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February 16 2009

Have a Little Faith in Dollhouse. Nathan Alderman of teevee.net responds to Tom Shales' "venomous" review of Dollhouse. Spoilers if you haven't seen Ghost.

I will watch every episode that FOX decides to air. No matter what order they're in.
So... is the "Dollhouse" Wolfram and Hart? Or does it just look exactly like it? Or has my memory completely failed?

Stop me anytime.
It was designed by the same guy, but is a new set.
I like this guy's review. It reminds me of one of my favorite Kurt Vonnegut quotes:

Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.


The same notion can apply to critics of TV shows.
One bit from Shales' review did resonate for me - his dislike of the bathroom scene (FBI vs Russian guy). I also found it really strange the way it played, especially the first bit of dialogue, and agree with Shales' comment:"It begins to play like a Flomax commercial". It didn't seem menacing, just dumb and took me right out of the scene.
Ha, it was my favourite scene. Swings and roundabouts etc ;)
I thought "Wolfram & Hart" as well when I first saw the Dollhouse. You're not the only one, filops. Same color-scheme I guess.
If Wolfram & Hart had a communal co-ed shower and a funky barcalounger, that is.
Oh, the evil that happened in the co-ed shower, we dare not type its name! Ah, you refer to the Barcalounger of Lamentation... alas, I know it well.
IMO, the only problem with 'Ghost' is that it played exactly like a first episode. Tons of exposition and obligatory flashy action scenes got in the way of the story being told.

As a viewer, I don't feel I need that much literal minded explanation, not even in the first episode of a new series, but I can understand how a network would feel obliged to include it.

Am I more willing than most to suspend my disbelief for the sake of a good story or just willing to trust that Joss & Co. have a story to tell that's worth hearing about over the course of a series of episodes?
The bathroom scene I could live with. It's those god-awful promos that took me out of the mood. I liked the show well enough to watch more, but if they keep selling it as the Friday Night "We're Your Fanboy Fantasy F*** Toys" lineup, I may stop buying.
I agree with this reviewer. I cannot understand how other reviewers didn't appreciate the show. And the bathroom scene was fine with me, what better way to catch the guy alone and by surprise?
Tom Shales, it was pointed out to me, was a fan of the American adaptation of Kath & Kim, thus rendering his opinions unimportant :P
I had no problem with the bathroom scene.
Have to agree with BrewBunny on this one. The in-between promos and some of the marketing are just puzzling.

"Hey we've got a smart well written show that asks a lot of questions about identity, memory, and the make-up of the human condition. Let's market it as internet porn."

You go Fox!
On the other hand, didn't we win the night in men 18-49?

I say we, of course, because I now consider us a part of Dollhouse. Don't argue.

I don't support the marketing methods, by any means, and I definitely don't think it does Joss's work justice... but on the other hand, if it makes more people watch, it's hard for me to hate it. Of course, one could argue that it didn't work, based on the ratings. So ultimately, what I'm saying is that I could go either way, and have no real opinion of my own.
and it bears the clumsy pawprints of network meddling


Yes the boxing scene. I hope it gets cut for the DVD. It was something out of The Rise and Fall of Reggie Perrin.
Rash and probably wrong prediction: one of these days Joss will talk about what was in the pilot specifically because of network pressure, and it will turn out to be none of the things that fans have settled on.

Everyone says the micro-mini dress and "sexybikesdancing" opening was Fox--but hasn't Joss said that one of his battles with Fox was that he wanted more emphasis on the sex-traffic side of the Dollhouse than they were comfortable with?

Isn't the boxing scene simply replaying the standard Jossian "physical fight as metaphor for spiritual struggle" that informed all of BtVS and AtS--right down to the classic "looking upward" shot at the end that signals the "you have me down, but I'm not giving up" moment.
The bathroom scene I could live with. It's those god-awful promos that took me out of the mood. I liked the show well enough to watch more, but if they keep selling it as the Friday Night "We're Your Fanboy Fantasy F*** Toys" lineup, I may stop buying.

Yeah, I've been kinda vocal of late that the promotional campaign verged on embarrassing at times for exactly this reason. When Eliza and Summer introduced the thing, with the cheesy porn music in the background, I did think "Hey, this bit is for the 13 year old's to masturbate over!". The fact is, I get that Eliza is considered hot - I have these new fangled things called eyes - and I don't need the sole promotional aspect to be "ELIZA! IS! HOT! FUCK! BOT!".

