The Goldfish Bowl That Is Dollhouse

by admin on July 25, 2008

The Dollhouse Goldfish Bowl?It’s been quite a few weeks for Joss Whedon and Dollhouse, the acclaimed Doctor Horrible launched and soon after broke the Internet, the TCA came to visit the Dollhouse set, Comic-Con has pushed the Dollhouse promotional front into over-drive, Whedon announced his plan for Dollhouse Webisodes, Dollhouse filming resumes in just under two weeks..oh and it was revealed that FOX aren’t completely convinced with the ‘accessibility’ of the Dollhouse pilot, hence Whedon will be filming a new 2nd pilot..a prequel, no less. Hey Joss, why not just use flashbacks like I suggested a few months back?

Anyone could forgive Whedon for feeling a bit claustrophobic when it comes to Dollhouse, indeed he summed it up nicely when he said:

“we are kind of living in the fish bowl a little bit”

He’s not wrong, I’ve been blogging Dollhouse for a long time now and I have to say, I only blog what I find Dollhouse must be pretty darn interesting, from my perspective.

Speaking of which, what I like about Whedon is that he’s kinda unpredictable, I suspect Dollhouse will also be the same. Which makes me wonder whether his comment about ‘being in a fish bowl’ was a clever metaphor for Dollhouse, seeing as the “actives” have short-term memories as do Goldfish? Although myth-busters have revealed that in actual fact goldfish have memories of at least three months. Perhaps Whedon knows this and this is the secret of Echo’s burgeoning self-awareness..we only think her mind gets wiped, when in actual fact she’s playing us all..she has always remembered everything!? OK, I’m looking into this waay too much./

I recently heard Whedon say that the long wait until the January premiere was a good thing, because it gives him time to tinker and tweak the show (and make 2nd pilots). But I wonder whether this long wait will also pile more pressure onto Dollhouse, as peoples expectations grow with each passing week? What will this pressure do to Whedon – will he come out swinging? By the sounds of it, he’s got it under control, which is reassuring:

“Every time, I’m like ‘Here it comes. This is the big miss. This is where I fail. This is where they tear me down. This is the one that they don’t like,'” he says. “And you do feel a little bit of pressure. You do start, once people have recognized that you have done something. But at the same time, you learn to let go off that or not one word can you write. So you have to sort of swing. You have got to swing. And you are going to miss, it’s going to happen. But it doesn’t necessarily mean, again, not black and white. It could be that not everybody related to it or that one episode, or it could just be ‘Wow, America hated my show.’ It could be that bad, but if you live in fear of that…”

He says, “The only thing I really live in fear of is that I’ll put something out there that I really didn’t do my best on. That’s all, and that doesn’t mean that it wont be something that, it could be something that I did quickly. It could have been something that I slaved over for a long time. It doesn’t matter. If I am putting out less than my best, if this is me running the show then people will know and that is something to be ashamed of. If I believe in the story and the rest of the world ends up not, that’s a blow that I will have to take and can live with it.”

Let’s go back over that last part again:

“If I believe in the story and the rest of the world ends up not, that’s a blow that I will have to take and can live with it.”

OK, so does Joss no longer believe in his original pilot? What about FOX – do they count? I only ask because those from a distance might believe that the bushy-tails have already lost faith in Dollhouse by asking Whedon to make the lead-in episodes more accessible (yes, I know it was “Whedon’s idea” to do the prequel..but this Deus ex Machina was surely triggered by the suits at FOX). Of course this isn’t the case, FOX haven’t lost faith in the show – they’ve invested heavily in the Dollhouse set and the show itself by ordering 13 episodes before a minute had even been filmed.

It’s obviously a difficult situation for FOX, because on the one hand they want to protect ‘their’ show and ensure that it’s as marketable as possible, but on the other-hand they don’t want to appear to be like the old know, the folks who cancelled that show..what’s it called again?

Now that the dust has settled, I’m rather looking forward to seeing a Dollhouse prequel – even though I still persist that flashbacks would be just as effective a tool to use to tell the Echo (etc) backstory (OK, I’ll let it go now). My main worry now is that people will go all ‘panic station’ mode and whip up more ‘save Dollhouse’ campaigns (aka “Cheap Seats“) in light of the (presumed) slight cracks in the Whedon-FOX relationship.

The thing we have to remember is that all relationships are about give and take. Although it would be great to think that Whedon would hold his ground and not bend to FOX’s wishes, it’s not really realistic – a bit of co-operation is exactly what a show like Dollhouse needs..everyone pulling in the right direction. I also think Whedon’s ‘openness‘ over this latest situation shows growth and maturity – it’s not always easy to take criticism, especially when the man has gazillions of loyal fans who have his back, right or wrong.

So yeah, props to Whedon for being so accessible (and for keeping a sense of humour. That’s important).

The truth is, we wont know whether the decision to shoot another pilot is the right decision or not (at least not until January 09). At the time of writing this post, 34% of you think that it is a ‘good thing’. I think I’m in the ‘Unsure at this point’ category, although as I said, I am looking forward to this ‘prequel’ business. Although I obviously hope Dollhouse as a whole gets as ‘dark’ and ‘gritty’ as possible.

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