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March 08 2009

What the papers say about Dollhouse episode 4. The A.V. Club gave it a 'B' saying "[it's] an example of how the show's twisty plotting and nutty backstory helps overcome some unstable foundations". FearNet says 'Gray Hour' "finally had a substantial dose of that ol' Whedon wit" and Zap2it went with "provocative ideas, less-than-provocative drama". And finally, io9.com says "Hold The Phone! Dollhouse Is Pretty Great!".

If anyone wants to plug their reviews or have found some interesting reviews/recaps then please do post the links in the comments section.

Seems largely positive, or at least improving. Of course, io9 always liked Dollhouse.
It takes a lot to make Holodecks look 100% foolproof and completely safe, but Dollhouse does just that.
And here is the IF Magazine write-up:
http://ifmagazine.com/review.asp?article=3088

(Sorry, I don't know how to make this an active link here -- mods, please help, thanks.)

[ edited by Simon on 2009-03-08 19:18 ]
There you go. We do have a handy 'How To' page which explains how to do links here.
Was it standard practice back when, say, Firefly was on, for there to be so many episode reviews of a Whedon show? I don't remember that, but maybe I wasn't aware of them. I'm not talking about the fan sites, which were plentiful and talked about each episode.
Was it standard practice back when, say, Firefly was on, for there to be so many episode reviews of a Whedon show?


Good question. It does seem like there's more episode reviews than before.
I completely forgot about the "how to" page. Slaps self on side of head. Thanks, Simon! I promise to remember for next time.

Shambleau, I think in a way what happened with "Firefly" helped bring about the intense scrutiny of "Dollhouse" on an almost moment-by-moment basis -- better discuss it now in case it disappears and can only been seen retrospectively. There are more people who want to get in on the ground floor, as it were :) Also, I think as fandom on the Internet continuously becomes more sophisticated, *all* shows with fandoms have much more immediate episode feedback, whether it's "Dollhouse," "Supernatural," "E.R.," you name it.
Very insightful points, um, Pointy.
There are great reviews on Usenet penned by "Arbitrar of Quality".
Here they are on google groups. If your isp doesn't carry alt.tv.dollhouse, you could register at http://news.motzarella.org/.
I likewise chime. :)
Another review

Not that it will matter, but there haven't been 5 ratings of "Dollhouse" on imdb yet?
On his blog, David Lavery says: " 'They're called breasts, and yes, they are exceptional.' This line--Echo's in "Gray Hour," the latest awful installment of Dollhouse--and accompanying shots like this one were never said in thirteen seasons worth of Buffy/Angel/Firefly episodes. The sexism, the objectification of women on Dollhouse is approaching Angel: After the Fall levels.

"And the dialogue is leaden and silly most of the time (even in this Fain and Craft episode--they used to be very good on Angel). I keep trying and trying to like this show, but I have liked almost none of it so far.

"If this continues Whedon is going to need to retract his equality now speech."

This doesn't bode well. David is the co-editor of Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies.
The question then becomes whether lines like that and the objectification of women becomes a central theme or plot line in the series. We know that the big payoff in Joss's shows often takes time to build up to, and I'm kind of banking on Joss revisiting these issues - if the series is allowed to continue.

It's either that, or the deal with the devil (AKA FOX) that Joss made is a no-win situation. If FOX wants T&A, I think I have an idea of what we'll flood their mail with in the future.
If FOX wants T&A, I think I have an idea of what we'll flood their mail with in the future.

I am sending FOX neither my T nor my A.
Well, if it is a deal with the devil, then I agree he has to retract his equality now speech. One can't sacrifice principles for the sake of immediate gratification (i.e., getting on TV again). I'm also not too thrilled if it represents some kind of 'gotcha' that will be paid off later. So Caroline turns out to be a kick-ass feminista when she regains her memory, will that obliterate the previous T and A? I think anyone who is still watching is likely to have already 'gotten' the idea (as has been stated by Joss and Eliza) that this objectification is somehow a reflection of an actresses' life.
This doesn't bode well. David is the co-editor of Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies.

It only doesn't bode well if you put any special stock in what Slayage editors say about a tv show. Which, all due respect to them, I really don't.

