Saturday, October 3, 2009

Watching with Scholars

The conference wraps up today - I'll post final thoughts later. Wilmington has been good to us - and it's been a good conference. One of the delights of a popular culture conference is how interdisciplinary it is. Rather than just going to media studies panels, I have choices from panels discussing Shakespeare, the material culture, technology, and so on. The hard part is choosing!

Of course, another key of conferences is having a chance to get feedback on your own work and see what's going on in the field. My panel (which was yesterday) was a very strong one. We had all worked independently, but had bridges for the other speakers, so it felt very organic and unified. Not all panels have that - especially when the speakers haven't met and are preparing in a vacuum, as it were. And (naturally) many presentations are of works in progress - mine changed a good bit from the proposal to the presentation, due to time. But I had one nugget of information that seems to be my shiny new unique contribution to the readings of Dollhouse and I've been asked to develop that further for publication, which is always a kick. There are some other bits of news, but I need to scurry to catch the final two panels today, so it'll have to wait.

Anyway, a gang of us (what's the collective noun for a group of academics? A dissertation? A theory? Hmm.) gathered after the closing reception and dinner (in the hotel - hardly ever anything to write home about, yet a substantial hit on the credit card. And you wonder why I cook at home most nights) to watch Friday's episode of Dollhouse.


I hate to say it, but it felt phoned in. There were cliches galore and they weren't being used as ironic commentary. (Lightning storm? Spilled milk? Shiny butcher knife? Really, was all of that necessary?) The core concept was interesting - the maternal instinct is just too strong to be "wiped," even if it was implanted in the first place - but it just didn't hang together for me.

I want to like this show; I really do. And there are glimmers, but so far, they seem more like foxfire luring me deeper into the swamp than glittering Truth. I'll stick with it, but I will continue to point out when the emperor appears to be nekkid.

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