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November 04 2009

The Hollywood Dollhouse. Article comparing actresses, and particularly the way they are treated, to the Dolls.

I wondered how long it would take. I always wondered if this was Joss's way of discussing this, although actors do get paid, and dont have their memories wiped afterwards.
Pretty sure Joss has mentioned before that it's a valid comparison (he's certainly compared himself to Topher) and as far back as 'Stage Fright' we very explicitly see Jordan treated as more of a commodity than a human being (that's the music rather than show biz but the principle holds) and being asked to compromise herself if she wants to succeed.

Just as with the show though, I find myself wondering about comments like
The more I think about Dollhouse, or Hollywood, the more they melt together -- this idea of innocent and complacent dolls being set up for any scenario, no worry about their safety or their psyche.
because, seriously, does any actor NOT know what it'll mean for their private life if/when they hit it big ? Are they raised in a place without TV or newspapers and then released all unsuspecting into the maw of a ravenous Hollywood system ? Of course not, they make a choice, same as the rest of us.
As I recall, Eliza's life as an actress was a topic during that lunch that gave birth to Dollhouse. It was one of the central aspects of the show from the beginning.
"because, seriously, does any actor NOT know what it'll mean for their private life if/when they hit it big ?" - Saje

I'm sure they know, but that doesnt mean they have to accept it.
Just because someone wants to be an actor does mean they have to sign away their rights to have a private life or comments.
Sometimes I'm even scared for these people, watching any entertainment news program, or browsing a celebrity gossip blog. . seeing a person being crowded by 50 people with flashing cameras. . being scrutinized in every detail. .

In the end most of them just sign up to act. . they dont sign up to lose their lives.
It is at the point though where, yeah, its to be expected. . Its a no win thing for them.
Also, sorry for double posting, but I havent figured out all the in and outs of posting here. .
But I wanted to ask if there was a link to the major posting rules and such, such as how to edit or use spoiler tags?
Thanks in advance.
Click on 'About' at the top of the page (or back there obviously ;), it's got the rules, guidelines etc.

And yep, I agree they shouldn't have to accept it but it's still the case now and any actor going into the business has to know that. Regarding paparazzi etc., it's we ourselves that're in the best position to change it by the simple expedient of not buying crap like 'Heat' magazine wherein a lot of the pap shots are printed. As with any other business, if demand dries up supply goes with it.
Is this a sign that Dollhouse is slowly working its way into popular culture?
The article or 'Heat' magazine ? The article could be but it's still a fairly fannish genre friendly website so maybe not. 'Heat' magazine on the other hand is a sign of the end of days, that and that only.
Thanks Saje, the one link I glanced over as usual :).

True, we are in a good position to do that, but I wouldn't underestimate the paparazzi, it seemed like they purposely try and drive certain celebrities crazy to drive up sales. I cant even imagine what length they would go to if everyone just stop buying what they are selling.
The article or 'Heat' magazine ?


The article.
I disagree with both Tango on Saje on this one. Not because I think it's right but because I don't think people are allowed to not accept things just because they disagree with them. You can work to change them, but you can't live in contradiction with society and expect the world to accept it.

If you work a job, there are things you have to accept that you don't necessarily agree with. You have to accept that you can't post things on your facebook page critical of your job. You have to accept that your boss is your boss, regardless of anything else. You have to accept that there are things you can't say to the opposite sex at work that you would say to friends of the opposite sex or male colleagues, because if there is potential for someone to be offended you can't take the risk. Again, maybe it's just the word choice in that conversation and we're not actually in disagreement, I'm misinterpreting.

Honestly, the more prestige and money your job offers you, the more restrictive those rules get. By the time you get to politicians and actors, if you're not nice and polite all the time, you're viewed as a jerk. If you have an off color comment, you're "quirky" or "strange" depending on how popular or liked you already hare. If you have altercation (not physical) with a person of an opposite race or opposing sexual orientation, you're in danger of being a racist or a gay-basher. But in a lot of ways, these are just amplified versions of the social bubbles we all actually live in.

But like a job, I believe moving to Hollywood and getting a prestige job is your tacit acceptance of that social contract. If you didn't like it, you could always stay and work the local theater. Hell, even Broadway would be prestige without the same degree of scrutiny.

Honestly, I have a bigger problem that we do this with politicians for the simple reason it guarantees that you only get the most ambitious and manipulative. They're the only ones who want to deal with it and that's far more dangerous than an ambitious and manipulative actor.

Note: Appreciate any points or counterpoints but you probably won't see a response until tomorrow from me.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-11-04 17:24 ]
... but because I don't think people are allowed to not accept things just because they disagree with them. You can work to change them, but you can't live in contradiction with society and expect the world to accept it.

