Joss Whedon's 'Dollhouse' w/ Eliza Dushku on FOX - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 2557 Old 02-16-2009, 08:38 PM
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Very uninspiring first episode. I hope they get better.

Along with the overall "meh" story, I had a lot of nits:

- In the opening portions, after Echo dumps the motorcycle, it's later shown with zero damage. As someone who has ridden plenty of bikes with plastic on them, I can tell you that even a simple tip over can shatter plastic fairings. A low side like she did would make into yet another naked character. For example, a friend stepped on some oil at a stop light and destroyed his left fairing just from tipping it over - and that was after almost saving it. I had a deer run into me from the side of the road on a Ninja and between plastic, signals, a clutch handle, mirrors and various other items, the bike became a write-off at a total of $4200. I won't even go into ditching your helmet after you've just hit the pavement...I mean, replace it later, but was she that certain she wouldn't take another tumble?

- Which leads me to risk...The company sure lets their "property" take a lot of physical risk, from riding really fast bikes in a completely insane manner to meeting up with guys with guns without wearing body armor, then allowing her to go into the nest of the bad guys alone with support far enough away that she has time to pull the girl out of the fridge and get back into the line of fire before backup shows up.

- So, the company allows the clients to sleep with their "dolls"? I'm thinking that makes it a little risky for future clients, even with protection (which isn't 100%). Not only that, I'm sure a "date gone wrong" will be the reason for the scars on the other woman at the Dollhouse.

- I'm willing to buy into the whole brainwashing thing, but making someone nearsighted without surgery is a bit over the top. Not only that, asthma medication can be fatal for those that don't actually have asthma.

- I'm not so sure about the wiping thing involving a hard drive, either. Maybe for programming, but, again, while I'm OK with the brainwashing thing, getting memories out of a brain and onto a computer drive is pushing it. I can buy eliminating memories, but offloading them like she's a PDA synching up with your laptop is a bit much. Why not just wipe the memories? What use is it to save what they take from her? You'd think they would only want to keep the clean image they programmed her with initially.

- The bidding up thing on the ransom was silly. It was like someone had suggested she bid it down, but someone else chimed in that it might seem to much like "Ransom" - so they flipped it the other way.

- I'm surprised her "expert" identity didn't figure the plan was to kill the girl a whole lot earlier when it was realized only one of them wore a mask to hide himself. Why would they let her go if she could ID them? Or, in contrast, why wouldn't the guys who hadn't planned on killing her allow her to see their faces?

- What's the deal with laying the fridge down? Wouldn't it be easier to strap it closed with it upright? Not only that, the one guy intended to dispose of it girl and all. It's hard to move a fridge laying down.

- No offense, but what kind of sleeping arrangements are those? Do they do oil changes overnight? If you can program people any way you want, you'd think you'd restrict the budget to a room of bunks, especially considering the community shower thing.
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post #182 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 06:30 AM
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- What's the deal with laying the fridge down? Wouldn't it be easier to strap it closed with it upright? Not only that, the one guy intended to dispose of it girl and all. It's hard to move a fridge laying down.

- No offense, but what kind of sleeping arrangements are those? Do they do oil changes overnight? If you can program people any way you want, you'd think you'd restrict the budget to a room of bunks, especially considering the community shower thing.

Looks cool, secure (no sleep-walking or exploring), sound-proof (no sleep-talking or shared remembering), interesting how the fridge mirrors "sleeping arrangements" (Echo was only one I noticed in a fetal position).


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post #183 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 07:07 AM
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Very uninspiring first episode. I hope they get better.

Along with the overall "meh" story, I had a lot of nits:

I feel a bit like you, but some of these points I think I cana ddress (until contradicted by the show :P)

- In the opening portions, after Echo dumps the motorcycle,...but was she that certain she wouldn't take another tumble?

Yeah, clearly just a stunt set-piece, with her taking off the helmet so we can see that its her. I also doubt she could even lift a bike like that

- Which leads me to risk...The company sure lets their "property" take a lot of physical risk, ne of fire before backup shows up.

