Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dollhouse - A Short Review

TallBrad pointed out a few weeks ago that Whedon's Dollhouse would be premiering soon, and I've had it on my calendar for quite some time. Pooteewheet tried to record it for us, but managed to record wrestling instead. Doh. We'll ship that disk off to Dan'l (I don't have Tivo yet - I don't record enough to make it cheaper than a DVD recorder). Fortunately, there's Hulu, so I watched it today while bicycling despite that it was a little jittery (lot of people watching it? It definitely wasn't my connection).

I think Pooteewheet will like Dollhouse better than I did. She was a big Charlie's Angels fan, and for some reason I was getting a bit of that vibe off the show, although perhaps that's because it was the first episode and the writing for the characters isn't firmed up yet. I do wonder how someone can maintain their eye candy, hot body, physique if they're just lying around getting massages and sleeping in a high-tech coffin. If I were programming personalities as a nerd-zombie-master I'd make sure the default involved a penchant for exercise. To keep her arm muscles in shape we should see Eliza working out, not taking a relaxing nap. And those high tech sunken beds make me twitchy as someone who spends a lot of his waking time in a cube. It's hard enough trying to keep your personality while inhabiting a cube, but Dollhouse implies if you fail and lose your personality, you'll spend the rest of your time there as well.

Whedon must not believe in Hemline Economics either. If he did, there's simply no excuse for Eliza Dushku's short white dress in the early dancing scene. It screams economic prosperity, not global downturn. She's wearing a pre-mortgage crisis dress. Maybe it's implying that the rich who can afford a doll, those who didn't have money with Madoff, are still rich and optimistic, unlike the rest of us.

In the end, I'm having a problem getting past the idea of dolls as anything other than morally reprehensible, and I didn't think the writing was as good as other Whedon projects, which meant it wasn't able to overcome my moral issues with a clever hook. I'll watch a few more to see if takes a turn for the better, but I worry that a character without an overarching personality (I realize that's the point. By the way, kudos on the vacant stare, Eliza) - and the personalities of Whedon's characters, like Nathan Fillion as Malcolm Reynolds on Firefly -will be difficult to connect with.

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