Surely working to change something requires not accepting it ?

I kind of get what (I think) you mean azzers since there's an element of "This is what the job entails so if you want the job this is what you're buying into" and we're all willing to draw our lines of compromise in different places (i've known people for whom wearing a tie is a dealbreaker for instance, no kidding) but at the same time, if we all had to just "go along to get along" there'd be no unions or, indeed, workers rights of any description since they came about from people who were unwilling to accept the conditions they were working under fighting - sometimes literally - to change them.
'Heat' magazine on the other hand is a sign of the end of days, that and that only.

Any time frame on that Saje? I'm wondering if I can blow off this project I have at work.
When's the apocalypse you mean ? Now-ish of course ;).
One thing I've loved about "our" actors is: You don't seem them plastered all over the tabloids all the time. When's the last time you saw an article on, say, the weight gain of any one of Joss's actors? And yet just about every other week there's poor Oprah "ballooning" to some absurd weight.

Ever see a Whedon alum falling out of a car because they're completely wasted? (Not counting Spike, of course. ;-) Any one of the cast of "Buffy," "Angel" or "Firefly" ever turn up on a "Worst Dressed on the Red Carpet" list?

There seems to be a magic bubble around all of them, which I find refreshing. (Although just last night I saw a picture of Christina Hendricks on one of those captioning sites that claimed she was a "real woman" because of her curves - of the 178 comments at the time I saw the picture, several were calling her breasts fake, some called her fat, and maybe four knew her as Our Mrs. Reynolds.)

I think it's very sad that becoming famous means giving up your privacy. I love my actors, and I like to know what they're doing now that they're not on TV any more (With obvious exceptions) but that doesn't mean I want some nutcase with a zoom lens hiding out in the bushes at Tilley Farm hoping to catch Tony looking - heaven forbid! - like a real person, or jumping out from behind a parked car to get a picture of Sarah, Freddie and baby.

If the celeb does something that they want the press to see, that's one thing. Like taking part in a charity walk (Like Tony & his partner Sarah recently did) or taking their baby out trick-or-treating for the first time (Aly & Alexis). But being ambushed by TMZ or one of those other tacky "news" programs turns the celeb into an object, not a person. IMO.

Hey, Saje? Would you mind beeping me when the apocalypse comes? Ta.
I agree with the sentiment that as a celebrity, you do go into the job knowing there will be a loss of privacy. But there's also a line that others shouldn't cross, and you read about it on a regular basis. Should celebrities (and for that matter, those in the wrong place at the wrong time) have to worry about potentially getting in a car crash because some paparazzi wants a picture of them with bedhead? Just because one is a celebrity doesn't mean they've lost all access to basic human rights and decency, which I think some tend to forget (or willfully ignore).
I think some of you are forgetting that this whole major invasion of privacy that's been happening now-a-day's is fairly new. With the invention of the internet and camera phones, no one is safe. Even for us normal joe's, we have to suffer from it too. You do one thing that someone doesn't like and you're caught with a picture or someone posts it on their myspace/facebook page. To just blame the celebrities by saying "it's part of their job" is a little bit of a stretch. In the 90's it wasn't this way. You didn't see this sort of stuff happening to SMG or Jennifer Love Hewitt or Reese Witherspoon when their popularity was growing larger and larger. Only recently has the paparazzi become a serious problem with their obsession of chasing celebrities in their cars or surrounding the celebrities car at night and flippin blinding the person with their flashbulbs. The whole thing has gotten way out of hand. I can understand where some of you are coming from when it comes to people who are continuously keeping up their antics like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan all for the sake of publicity but I do not see it the same way with the rest of the celebrities who are just trying to get a cup of coffee or go to their damn pilates class.
Since this is the most recent Dollhouse thread:
Dollhouse was just a question/answer on tonight's Jeopardy (Teen Jeopardy!). The kids knew it, too!
How timely, considering the questions raised here about Dollhouse's pop culture popularity.

[ edited by CaptainB on 2009-11-05 01:07 ]
Saje, I actually thought that quote might be looked at strangely, but I was rushing and I didn't want to get too semantic happy. I was using the term accept in relation to the reality of a situation and not the morality of it.

If someone disagrees with the morality of the situation, by all means fight the good fight. But any effective fighter is still going to have to understand and accept the reality of what is at work.

As you said earlier, the problem here isn't the paparazzi... it's the public. Personally, I don't see them changing.

holypotatoes you bring up good points, but truthfully so much technology has changed since the 90's so that the whole process is extremely cheap. Photographers aren't even worried about film costs anymore so they can snap thousands of useless shots until they get one lucky one. It probably wasn't like this before, because it's never been this easy to make money doing it. Get a lucky one, sell it over e-mail. Simple, easy, and lucrative.