I get they were targeting the male demographic, but one curious thing I learned from Heroes (and in particular, doubleshiny) is that they significantly increased their male demographic when they started trailering the proper introduction of Sylar into the show. That got men watching, believe it or not. Dollhouse has Alpha, who is pretty much the Sylar of the show to pitch it simply - and they absolutely should push that towards the front of the promo material. He's gonna shake up the 'house and bring on the drama, and that will bring people in. The boys will watch for Eliza anyway.

I get that Joss wants to (and does) look at objectification in the show, but objectification is a dicey subject - it puts people off. And also doesn't make a show on it's own.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-02-16 19:10 ]
Yes the boxing scene. I hope it gets cut for the DVD. It was something out of The Rise and Fall of Reggie Perrin.


Mmm... I don't. I'd watch an entire series of nothing but shirtless Tahmoh doing Muay Thai boxing. *drools*
Tom Shales doesn't strike me as the kind of critic one reads or even responds to. I thought the first episode of Dollhouse was promising, but go back and watch the first episode of Buffy.

They established the premise of the show with flair, introduced the characters and set the stage for the next few years all very early on in the first episode. Something I don't think either Dollhouse or Firefly did as well.
The boxing scene continues to be the weakest point for me. I found it bafflingly clumsy and overblown as a metaphor. Personally, I'd have found it much more interesting if the FBI office discussion just played out as it was, with Ballard being insistent but in the end kind of a pushover and a schlub... only to have him reappear later obviously having lied to his bosses. Subtler and less "let me hit you in the face with how badass Ballard is despite this conversation".
I agree with Nathan. All of Joss' shows have taken a couple of episodes or seasons to really hit their stride but when they do...damn.

I'll stick with Dollhouse until it is gone from Fox's lineup.
The funny thing with Dollhouse is I think it hits its stride midway through. I know that's been the press line, but I've seen what they have planned, and it's signicantly awesome in places. By the time it gets towards the end you've got Tim coming in and hitting it out the park - I suspect Joss is going to loose Episode Wars again. The problem is by the time you've got to that point, they will have already called cancellation or another series.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-02-16 19:23 ]
I have been really busy since Dollhouse aired and have not been able to write anything. Quite honestly, I was very disappointed with it. I can see why reviewers could hate it. IMO there was a lot to be disturbed about, some stuff that made very little sense and not much else that I could see. I expected the world to be presented more positively and then bring to in the sense that it might be evil. This was just evil all the way around. Echo was coerced into it and is being manipulated and used. There is one character with a conscience working there and the rest are not very bright. (How long would they have kept good word of mouth if they had left the little girl to her horrible fate with the pediphile?) I don't see layers here and I'm afraid if they did wait to the second episode to try to layer things, there won't be an audience to find out. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but things do not look good for this.
I watched Dollhouse on Global Toronto. No smutty Fox promos in sight.
Isn't the boxing scene simply replaying the standard Jossian "physical fight as metaphor for spiritual struggle" that informed all of BtVS and AtS--right down to the classic "looking upward" shot at the end that signals the "you have me down, but I'm not giving up" moment.
It is, but my problem with it is that it too obviously is, to the point of being snerk-inducing.
Yeah, I agree that the boxing scene felt out of place, and was the main weak point of the episode. I'm not sure it was network meddling or Joss's choice, but I wondered what relevance it had. Was it a flashback? A flashforward? Did it mean anything to Ballard's search for the dollhouse? Why is Ballard looking for Dollhouse?

Otherwise the episode was fantastically crafted and set the premise well, and I look forward to some of these questions being answered. (I don't need everything in the first episode, I prefer a slow building show. Heck, I'm still a fan of Lost.)
Heck, I'm still a fan of Lost.

Right there with you.
Whatever the reason for the boxing scene, it was painful to watch, and not in a good way. Btw, what does "snerk" means? It looks like my English may not be as up-to-date as I thought. I'm from Québec.
snot monster from outer space wisely stated:
Rash and probably wrong prediction: one of these days Joss will talk about what was in the pilot specifically because of network pressure, and it will turn out to be none of the things that fans have settled on.


