Relationship: Dr. Helen Sharpe and Dr. Max Goodwin (a.k.a. Sharpwin)
Fandom: New Amsterdam (TV series, 2018- )
Where to Watch: NBC, Hulu
Time Investment: 39 (one-hour) episodes so far, according to IMDB
Recommended for: Fans of early-seasons Grey’s Anatomy and Meredith/Derek…I think?
True story: Everything I know about New Amsterdam’s Max/Helen ship, I’ve learned from stylish fan videos and hypnotic tumblr edits. They’ve done their job well enough that I’m already halfway obsessed with this pair and now plan to catch up on the show, stat. But before I do, I thought I’d first document my understanding of what it’s all about. Yes, this means I’m recommending a show to you based solely on a carefully curated set of emotionally loaded Sharpwin scenes and not a single episode of the actual show. Cool? Cool. Let’s gooooo!
#1: New Amsterdam revolves around two doctors, Max Goodwin and Helen Sharpe.
Not only are they the leads of the show, but from what I can tell, hardly any one else has a speaking part. Which, honestly…why don’t more TV shows do this? I can already tell you I would watch Freema Agyeman (a fave since her Law & Order: UK days, don’t @ me) and her co-star Ryan Eggold (a new-to-me face) fold laundry together for hours on end.
#2: Helen and Max are colleagues and partners who run the hospital.
He’s the medical director and she’s his deputy medical director, whatever that means. It seems to involve a lot of walking and talking down hallways, à la my beloved The West Wing, and surprising each other with coffee and heated looks. If television doctors have taught me anything, it’s that emergency medicine runs on caffeine and on-call room sex, so this checks out. Rumor has it, they practice medicine on actual human patients at the hospital, though I’ve seen little hard evidence of this.
#3: Max is…married? With a baby???
Okay, let me clarify: Max wears a wedding ring and can sometimes be seen toting a baby girl. Cheating is generally a no-go for me, but I assume there’s more to the story. Like maybe he and the missus are separated (a la Derek and Addison in early Grey’s), or they’ve decided to stay together for some Really Good Reason despite not being in love anymore. If not, well, I can’t honestly say I won’t still ship Sharpwin, because what are morals to the possibility of hot people making out on my screen? But I will feel dirty about it. For the record.
(Full disclosure: This was really bothering me, so I did a little more digging and found out his wife’s name and that she apparently had some sort of an accident, making him a widower in season 2, how convenient. But that’s it, that’s all I know, so don’t spoil me!)
#4: Dr. Sharpe is treating Dr. Goodwin for cancer (on the down-low).
This part of their relationship has got to be a major conflict of interest, especially since he apparently wants his diagnosis kept top secret, but I’m cool with this particular ethics violation because DRAMA. Concealing the truth from everyone else in their lives, to the point where they can only lean on and confide in each other, is remarkably unhealthy. It is also the stuff of shipper fantasies.
#5: Even guest stars can see that Max is obsessed with Helen.
Max is not subtle in his worship of one Helen Sharpe. Between blatantly favoring her over their other colleagues (I interpret his emphatic “I do favor you” as confirmation that he doesn’t give a fuuuuck who notices) and putting his own career on the line to save hers (or something along these lines), he may as well take out a Times Square billboard. Not that he needs to, because it’s like this: If Helen’s in the room, Max is staring at her, guaranteed. And in that rare case when she’s not there when he desperately needs her? “Where’s Sharpe?” he gasps, positively panicked.
Obviously, an M.D. is not required to diagnose what’s going on between them. Everyone from coworkers (“This all started when you passed him off to Dr. S—”) to significant others (“This is about Max, isn’t it?”) to over-invested patients (“There’s someone else…”) has picked up on the Sharpwin vibes. Denial is futile, whether they can see that yet or not.
#6: Helen considers leaving her position at New Amsterdam, but stays for Max.
Where was she going and why? No clue, but the fact that she changes her mind seems to be Very Important to the both of them. All I’m sure of is that their relieved smiles are pretty cute.
#7: The hospital rooftop is Their Place.
Well, she claims it was her hideout first, but now it’s theirs. A lot of bonding takes place here, away from prying eyes and bionic ears.
Their jobs require a truly incredible amount of energy and brainpower, and the pressure can be crushing. Ergo, they deserve this time, as a treat.
#8: “Burden me” and “How can I help?” are things they like to say to each other.
I once might’ve thought, before Max and Helen educated me otherwise, that once you put your life in another person’s hands, you could tell them absolutely anything, and vice versa. How naive! No. Thanks to them, I now understand that the only way forward is by constantly reaffirming your commitment to them via sweet, emotionally intelligent check-ins and promises to always be a sounding board.
#9: He loves…his doctor.
Even with zero context for this moment, color me skeptical than ANYONE, in the history of the world, has ever said that heretofore banal phrase more flirtatiously.
#10: Their full-body hugs are NSFW.
Don’t they know there are CHILDREN in this hospital?! He, like, molds his body to hers in the gifs I’ve seen, so I don’t care how innocent the intent is behind these hugs, okay. Miss me with any “It’s about comfort” justifications from the writers or noromos. You simply do not nestle your head into your colleague/friend/doctor’s shoulder and only grudgingly let go if you don’t also want to jump their bones, I regret to inform.
#11: Everything Helen does is for Max.
“Max, when you need me, I am here for you,” she tells him over and over again in the vids I’ve watched, “For all of it.”
Then there’s this stunner, the one full scene I have borne witness to with my very own eyes:
If nothing else had swayed me to their side, Helen’s vulnerable, my-heart-is-yours-to-break declaration here would have done it. In case you were wondering.
So…you tell me: Do I even need to watch the show at this point, when I could practically teach a course in Sharpwin? J/k, j/k. (Mostly.) No, but seriously, what did I miss? What other facts should I know, as someone ready and willing to join the ranks of Sharwpin shippers and to make New Amsterdam her latest hyperfixation? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @shiprecced. You should feel free to correct me on anything I got totally wrong, of course, but don’t forget to continue persuading me of why I’ll love these two. #Priorities
I would go on, except…I have some TV to binge! Thanks to the fandom for getting me so hyped about this pair, and watch this space (and/or Twitter) for more Max/Helen thoughts as I catch up.
P.S. Credit where credit’s due: Shoutout to Chenford fandom for alerting me to Sharpwin in the first place! Newly obsessed with The Rookie‘s Lucy Chen and Tim Bradford like I am, I was scrolling through the #chenford tag on Twitter and tumblr when I noticed that they are often mentioned in the same breath—so to speak—as #sharpwin. (So are #melendaire and #upstead, actually, but that’s a whole other topic or two, kids.) Hours of “research” later and, well, this post happened.
Curious about where I’m getting my information? Doesn’t matter, ’cause you’re getting my half-assed bibliography either way:
- “max & helen | better” by stayXsound
- “fall on me | max & helen [+2×11]” by Captain Bucky
- “Max & Helen || Someone To Stay” by marts
- “Helen & Max | Breathe” by Giulia