Dollhouse? Seriously? Fuck You.

Tonight (February 13th, 2009) is when Joss Whedon’s latest television foray, Dollhouse, premieres on the Fox network.  Dear god, why?  Check this from the wiki:

“…Whedon had a 5-year plan for the show and had already planned out the evolution of his characters through that point.  Whedon has said repeatedly that he hates ‘rewind television,’ episodes where the characters don’t learn and don’t evolve from show to show.  That’s why he has already mapped out an evolution for his characters.”

Five years!  Motherfucker needs to get through the first season before he starts talking shit about FIVE years.

Jesus Christ, this is Whedon’s biggest flaw.  He can’t write for television, not the primetime big networks.  He’s too concerned with the long stories of each main character – and FUCK, this Dollhouse series is boasting NINE of them. NINE! – that he’s not seeing the immediate.  If the casual viewer can’t immediately latch onto ONE character, they’re not going to give an everloving fuck about NINE.  Shit, I thought that was elementary.  The viewer only has so much attention to give; over-taxing their attention span makes them switch the channel.

Whedon is spoiled.  He got away with the long television run on Buffy the Vampire Slayer because of it always being on a second-tier network.  Had The WB and UPN grown the huevos to challenge the bigger networks, Buffy would not have lasted as long as it did.  It was never in a position to be in direct competition with any of the shows on the bigger channels, and that needs to be understood.  Buffy was on a network that had lax emphasis on generating the ratings.  A show that brought in four million viewers on average could be considered, to that network, a success.

The wiki lists the highest season rating for Buffy at 5.3 million viewers.  The lowest seasonal rating for House is 13.3.  If any of the Firefly episodes brought in that many viewers, it would still be on the air.  Instead, we have a not-even-one season with a rabid fanbase bitching on the wiki about how Fox fucked up the order of the episodes, that the pilot was a two-parter that didn’t get shown the right way.  Bullshit.

Y’know, Star Trek: The Next Generation had a two-parter for a pilot, but TNG didn’t have nine main fucking characters.  TNG didn’t need two hours to wade through Whedon dickery to get the basic points of “this is the bad guy,” “this is the good guy” and “this is the conflict of the episode.”  Whereas TNG – any successful television sci-fi, really – could be picked up by any boob flipping channels, Whedon’s shit needed you to know what the fuck was going on in all the past episodes in order for the viewer to understand what was going on.

Hating “rewind television” means hating television.  Even with TiVo, DVR and all the advances of science, the bulk of a show’s viewers are walk-in customers who, interested at the flash they see, stay on the channel.  Look at Fox’s successful shows.  House doesn’t require any brainpower when you tune in for your first episode.  There’s the asshole brilliant doctor, his assistants who hate and worship him, the sexual tension with a female that gets either resolved or complicated in the episode and some kind of disease that gets convolutedly cured by the end of the show.  There are always small favors given to the dedicated who stick around week after week, but the episode is written to draw people in.

I mean – fuck, ‘Til Death, the mediocre sitcom about suburban married life featuring Brad Garrett, brings in the same ratings that Buffy did.

Fuck Joss Whedon and fuck his fans, who do elaborate displays of assholery in order to convince the rest of the world that “Whedon = money.”  Their dickery with Firefly got them a movie and fuck, Serenity took in $10.1 million its first week.  It didn’t make back its budget until it was put out on DVD.  Whedon doesn’t mean bank and if Dollhouse is another primetime failure, maybe the bullshit aura of “genius” and “competency” surrounding Joss Whedon will finally dissipate enough for meth-riddled Fox execs to understand that he’s just a hackneyed fantasy pillock.  Fucker needs to get past the first year to prove he can hang on the big networks.

And I’ll put money down.  Even in this shitty economy, the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie will make three times Serenity‘s opening gate its debut week, and that’s a cautious/chickenshit wager.

  • Lambent

    I hardly consider myself a diehard Whedon fan. I thought Buffy and Angel were both barely above average, and so far I hate Dollhouse. But I still think Firefly was Whedon’s masterpiece.

    I do think FOX not airing the two hour pilot of Firefly did contribute to its demise. But not because the show needed two hours to introduce all of the characters, or because it supplied vital information that you need before watching the next episode. Whedon’s two hour pilot is, simply put, better television. The episode that FOX aired in its place, “The Train Job”, is still one of my least favorite episodes of the series. I actually saw that episode when it premiered, found it boring, and switched it off about 20 minutes in. It wasn’t until a few years later that someone recommended I pick up the box set, that I fell in love with the series.

    Dollhouse is pretty shitty though. Not because it has nine main characters (“Lost” has over 10 main characters and is doing fine), but because the nine main characters are vapid and uninteresting. So far Dollhouse is looking like just an excuse to see Eliza Dushku dressing up in a variety of different costumes each week. At least they threw in a plot device to explain the dolls’ terrible acting.

    And unfortunately, you’re right about the connection between casual viewership and success in the ratings. Networks have to cater to the masses, and the masses are generally massive idiots with the attention span of an 8 year old kid with ADD. It’s why shows like American Idol thrive, while compelling serialized shows wither and die. It’s really a miracle that “Lost” has survived as long as it has.

  • Abbey

    Buffy never interested me, but I am absolutely in love with Dollhouse.
    I don’t understand how nine main characters really is a big deal. It adds for more interesting plot lines, and I never once felt confused about what was going on.
    Dollhouse has simply never been done before. And I do not believe that comparing a sci fi show to a doctor show is even relevant (though House is amongst my favorite).
    I think you need to see the show before you start criticizing it.

  • Gomh

    How can you say this has never been done before Abbey? What about Gerry Andersons classic ‘Joe 90’? Joe could program himself to do anything ( I beleive they did something similar in the Matrix films but they maybe a bit obscure and you might not have seen them) and although Joe was a puppet he could act better than half the cast of Whedon’s latest ass-hattery. I’ve never seen Firefly and i never will, In fact i’d like it on my tombstone if anyones paying attention. You cant truly hate Joss Whedon until you’ve spent a night with scottish drama students performing both all singing all dancing episodes of Buffy

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  • Rhys Bevan

    Dollhouse is a convoluted, pretentious mess of a show. Populated with sub-par acting and punctuated with a horrible storyline, it falls harder than AIG. Joss Whedon is Messiah to his brood of empty-headed pinions, and their collective mewing (Oh my God! You don’t like Buffy?) is enough to make Roseanne Barr puke up her breakfast burrito. Dollhouse is another Whedon retch, complete with his particular (and completely ineffective) brand of soap-box feminism. Oh, and the show looks like Kurt Wimmer’s “Ultraviolet” – clean, sterile, and FUCKING boring (Hey, Eliza Dushku, why is it that trapped in a dystopian future, and fighting for your meaningless life, you find the time (scene after scene) to retouch your hair and apply a little lip gloss?). I would (gladly) watch two bear-gays felch one another on a loop rather than subject myself to this again.

  • I never even went near Dollhouse, Firefly being enough of a fucking mess to turn me off of Whedon. Not that I ever was all that into the overhyped dork to begin with – I liked that Angel episode where the title character got turned into a puppet but half the time was wasted on some turgid romantic subplot. I think Whedon’s popularity is due to him only writing romantic tension as experienced by awkward adolescents – which his fans are, no matter how old they get. For a complete inverse of that, just watch any episode of Burn Notice.

  • ME

    im sorry, but i kinda just had to say this…. um how many tv shows have you written?