I'm less interested in identifying what was Joss and what was Fox, and more interested in watching what we have. This is what Joss, amidst all the pressures, changes, tampering, and editing, handed to us. I watch his shows in part because he has deftness at handling those challenges.

Not to point fingers, but it frankly seems a bit childish to come out of the pilot saying "It would have been better If...." We don't know. What we know is what we have. I like what we have a lot.
snot monster from outer space wisely stated

And I think you should all know that when I state things wisely, my voice drops an octave into the sub-James Earl Jones register, and it develops a kind of awe-inspiring reverb effect.

There's nothing I seem to be able to do about it.
I'm not sure it's especally relevant whether something was Joss or something was the network. The relevant bit is what one thought of one part or another. Otherwise, if avoiding being critical of Joss is your aim, you're not a fan but a sycophant. Heh.
I'm critical of everybody - the network, the studio, Joss, the catering guy. And yet, I love them all. (Especially the catering guy) (Is this thing still on?).

At the end of the day, here's what happened - Joss wrote a pilot script, the network liked it, they shot it, the network no longer liked it. They gave him notes, he went and wrote and directed a new episode which addressed those notes. Ultimately, it's Joss's name on the credits.
BTW, the boxing scene didn't trouble me at all. I just read it as an insight into the kind of guy Paul Ballard is: he's the kind of guy who trains at kick-boxing with a very tough opponent and in a pretty no-holds-barred kinda way. We're to think that he's working out his frustrations about his job while he fights, and we also get to see (in, as I said above, a way that is absolutely integral to probably a majority of the episodes of BtVS and AtS) that he's not a guy who Gives Up Easily.

I don't say it was a highlight of the episode or anything, but I'm puzzled as to why it's getting so much hate. It wasn't implausible, it wasn't pointless, it wasn't gruesome, it didn't undermine any settled aspect of character etc. etc. When I look back over BtVS and AtS and think of "scenes I hated" none of them would be as inconsequential as this--and those are series that I love with a fierce and eternal passion.

I guess I think people are trying a bit too hard to pick, pick, pick this apart.
I'm not sure it's especally relevant whether something was Joss or something was the network.

Well, no, it's not relevant to whether or not what we saw was any good. What I was addressing was the way everybody's saying "X feature that I didn't like was inserted in their to placate those evil suits at Fox." Certainly I'm not saying "if Joss did it, you have to like it (Joss has definitely screwed some things up all on his very ownsome).

On the other hand, it's terribly relevant to "the history of how this program got made." There's no reason not to be interested in how a TV program came to be what it is, and what parts were part of the creator's original vision and what parts are there because the network demanded changes.
I guess I think people are trying a bit too hard to pick, pick, pick this apart.


Rather than praise, praise, praise it? If I think a scene is awful I'll say so. It detracted from the episode and was just pure clunky. It was THUD here is a visual metaphor for THUD what Paul is going through THUD. Subtle as a brick directing from Joss was not a pleasant surprise.
snot, people understand why the boxing scene was there and what it meant. Not understanding it has never been the issue. The issue is some of us just believe it was overblown and overdone and detracted from the whole.
What I didn't like about the bathroom scene was that I saw a lot of acting from the FBI-guy, probably brought on by having to deliver clumsy lines: "say Dollhouse... say it again.." Even the Russian guy didn't seem to believe him to be seriously dangerous. I don't like the Echo non-personality yet either but will suspend disbelief until I see more interaction amongst the Actives. Finally, re the micro-mini and SEX!SEX!SEX vibe, I do recall a statement from Joss that he and/or Eliza wanted to explore the sexuality stuff in depth. So, not sure Fox gets the blame for that - if true, why wouldn't they push that in the marketing to ensure they get the demographic they want? Doesn't appeal to me (not being in the fanboy demo) but surely a smart marketing decision on their part.
While criticism is important, and stifling it is oftentimes unhealthy, there's also no need to indulge in it without any restraint, especially when it comes to a trusted source.

I have certainly watched scenes in shows that I loved where I had to tell myself "Hang in there, trust the writer to make this work in future episodes." I have certainly been ultimately disappointed by scenes that were never truly resolved to my satisfaction.

