Dollhouse Riffs: Special Edition: Victor’s Chin and Sierra’s Cheekbones: Dollhouse and the Reinvention of Beauty on TV

Author’s Note: I wrote this for the Smart Pop Books essay contest featuring Joss Whedon’s beloved-but-canceled TV series Dollhouse.  Since they did not choose my essay, I am posting it here on my blog. Introduction “A mask is but a sum of lines; a face, on the contrary, is above all their thematic harmony.” – “Garbo’s Face,” Mythologies by Roland Barthes Dollhouse is revolutionary television in its depiction of beauty.  The beauty presented on the program encompasses the social, economic, and visual.  We get the exotic beauty of Sierra and Victor, Bennett Halverson’s nerdy beauty, the damaged Dr. Saunders, Alpha’s … Continue reading Dollhouse Riffs: Special Edition: Victor’s Chin and Sierra’s Cheekbones: Dollhouse and the Reinvention of Beauty on TV

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In re Dollhouse Riffs

“Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!” Things get complicated. Due to the unprecedented awesomeness of Dollhouse, I’ve decided to forgo writing any more Dollhouse Riffs until Season Two concludes.  As you know, dear readers, I avoid writing the usual episode summary.  “This was cool.  This wasn’t cool.”  My essays aim for a more critical and analytical perspective.  Fortunately and unfortunately, the December episodes of Dollhouse have really threw me for a loop.  The reappearance of Alpha, the labyrinthine mindscrew of the Attic (both the episode and as a biotechnological concept), and Adelle’s assembly of a Dollhouse: LA Scooby Gang leave … Continue reading In re Dollhouse Riffs

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Dollhouse Riffs: Riff #6: The Sierra Club; or Human Labor-power, Commodity Fetishism, and Workplace Rape

Commodities and human labor-power Arrows and Aphorisms “Remember Jamie Leigh Jones, the Halliburton/KBR contractor who alleged she was gang raped by her co-workers in Iraq and then imprisoned in a shipping container after she reported the attack to the company? Well, it looks like she’s finally get to sue the company, in a real courthouse, over her ordeal. “Her legal saga started after Halliburton failed to take any action against her alleged attackers, and the Justice Department and military also failed to prosecute. Jones then tried to sue the company for failing to protect her. But thanks to an employment … Continue reading Dollhouse Riffs: Riff #6: The Sierra Club; or Human Labor-power, Commodity Fetishism, and Workplace Rape

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Dollhouse Riffs: Riff #5: Belle Chose et le Désordre des Choses (The Disorder of Things)

Belle Chose Dollhouse’s third episode into the season explores the issues of performance and gender.  Entitled Belle Chose (French for “Pretty Things”), the episode begins with a bizarre performance of sorts.  A weird male, in a nondescript room that appears transplanted from a mini-mall, is talking to a group of immobile women.  The women are posed like mannequins yet they look very realistic.  Only when one of the women try to escape the clutches of this demonic incarnation of George McFly, does the viewer snap out of the Uncanny Valley reverie. Terry Karrens (Joe Sikora), the George McFly look-alike, loses … Continue reading Dollhouse Riffs: Riff #5: Belle Chose et le Désordre des Choses (The Disorder of Things)

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Dollhouse Riffs: Riff #3: “Epitaph One” and the mutability of the Dollhouse Canon

Los Angeles, 2019: Another ‘Verse.  Another Vision.  More Human Than Human. L to R: Scut Farkas, Little Miss Sunshine, Codex. Apocalypse Now That’s What I Call Entertainment The TV series Dollhouse faces a unique canonical situation with “Epitaph One.”  The episode was produced but unaired, while the series was renewed for another season.  With Season 2 unseen and speculation rife, with a series finale full of cliffhangers and unanswered, where does one place “Epitaph One”? The title name winks at the possibility of the series ending.  The episode’s narrative and setting allude to finality.  Set in the year 2019 in … Continue reading Dollhouse Riffs: Riff #3: “Epitaph One” and the mutability of the Dollhouse Canon

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The Best TV Shows You’re Not Watching

“I missed the season finale to Dancing with the Stars!  Damn you, crystal bucket!” One of the benefits of the Internet and blogging is an opportunity to write for other ventures.  If you don’t know already, I am also a regular contributor to Blogcritics.org. I recently had another opportunity present itself with the website The Best TV Shows You’re Not Watching. On the Driftless Area Review, I’ve written “Dollhouse Riffs,” essays discussing the more controversial thematic elements of Joss Whedon’s new series, Dollhouse. With the renewal of Dollhouse, I’ll write more thematic essays for Season 2. Continue reading The Best TV Shows You’re Not Watching

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Dollhouse Riffs: Riff #2: Bodies, Souls, and the Big Bad

“When you will have made him a body without organs, then you will have delivered him from all his automatic reactions and restored him to his true freedom.” Antonin Artaud, “To Have Done with the Judgment of God” (1947) “The Earth is a body without organs. This body without organs is permeated by unformed, unstable matters, by flows in all directions, by free intensities or nomadic singularities, by mad or transitory particles” Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (1987) Malcolm Reynolds, Angel, Buffy, Joss, and River In the Whedonverse, there are the Big Damn Heroes and the Big … Continue reading Dollhouse Riffs: Riff #2: Bodies, Souls, and the Big Bad

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