Honeyyyyyyyy, I'm Homeeeeeeeeeee!!!
OK, perhaps it's time to bring a bit of "balance" to this conversation... I've waited a full seven episodes before seeking out this thread (partly because it's been all I could do to keep up with the BSG thread, which a week after the show ended is getting a bit boring with all the arguments about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin).
At any rate, when I found this thread last night, right after the show, since it wasn't TOO humongous yet, I went to Page 1 and started reading... Since the first page began in October of 2007, I sort of skimmed up until just before the first episode aired in February, but I've read word-for-word every single posting since, and it's taken every minute I've had online since 10 p.m. last night (of course I've been watching TV, too, so that's slowed me down a bit -- not that there's been much of consequence on since then).
There've been at least a dozen times
prior to post 661 I WANTED to reply to post, but waited to see what everyone had already said, so I have a lot to reply to, and I'm sure I'll miss a few...
My first, and biggest comment, however, is the one about "Dollhouse" being a "Vanity Project" for Eliza Dushku which she had prior rights to develop with Fox, and Joss Whedon had no choice as to who to cast for the lead. After last night's episode, I'd say calling "Dollhouse" a "vanity project" for Eliza is sort of like calling the Grand Canyon "a little river valley."
Look, the chick does
have a tight little body, and a decent face (but she's no more than "an 8," really, no knockout, although hot enough). That said, The way they promote this show, the virtual "softcore" image they run of her when breaking for commercials, the fact that ALL THEY SHOW during the opening credits, while showing the names of ALL cast members, is different shots of HER face, and the fact that she finds literally RIDICULOUS excuses to run around -- even if she IS "fully clothed" -- wearing things like a short skirt with sexy white knee stockings for half the show, while she's doing super-secret sleuth work AFTER she just WALKED OUT on a guy she had tied up without even untying him??? Come ON.
Don't get me wrong. I'm a fan. I've watched since show one, and I'm NOT a "Whedon Fanboy," although I became a Buffy addict after just one episode in Season 5 (had caught up the entire show watching reruns by the time the season was over). On the other hand, although I watched every episode of "Firefly" in its original run, and enjoyed them, fairly well, I didn't think they were all that great and wasn't surprised when it was cancelled... Didn't think it was good enough that when they made the movie, "Serenity," I was interested in going to see it in the theaters, BUT when it came to pay cable, I was BLOWN AWAY! With all the talk about "Firefly," I may give it another shot when it runs again somewhere on TV.
I came to "Angel" late, and never did see all of it, but what I saw was OK. But I don't watch ANYTHING just because a particular producer or director is involved. That might get me there to start with, but it certainly won't hold me.
However, as I've said elsewhere, previously, I'm pretty easy to please and generally VERY generous in giving shows lots of time to "mature" and letting them get away with plot holes, bad science, and whatnot, so long as they have decent writing and acting, believable characters, etc. I found some of the comic relief with Topher and his boss fun in this last episode, but letting all those "actives" loose on that campus just because they didn't THINK the drug would work on them -- well, I guess they found out. Victor might even be dead, now.
Back to that Vanity thing... It really bugged me last night. All that last half of the show, with Echo walking around dressed like some sort of hooker or something -- and worse yet, NOBODY in the show seemed to even notice or make a comment... Come on, young women don't ordinarily dress like that in public unless they're either going to a costume party or "advertising" something!
As for the contracts, and the legality of them... assuming everything the Dollhouse does is legal (which of course we know it isn't, but let's say it is, for the purpose of argument), most basic contract law would still make the majority, if not all of those contracts invalid, for a couple of reasons.
1. From what we can tell, everyone who's signed one has done so under duress. I think their general M.O. is to get someone in a compromising position where they might go to jail for a very long time (or at least think they might), and then give them the option of signing a 5-year-contract as an "Active" or being turned over for prosecution. That is a contract signed under duress, essentially blackmail, which, of course, is always illegal.
2. While the "Actives" are likely given some idea of what they're signing up for, it's highly unlikely they're told the full story. They're probably told they'll have to work for them for five years, and do whatever they're told to do, no questions asked, but I seriously doubt they're actually allowed to observe the operation for a day or two and see what it's actually like for a REAL "ACTIVE," because I think if they were, very few would sign up for that.
3. I believe this pretty much does fall more under the category of "indentured servitude," which was made illegal under the 13th and 14th Amendments along with regular slavery.
Like many of you, I'll keep watching "as long as the lights are on," even though I find Dichen Lacham to be bizarre-and-alien-looking, like some of you do -- sort of like someone scrambled every race on Earth and put them all into one face, and even though I think Eliza Dushku has an ego problem she's trying to solve by becoming every straight American Male PsiPhi fan's erotic fantasy, or something. (Frankly, if she wanted to do the show that way, they should have taken it to HBO, or Showtime, and shown some REAL skin!)
I found more redeeming elements in the first five episodes than did many of you, but I also did see quite a few issues, here and there -- including some of those plot holes you could drive trucks through. I felt the way they were doing the show was sort of an opportunity for Eliza to test her acting chops with different characters, some of which she pulled off very well, others, meh.
Next week's preview does
look very promising, after what I thought was a pretty weak episode this week, even though it DID give us more backstory on Caroline, and what got her to the Dollhouse in the first place, which was quite similar to what got their newest active there -- except he was acting out of greed, rather than altruism.
The bigger reveal, however, was that this major pharmaceutical company, "Rossum," is at least partly behind the Dollhouse, and that's where I think a large part of this show is going... That many big businesses have a stake in this venture -- which is part of why they can continually rent their Actives out to all these rich people without fear of being caught, or turned in -- those people are complicit in the crime; they own a piece of the company. I got the strong impression that the Patton Oswalt character was one of the founding members of the Dollhouse. As a genious computer programmer, it simply makes sense that he would be. As for other clients, my assumption is that nobody gets to be a client without a referral from someone who is already a trusted client or business partner, and that they have to sign some sort of confidentiality contract that likely threatens their LIFE if they ever divulge anything about the Dollhouse.
And YES, I do see what they're doing here as a potential prelude to filling society with potentially well-placed Actives who could influence commerce, politics and whatnot to the point that entire nations, and the world, could be secretly controlled by well-connected "puppet-masters."
I'm really looking forward to this coming Friday's show and hoping it's another really great one like the one on March 20, and not just another excuse for Eliza to show off her legs and act all weird and confused for half the show again... Even as easy to please as I am
THAT is beginning to wear thin!