Nothing I saw from the pilot, however, comes anywhere close to requiring that self-assurance. I don't wish to overstate, but I don't think saying it's his best pilot yet would be overstating.
snot monster, please keep posting your thoughts. In the last couple days your posts have covered my thoughts and feelings about the show, and the criticism of the show 100%. You sure are making it easy on me. Thanks for that.
And curious minds want to know...will the original pilot ever be seen by anyone? Possibly leaked online like Buffy's original pilot? hmmmm....
I don't think saying it's his best pilot yet would be overstating.

I don't think it's as good as the pilot they actually made for Firefly, but it's definitely better than "Train Job"--the ep they actually aired as a pilot. And, to me, it's better than "Wellcome to the Hellmouth" and "City of" as well.

snot, people understand why the boxing scene was there and what it meant. Not understanding it has never been the issue. The issue is some of us just believe it was overblown and overdone and detracted from the whole.

To the point of saying that it should be excised from the DVD, though? I mean, come on. If the worst thing you can say about an episode is that one not terribly long scene had some slightly ham-fisted symbolism in it then you're praising with faint damn.

All I'm saying is that when people start obsessing about such a minor point, it suggest they've got their critical phasers set to Oblueterate when they meant to set them to "analyze."
I think like exactly one person here mentioning excising it from the DVD, and I'm not sure Simon was being serious (although that's for him to say). Not certain that inflating that into some general slap against criticism of the scene helps your cause any.

And mentioning one's criticism of the scene is not "obsessing" over it. Why is it that people have to dismiss any opinion they don't happen to share as obsessive or baseless or whatever the term of the day is?
Not certain that inflating that into some general slap against criticism of the scene helps your cause any

Gosh--I didn't even know I had a cause. Maybe I should go out and seek disciples?

Follow the way of the "The fight scene's not a highlight, but hardly a big deal!" Shun those false prophets who say unto you "the fight scene is teh suck!"

I just noticed that in this thread and in the multi-billion-post episode-review thread a lot of people talked about this scene as if it was a near deal-breaker for them with the episode, and that struck me as somewhat of an overreaction. It sounds like you think that would be an overreaction too--that's cool.

I didn't think I was "dismissing" anybody's opinion ("here's why I think you're wrong" is not "dismissal"--it's "argument"). I certainly didn't say the opinion was "baseless" (I agreed that the scene was a little ham-fisted). So...I'm sorry what I said seems to have ticked you off so much. I guess I'll just drop the subject as it really isn't all that important to me.
I found it odd that the writer was surprised by Shales hate -- he has a long history of sneering at genre (especially comic book derived) movies and TV shows. He also seems to hate Jon Stewart...I didn't about Kath & Kim (which I've never seen) but I guess that just makes him Prof. Backwards to a lot of people. Long before even that I took a visceral dislike to his work based on the intellectual snobbery of his attitude during the film reviews he used to do NPR. Basically, he seemed to want every film to be a Sidney Lumet movie along the lines of "12 Angry Men" or, maybe, "Dog Day Afternoon." (I love Mr. Lumet...but that's like demanding every dish be Scampi, when sometimes you might like Beijing Duck or a really great hot dog.) I can't verify it, but I don't remember him having anything positive to say about any fantasy or action film, ever.

Sadly, because he's actually a pretty good wordsmith, I think, he's one of the U.S.'s most famous/respected TV critics -- he shares with Roger Ebert (whose approach and style I vastly, vastly prefer) being one of the only critics to have won a Pulitzer.
I didn't like the boxing scene intercut with the FBI scene either. To the point where I actually laughed at it on my second viewing, because I started MSTing it like some kind of bad X-Files homage.

Oh noes! Look out Krycek! Mulder fights mean.
Btw, what does "snerk" means? It looks like my English may not be as up-to-date as I thought. I'm from Québec.

Snerk is slang for a snorting kind of laugh. Usually, it's meant in an unkind or superior fashion, like in response to something lame.

Here's an example from Urban Dictionary:
When the girl in front of me pointed at the Mustang and said, "Oh, I like that Camaro.", I had to snerk discreetly.

[ edited by swanjun on 2009-02-16 21:20 ]
My thoughts on the three most potentially troubling scenes:

(1) the boxing scene: a bit over the top, and probably too much of it, but I actually found it to be effective and I liked the contrast at the end where he told his boss he would back off and yet it was clear that he never would.

(2) the bathroom scene: I don't even know what the criticism of this scene is. It worked for me and didn't seem particularly out of place, and the dialogue was fine.

