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Nine Questions About Dollhouse

February 16, 2009

1) Did you watch? What did you think?

2) Were you as psyched as I was to see that Mutant Enemy tag at the end?

3) How did you feel about Eliza D as Faith in Buffy? How have you felt about everything she’s done since Buffy? What did you think about her performance as Echo?

4) Why the hell did Joss agree to work with Fox again? Or ever?

5) Um… are there still no people of color who want good roles in Hollywood? It’s a real problem, isn’t it? How on earth can we fix it, so that all the producers and directors aren’t forced to only cast white people all the time? (Yes, there’s Harry Lennix as Echo’s handler, but a) that just makes him the token and b) Driving Miss Daisy, anyone?)

6) Ditto fat people, people with physical disabilities, people who aren’t freakishly pretty, etc.?

7) Did they really have to start with the girl-is-broken-due-to-sex-abuse-and-requires-the-intervention-of-a-kind-man-to-seek-redemption plotline? Why is that never the secret weak spot for male action stars, huh?

8 ) If Person A is desperate and out of options, and is coerced into fully giving up her agency and identity, and if, after making that one decision, Person A no longer has any meaningful ability to consent to anything, nor does she have the ability to withdraw her consent from the original agreement — under those circumstances, if Person C pays Person B money to have sex with Person A, is that really prostitution, as Joss and Eliza have said it is? Or is that sexual slavery?

9) Can someone tell me that Joss is going somewhere good with this? I want to believe…

(crossposted at Bitch Ph.D.)

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2009 1:06 pm

    I want to watch this, but unfortunately I have to wait until I can lift it somewheres on the Interweb. I’ve got multiple challenges to overcome: 1) geographic location, 2) lack of having cable, 3) lack of having a TV, 4) lack of having high speed Internet.😦

  2. redhairedgirl permalink
    February 17, 2009 4:11 pm

    1) I did. In fact, I watched it with you (and was sick as a dog, but the two are not related).

    2) GRRR ARGH

    3) I think I was one of the only 5 people who actually like Tru Calling. We do know, however, that when it comes to TV, I am pathetically easy. I was impressed that she was able to carry off the four different chatracters she played in the pilot so well. Was it as nuaced as I would like? No, but there was a line between the girl that signed herself up for this five year indentured servitude, the bike riding party girl, the negotiator, and Echo.

    4) We talked about this, and I don’t know, but someone over on Bitch PhD did point out that Fox is the go-to network for genre programming. So…. for lack of other options. If he’s smart, he got a “don’t fuck with my show because my fans are legion and they get cranky when you fuck with me. You wouldn’t like them to get cranky. They’ll flood the office with barbie doll heads or something.” clause in the contract.

    5) God, I don’t know.

    6) Also don’t know.

    7) It’s a Mary Sue weakness. Rape Is The New Dead Parents and so on. Joss likes seeing his Kick Ass Action Girls broken, and sexual abuse is a short cut to that.

    8) It’s slavery, pure and simple. In the specific case of Dollhouse, it’s even more creepy, since the original personality has been wiped- not only can she not withdraw her consent to any of this, is possibly that she doesn’t even exist anymore. So the body is just a shell with no way to assert its rights to anything.

    As I said after we watched it, they told Pre-Echo that it was only for five years- but how would she have anyway of holding them to the agreement? She doesn’t- she won’t know when her five years are up, even if she lives that long (which I doubt many of the Actives do), nor would she have any idea that they should let her go at that point. So it is slavery- slarvery she walked into, allegedly with Full Disclosure, but I don’t think they really did give FD, nor can she hold them to anything once the first wipe is done.

    9) I think he is- he got better at doing over-arcing plots as the Buffy Years went by, so we’ll see what happens.

  3. February 22, 2009 12:08 am

    One more question: If Joss is all about empowering women, then why do all his powerful women need male watchers?

  4. February 23, 2009 10:25 am

    Big yes, happy to see Grrr Aargh at that end. Made me long for those past shows that were so immediately and clearly counter-cultural. This one is playing it a little too much within the lines so far. I mean, most of Joss’s shows, you immediately know from the humor, the characters, all of it, that its different from the norm, saying something fresh. Dollhouse, not so much yet. I’m hopeful, I want to believe… Joss does take his time with pacing, with story arcs. I thought the second episode was much more interesting than the first.

    As for slavery vs. prostitution, I say definitely slavery — there is no consent, no power, no choices are possible. She no longer owns her own life.

    Worst, worst of all are the little promos for the show, with Eliza and I forget who else, scantily clad, saying “we can be anyone you want” or some such thing. That turned my stomach, and crossed the line into selling sexual slavery as something titillating to sell the show.

  5. jaclynfriedman permalink*
    February 23, 2009 10:57 am

    You know, that ad has been driving me UP THE EFFING WALL. It doesn’t just cross the line, it is fully unaware that there even is a line. I’m trying hard to not blame Joss, since he doesn’t control Fox’s ads, but clearly Eliza posed nekkid for it and honestly, what did Joss THINK Fox would do with this concept?

  6. Mateo permalink
    March 11, 2009 11:52 am

    I think that Joss’s heart is in the right place. I read an article in Rolling Stone with him, and he said that he took women and gender studies in college, and he really wants to promote equailty for everyone (including
    women). Also check out Can’t Stop the Serenity. I’m guessing either Fox took this show and butchered it like usual (which he mentioned they did from day one), or maybe he even fudged it up a bit. I’m going to keep watching it to see how it develops. He did say he’d like to move away from TV and do more web-based stuff like the awesome-ness that is Dr. Horrible’s Sing A Long Blog. We can only hope…

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