It amazes me how worked up people get over some cleavage, and the showing or discussing thereof, but I guess it's the American way. To get to the conclusion that Dollhouse is objectifying women in a merely gratuitous way, and not going anywhere constructive with it, you have to fail to note the following in just this single episode:

-- There was some interesting condescension going on when the hotel guy tried to coerce a rape victim (or so he thought) into taking a payout at the moment when he knew she'd be in the worst frame of mind to think clearly. That scene and the one before it in the lounge say a whole, whole lot about our dual standards of sexual boundaries for men and women. Note that for this guy this is a routine part of his job. He knows exactly what to say, has the form ready, has the money precounted.

-- The less nice goon slaps Echo around and says she has something like "hysterical woman syndrome." Wow, that's a bit on the nose, but really, note the very different interactions before and after Echo's remote wipe. She's not just no longer useful to the guys she was bossing around a moment ago-- she's now a victim, once she loses the empowered persona and he realizes she's useless to him. He hits her, and calls her names, and puts her in a more or less suicidal position knowing she has no real idea what's going on. She's just a clueless woman with no idea who or where she is, and that's his response. Think about that.

-- Same guy delivers a little diatribe about how you're either broken, or doing the breaking, in this world. Oh and then what happens? He tries to use Echo as a second gunman, knowing she's more or less cannon fodder, at best good for maybe some naive cover fire for himself. A crutch, if you will, good for a little use before she breaks. But she kills him instead, and escapes.

-- Escapes, saves the nicer goon, and hauls him to safety just in time to inform Boyd that she's "not broken."

I don't see the misogyn-fest here. I noted the very high heels, the cleavage, the tight pants, the touching up of makeup mid-heist. Which as far as I recollect, wouldn't be out of place in an episode of Buffy, either. She didn't even have pockets to stick the stake in most of the time, much less sensible shoes.

Yeah, they're playing up the sexy in the personas. That's not all they're doing though. I seem to recall Buffy whining about breaking a nail in an early episode, too.
*big red sign pointing to what Sunfire just laid out, in case anyone skipped or skimmed it*
But it's not just gratuitous T&A. There's a lot of obvious creepiness tied in, like the sexual assault ruse in Gray Hour and the now-I'm-going-to-hunt-you thing in The Target. And a whole lot more if you keep in mind that these are all imprinted personalities walking around in Caroline's body.

I'm just saying, there's context here. Dollhouse is dealing with the issue of prostitution in a unique and uncomfortable way. I mean, you can watch the show in a superficial way and just react to the brief flashes of flesh, but that's like a child reading a serious novel and giggling at the naughty words.
Maybe my unease with Dollhouse is that you can watch it for the T&A and get plenty of just that and any discomforting context is pretty easy to miss all together. (Especiall when you couple the show with the way FOX tried to sell it during those Eliza/Summer intros for the premiere.)
I dunno, I think you can watch the commercials and avoid the discomforting context mostly, but I would find it hard to watch the actual show and do the same. And a side of What Sunfire Saidtm - see what happens when you go on holiday, Saje?
In Stage Fright, doesn't Topher have some kindof a dancer pose doll on his desk? Didn't he talk to Dr. Saunders about how maybe her engagement as a backup singer would turn romantic, with a lecherous grin?

I'd think it would be disingenuous to portray the characters that Topher is creating as always having perfect feminist tendencies.

We've already forgotten we're dealing with dolls.
I'd think it would be disingenuous to portray the characters that Topher is creating as always having perfect feminist tendencies.

Is anyone seriously even suggesting this anyway? And anyway, what his created personas are or are not is a different question from the show is or is not saying about the issue.
I was skimming, so I may have missed a post where someone suggested that Topher was programming the dolls with ideal feminist tendendcies. Also I don't really think that Topher making joke about engagements never ending up how they start out is really all that troubling, I'll have to rewatch to see if I consider it a lecherous grin or not, though I don't recall it being such. Also, not everything a character says is something the author is in favor of... this gets forgotten like every ten minutes in criticism. Is anything touching on the sexual being considered anti-feminist? 'Cause I don't think folks like Camille Paglia would agree with that.

I don't think anyones forgetting we're dealing with dolls (male ones, too, though in typical Joss-fashion the ones who will become self-aware/super-heroic and save the day are the female ones :)). I'm also not forgetting the play of the same name, horrific work of misogyny that that was :).