(3) the motorcycle/dance scene: This seemed gratuitous, and much of it was not particularly well done - that dance music, horrendous; the dress and dancing, hot but so obviously designed to be so that it detracted from the immersion; the motorcycle race, uncompelling and goofy; the dialogue, actually quite clever in a hokey/risque way (sore loser; I wouldn't know I've never lost; It's always sore the first time); the ending once she's picked up in the van and goes back for treatment, totally moving.
For the record, I'm not a fan of the boxing scene. In fact, when the show got pushed to Friday night a few months ago and I had my little (removed) hissyfit on Whedonesque, I mentioned the boxing scene as an example as to why FOX's Action Network identity doesn't quite work.

If you take a Joss Whedon show and try to shoehorn in action for no apparent reason, you get that boxing scene. Of course, Joss wrote it and I'm sure it got some ladies in, but personally it just didn't gel for me.

I'm hopeful 'Echo' appears on the DVD release. There's no way they could ever air as it as so much changed in the show since then, but it'd make a perfect DVD extra. I'm not saying that was a good opening episode btw; it wasn't. But it was a good episode.
For the Record, I'm not fond of boxing but I was spell-bound by those sweatpants and wondering if they would stay up. Just sayin' that from my POV that was sexier than Eliza dancing in the micro mini. Personally I felt that this first/pilot episode worked really well, and stood up to multiple viewings; it had some subtle things to say in addition to the more obvious things it needed to get out there.
Oh, it definitely works better on repeat viewings. I think it has a lot to say. It reminds me tonely more of THE INSIDE than anything else. The idea you a) take an abused girl personality b) load it into somebody else c) put them in a room with their abuser and d) by the way, they KILLED THEMSELVES OVER IT means e) Whedon has his sick on. Which I kinda dig.
It is always said that there's no such thing as too much publicity. In this case, I wonder.

I mean, obviously there needs to be enough promotion to get people to give the show a try. But there's been so much spoilery pre-show reviewing and serious-toned judgment-in major media (not just internet fanwise)-- perhaps a lot more people came to the pilot with preconceptions of one sort or another than one might wish.

I tried pretty hard to avoid specific plot spoilers, and failed miserably.So that even though I liked it, I was disappointed not to be more, well,surprised. And this is from someone who watches episodes of all the Whedon shows repeatedly, enjoying and getting more from extra viewings.

[ edited by toast on 2009-02-16 22:19 ]
I gotta agree with snot monster. (eww...) If the show stays at this level, then I will be disappointed, but I'm looking at this as the foundation of the skyscraper they are making. (As opposed to Fringe, which I dropped after its first five episodes went nowhere.)

Boxing scene: A bit obvious, but not a deal breaker. And as Septimus pointed out, the metaphor was used to set up the divergence at the end, which I think validated the scene. (Also had the side effect of making things interesting for the ladies.)

bathroom scene: I liked it. It brought the funny, but still made it clear how intense the FBI agent is. And the silliness of the dialogue was to put the guy off guard. ("What?... (click)... Dollhouse!")

opening teaser: I actually had more problem with the interview-video than the "engagement". It might have been more effective to have that after the credits, and before the next assignment. The motorcycle/dance scene... yeah, annoying, but slightly necessary for people who haven't read the reviews or seen the promos, to introduce them to the premise.
I believe this was a good television episode, and certainly better that most of what is on TV these days.

It wasn't great, however, and I expect this has a lot to do with the network and not a lot to do with Joss Whedon himself. I actually saw quite a bit of the script during the audition process (I was auditioning for Topher), and what I saw back then was just a lot better. Everything was more understated and the audience was let to assume a lot more. The episode I saw the other night was just much more in your face and spelled out for you. There wasn't much mystery, not a lot to spark the imagination, and one could see what was coming without a lot of thought.

I don't know if it's cool yet to talk about the original pilot, or if everyone's seen the sides, but at least with Topher's lines I just thought they were crisper back then, and foreshadowed well while retaining mystery (we're not friends? we're not men). I don't know, maybe I just has an idea of how it was going to play out in my head that didn't come true. All of this said, I will definitely be tuning in next week.

