Monday, February 01, 2010

Dollhouse - quick thoughts and open thread for discussion SPOILERS

So the obsessive Dollhouse fans in the audience may have noticed that I'm not posting my reviews. I'm hoping to enter this competition and my dollhouse writing energy is going towards that. I will start on full reviews after I've submitted my essay in mid-February. But in the meantime I thought I'd open up a thread so people could talk about it.

Some thoughts:

  • The show went down hill a lot in the last three episodes I think (after a run of truly fantastic episodes). Possibly it was a mistake to try and take the show that far into the story. Epitaph 2 was, in the end, a more powerful ending to the future than what we got, I think if they had tried to tell less of a story it would have been more effective.
  • I take back anything mean I've ever said about Eliza Dushku - she was great all the way through these end episodes.
  • The portrayal of Keith Harding rather marred the finale and the ideas about people's relationship with food it portrayed was really depressing. It must suck so much to believe that your appetite is all consuming and you must control it at all times, because being fat would be horrendous.
  • Sierra & Victor 4 eva.
  • The second to last episode was really incoherent - I can't even work up the will power to get offended at the worst bits (mostly stuff involving Paul Ballard), because it made no sense.
  • I thought it was neat that Mag was into girls - but it would have been even neater if Zone hadn't talked about it so much (although I liked the point that they were making that these people had fought together and knew so little about each other).
  • The Attic was good, but sub-Restless, and had even skeevier politics around race.
  • When Paul died we burst into applause - but why the hell won't they let him stay dead.
  • How did Topher become my favourite character?
I really enjoyed Dollhouse, but don't think that the last few episodes celebrated what I loved most about it.


  1. Anonymous1:51 am

    Me, obsessive? I admit it, I’ve repeatedly visited hoping for recaps and was disappointed when none were forthcoming. Good luck with the competition.

    I’ve been reading other bloggers – mostly feminist-centric ones – commenting on Dollhouse (and Bones). I think the reason that I haven’t been as bothered by ableist language, fat-bashing or race issues is because of my generational difference in perspective from most of these bloggers. I’ll be 60 next month and, consequently, came of age in a very different world than those under 40. Don’t get me wrong. I’m politically left of nearly everyone I know and frequently get on my soapbox about the inequities in our world.

    Joss Whedon pulled me, irrevocably, into his world with Buffy. I do have my own prejudices, however. I have a problem accepting former villains as heroes/heroines. Because of that, I was a latecomer to Firefly (Caleb as a hero? Not in my world). Although Faith (Eliza) redeemed herself in the final season of Buffy, I was leery of a series with Eliza as the star of the show but, since I was wrong about Firefly, I decided to make the leap for Joss’ sake. After all, if I can’t trust Joss, then who can I trust? Neither Joss nor Dollhouse let me down. I loved it from the first episode, despite the tinkering with the concept by the network.

    One point with which I totally agree with you: How did Topher become my favorite character? Oh, yes! But then, that’s Joss. In his world there are no absolute blacks or whites. No one is perfectly bad, or perfectly good (except maybe Dick Cheney). And isn’t that reality? I railed against the juvenile, egotistical, self-centered Topher for all of season 1. I saw nothing redeeming in him, whatsoever. His evolution throughout season 2 was nothing short of amazing. The tragedy of Topher became the heart and soul of Dollhouse. His journey, to some extent, became our journey and the moral of the story – WAKE UP! Our actions have consequences.

    Paul Ballard? I felt he took on a creeptastic persona as the series progressed, and wasn’t enamored with his character. However, I gasped and was saddened by his death. Had I not been, I don’t think I would have been so deeply moved by Echo/Caroline’s breakdown scene. I wept. Eliza’s performance in that scene was nothing short of amazing, IMHO.

    While my initial reaction to the Harding gluttony scene was negative, on reflection I think with the time constraints there was little else that could have portrayed the result of excess/supreme power. What would someone do when there is no one to tell them no? What choices would they make when their every wish/desire/fantasy is granted? What would that look like? In the real world we only need to look at what Elvis Presley did to himself. The writers could have gone the Michael Jackson route of self mutilation through plastic surgery, but why when Harding could simply switch to a more beautiful body any time he wanted to?

    All in all, I applaud Joss for making a thought provoking, mind expanding commentary on where our world is headed. We’ve become obsessed with an impossible ideal of beauty and perfection. A world in which we can have whatever we want without any consequences. A world in which technology will solve all of our problems and we won’t have to work for anything. Or at least as long as we have enough money. Those of us who don’t have the money? Well, we’re there to serve those that do.

    Connie, Orlando, FL

  2. Anonymous1:54 am

    Oops! The Dick Cheney reference should have followed perfectly BAD, not perfectly good.

    Connie, again!

  3. Anonymous2:46 pm

    Different Anonymous here...

    I'm actually Shaun, but

    I found the last episodes of Dollhouse disappointing; not purely in themselves, but in that it was obvious from those episodes what the story arches would have been. The episodes we saw simply made the jumps from point A to B too quick, but knowing what a Whedon series can be I know that with enough episodes those jumps would have worked.

    And those jumps would have made an interesting twisting series. Instead, they came across as happening too fast. The biggest jump I felt was between the second to last episode and the last one. I felt a whole season could have comfortably fitted into that gap.

    As for the Keith Harding scene, as Connie observed, it could have been done better with more time. I read it differently to you. It wasn't about fatness, it was about theft, and disrespect of the value of human lives. The character was shown stealing people's bodies, frequently, using the body until he could no longer be bothered with it, and then stealing another body. This is a fairly monstrous thing to do, and he is the bad guy.

    I hope Whedon gets a good run with his next series. I hope there is another series. I fear he may give the whole television game up as a foul jamboree not worth the candle.

  4. I stopped watching after Mellie killed herself instead of her rapist. There's enough misogyny in the real world. Don't need to watch it on TV.

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