ETA - a little bit of What b!X Saidtm.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2009-03-09 03:28 ]
This is a show about human trafficking. The good the bad and the ugly of the situation. These people are at least potential innocents turned into more or less actual prostitutes, hired killers and art robbers. They get to live the dream but their bodies are used in ways that they probably wouldn't dream. So of course they are going to be exploited. It's a theme of the show.

[ edited by beckyboo on 2009-03-09 03:28 ]
Quite so, Beckyboo, and I imagine fewer would sign up if the process left them with memories of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Topher definitely had a lecherous (or at least a ooh-I'm-a-straight-guy-and-I-like-the-idea-of-lesbians) grin when he suggested that Echo's engagement with Reyna could end up romantic.

But, I really don't see how anyone can say that this is just exploitative or anti-feminist. It's a complicated show about a troubling subject matter. It doesn't come out and hit you over the head with its feminism as if the issues of sexism and masculine dominance were something simple (though, frankly, I find it fairly heavy-handed and preachy sometimes). But to say that it is itself sexist is kind of like saying that a show like The Wire is pro-illegal-drugs or that Buffy is pro-vampires. Neither one is, but they DO show that the issues are (symbolically, in the case of Buffy) complicated and ingrained in our very society. Just because a show depicts something does not mean that it endorses it, even if it runs the risk of appearing to glorify that which it critiques.
Yeah, this is the show where Joss felt the subject matter was tough to handle, but that it had to be done and he did have discussions about it with Equality Now... not that anyone has to give it a pass or extra leeway due to either of those things, but you can't talk about anything real without getting into parts that will make people uncomfortable.

Septimus - ah, yes, recall it now, quite right.

Is it misandrist to suggest that all guys are scheming pervs who want to see two women together? Or is there no such thing as misandry because the majority (power wise not number wise in this case) is by definition incapable of being the victim of discrimination. If Topher starts drinking nothing but Mountain Dew and watching anime while eating Pocky I'm going to start complaining about the geek stereotypes ;). If it's Jaffa Cakes, then all is forgiven. I kid ;).
Double Dose: What Sunfire Said & What Nasarius Said. And let me add this: I don't believe the strongest and best treatments of ANY subject tend to fall into the pattern of justifying their dicier moments by the wonders of where they end up as a story (i.e. Echo/Caroline ends up as this wonderfully self-aware insightful fighter of sexism and objectification at the end of the season/series). What they do is weave the stuff they are trying to figure out or respond to throughout the entire text, constantly looking at the issue through different prismatic facets. This means that if you are doing a show about violence or war, there will tend to be images of and narratives about these subjects in most chapters/episodes/etc. of the story. If you are doing a show that aims to take sexism or objectification and its cultural implications as one of its primary themes, there will be -- there absolutely must be -- versions of and uncomfortable portrayals of these things very very frequently in the narrative, with the goal of playing out different ways these emerge, different consequences they have, etc.

I do not know if Dollhouse will ultimately prove to deserve a claim to be among the "strongest and best" treatment of its themes, but one thing I can absolutely guarantee: If it flinches too much from making images of and scenarios of objectification and sexism (as well as other images across the spectrum of presentation of women and of sexuality), if it is not allowed the possibility of frequent, fairly direct portrayal of images and narratives of this stuff, then it will have absolutely no chance whatsoever of being anything other than pathetic hack afterschoolspecial dreck.
Just because a show depicts something does not mean that it endorses it, even if it runs the risk of appearing to glorify that which it critiques.

I think this is the point a lot of people are missing. Which is not to say there aren't real reasons to dislike the episode. It was anything but T&A though, even though it did play up the sexy for Taffy.
At the risk of posting a useless comment, What doubtful guest Saidtm.
Zeitgeist, Camille Paglia is not the best person to cite on feminism because most feminists despise her, as she despises most feminists. Feminists who have criticized her include Gloria Steinem, Naomi Wolfe, Katha Pollitt, Patricia Ireland, Betty Friedan and Molly Ivins, and that's just the short list from Wikipedia.

I'm committed to Dollhouse, but I also respect David Lavery and some other feminists who've had great reservations about the show. I'm sure they don't think all sexuality is bad or that all women must be role models. I agree that the actives are going to be exploited as part of the plot. But some critics think that the show is being exploitive, and Fox is selling it in an exploitive way.

A contrast might be the movie "Dirty Pretty Things," which also dealt with exploitation, without being a T&A fest.

