Archive for February 17, 2009

Empty Dollhouse

I have just listened to Alyssa host of The Big Red Podcast’s review of the new TV pilot for the Dollhouse (Fox). I agree with Alyssa’s comments wholeheartedly.

I watched with an intensity born from a love of Whedon’s other series Firefly. I was on board if it was going to have a certain amount of eye candy, but the pilot was morally reprehensible.

I didn’t understand that Echo’s first “mission” was actually as a call girl until well into the second half, when one of her dumb memories made it clearer. This isn’t the first televised play dealing with sex and currency, but the thing that twists this too far is the way the Stepford wives horror is presented. There is no loss of humanity, there is no consequence. There is no conscience depicted in the hero or elsewhere.

It’s a bad, bad, premise. But it is also stupid. If the Dollhouse business works so well, and their scruples are conditional, why don’t they become kidnappers and skip the pretense of any do-gooding? My wife asked me if at the end, the Dollhouse organization returned the ransom. And after considering it, I not only think they did not return the money, I don’t remember seeing them return the little girl. Maybe they flew her away in a helicopter and later made her into meat pies.

It had one decent (Whedon-esque) line at the beginning. “Ever try to clean a slate?” That is hardly enough to base a show upon.

Firefly fans would compare the character arc of River Tam and Echo. Their stories are inverse. River’s brain is clumsily cut up by an evil organization. She struggles with the scars. Echo signs over her soul and joins an evil organization. She lives happily ever after.