Dollhouse: I’m Just Not That Into You

by Irma Arkus

After crying for months, awaiting Joss Whedon to delight and entertain me, I am quite frankly, disappointed.

Dollhouse, the show meant to delight, bring back the intelligent dialogue, the humour, the “chicks we dig,” did nothing for me. Instead of “getting my Whedon on,” I was faced with the undeniable facts: Dollhouse not only resembles all other TV shows currently running on Fox, but is solely centered on an actress, Eliza Dushku, who doesn’t really impress me anyways.

The central premise has no surprises, and we’ve been mulling over it for months. Dushku is a wide-eyed girl/sexpot, who is a sexbot harddrive, and as such may or may not contain a slew of borrowed memories. She is enrolled in a secret, private company program, that uses people as the sexbots they are.

Echo, Dushku’s pseudonym, resides in a palatial spa, filled with some familiar (Amy Acker) and some annoying (Fran Kranz) faces. She usually has no concerns, no worries, living a life resembling what most of us equate to that of an average celebrity.

But then Topher (Fran Kranz) loads her with memories, and presto!, Echo turns into an expert abductions negotiator. She winds her way through a negotiation with a pedophile murderer, only to “remember”
that she herself was kidnapped by the man in question. The memories are borrowed of course, so, Echo suffers through an emotional crisis of an unparalel depth…and this is where we get to watch Dushku’s shallow emotive output.

Let’s not forget that Eliza Dushku had already a stab at “ghost whisperer” territory with Tru Calling, a show that made me want to poke my eyes out on multiple occasions. It wasn’t great to watch her then, and it isn’t great to watch her now.

Topher is supposedly the “geek” who fiddles with the hardware and the software. But there is no witty reparte, no shiny brilliant dialogue or character development that would bring back the deliciousness of Whedon.

In fact, Whedon’s stylistic fingerprints are missing from the entire production. The entire show feels cautious, indistinguishable, average and severely lacking in elements of entertainment.

There are some highlights though. Sure, watching Dushku’s stabby attempts at acting is painful, but Tahmoh Penikett’s role as the cop who is investigating the conspiracy that is Dollhouse while exercising vigorously, seems like a beginning of something more intricate, complex and interesting.

Overall, the pilot was disappointing. But this is Whedon after all. So, before we entirely dismiss this as a total bore, we’ll have to keep on watching for a little while longer.

I bet that as soon as the going gets good, Dollhouse will already have been cancelled.