Anyway, I'm going to keep watching, hoping that more Joss and less Fox will emerge.
Paglia and I don't agree on everything either, but she popped into my head as someone likely to stop and think rather than reacting and as a sex-positive feminist. You may recall that Steinem said that Sexual Personae was like Mein Kampf and Paglia was Hitler, so by Godwin's Law, Steinem == Epic Fail. Lest I be misconstrued, I'm always happy to see constructive criticism, I just think some of the criticism misses the boat, whether by being late to the dock or whether by confusing boats with toasted cheese sandwiches.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2009-03-09 04:04 ]
Finally someone with an open mind about the show l actually think hollowwood are haters esp with Joss' name tied 2 it lm just hope fox doesn't treat him and dollhouse like an abused housewife trashing you 1 minute and apologizing the next
just hope fox doesn't treat him and dollhouse like an abused housewife trashing you 1 minute and apologizing the next

That seems a little over the top, and frankly a comparison that belittles the actual problem of abuse.
zee - out of line, consider this a warning.
This is a show about human trafficking. The good the bad and the ugly of the situation. These people are at least potential innocents turned into more or less actual prostitutes, hired killers and art robbers. They get to live the dream but their bodies are used in ways that they probably wouldn't dream. So of course they are going to be exploited. It's a theme of the show.


Thank you for saying that so I don't have to. This topic makes me very tired.

But I will add that I don't find anything sexually gratuitous or expoitive about Dollhouse the show, I see it coming from the Dollhouse in the show. But the show isn't saying it's good. All the sexual and riske and sexy stuff is there to suit the character or plot, and it doesn't strike me as out of line or over the top unncessarily.

It's not lost on me that this is a show about human trafficking. It's gutsy stuff to put a show like this on the air. I imagine we'll be seeing a lot of reaction much like the complaints of David Lavery.

There, I said more than I thought I was going to. And now I'll go back to lurking.
I'll have What Sunfire Said as my entrée and then sides of What b!X Said and What Zeitgeist Said and What Nasarius Said and What Beckyboo Said and What Septimus Said.

Later on, I hope to post What QuoterGal Said as dessert. But just quickly - I am a tad surprised at Lavery's reaction to Dollhouse - I mean, I'm not a huge fan of his occasionally labored and opaque writing, but I still would have expected a little broader perspective on what Joss is doing with this show. (And by "show" I mean the episodes and not The Echo Chamber.)
Eagerly awaiting dessert, QG!!!
(Not wanting to derail this discussion at all - just can't post more right now, as my partner is hungry and I, as The Woman, must go cook The Man dinner. ; >

I kid - it's my turn, is all.)
Its okay, QG, I cooked tonight (being The Man), so it all evens out ;).
I don't even get why it's "un-feminist" to have Taffy said how extraordinary her breasts are? I mean they're a part of the female body, she's proud of them, why is it degrading if she admits this? I just don't get it why people think it's un-feminist if women try not to draw attention to an attractive feature they may have? Men do it all the time when they brag about their biceps and no one says boo about it.
Probably because "Taffy", doesn't do this. A personality constructed wholesale by a man does this, which is what makes it more complicated.
Merci, Shambleau & gentle co-clickers! :)
Isn't part of the point, though, that these personalities aren't created out of nothing?

Whatever part of Taffy's personality that made the statement about her breasts being exceptional wasn't dreamed up by Topher. It was, according to the info we have from past episodes, borrowed or stolen from someone real.

It seems to me that you have to get close to the flame to feel the heat. If we didn't have lines such as the breast one, I would expect concerns that the show treated its central issues unrealistically.
I fully agree that this is a show about human trafficking, and encompasses all aspects of it - good and bad. But I think that message is somewhat lost in the show itself. My husband, who is familiar with Joss' work, but only likes Firefly, has repeatedly said that he just isn't into Dollhouse because the themes that are being conveyed just aren't being conveyed well enough. We were talking about it last night, and he said that there were a lot of things he felt could be done better - and that part of the reason he didn't want to watch it anymore was precisely because it became increasingly uncomfortable but was simultaneously not progressing to the point where the theme of human trafficking would be properly addressed by any of the characters.