I'm thinking that the company views dolls like meat. If one is damaged, they are disposed of. So any particular doll probably isn't that important. The implications that they get at least some from slave traders reinforces this.


- So, the company allows the clients to sleep with their "dolls"? I'm thinking that makes it a little risky for future clients, even with protection (which isn't 100%). Not only that, I'm sure a "date gone wrong" will be the reason for the scars on the other woman at the Dollhouse.

I can only guess that "sex toy" is a VERY large part of their business, though if that pricetag of a million dollars for "engagement" is true, then maybe not (unless they have children or some other very taboo dolls somewhere)

- I'm willing to buy into the whole brainwashing thing, but making someone nearsighted without surgery is a bit over the top. Not only that, asthma medication can be fatal for those that don't actually have asthma.

I think what they did was make the doll "think" they are nearsighted or had asthma. The glasses and inhaler could have been placebos.

- I'm not so sure about the wiping thing involving a hard drive, either. Maybe for programming, ...her with initially.

I bet past engagements come into play, or repeat performances are sometimes required, so they store the imprint for future use. It is clearly a bit of techwanking though.

- The bidding up thing on the ransom was silly. It was like someone had suggested she bid it down, but someone else chimed in that it might seem to much like "Ransom" - so they flipped it the other way.

Yeah, this was poor writing. Designed to make her seem tough and competent, but fell flat

- I'm surprised her "expert" identity didn't figure the plan was to kill the girl a whole lot earlier when it was realized only one of them wore a mask to hide himself. Why would they let her go if she could ID them? Or, in contrast, why wouldn't the guys who hadn't planned on killing her allow her to see their faces?

I think her thought was that the masked man was known to the girl, thus he was masked. The other guys were unconcerned as they were plannig to pop smoke once the job was done. Being visually identified probably isn't a big fear for these guys

- No offense, but what kind of sleeping arrangements are those? Do they do oil changes overnight? If you can program people any way you want, you'd think you'd restrict the budget to a room of bunks, especially considering the community shower thing.

I agree, seems odd, unless they are programmed to sleep for long periods of time (though that has serious consequences for their health. I suspect it was a "looks cool" moment to emphasize their childlike, programmed behaviour.

Anyway, as a Whedon show, I fully expect most of these issues to be resolved. He definitely puts a lot of thought into everything, no way he would have such an elaborate set unless it was going to be an integral part.
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post #184 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 07:28 AM
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They made it clear that they messed up something in her mind so she DID need the glasses, not that they made her THINK she did. Good point on storing the memory, gives them an out for future eps - I think the main reasons though (show-wise) is so one of the dolls can discover them later.
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post #185 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 07:53 AM
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Reasonable nits, but picking at them is a sure way to avoid any entertainment value a show like this might provide. Accept the premise and roll with the nits, or you'll be better off not wasting time watching it. If the writing is such that the stories are interesting, I'll overlook the kinds of points you observed.

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post #186 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 08:26 AM
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I'm sorry, but I think Joss Whedon is a bum. I liked the first couple of seasons of Buffy, I hated Angel, and WTF is Firefly.

I tuned out of this show after about 25 mins, but that could have been the terrible fever from the flu I had over this weekend.

I guess I owe it 2 more viewings before I cancel it, or Fox cancels it first.
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post #187 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Linux23 View Post

I'm sorry, but I think Joss Whedon is a bum. I liked the first couple of seasons of Buffy, I hated Angel, and WTF is Firefly.

I tuned out of this show after about 25 mins, but that could have been the terrible fever from the flu I had over this weekend.

I guess I owe it 2 more viewings before I cancel it, or Fox cancels it first.

And here I thought all Linux users were huge Whedon fanbois after Firefly. Strong geek appeal in both audiences.

I've always thought Joss's stuff isn't for everyone, because his sense of humor and ear for dialog are both somewhat out of the mainstream. I wouldn't argue with someone who has given it a legitimate shot and just isn't into it.

