dollhouse

Feb. 8th, 2009 04:51 pm
zenithblue: (Default)
[personal profile] zenithblue
On the way home from lunch Hodge and I heard an interview with Joss Whedon about the upcoming Dollhouse.

By the way: Dollhouse? A show pivoting around identity, misogyny, and Eliza Dushku? Was there ever a show more geared towards my own interests?

Anyway, the interview was a little bit obnoxious. Jacki Lyden asks the oft-feminist-lauded Whedon how having a disempowered identityless protagonist who is programmed to have sex with whoever is willing to pay for her when she's not going on crazy black-ops missions is remotely a feminist idea. This would be a reasonable question once, but she grills him on it throughout the whole interview. What makes the interview worth listening to is that Whedon articulates the conundrum of the politically-aware storyteller quite gracefully.

"The fact of the matter is, I've been worried about this. It's kept me up nights. But I believe the best way to examine anything is to go to a dark place," Whedon says. "You can't be a storyteller and a speechwriter at the same time."

This is something I fret over all the time. How do you create art that is dangerous, new, risky, etc., if you're hyperaware of the hegemonic potential of your medium? What if the story you need to tell involves women who are weak? I think part of why Buffy has been meaningful to so many people is that it reflects the power struggles young women face much more accurately than a consistently empowered heroine would. Guess what? We don't live in a world of consistently empowered women. We live in a world where you have to fight to become empowered, and it's so much more meaningful to see a Buffy who is sometimes naive, vulnerable, and powerful, because we know we can count on her to grow and fight exactly the way the rest of us must. I'm assuming Echo, Dollhouse's new heroine, is not going to be passive for a full season. I'm guessing we're going to get some fight out of her, and how satisfying will that be, to see her strength finally push through?

The audio is worth a quick listen (the printed version just paraphrases; the audio will be available later tonight) just to hear Whedon's calm confidence about the power of a narrative to do something that a polemic cannot accomplish.

Also, Dollhouse will be on my television this Friday, so if any of y'all is looking for a spot to watch it give me a ring.

(PS: I obviously fail at livejournal. Apologies. It has been that kind of month.)

on 2009-02-09 03:53 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] thelican.livejournal.com
[Waving hello and raising a glass over what has been promising to be what we've been missing since we watched all the BTVS and the Veronica Mars episodes.]

on 2009-02-12 04:03 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] zenithblue.livejournal.com
Here's hoping it's awesome like Buffy and not lame-o like Angel. Come on Whedon, make it happen.

on 2009-02-09 05:12 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] prodigal.livejournal.com
It seemed clear to me that the point was that it was wrong to do this to people, and this is the point that Jacki Lyden completely failed to get. She was too busy arguing that it was wrong to do this to people to hear that Joss Whedon was saying the same thing she was.

on 2009-02-12 04:05 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] zenithblue.livejournal.com
Exactly! She sounded like a bulldog with its jaw locked up.

Strong Women?

on 2009-02-10 04:46 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] hartofak.blogspot.com (from livejournal.com)
What about Coraline? What about Coraline's mother? What about Coraline's other mother? What about Snow White? Her step mother?
What about Coraline in 3D, how cool is that?

Re: Strong Women?

on 2009-02-12 03:59 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] zenithblue.livejournal.com
I'm not allowed to see Coraline, since the company that made it just laid off my best friend...but I'll report back once I've hijacked a copy of it.

But I liked the book. Creepy little thing.

on 2009-02-10 10:30 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] musashi270.livejournal.com
This would be a reasonable question once, but she grills him on it throughout the whole interview.

On anything that has any feminist potential at all, this is a NPR requirement. You know, like asking Naomi Wolf if she uses make-up.

on 2009-02-12 04:02 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] zenithblue.livejournal.com
I guess I shouldn't complain too much, since I usually like that NPR asks those kinds of questions...I guess what annoyed me here was that Whedon wasn't actually dodging the question or shying away from it, he was giving good answers, and she *still* asked the same question over and over.

on 2009-02-13 09:07 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] musashi270.livejournal.com
Yes, and that is exactly the requirement I am speaking of. It seems they are always shooting for the feminist, NPR-listening, but not terribly bright demographic:

NPR: So, you still maintain that taking advantage of women is wrong?

Response: Of course! It is terrible!

NPR: So, you actually think that women should be free of that, then?

on 2009-02-22 02:42 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] truemyth.livejournal.com
I had no idea you were on Livejournal! This is Grace, found you through facebook. If you don't mind reading lots and lots about television shows, I'd love to be friends here, too.

What have you thought of Dollhouse now that the first couple episodes have aired? I wasn't too thrilled by the pilot, but thought the second episode was an improvement.

on 2009-03-11 03:53 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] zenithblue.livejournal.com
Sorry it took me so long to reply, i've been out of town!

I totally agree about Dollhouse. I thought the pilot was pretty mediocre but it's gotten much better as it's gone on. The one thing is that I am not sure Eliza is the strongest actress in the world, and this is a pretty challenging thing to ask of an actress...but so far I'm pretty entertained.

on 2009-03-11 03:59 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] truemyth.livejournal.com
I think the strongest actor would have trouble trying to get people to connect... I with the narrative had a thread of her previous life or something... short flashbacks to that and some indication that personality was breaking through could do a lot to ground audience investment. I was surprised to learn she could sing. :)

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