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Joss Whedon Discusses the Fate of the Dollhouse

Joss Whedon was at Harvard last Friday (quick! somebody concoct an alibi for Sweetney) to receive the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism and talk about his thoughtful views on education, religion and the essential optimism of humanists blah blah blah Dollhouse! Dollhouse! Talk about Dollhouse!

He did. Some highlights after the jump.

On the not-super-consistent quality level of the show:

He admitted that he has made episodes that have nothing to say, for which he is ashamed. He singled out the fifth episode, "True Believer", as one that fails to explore the motivations for why people join cults and how these reasons connect with why people end up in the Dollhouse. Ultimately, he said, though there's nothing wrong with making television that is merely diverting, it's not something he's interested in doing.

On the much-discussed, possibly-not-ever-going-to-see-the-light-of-broadcast thirteenth episode:

The episode was mostly shot on video, as opposed to the film used for the other twelve, which should be an interesting stylistic fit with the episode's reported post-apocalyptic setup. The episode might also not be quite as much of a standalone as has been suggested; he mentioned that the episode addresses and even somewhat answers some of the most important questions regarding the Dollhouse. He also said in no uncertain terms that he wants people to see the episode on TV, not as a glorified bonus feature on the DVD release.

On all the pretty young things:

When an audience member asked whether he saw it as troublesome that all the actives were unfailingly young and gorgeous, he acknowledged this to an extent, mentioning that early drafts of the show had involved actives of all shapes and sizes to reflect the fact that people's fantasies don't always adhere to Hollywood's conception of attractiveness, and the beautifying of the Dollhouse was one of the realities of dealing with Fox. There had been an entire early subplot about an active named Tango who was an older woman, but sadly all of that had to go when the show's direction changed.

On the possibility of a second season:

He was generally highly pessimistic about the show's prospects for a second season, all but acting as though the show had already been canceled (which, for the record, it hasn't yet, at least not officially). He didn't give any specific reason for his opinion, although one might guess lackluster ratings and bitter experience are contributing factors. This means he won't even be entertaining the notion of a Dollhouse musical episode, although he did say that, if he could hire Actives from the Dollhouse, they would be of the all-singing, all-dancing variety.

And randomly, on who would win in a fight: Buffy Summers or River Tam?

After buying sufficient time to consider the question, Whedon finally reasoned that, while Buffy is stronger, River's whole thing is being programmed to kill, so…He trailed off there, but I think that's a pretty clear vote for River.


Related posts: Three Flowers in a Vase: Joss Whedon's Dollhouse is Suddenly Worth Watching, Joss Whedon's Weird Idea: The Strangeness of Dollhouse, Now THAT'S What I Call Stalking Joss Whedon!, Stalking Joss Whedon

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I haven't yet seen Dollhouse, but I have gotten mixed reviews. Then again, Firefly was the same way, so I'd better give it a shot.


*SPOILERS* Given what I've heard about the last episode of Dollhouse - that it takes place in a post-apocalyptic future and doesn't feature any of the main characters - I'm guessing that it's not necessary for a full enjoyment of the series, but it adds to the thematic weight of the show (Sample Theme: Eliza Dushku is largely naked. Discuss.) and serves as a coda in the same way that the last episode of season four Buffy didn't add to the plot at all but explored the show's obessions.


This just makes me sick. What the heck is wrong with Fox? They can't give Dollhouse a chance to find it's audience, to find it's groove? It can't be the first show in history to have less than stellar ratings in it's first season yet be picked up for another?

Come on, Fox. Give Dollhouse a chance. And also, November is definitely more curvy than Echo or Sierra, yet she gets the hot makeout scenes with with the cute FBI agent!

Will be very sad if Dollhouse is one season only.


If they cancel Dollhouse I will never again give Fox the time of day when it comes to new shows. (I can't give up Bones or Hell's Kitchen.)

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