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July 23 2008

Joss and Eliza talk Dollhouse with the Hollywood Reporter. With pretty moving pictures.

See, mind-wipe or no, I don't buy the co-ed shower thing. Even if the Actives are reduced to a kind of Edenic, pre-shame stage of consciousness, they have adult bodies. The male actives, at least ought to feel, um, stirrings, shall we say.
"I live to subvert [an audience's] expectation," he says. "There's a part of me that was clearly born for this and a part of me that will never be right for it. I live to do the episode of 'Murder She Wrote' where nobody dies. Because the greatest joy is to be genuinely surprise by human behavior or narrative structure."

That's awesome... until you killing characters ceases to be surprising. Then what? ;)
The male actives, at least ought to feel, um, stirrings, shall we say.

Well they might do, but just not think anything of it. Without sexual knowledge they'd just ignore it.

Of course on a network show we're not going to see anything. Unless one of the girls says "Cool. I needed somewhere to hang my soap-on-a-rope"
Well they live their lives programmed yes? Perhaps they are programmed to not feel sexual about each other?

The Dollhouse does sound like a fantastic place to live (and not just because of the co-ed shower).
Critic: “Where do they hold the soap?”

Whedon: “That’s a sweeps episode.”

I do love this fellow.
Ah, but can hormones be programmed? I seriously doubt it.
Couldn't Eliza be the apple? Apples have lots of versatility and character that is often hidden or overlooked. She could be an apple, yeah? Y'know, I love apples.

Mmmm... A lovely, shiny, red delicious apple, the kind you get when they're perfectly ripe in the cool of late autumn, all crisp and sweet... Dipped in caramel or covered in it and rolled in chopped pecans and drizzled with two kinds of chocolate. Or hot with a toasty, buttery streusel all over and a bit of whipped cream. Or perfumed with cloves and cinnamon in vanilla bean ice cream with hot caramel sauce. Or tarted up, enrobed in puff pastry with a bit of apricot glaze...

Um... Apples that way, I meant. Yeah. Apples.

Erm... What was that about co-ed showers in the Dollhouse? Maybe they only use cold water.
As I understand the premise of Dollhouse, and I've been known to be proven wrong repeatedly on this note before, the show will reveal that even though these human beings have been psychologically conditioned to behave as if 'programmed' and they perhaps even volunteered for this job, the fact is there are some things about the human psyche and human anatomy in general that just can't be overwritten or reprogrammed. The series will consider what actually entails sentience. What is free will? When hormones kick in, is that bestial or cerebral? Can a person be conditioned to not act upon the base impulses of human genetic code?

Sometimes Eliza's gonna play Eve, sometimes she'll be the snake, and sometimes she'll be the apple. She may even get to be Adam every now and then.

By series end, will Echo become her own god? THAT is something I'm looking forward to seeing Whedon explore.
Ecco looks like an interesting character. I hope Eliza can bring as much charisma into her as she did with Faith.
Look, it's tiny talking Joss!

I get the impression he's very stimulated by having to simultaneously meet multiple challenges that go to the heart of story structure, so I think it's probably a good thing, for the viewer, that he sees a way to both provide the pop the network knows how to present to a big audience and to advance his deep story. I think part of the power of the show will be just how attractive it is on so many levels to be one of the dolls -- to find yourself falling for the love of your life one day, going on an action hero adventure the next -- basically having all sorts of peak, intense experiences without any complications lasting longer than an assignment. And then at the same time to see the tragic reasons (1) why the client wants to live out the fantasy, perhaps to imagine what it would be like to undo some failure (This time I'll save you, Buffy!) (2) why the actives have chosen this life. The show can be as fun and light as North by Northwest on the surface while at the same time right underneath it's as disturbing as Vertigo .
"But at the end of the day if I can make people think they're in one place and tell them they're in another, hit them while
they're laughing, get them laugh when they're crying... That's why I'm in the business."

And that's why he's so good...
The hormone thing may indeed allow Joss to examine the oft-talked-about-on-here nature/nurture, mind/body, base desires/higher intellect question but it's also possible that he means "garden of Eden" in the strictest sense. Adam and Eve may have bonked like bunnies, the point is until they ate from the tree of knowledge they didn't think anything of it - afterwards they were aware of the ramifications, they learned shame and modesty. It might be the same for the dolls in that sex with each other is just something they do - like exercising or playing Twister ;).

Until Echo "eats the fruit" that is.

Ah, but can hormones be programmed? I seriously doubt it.

They can be suppressed though (i.e. with drugs).

The Dollhouse does sound like a fantastic place to live (and not just because of the co-ed shower).

Something i'm not clear on, are they actually allowed out in their "in-between" state ? Cos if not, ++ not fantastic IMO. Gotta have a bit of sky.
I would say that Echo will have to play carefully. Self-awareness beyond what they're programmed will be a flaw and the model will have to be scrapped. Since it's obvious that memories will be persisting, they'll have to dispose of her permanently to keep client secrets... well... keep them secret.

Also in the case of the Fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (or apple as we might be told as children), the story goes that Eve, herself, took on the role of the serpent after the serpent successfully tempted her. The serpent in the case of Echo will be the writers, and Echo may, in turn, follow Eve's example with the rest of them. As long as the "Dolls" don't question their history, they might not try to remember what may be buried deep inside their minds.

Heh. One bad apple may actually spoil the bunch.
Sweeps jokes--always funny.
I really find it strange when people comment on Whedon's decisions to kill characters, calling it a cliche of his and that it's no longer surprising.

Right, because people don't die--often surprisingly--in real life.
People do die, just not always with the timing that is usually talked about as cliched in fiction.
Right, because people don't die--often surprisingly--in real life.

Yeah and I for one feel like it's getting old and we should stop. I mean, cliché much ?

It's been done people ! It's not big and it's not clever !
Ok, I just won't die then. See, I can be creative.

What's that? Highlander? Oh. I see. Damn.
Well, *I* haven't died yet. Which most people that know me find pretty damned surprising. Maybe I should be a writer... ;)
Well... I keep saying this: Would you worry as much about a character (read: connecting at a deeper level) if you were always sure that they would see another sunrise/moonrise? Not all of his characters die, but at any moment (especially during peril), they could. The fears (and thereby hopes) are a bit better rooted with such risks.

If I was an actor, I'd be proud to be killed by Mr. Whedon.
If I was an actor, I'd be proud to be killed by Mr. Whedon.

We could start a club. The "I'm ready for my death scene, Mr. Whedon" club.

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