That being said, the Dollhouse pilot was about the least Whedonesque thing I've ever seen that he's been heavily involved with. Which maybe gave the show a little more mass appeal but probably didn't help with the critics or the rabid legion of Joss fans out there.

If you really want a sense of what kind of stuff he does when unfettered, take 45 minutes and watch Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog on Hulu. You may or may not be disappointed. (Just keep in mind it was a little side project.)
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post #188 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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.... and WTF is Firefly.

Genius.
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post #189 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 12:20 PM
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I'm sorry, but I think Joss Whedon is a bum. I liked the first couple of seasons of Buffy, I hated Angel, and WTF is Firefly.
.

Dang kids and their hippy hop music! Not knowing what Firefly is!

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post #190 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 12:21 PM
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- Which leads me to risk...The company sure lets their "property" take a lot of physical risk, ne of fire before backup shows up.

I'm thinking that the company views dolls like meat. If one is damaged, they are disposed of. So any particular doll probably isn't that important. The implications that they get at least some from slave traders reinforces this.

That's the problem: they're worried about getting caught at this sort of thing. I would think the Dolls wouldn't be that easy to replace without attracting attention. Not to mention, injury or death is going to lead to investigation by those that might look closer.

Quote:


- So, the company allows the clients to sleep with their "dolls"? I'm thinking that makes it a little risky for future clients, even with protection (which isn't 100%). Not only that, I'm sure a "date gone wrong" will be the reason for the scars on the other woman at the Dollhouse.

I can only guess that "sex toy" is a VERY large part of their business, though if that pricetag of a million dollars for "engagement" is true, then maybe not (unless they have children or some other very taboo dolls somewhere)

Again, if you just want "a date" for the night, you can have the same experience for a whole lot less. Likewise, as you indicated, if there are under aged people involved, that's still a high price to pay - and to a company that has your name and the resources to blackmail you.

Quote:


- I'm willing to buy into the whole brainwashing thing, but making someone nearsighted without surgery is a bit over the top. Not only that, asthma medication can be fatal for those that don't actually have asthma.

I think what they did was make the doll "think" they are nearsighted or had asthma. The glasses and inhaler could have been placebos.

They mentioned she really was nearsighted and had asthma as a result of the programming. If they had merely said she thinks she needs glasses or the inhaler, I'd buy into it a lot more.

Quote:


- I'm not so sure about the wiping thing involving a hard drive, either. Maybe for programming, ...her with initially.

I bet past engagements come into play, or repeat performances are sometimes required, so they store the imprint for future use. It is clearly a bit of techwanking though.

But why would you save something that has potentially been corrupt, especially in the case of where a "mission" went bad?

It's like paintings create for a period movie where an artist has painted the actor to look like, say, George Washington. That painting isn't kept for future use in order to avoid it potentially accidentally ending up in another film requiring a portrait of George Washington. You keep the portrait of the original guy instead.

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Anyway, as a Whedon show, I fully expect most of these issues to be resolved. He definitely puts a lot of thought into everything, no way he would have such an elaborate set unless it was going to be an integral part.

I think he puts a lot of thought into the overall story arc, but I find his details are often lacking. I also think his fans are waaay to forgiving at times. I'll give the show a few more episodes to give it time to get to the proper episode order. Then, maybe it will settle in properly.
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post #191 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 12:24 PM
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I've always thought Joss's stuff isn't for everyone, because his sense of humor and ear for dialog are both somewhat out of the mainstream. I wouldn't argue with someone who has given it a legitimate shot and just isn't into it.

I think that's a huge problem, though. You can't put a show on a major TV network that is a niche product. Sorry, but that's bad business. That's what cable is for.

