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"Dollhouse" Tv Series - Shadowkat67.livejournal.com Review

Wednesday 4 March 2009, by Webmaster

For those interested in great metas on Dollhouse, from a different and more "political" perspective, go read [info]frenchani - who discusses Dollhouse - from a Marxist outlook. While I believe [info]aycheb looks at it from an acting perspective - or we are just puppets at the will of the playwrite - sort of like the old studio system, where actors were at the beck and call of the studio heads and did whatever they were told, regardless of the role.

I am still on the fence regarding Dollhouse - for these reasons:

It requires a lot from its audience. Perhaps too much.

It’s a convoluted set-up, with a central character who literally has no identity outside of the memory implants she gets each week. Add to that - some genuinely squicky and disturbing themes. La Femme Nikita was squicky too - but at least Nikita got to keep her identity, she was an agent to stop terrorism, and they didn’t memory wipe her then pimp her to the highest bidder, she had agency, she had a choice - limited true, but a choice, and her actions each week stayed with her. Same deal with Alias - at least Sydney had "agency". Here - we get the feeling that the Doll’s gave up their "agency" or "identity" - have it wiped clean, no clue why, to be pimped out to the highest bidder, in order to become the highest bidder’s perverted fantasy??? They need to tell us why these people chose to do this, assuming of course they chose it, and fast. The audience needs a character to identify with - Echo isn’t someone most audience members want to - she is too much of a cypher. Ballard? Or the Handler? Maybe - but their both male, and not the lead.

While I like Dollhouse - it appeals to my analytical side, emotionally I have troubles with it and I can’t say that I’m all that invested in its success at the moment. I do not see myself buying the DVD nor do I see myself rewatching each episode. Plus it gives me nightmares, which makes me wonder why I’m bothering with it. Regarding it’s longevity - at this point? I’ll be surprised if it makes it past 13 episodes. I’m not really sure.

Dollhouse is an incredibly ambitious show. Whedon appears to want to do a lot of experimental things in this tv show - some of which, I’m not sure he can do and am not at all certain he can pull off. I’m watching for much the same reason I loved watching the last four seasons of Buffy - it’s like watching a hire wire trapeze act without a net. The writers are taking risks, trying something new and different, experimenting - curious to see if they can pull it off. I have serious doubts at this point that they can - but...we’re only three episodes in, so who knows?

That said, last week’s episode regarding the Backup Singers - which I don’t know the name of, but is Dollhouse episode 1.3 - did provide Echo with a little bit more agency. Granted Eliza suffers from what I like to refer to as George Clooney syndrom - she has a specific set of mannerisms that do not change regardless of the role she plays - and the mannerisms are unfortunately too noticeable, much like Cary Grant and John Wayne’s voices. You almost want to make fun of them. With some directors they are understated, with others more obvious. Last week - they were more understated, so I think DeKnight may have tuned them down a bit. That’s why people keep thinking "Faith" whenever they watch an episode - the vocal inflection and mannerisms are the same.

I liked the episode a smidgen better than last weeks and was pleasantly surprised, because it has been done before. The B plotline or episode plotlines are a bit on the cliche side of the fence. We’ve seen these tales before, and unfortunately more than once. That may or may not be intentional - hard to tell. My guess is it plays to Whedon’s general theme of actors being forced to do stupid things over and over again, and the relationship of fans and celebrities.

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