I was thinking more about this earlier, and I might have to agree. I understand build up takes some time...but I also believe plot points should be established early for audiences to understand the situation when they approach it.
If we didn't have lines such as the breast one, I would expect concerns that the show treated its central issues unrealistically.
That line is supposed to be believable? See, to me that line stands out as incredibly odd, and in there primarily as a nod to the fact that for the whole show so far the camera has been taking every possible opportunity to demonstrate the wonderfulness of Ms Dushku's breats.
Back several hours later, and what Sunfire said is on the nose. Awesome analysis!
I'll go with "What helcat Said" since we're all providing choruses of agreement with each other ;).

I'm not finding the show uncomfortable or nastily exploitative or anything - so far I'd say it feels like pretty generic but entertaining television - but there's no doubt that Eliza's hotness and Eliza in her bra is being made a "selling feature." Not just in the ad campaign, but within the show. I don't think that's a Bad Thing but I can't really buy that it's somehow a part of some greater feminist scheme either, or laying groundwork for the big issues that are going to be tackled. That feels like a stretch. Joss and the writers and Eliza may indeed have all kinds of ideas re. the issues they want to deal with, and it'll be interesting when they start dealing with them, but I'm not seeing it yet.

And I'm not bothered by that. I've never quite understood how Joss's shows are "feminist" or what that's even supposed to mean. Does it just mean, a show in which the women are interesting and awesome? I'm not sure I see how his shows have a more "feminist" sensibility than anything else that I watch on TV. I think he's a feminist dude and a great storyteller, and his stories are always stories, not ideologies.

That the dolls are exploited and that their bodies are in a sense not their own is no doubt a theme of the show and something that will get explored in more detail, but I'm not sure how much that has to do with a scene making a deal out of Eliza in her bra, two eps in a row, or Eliza dancing in a really mini mini-dress, or whatever it is. She's a sexy lady and I have no problem with her / the show showing it off, but it does feel a little ham-handed or unsubtle at times - like Check Her Out!!!-ish.

It feels different from the way Buffy's hotness was made use of, too - although that's probably just because it's a show about adults. But part of the joke of Buffy was the "unlikely" merging of the teen cutie-pie with the action hero. Hence the funny of "Buffy breaks a nail" or Buffy whining about her new hair rinse right after Spike asks the other vamps about this badass slayer and "Is she tough?" If there's a wink-wink happening in Dollhouse I'm missing it. I just see a show that's wielding the (huge) sex appeal of its star even more heavily than most. Am I just missing the bigger picture here? Is there really more going on than that?
Suzie wrote:
I agree that the actives are going to be exploited as part of the plot. But some critics think that the show is being exploitive, and Fox is selling it in an exploitive way.
Anyway, I'm going to keep watching, hoping that more Joss and less Fox will emerge.


Remember that Eliza has input as a producer as well, and that most young attractive actresses like to feel sexy. You will never hear any of them saying, "I hate being the sexy leading lady!" It is the whole reason many of them get into acting. Some of them find it interesting to play an unattractive role to show their range, but most go back to sexy soon after if they are still able.

If you watched the behind the scenes clips of that promotional video summer and Eliza did, you will notice them trying to make it sexier . They were having a lot of fun being the "sexy chicks". It was not forced, and it might have been partly Eliza's idea.

So if you want to blame Eliza for exploiting herself go ahead, but I think that is her decision to make.
We must have watched different clips of that Summer/Eliza thing because in the one I saw they mainly seemed like they were trying to make the best of an incredibly stupid situation. *shrug*
vampmogs:

On what you said; I think that Taffy's comment was meant to acknowledge the proverbial elephant in the room so that it wouldn't be a distraction later on. It was her way of "taking back her own power".
On reflection, I think the Eliza/Summer promos were more effective than they initially seemed. On the one hand, the people who were previously fans of Eliza and/or Summer would be unlikely to turn off simply because they disliked the pair being asked to speak such insipid lines; on the other, the average television viewer is probably actually... erm, unconsidered enough to enjoy the promos at face value. And also body value.
Why are all the anti-feminist arguments always concentrated on T&A? What about the washboard abs, bulging arms, great tan, gorgeous smile, bluest eyes, baby browns, cute dimples, shapely package, big feet!

At soon as the physical is mentioned we still seem to say "No, it is inappropriate to mention that you have good breasts".

However, if you're a man and there's plenty of shots with your top off and you're getting all hot and sweaty & even participating in a physically demanding and somewhat violent pastime...