There's a huge difference between a mainstream show with inside jokes or references for the niche audience and niche show with a few mainstream elements in it.
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post #192 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 12:25 PM
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I suppose it's fair to discuss Whedon fanboy-ism in the "Dollhouse" thread. I probably don't qualify as a fanboy or browncoat or whatever, but I have developed a respect for Whedon's work. I started with Buffy after it was no longer in first-run, only because a commentator on National Review declared it the best series in TV history. I rented DVDs from Netflix to check BtVS out, and was impressed. I watched all of it, then all of Angel. I noticed episodes that had Joss Whedon as the writer and/or director credit seemed to have a higher level of quality in general. Then I watched Firefly on DVD after not having seen any of it on Fox. For the first few eps, I just did not get why it had such a following. But by the end...I consider "Objects in Space" one of the most impressive episodes of any television series, ever.

"Dollhouse" has potential. Whedon has earned my admiration for some of his work. I'm going to give this series a chance.

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post #193 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 12:31 PM
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...Then I watched Firefly on DVD after not having seen any of it on Fox. For the first few eps, I just did not get why it had such a following. But by the end...I consider "Objects in Space" one of the most impressive episodes of any television series, ever.

I fully agree on Firefly. I was the same way. I stuck it out and was rewarded with a great show after the first several episodes. The dialog was one of the high points, for sure.

The problem is, now, more than even then, a show isn't going to be allowed time to settle in and become impressive.

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"Dollhouse" has potential. Whedon has earned my admiration for some of his work. I'm going to give this series a chance.

Agreed, but only to a point. There are a lot of great TV shows out there. There's no compelling reason to ride a train wreck out when you can jump to safety into a soft field of clover, the hop the express on the other track when it passes.
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post #194 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 12:36 PM
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But why would you save something that has potentially been corrupt, especially in the case of where a "mission" went bad?

It's like paintings create for a period movie where an artist has painted the actor to look like, say, George Washington. That painting isn't kept for future use in order to avoid it potentially accidentally ending up in another film requiring a portrait of George Washington. You keep the portrait of the original guy instead.

Except in this case, our dolls are made from composites of personalities. The latest negotiator Echo has confronted the kidnapper from her childhood and presumably come out stronger for it. It'd make sense to download that personality for their archives and upload that version of it to Echo the next time that particular portion of a negotiator personality is needed.
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post #195 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 12:44 PM
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Except in this case, our dolls are made from composites of personalities. The latest negotiator Echo has confronted the kidnapper from her childhood and presumably come out stronger for it. It'd make sense to download that personality for their archives and upload that version of it to Echo the next time that particular portion of a negotiator personality is needed.

Or they could wipe the kidnapping memories from the original profile and have a clean profile where the stuff that went wrong never went wrong and won't potentially cause her a totally different issue if similar circumstances occur.

When you accidentally put too much rum in a Long Island Iced Tea, it's usually easier to just start over from scratch than balance it out with the other ingredients.
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post #196 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 12:47 PM
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Depends on how many you've already had.
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post #197 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 12:58 PM
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Depends on how many you've already had.

It doesn't take many, especially with too much rum in them.

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post #198 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 01:35 PM
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Dang kids and their hippy hop music! Not knowing what Firefly is!

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LOL. I know what Firefly is, I just didn't get the whole premise behind the series. Maybe I should rent the short lived series from Netflix and see what all the fanboyism is about.
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post #199 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 01:36 PM
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I think that's a huge problem, though. You can't put a show on a major TV network that is a niche product. Sorry, but that's bad business. That's what cable is for.

Sure you can. Just don't cry about it when it doesn't bring in viewers. I wasn't trying to argue whether or not airing Dollhouse is a smart business move for Fox. I'm just pointing out that Whedon's style is not for everyone. As good a show as Buffy was, I'm still absolutely amazed that it managed to live for seven seasons. If the WB had been an established network or reality TV had picked up steam a few years earlier, there's no way it would've lasted more than a season. We know the major networks don't really give shows time to find an audience and/or their voice (especially expensive ones) which makes it tough for truly original stuff to get on the air and stay there.

I keep thinking the greatest trick the Lost creators pulled was not revealing that the show is about time travel until 4 seasons in.
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post #200 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 01:59 PM
 
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LOL. I know what Firefly is, I just didn't get the whole premise behind the series. Maybe I should rent the short lived series from Netflix and see what all the fanboyism is about.

