Monday, March 2, 2009

At Home in the Dollhouse

Thank heaven for snow days! I was finally able to catch up on the last two episodes of Dollhouse. I'm not exactly sure why or how I got behind, but thanks to DVR technology, I'm caught up now.

And I'm happy for a variety of reasons.

1. The wry, snap-kick fast humor I associate with Whedon was back. As you recall, that was one of my concerns from the pilot. Only I hear that wasn't the pilot. Ah, Fox. You change, yet you remain the same.

2. Echo is developing nicely. Now, I understand that for many people, Dollhouse is proving problematic. And I'm with the whole "how can Joss Whedon, male feminist icon galore, have a girl be hunted through the woods?" Well, let me explain something here, Drake. It's good to set up expectations before you start knocking them down. And just maybe Whedon wanted to do something a little different here. We've come to expect strong female characters from him. This is true, but we never saw how Buffy got that way; she just always was strong and definite and wise-cracking. (Sure, there were cracks in that from time to time and we loved her vulnerability, in part because we knew that deep down, she was strong. See? Knocking over expectations.) Here, we're going to have the delight of seeing Echo become strong.

3. The attention to detail is a marvel to watch. As I've said before, pay attention to the names. The pop singer was Rayna, which is a derivative of "queen." (She even wears royal purple in one scene.) She's a bird in a gilded cage, literally. And, oh yeah - her costuming for her opening number bears a striking resemblance to a jingly chastity belt. This queen is trapped by her own image and is willing to go to extreme lengths to get out.

I was of the "meh" school with the first episode. Now, I'm on board. And I really want to know what worn-out toys are up in the Attic. I'm beginning to think they may have a Skin Horse up there.

You remember the Skin Horse, don't you? Go re-read The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. The Skin Horse knows a thing or two about the difference between just being a toy and being Real:

"You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."


clywhite said...

Could you post the information relating to the Gardner Webb presentation. Building, Time, Date, ect.. Thanks

Adventuress said...

Sure! And there will be a longer post about this later - the details are as follows: I'll be presenting on why popular culture matters and is suitable for serious study, followed by a (tragically brief) reading of the chapter comparing Faith in BUFFY to the Bible's Prodigal Son. Next Wednesday, March 25 in the Blanton Auditorium on the GWU campus in Boiling Springs, NC. The festivities commence at 7 pm! Tell your friends!