I’ll Whisper No

by Jeff on January 14, 2010 · 3 comments

in Things I Hate

Yesterday, someone brought a campaign to ‘Save Dollhouse‘ to my attention and asked me to participate.

For those of you who don’t know, Dollhouse is a television show about men and (primarily very attractive) women who act as ‘Dolls’ or ‘Actives’ – human tabulas rasa who can be imprinted with any skill or personality – and hired out at an exorbitant fee for just about any reason from one-night stand to assassin to midwife to whatever.  Not only is Dollhouse a Joss Whedon show airing on Fox, but it’s also a high concept, soft sci-fi show that is creepy, thought-provoking and just flawed enough to make it no surprise that it was canceled halfway through its second season despite the fanboy/girl goodwill it tried to evoke by stunt casting actors from prior Whedon shows (Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Alan Tudyk, Felicia Day and, of course, Eliza Dushku), Battlestar Galactica (Tamoh Penikett, Jamie Bamber and Michael Hogan most notably) as well as a host of other nerdlebrities like Patton Oswalt.  That it lasted two seasons is testament to the power of the Internet to mobilize the most loathsome and intractable Firefly fans (and I like Firefly a great deal, folks, but there is a line, you know?).

Anyway: saving Dollhouse.  I was kind of taken aback by this, because I don’t know anybody who’s really passionate about the show, especially not passionate enough to try to save it the way that hojillions of people mobilized to save a show like Jericho. I also don’t know who’s trying to organize this months after the ax has fallen.  Like, man, I really wish Fish was still on the air. Let’s mail ABC some cardboard standees of Abe Vigoda until they bring that shit back! Let’s do this!

More importantly, Dollhouse was never actually any good.  Yes, the back half of each season was excellent.  The metaplot is compelling. The long-form story is good.  In broad strokes, it’s a cautionary fable about the misuse of technology, the nature of free will and some serious thoughts about gender roles, relationship dynamics and et cetera.  Week to week, though, Dushku’s Echo is as likely to be a backup singer as she is to kick ass and try to fight corporate conspiracy.  Like season 5 of Angel, the show breaks down when you consider it on an episode-to-episode basis, chiefly in the first half of each season, the show has been a labor to watch.  The experience of watching a season of Dollhouse is a bit like climbing a mountain to get to an amusement park.  That’s not worth saving.  The show is poised to go out on a high note over the next couple of weeks as the final two episodes air; just let it die in peace.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Rich Drees January 14, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Did you just coin the word “nerdlebrities”?

Jeff January 15, 2010 at 1:44 pm

No, I think that’s a Sarah Kuhn word that I’ve ruthlessly stolen.

Sarah January 15, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Actually, I think that’s a Heidi MacDonald word the entire internet has stolen.

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