaster their appreciation for it across buildings.

So I donned my metaphorical Sherlock Holmes deer-stalking cap and did some sleuthing to find out who was responsible. Eventually I discovered the UCLA Sherlockians, a small group of “Sherlock” fans who meet in Ackerman on Friday afternoons.

It all began a month ago when Lenore Berry, a fifth-year comparative literature student, posted on Tumblr asking if there were any “Sherlock” fans at UCLA.

A few responses resulted in four to six UCLA Sherlockians meeting up each week to discuss their favorite shows. By week two they were bringing their own chalk.

“I’ve been seeing “˜I believe in Sherlock’ on other campuses in England so I thought UCLA needed one,” Berry said.

They began with the message “I believe in Sherlock Holmes” on the temporary ramp near Pauley Pavilion. Another week they drew the door to 221B Baker St., the fictional home of Sherlock Holmes, on the pillars in front of the Geology Building.

But most of the excitement continues to take place near Bunche, where copy cats from other shows are leaving their messages.

“For whatever reason, Bunche is where all the nerd groups are going to leave their nerd messages,” Berry said.

But there’s more to the messages than just letting the world know that fellow fans of these shows exist at UCLA. There are back stories to these messages, which give them depth and a reason to be written about.

“Bad Wolf” was a reoccurring phrase on BBC’s “Doctor Who.” It was spoken rarely but appeared scrawled across walls in nearly every episode of the show’s first season.

Eventually viewers learned that the message was planted purposefully from another place and time. Seeing the words “Bad Wolf” written on a wall at UCLA is incredibly thrilling once you’ve learned to associate the phrase with a message from the future.

When I sent my roommate a photo of the words “Ned Stark,” she replied with the “Game of Thrones” catchphrase, “Winter is coming.” Suddenly I felt as if I were standing in the middle of Winterfell, a direwolf at my feet. In reality I was in the sculpture garden, late for class.

And then there are the “Sherlock” messages that started it all.

Without giving too much away, the finale of “Sherlock” season two leaves Holmes with a tarnished reputation. In the wake of that episode, fans across the world have begun a guerilla style support campaign with fliers and messages stating, “I believe in Sherlock Holmes.”

Seeing these messages made me feel as if I were a part of an underground society of Sherlock supporters lurking in the dark shadows of campus. And I mean lurking in the most complimentary way possible.

So thank you to the UCLA Sherlockians and all those other television nerds out there who have taken to the pillars of Bunche.

Now I know I chose the right school. I look forward to your future work and until then, I believe in Sherlock Holmes.

If you are part of a television club on campus, email Suchland at [email protected].

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