(maybe this is assumed, but the acting was terrific)
snot monster from outer space: "I guess I think people are trying a bit too hard to pick, pick, pick this apart."

snot monster from outer space: "All I'm saying is that when people start obsessing about such a minor point, it suggest they've got their critical phasers set to Oblueterate when they meant to set them to 'analyze.' "

I think people will focus on whatever they noticed. Not sure they're trying too hard. If something threw me out of the scene or the moment, for instance, I'm gonna mention it - otherwise, not sure what the point of discussion about the shows on here would be.

One man's obsession is another man's "feh" or "loved it" or "didn't notice it."

(I have a feeling that soon, very soon, I'm gonna start to feel about "pick, pick, pick" a little bit like I do now about "I'll be in my bunk." That is, I may need a break from it soon... much as I liked them both in their original contexts.

Though of course it's for Joss to say what feels like Pick-picking to him, I'm not entirely sure he meant looking at all of his many-colored bison and saying which bison worked for you. It seemed more about asking him what he meant by each and every little thing he created when he's put his intent into the work itself, and about all of the behind-the-scenes & commentaries & extras stuff, and all the picnicking/worrying about productions - especially before we've even seen them. The fishbowl that he's in as the creator, rather than the one his artwork itself is in...)

But I digress a bit... I think the content of Joss' shows has been analyzed ever since the first one aired, and it's just part of what folks do when they want to share their impressions of something they care about.

I loved Dollhouse - so this isn't about that - I'm saying I think we should be careful about using the term "obsession" when folks analyze these shows and point out what worked or didn't work for them. Almost all fandom - including this site - is obsession in the eyes of many. Where we draw the line seems to me to be pretty darn subjective.

ETF: typo.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2009-02-16 23:21 ]
Obviously everyone here is obsessed. Except me!
O.K.--I'm 100% baffled (and not a little distressed) by the way my comments are being taken. Suffice it to say that all I meant by "obsessed" was "becoming disproportionately preoccupied by." I didn't say that it's "obsessive" to analyze this moment (I analyzed it, after all--at some length). I didn't say it was "obsessive" to criticize it (I criticized it as "ham-fisted," after all). All I said was that to allow one ham-fisted scene to seriously affect ones judgment of the episode over all was to pay it disproportionate attention. That seems, and still seems, to me like a fair comment (and one, of course, with which you are free to disagree), although obviously something in the way I said it is ticking people off--for which I apologize.
Obviously everyone here is obsessed. Except me!

Clearly, you're obsessed with not being obsessed!
I'm more obsessed with being obsessed (and wanting more 'Dollhouse').
Obsession? Well, if I may change the subject a tad, I'm obsessed with Dollhouse's ranking in various online media places - iTunes, for instance. It's still at #2 in Top Episodes sold (and Dr. Horrible is still at #2 in Top TV Seasons sold). Isn't that a great thing? Shouldn't we fixate on that? Or is that not particularly important? I did notice that the Terminator episode that aired on the same night as Dollhouse peaked at #9 and has since sunk out of the Top 10. Dollhouse, on the other hand, has stayed damned prominent. I'd love for a professional or someone professionally-connected to comment on how important or not this is. I believe it's also still pretty high up at Hulu.

snot, I haven't been ticked off by any of your comments, even though you can count me as one of those who fixated a little on the boxing scene. It struck me as anvilicious the first time I saw it and even more anvilicious the second. I am not at all sure that we can blame this on Fox. I can't really see a Fox exec note saying specifically, "More boxing! Drag that boxing scene out!" Oh, maybe I can.

But, whatever. It is what it is. It didn't affect my overall enjoyment of the episode one bit. I had no problems with the bathroom scene. None.

Oh, and Tom Shales? He's definitely a reviewer people read and comment upon - bobster sums up his prominence well - but he has long made me grind my teeth in annoyance. His review of "Dollhouse" was unnecessarily nasty. I am actually only a step removed from Shales and hope I don't ever run into him. A well-considered bad review is fine. An unnecessarily sneering, poisonously nasty one? Leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Clearly, you're obsessed with not being obsessed!

Nah. I'll admit to several obsessions.
One of which, oddly enough, is the music from the Dollhouse video. I kept hearing that chorus in my head all last week. Mission accomplished there. It wasn't something I immediately liked a lot, although I thought it was ok, but now I'm starting to kind of hate it just because it won't go away.
I have the Dollhouse theme stuck in my head too. Good thing I have the music video on my ipod and can watch & listen to it anytime I want.
gossi said (long, long ago, far, far back in this thread):

I get that Joss wants to (and does) look at objectification in the show, but objectification is a dicey subject - it puts people off. And also doesn't make a show on it's own.

