Monday, February 16, 2009

A few thoughts on Joss Whedon's new show "Doll House"

Doll House is Joss Whedon whacked out on strippers, a thirteen episode commitment, and bathtub meth. It boggles my mind why he ever went back to Fox after the clumsy way they molested his last show, Firefly.
You can really see the network enforced blandening in the first twenty minutes. We have an interview scene mixed with contract negotiation drama, both the hallmark of formulaic writing. Then there's the first action scene, arriving right before the show can get boring or the audience can turn to another channel. Whedon really indulges himself here, filming several minutes of rapidly cut footage of two stunt drivers slowly piloting their motorbikes through some unremarkable stretch of city. Which, of course, is closely followed by a party segment, memorable only in how well it proves that Eliza Dushku looks great in a dress that almost succeeds at covering her ass.
But that's all chump change compared to the face fucking he makes of the “doll house” scenes, when he shows you the “monster's” lair.
I have a great idea for you: what if we make a show about people who we occasionally make autistic, you know, as the plot demands. Then, how about we use mediocre TV actors to play these mind-wiped flesh dolls and see what happens. Think people acting like they've suffered partial brain death. Eliza Dushku succeeds at acting like she hasn't a personality about as well as I stalk the homeless: with titties and a vaguely disinterested expression. Whedon should pack it in if he plans to keep up this bullshit. Amnesia is the lamest character trait possible. And given how he pairs it with an etch-a-sketch on which the writers can trace out what ever personality the story demands is pretentious and lazy. Both of which typify sci fi storytelling, so maybe he's on to something.
What also bugged me was the plot device he spends so much time trying to scare us with. The “actives” I think he calls them, can be imprinted with any needed skills set and personality to manage it. Rather than keeping that magic box sealed, he carts it out into the scene, bug smile smeared across his face, and he demands, “Look. I made science!” No, instead of using hypnosis and trigger words he chose to go with something out of the Apple Store for mad scientists, like someone watched the memory scenes in The Matrix and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, couldn't choose which to steal and decided on both. It's gray and trimmed with neon light, and when a character lies inside, it glows and bangs and they cringe. And people circulate petitions over the Internet to save what he creates. Fuck sake.
I already hate this and the next Whedon show.


Brendan MD said...

You forgot to mention the "poignant" metaphor that the main scientist character played by Fred from Angel represents.

Oh! People excel in life because they've been hurt, and not too compensate for something else. Oh! She has a bunch of facial scars that she doesn't like people looking at AND she's a brilliant scientist! OH GOD IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW THANK YOU JOSS WHEDON

s1m0n said...

yeah, the tidy work that was made of her scars was more than infuriating. I sat there, at my laptop, wondering why a SCIENTIST had scars. our day and age is host to a fantastical self reinvention magic called plastic surgery. I am willing to overlook the fact that scars are a good character train only in D&D, but i refuse to believe that anyone but prison inmates thinks that facial scars are a good idea. Sand those fuckers down and slap a layer of ass flesh on them like the rest of civilization, you lazy twat.

fuck you for being boring, Joss