Again, I don't think it's a matter of deserving it. I think it's the reality of the role they've chosen to take (or in some cases maintain after their parents made the choice for them). That said, if the photographers aren't respecting public laws they should be arrested.
The best thing any individual fan can do is boycott sites/shows/mags like TMZ. Just don't buy into it.

I have a deep admiration for creative people in the entertainment industry, from actors to producers, directors and writers. IMO, interest in their personal lives is OK to a degree, but only what they choose to reveal in interviews or 'official' photo shoots. Certainly not to the extent we see everywhere.
I wont even pick up a gossip mag and read it while I'm waiting in the checkout line, much less buy one.

I say yay for every celebrity who has sued these sleezoids. No one signs up for the degree of invasion of privacy and stalking, that takes place on a regular basis.
I was using the term accept in relation to the reality of a situation and not the morality of it.

Then I kind of don't get why you say you disagree with me azzers since I specifically say

"...because, seriously, does any actor NOT know what it'll mean for their private life if/when they hit it big ?" and

"...it's still the case now and any actor going into the business has to know that."

i.e. my opening comment was about them understanding (what I now think you mean by 'accepting') the realities of becoming a known actor/star.

I'd also respectfully submit that the difference between accepting a situation and accepting the reality of a situation isn't some fine philosophical distinction or semantic nitpick, it's an actual appreciable difference in meaning. You're using 'accept' as in 'to regard as true' as if it's the same meaning as 'to reconcile oneself to' when to me they're different and only mean the same thing when a situation can't be changed, when actors must reconcile themselves to the current state of affairs. Which I don't accept (in either sense ;).
As I said in my first statement, we might not have been in disagreement at all. I was misinterpreting a statement. As I said, I was going pretty quick that morning.

But then I would respectfully ask, how can they change the current state of affairs? I believe actors have only three long-term options here: One, try to get the laws changed which somehow make them more sacrosanct in their privacy then then general public. Two, figure out a way for the public to buy into the idea that the laws would protect them too despite the fact the laws never really would. Three, leave it all behind.

However, they have no control over the economic reality of a general public that has an unhealthy interest in them, and historically I don't believe that has ever changed. I think the norms relating to what is acceptable have changed, but when I look at how it's happened I'm inclined to believe it progressed in a capitalistic, law-pushing direction that can't be fixed without law changes (and in the United States an ideological shift as well.)

I guess personally, I don't see this as a winnable fight unless there's some sort of catalyst like a directly attributable celebrity death. The offended party is too small. Most of the public will be too ambivalent because they can't equate what celebrities go to to their own lives. To me, this is more of a tyranny of democracy situation. "It doesn't effect me, so whatever."

[ edited by azzers on 2009-11-05 17:23 ]
I guess what they can do themselves and whether it's winnable partly comes down to how we see people in general.

I'm still kidding myself for instance that if folk really appreciated the pain it causes and understood that they're contributing to it by watching sleazy entertainment news shows or buying sleazy entertainment news magazines etc. then most would refrain (especially if they realised just how they're being played by those same shows/magazines who often develop their own "narrative" about a celebrity depending on what sort of copy they need - for instance a favourite trick of paps is to use a fast shutter to catch celebrities mid-blink so that they can then be represented as droopy eyed drunks, whether it's true or not).

If that's true (and trust me, i'm far from certain it is) then just raising awareness would be one way to change things. Actors organising themselves and going after the worst offenders among the paparazzi (and the magazines that pay them) in the courts as a group might be another way. Less directly, lobbying for reform of libel laws which, especially in England, are absurdly one sided and archaic could be another (since it would afford actors more chances to attack those that unfairly malign them in the press). Those're off the top of my head and are all very debatable as to their effectiveness but they're surely more effective than just doing nothing and accepting their lot.

That said, it's a complicated situation. On the front page right now we have a link about a 'People' photo-spread of proud new parents SMG and hubby with their baby i.e. celebrities court publicity some of the time but want to be able to control it and there's a question about where that line should be drawn. To me though, just because the line's been moved in recent years doesn't mean it can't be moved back. There's a complicated causality to it too i.e. i'm sure some do these 'Hello' features partly because it's going to happen anyway so they might as well a) retain some control over it and b) have a share of of the money that others are making from them. Others do it as a bid for publicity.

Or the shows/magazines are our 'bread and circuses' and a sure sign the "empire" is coming down around our ears, who knows ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2009-11-05 18:00 ]

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