Nah, dip into the piggy bank and buy it. If any TV series ever had a high rewatchability factor, it's 'Firefly'. It was completely unique. I know I've watched the series through several times, and probably will again once I get the blu-ray set.

Based on the measly one-episode sample I've seen so far, 'Dollhouse' is no 'Firefly'. But it's likely going to be plenty good to keep my attention. Hopefully, it will be good enough for buzz and alternate income streams to compensate for low viewership and keep it on the schedule. With The Big Karaoke Show keeping the FOX Network's coffers flush, they should be able to afford to keep this show and T:SCC on the air on a night where expectations aren't high.
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post #201 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 04:16 PM
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From Fredfa's "Hot Off The Press" thread:

TV Notes
Dollhouse Ratings Loser, iTunes Winner
By IMDB - February 17, 2009

Although the new Joss Whedon series Dollhouse had only a so-so debut on Fox last Friday, attracting 4.73 million viewers and winding up third in its time period, it climbed to No. 1 on Apple's iTunes site on Monday. Presumably driven by word of mouth, iTunes visitors lifted the show to No. 19 on iTunes on Saturday but by Sunday, it had risen to No. 2, behind BattleStar Galactica.

http://www.imdb.com/news/ni0682340/
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post #202 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 05:42 PM
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I'm sorry, but I think Joss Whedon is a bum. I liked the first couple of seasons of Buffy, I hated Angel, and WTF is Firefly.

I tuned out of this show after about 25 mins, but that could have been the terrible fever from the flu I had over this weekend.

I guess I owe it 2 more viewings before I cancel it, or Fox cancels it first.

After liking the Buffy movie I watched a couple of the first season of Buffy and thought it was too silly. Then 3-4 years later found I really liked Angel and went back to check out the early Buffy episodes. I found I liked them after all and collected all of them. Now I can still say Buffy is my favorite series of all time.

I also expect to like Dollhouse, though it's too early to really know for sure.

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post #203 of 2557 Old 02-17-2009, 08:31 PM
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From Fredfa's "Hot Off The Press" thread:

TV Notes
Dollhouse Ratings Loser, iTunes Winner
By IMDB - February 17, 2009

Presumably driven by word of mouth, iTunes visitors lifted the show to No. 19 on iTunes on Saturday but by Sunday, it had risen to No. 2, behind BattleStar Galactica.

http://www.imdb.com/news/ni0682340/

Does apple release exactly how many people paid to download the episode?
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post #204 of 2557 Old 02-18-2009, 05:24 AM
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I suppose we can go round and round about the glasses and inhaler being a psychological "crutch" or a physiologic necessity, but since it is only the first episode, there probably isn't much point as it will undoubtedly be addressed later (Echo breaks programming and can discard the props, etc). I would hope the show has a doc around to "proof" those types of things for consistency, but I suspect some serious artistic license will be used instead.
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post #205 of 2557 Old 02-18-2009, 06:20 AM
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I suppose we can go round and round about the glasses and inhaler being a psychological "crutch" or a physiologic necessity...

Um, as noted earlier, it was clearly established that she was, with that identity actually near sighted and actually had asthma. The tech guy did this whole exposition about how he did it. It was this whole thing with altering her optic nerve in some way. The explanation was really silly, as was the device.

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Originally Posted by jason10mm View Post

but since it is only the first episode, there probably isn't much point as it will undoubtedly be addressed later (Echo breaks programming and can discard the props, etc).

If they change that formula without stating they are doing it differently, it would contradict itself.

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I would hope the show has a doc around to "proof" those types of things for consistency, but I suspect some serious artistic license will be used instead.

I'm pretty sure any consulting physician merely plays a doctor on TV, in this case. I'm pretty sure the artisitc license was obtained from the Picasso institute...