Why can't women celebrate their gorgeousness without it becoming a reason for someone to say "that doesn't help the progressiveness of women"?

Why is no one more bothered that only gorgeous people of both sexes get to be on Fox. IMHO, TV (not just Joss TV) are doing more to perpetuate body image issues then they could ever do to either equalise or discriminate against either sex.
I don't think that's a Bad Thing but I can't really buy that it's somehow a part of some greater feminist scheme either, or laying groundwork for the big issues that are going to be tackled.


I don't think that all of it is and there is too much of an attitude of either or when people look at it. There are bits that are uncomfortable that are setting up to tackle the bigger issues and there are things that are just titillating. Titillation is part of how you draw in people who you might not otherwise to think about the bigger issues. Like you say, not bothered.
This seems like a lot of discussion about a throw away line that was almost a direct quote from a line on Seinfeld (see Teri Hacher in the 'are they real' episode). It certainly didn't seem any more exploitive than when Willow dressed in Vampire Willow's outfit and noticed her own rack "Oh, look at these!". Seems to me there should be a line between exploitation and just normal silliness, and I think that line lies in the woman in question having some say in presentation and joking about her own body.
Well, rather than post my views (that have been posted by others)... or say W_S, I would just like to say that it is encouraging to see that there are those who are able to see that these emotions/decisions we get from a Dollhouse-episode are part of the message.
As there are male Actives, the Dollhouse doesn't seem set up to exploit women, per se. No doubt they send male Actives out on "perfect dates" -- we hust haven't seen these because the Active we're primarily following, Echo, is female. Eliza Dushku has enough say in the series that I doubt very much that she is saying any dialogue she doesn't want to or participating in any storylines she feels are objectionable.
I also assume Eliza is happy with the show. Doesn't stop me questioning why they spend quite so much time setting up shots to show off her body and put her in the maximal number of 'sexy' scenarios and at the end of the watching experience finding that pretty unpleasant.
I tend to assume that some of it is to depict what they are trying to dissect and some of it is to lure in people who are lured in the depiction. Whether that's to lure them in with an eye on making them confront the issues being presented or whether its just to get eyeballs... well, it's probably a little of each. I do think that at least some of these sexy scenarios that are making some uncomfortable are supposed to. Part of the show's stated aim is to make people uncomfortable and make them question these things. Or at least, Joss/Eliza know that it will make people uncomfortable (and Joss has said parts of it make him uncomfortable), which may not be exactly the same thing.
I appreciate the idea but but what I am thus far missing is any sense that the show has misgivings about yet another scenario with Eliza in a revealing outfit, or doing a whole scene in just a bra, or lingering lovingly on her cleavage. The camera's gaze just doesn't feel the least bit uncomfortable with what it's seeing, so if the idea is that I should be feeling the discomfort then it's working. Except it's working to the extent that I don't really want to watch a show which does such a good job of pretending to be that sort of show whilst not really giving me any idea of when it's going to actually start being any other type of show.
There was absolutely no reason for Eliza to be in a bra in episode 3, let alone take it off. I get they are trying to explore sexuality and objectification, but as a viewer the more they show me of Eliza the less I'm turned on to the show. I know I'm not alone in that, 'cos I'm keeping track of Twitter comments as the episodes air, and one of the biggest complaints is the whole 'Eliza Is Hot!' angle. Which actually makes me a little more proud to be human and less proud of the show.
To my (heterosexual female) eye the camera in Dollhouse seems to linger just a little too long. Just long enough to overstay it's welcome and that combined with the constant reminders that Echo is not an adult woman who chose to be looked at in this way but (effectively) a child grows progressively more uncomfortable to watch with each successive episode. It's a culminative effect and comes across to me as entirely deliberate. Generally I find watching this kind of thing is desensitising, here it's the reverse.

[ edited by hayes62 on 2009-03-09 19:23 ]
Except it's working to the extent that I don't really want to watch a show which does such a good job of pretending to be that sort of show whilst not really giving me any idea of when it's going to actually start being any other type of show.


Some of us are already seeing things that show that it is going to start being another type of show, though I totally understand the frustration and sympathize. Try to hang in there! Next up Minear, then Whedon eps!

There was absolutely no reason for Eliza to be in a bra in episode 3


You are certainly entitled to those thoughts and opinions; other people have discussed in previous threads both meta-story and in-story situational reasons for it. Ironically, gossi only posted this to win over a girl he's after. Oh, the meta-drama! (Yes, I'm joking.)

