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Who's To Blame For the Failure of "Dollhouse?"

One of the true signs of the egomaniac is the failure to admit his or her own mistakes. I think there's no greater proof of Joss Whedon's egomania than his interview in the Chicago Tribune, where he tries to explain the failure of his sci-fi series Dollhouse. As I predicted in my earlier post, Whedon spends the entire interview blaming everyone and everything for the show's failure - with one notable exception. Here are some samples:
Basically, the show didn’t really get off the ground because the network pretty much wanted to back away from the concept five minutes after they bought it...Network television has taken great treads backwards in terms of dealing with sexuality or the body or anything...It’s the classic American double standard: torture -- great. Sex -- oh, that’s so bad!"...But ultimately most people [watch] TV shows going, 'OK, this is "Party of Five." I’m going to cry." And I’m not really good at that...
So let's review: The network is to blame, network television is to blame, American culture is to blame, the TV audience is to blame. You know who's not mentioned here? Joss Whedon. Nowhere in the interview does he address the real reason the show failed, which I addressed months ago: Dollhouse didn't have a hero the audience could root for. I actually enjoyed parts of the show, but found no real incentive to watch it every week. I couldn't say "I want to see more of Echo," because Echo changed every week. I couldn't say "I want to see what happens to Echo," because nothing ever happened to her that couldn't be fixed by putting her back in the chair and hitting the reset button.

A lot of Whedon's fans are swallowing the company line and wallowing in "blame Fox" rhetoric. That ultimately gets you nowhere. If Whedon wants to make a popular show later on, I would suggest he take an introductory class on creative writing. Anyway, it looks like Whedon has a golden parachute. He'll be pursuing other ground-breaking, thought-provoking, edgy, sexually provocative work like directing episodes of Glee. But wait...I thought Whedon wasn't good at that?

What do you think of Dollhouse's cancellation? Let us know in the comments.


  1. That is kind of sad: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it (Santayana)." I can't help wondering what's going to happen next. Each show he creates is less popular than the one before it, but more original.

  2. I know it's way too late to be commenting on this, but I will anyway: Echo DOES become an engaging character, but it takes an entire season to get there.  The character arc planned for her doesn't allow her to be a fully-embodied person at the beginning (and really, if she was it would ruin the entire point of the show).


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