The thing is, I'm willing to overlook some of the silliness if the plot of the show is good enough. However, this first one just wasn't very good at all. I'll give it a couple more tries to suck me in, but this was a pretty poor effort out of the gate.
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post #206 of 2557 Old 02-18-2009, 06:56 AM
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Um, as noted earlier, it was clearly established that she was, with that identity actually near sighted and actually had asthma. The tech guy did this whole exposition about how he did it. It was this whole thing with altering her optic nerve in some way. The explanation was really silly, as was the device.

Yeah, especially since nearsightedness and farsightedness are afflictions of the eyeball itself, and not the optic nerve. The original model was nearsighted due to an imperfection in the cornea, yet when they do the imprint, the doll becomes nearsighted because the optic nerve gets scrambled somehow? Doesn't make much sense. Some people will have a problem with that and some won't.

I just took that explanation as a way to show they pull in some unwanted traits when they do the imprinting and don't have total control over the process. I tried not to think about the biology behind it because the whole idea of imprinting is make-believe anyway. The writers can claim it works however they want, regardless of it makes biological sense. The imprinting thing is pretty fantastical; I wouldn't consider it to be hard sci-fi anyway.
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post #207 of 2557 Old 02-18-2009, 07:15 AM
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Yeah, especially since nearsightedness and farsightedness are afflictions of the eyeball itself, and not the optic nerve. The original model was nearsighted due to an imperfection in the cornea, yet when they do the imprint, the doll becomes nearsighted because the optic nerve gets scrambled somehow? Doesn't make much sense. Some people will have a problem with that and some won't.

I just took that explanation as a way to show they pull in some unwanted traits when they do the imprinting and don't have total control over the process. I tried not to think about the biology behind it because the whole idea of imprinting is make-believe anyway. The writers can claim it works however they want, regardless of it makes biological sense. The imprinting thing is pretty fantastical; I wouldn't consider it to be hard sci-fi anyway.

That's the thing: I would have been perfectly OK with it if it had been purely psychological. If she only thought she needed glasses and the inhaler,they could have merely given her frames with window glass in them and a fake inhaler with an inert ingredient inside.

It would be similar to giving someone a fake tattoo.

The problem with the way they did it, is it leaves the door open for more ridiculous stuff like that to alter things anyway that fit the plot, rather than the limitation being that the parameters are purely mental. In fact, that would actually open the door for more potential glitches, like with a moment where she discovers that she can see fine without those glasses.

The device they used reminds me a lot of the 3D locators in "Fringe". It's like the daily meeting started off with someone saying, "you know what would be cool.."

...of course, it probably actually did...
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post #208 of 2557 Old 02-18-2009, 08:37 AM
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I'm not going to dwell on it. I just took it as an explanation as to why there are flaws in the character. They find it more effective to imprint her with the best negotiator they have on file, rather than try to cut and paste the traits and characteristics they think makes an effective negotiator.

It was a necessary thing (apparently nearsightedness might not have been the best flaw to incorporate) to address why they wouldn't just program her as a superhuman with the best traits from 100 different individuals and just keep that same mega-character for 95% of the jobs she goes on.

Even someone that wants a hot, sexy hooker wouldn't mind her also being able to protect you in a bar fight.
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post #209 of 2557 Old 02-18-2009, 08:41 AM
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Even someone that wants a hot, sexy hooker wouldn't mind her also being able to protect you in a bar fight.

I don't think their clients want a hooker, per se. I think they want someone who just happens to like being with them.

And I haven't seen evidence that they can pick and choose traits like that. Perhaps the only way they could get a fun party girl who could protect you in a bar fight would be to take an imprint from such a person...
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post #210 of 2557 Old 02-18-2009, 08:44 AM
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I don't think their clients want a hooker, per se. I think they want someone who just happens to like being with them.

And I haven't seen evidence that they can pick and choose traits like that. Perhaps the only way they could get a fun party girl who could protect you in a bar fight would be to take an imprint from such a person...

It's not so much picking and choosing traits so much as think they use personalities and abilities from multiple people to create a composite. So, they could combine hooker with kickboxer for a fun girl who knows how to crack heads...then add a little businesswoman for that next morning "yeah, I gotta go - I've got this early meeting..."
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