In all seriousness, I think it's getting to the point where we are all repeating ourselves a bit. We'll have to see how it turns out.
Z, I hope this doesn't sound repetitive. I'm trying to answer the questions upthread. The reason some feminists object to gratuitous T&A for women and not for shots of Tahmoh without his shirt is: For a very long time, women were the property of men, and they were supposed to serve, among other things, as beautiful objects. We haven't had an equal playing field.

Actresses who exploit their bodies aren't doing it in a vacuum. They're doing it in a society in which older women have a much harder time getting cast than older men; there are a lot more roles for male actors who aren't gorgeous; women's bodies are much more likely to be discussed in mainstream media as to whether they've gained an ounce or not.
It doesn't sound repetitive per se, though I don't think its information that anyone on a Joss Whedon website is unaware of :). I'm sure its the hope of most posting her that anything that Eliza does that could be viewed as exploitive is to further the goal of the show to discuss and expose exploitation. In a vacuum or not, its still her choice, like its our choice whether to watch or not.

p.s. - I do have to say in Paglia's defense, that I'm not sure it's "most feminists" who despise her, though definitely feminists of certain "schools", as it were, do. If they are the majority, then we face the so-called tyranny-of-the-majority within subsets of feminism. Oh, wacky day! Non sex-positive and anti-pornography feminists certainly take issue with some of her stances as do gender-deconstructionists.
Seems to me that two separate things are getting discussed here - the issue of exploitation and how Echo is exploited and how icky the Dollhouse is, all of which I expect the show to deal with in interesting ways that may or may not make some people uncomfortable, and what gossi calls the "Eliza is Hot!" angle. Some may see a connection between those two things, but I can't say I do.

Re. the "Eliza is Hot!" angle, I expect it will turn off a few viewers, and probably draw in more than a few. I don't belong to either camp (I do think Eliza is Hot! but it's not why I'm watching, or not the only reason ;)) but in any case from this long-time ardent Whedon fan's perspective, it does seem like a departure, a whole new level of "Hot Actress! Watch This Show!" for a Joss Whedon show. It reminds me a little of Weeds actually, in what a "thing" they make out of the hotness of the star. I don't mind it, but it is striking.
zeitgeist - I don't know if I belong to a certain "school" of feminism - I'm pretty self-taught, as it were, and not much of a group gal - but I'm not a fan of La Paglia.

I'm a huge fan of sex - as for pornography - it depends. Dunno if I'm a gender-deconstructionist, as this is the first time I've ever heard the term. And I also dunno if not much caring for Paglia's beliefs & writing adds me to the majority of feminists, since that's a pretty difficult "group" to count. If we were a majority of feminists, not sure how that would be tyrannical - you know, unless there were some tyranny involved.

So, I do take issue with Paglia - on so many counts it would be completely off-topic to go into it here. I'll simply say I agree with the late Molly Ivins and many others and usually find the lady completely off-base - almost blinkered - in her observations & analysis.

As for the rest - you know, I've decided to opt out of that discussion for now. My reservations about the Dollhouse marketing and the show's FOX-iness and any T & A and what's pandering and exploitive, and what's not: I'm putting on hold for a bit and waiting to see where the show goes. (I don't find boobs or cracks about boobs sexist per se - I make jokes about my rack all the time.) And I think we have gotten repetitious and wheel-spinny in here, without much to go on...

But I will say that I found BtVS groundbreaking in terms of its underlying and explicit feminism, especially for its time - and I expect that Joss and Eliza have not suddenly changed in some fundamental way because they're doing a FOX show. For who they are & what they've done, they've earned a little slack from me.

And btw, no matter what happens, I agree with b!X - no way am I sending my T & A to FOX.
If we were a majority of feminists, not sure how that would be tyrannical - you know, unless there were some tyranny involved.


As I'm sure you suspected, QG, I was not being entirely serious with that remark :) (but we can democratic theory some other time). I find that I agree with some things people say and disagree with some things they say, so it is with Paglia, Steinem, et al. I think we can all agree that Fox gets none of our T or our A. Take that, Fox!
Maybe we shouldn't announce outright that Fox aren't getting our T and A. Potential T and A might keep the show afloat, people! Eyes on the target! (be it either T or A)

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