Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse is still relatively new, but I can’t help but think he has been playing it out in his mind for the past few decades.
The show is about Echo, who has had her memory wiped along with other ‘dolls’ (jocks and fit girls), who live in an idyllic sanctuary called the dollhouse before they have new memories implanted to take on different jobs – be that girlfriend, doctor, bank robber or assassin.
So far, so Joe 90, albeit with big rat replaced by a comfy looking chair and – natch – a geeky science type (i.e effectively the avatar of a famous director, whose name rhymes with Woss Jhedon) who controls the doll’s memories.
Oh Joss, normally I love your work and I reserved judgement in this case for a while, but were your younger days really so miserable that you have to take your twisted revenge now?
“All the jocks and pretty girls will be mine to control, MINE I TELL YOU!!!!! They will do what I say for once!!” Cue manic laugh and high pitched organ music. “I’ll make their lives miserable … sob … (whisper) just like they did to me ….”
And that is a massive shame because – the questionable psyche of the show’s creator aside – Eliza Dushku makes the most of her role as Echo, switching effectively between her personalities.
The rest of the cast are impressive too, especially Tahmoh Penikett – fresh from finding Earth on Battlestar Galactica – who adds weight as FBI agent Paul Ballard. Searching for the Dollhouse’s secret, he utilises the same three steely determination he put to good use up in space.
However, Fran Kranz as Joss, I mean Topher, the computer genius, makes me want to put my fist through the screen whenever he’s on it.
Jesus, he’s annoying and massively creepy, hovering over the dolls after their mind-wiping like a pervy younger brother who has crept into his sister’s room and played dress-up when everyone else was out at the shops.
“Did I fall asleep?” the dolls always ask to that lurking goon. This nasty show should be put to sleep for good, which is incredibly hard to say after Buffy and Firefly.