I have no objection to Joss & Co. exploring subjects like sexual slavery within the context of the show. What does trouble me is FOX & Co. exploiting sex slave fantasies in order to promote the show. Yuck.
BrewBunny, I suspect that Fox isn't totally alone in this. Eliza's spread in Maxim March 2009 doesn't exactly elucidate the more cerebral/moral/societal aspects of these issues. Objectification is alive and well across the board.

[ edited by baxter on 2009-02-17 01:44 ]
The show is clearly treading a(n admirably) fine line vis a vis the exploring/exploiting objectification thing. (I think it's admirable because that's what makes for compelling television, and I think it suggests a lot of self consciousness on the part of Joss & Co.).

In my opinion, that's the reason the first episode was so heavily centered on the issue. The parallels of Caroline's story to kidnapping/rape/trafficking/abuse were all over the place, from the client's layered comment "how could those men put those memories in your head?", to Paul's investigation of human trafficking, to whatsisname/Victor's economic approach to taking advantage of the women with him ("nothing but the best for the first few bottles and then the house is fine"), to the active leaving the dollhouse as a geisha (which is a whole other more Firefly-comapnion-y take on the question). I'm really looking forward to seeing how the show deals with the issue.
I giggled at the boxing scene, not because it was bad, but because all I could see was a certain BSG episode that also intercut contrasting scenes with a boxing scene (cough cough "Unfinished Business" cough cough cough). I assumed it was an unconscious influence... Joss is quite the BSG fanboy, after all.
From Tom Shales:

If "Dollhouse," a pretentious and risible jumble premiering tonight on that most quixotic of national networks, were a piece of music, it would have to be some sort of funky-junky, hip-hop, rinky-tinky, ragtime madrigal.

I would love to hear a hip-hop ragtime madrigal (though God knows what 'funky-junky' and -rinky-tinky' mean)

(And does 'condemn' strike anyone else as a very bizarre word choice? I mean, even if you didn't like it it's not like Dollhouse is a manifestation of evil)
LetDown, I believe "condemn" is a play on the 'house' part of DH. A building is "condemned" if it is deemed uninhabitable and unsafe. Nothing to do with evil, just unsound.
I could have been productively sleeping, but instead I made this, probably because I'm wearing a touch of Obsession myself - maybe just a little behind the ears.

Ta, and goodnight.
As far as the boxing scene, its come up in chat numerous times, too. I think detractors of the scene are taking people's notice of the way they choose to express their dislike too seriously. When its spoken of, though the thought of sxcising it from the DVD appears only once, the language seems disproportionately powerful compared to what others believe is warranted. I don't think that snot was dismissing anyone's opinion, but rather noting the particularly strong distaste for that scene seeming disproportionate. I could be wrong :) In any case, most of the comments here are fairly tame.

As far as network pressure and which scenes resulted, there has been a little talk about that and it points squarely at things like the motorcycle race and Eliza's dress. The network likes titillation, not actual frank sexual discussion/action.

I have no objection to Joss & Co. exploring subjects like sexual slavery within the context of the show. What does trouble me is FOX & Co. exploiting sex slave fantasies in order to promote the show. Yuck.


I dunno, maybe the way to address the issue is to stop preaching to the choir and draw in people who have a different view on sexploitation? Just a thought. You can't reach the people who disagree with you by promoting to the people who agree with you already.

As always, I could be completely wrong :).
I don't think that snot was dismissing anyone's opinion, but rather noting the particularly strong distaste for that scene seeming disproportionate.

Thanks. One of the worst things about communicating via hastily written text notes like this is that when all the metacommunicative cues are stripped away you can end up deeply insulting someone when you thought you were having a perfectly happy discussion.

Some people are reacting to this scene as if it were the second coming of Tara's death (over in another thread someone cites this scene and the opening motorbike scene together as proof that Joss doesn't care about entertaining US, he only cares about entertaining the Network Execs, and that this proves not only that this show is a waste of time but that Network TV as a medium is played out). My only point was that such a response seems a little disproportionate (like giving up on Buffy because Cordelia's 'bitch-queen' routine is such a high-school-drama cliche).

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