Jamie - Close Up - Starpollo

Dollhouse: Vows

As many of you know, I am not a Dollhouse fan. I tried, really. I've liked all of Joss's other TV series, but with Dollhouse I had too many issues with the concept and casting and I gave up. I even declared I would never watch again.....unless Jamie Bamber made a guest appearance. Very funny, Joss.

Since I had to watch another episode, I tried to go in with an open mind. Maybe the writing got better. Maybe the themes were less sketchy. Maybe Eliza took acting lessons over the summer. But fifteen minutes in, I realized all the old issues I had were still there. So, if you love the show, you may want to skip what I have to say. If you love Jamie Bamber and/or Amy Acker, you may wish to read what I have to say. And if you are going to try and convince me why I should love the show, please don't waste your time.

I must confess I had a bit of a fangirl squee moment when I saw "Special Guest Star Jamie Bamber". He wasn't just a guest star, he was a special guest star.

I'm won't dwell on the superficial because when doesn't Jamie look good on screen? I only wish he could have stolen the wardrobe for personal use. ;)

Though I'm used to hearing Jamie's British accent, I did find it odd to hear it on an American television show. It's probably just me.

I may not care for the show, but I was very pleased to see Jamie show more range. The two roles he is best known for (Lee Adama, Archie Kennedy), he is more often heroic than not. He has played some less than admirable characters in supporting roles, but he's never played the bad guy. I do wish Martin Klar was a better developed character and that the A storyline was not the weaker of the two, but Jamie made the best of the material he was given.

I found buying Martin as an international arms dealer difficult. Joss needed to address, at least briefly, how Martin came to be in the line of work he was. However, I was able to accept Martin as the loving husband one moment and abusive husband the next. He was downright scary shifting from calm an collected to smashing Echo's head against the desk, then telling her it was all OK, he could have the desk refinished. I've heard enough stories from victims of abuse on TV to know this could be a real scenario.

Also, Jamie finally getting to take down Tahmoh? Priceless.

The other highlight of the episode for me was watching Amy Acker. The moment when she confessed to Topher that she knows she is in someone else's body, but is afraid to give it up because it would mean here death was heartbreaking. I've read comments by others that Amy should be the star of the show. And I wholeheartedly agree she is a far more compelling actress than Eliza, but I can't see her as Echo nor could I see Whiskey as the character front and center in the Dollhouse. I'd love to see a series starring Amy/Whiskey in which the ramifications of the 'job' on the dolls is the central story and directly confronted, but that's not the show Joss is writing right now. .

I'm not going rehash my list of previous complaints other than to say, in my opinion, the show is misogynistic and the dolls are still being raped, mentally and physically, each week. Adding insult to injury, Eliza continues to parade around in skimpy outfits and push-up bras (which, as a producer, I blame her for as much as Joss). And I was positively revolted that one of Echo's memories is triggered by a gynecological exam and that memory was of girl on girl action with Whiskey. Really, Joss?

My other complaints are less rage inducing and consigned more to the episode itself:

Eliza really needed to practice walking down the aisle more.

The Jonas Brothers? Yeah, that won't seem dated in a few years.

As I mentioned, Jamie wasn't given much to work with. The writing of his storyline was weak and riddled with plot holes. I don't know much about bomb making, but I do know the capability exists to make a dirty bomb with readily available materials. Why would any terrorist need such a high tech device? Especially one that doesn't seem to have much more impact than a bomb triggerd by a cellphone.

It was bad enough that Joss stole the Wolfram & Hart set for the series, but now he's stealing Angel's fifth season arc. Angel made a deal with his enemy to save his son; Paul made a deal with his enemy to take down the guy he couldn't take down when he was with the FBI and, presumably, save Echo. It's an interesting conceit; Paul destroying himself for what he believes is a greater good. But it also has a been there/done that feel. And Paul is supposed to have some sort of connection with Echo, yet the two lack chemistry together. I thought Paul and Adele's scenes were much more interesting. Though, in another Angel flashback for me, they had a sort of Wes/Lila vibe to them.

When Martin finally came face to face with Paul he said, "My God, this is becoming surreal." Did anyone else feel that was written after Jamie had been cast?
  • Current Mood: groggy groggy
I gave Dollhouse another shot last night, just because I wanted to see if it had gotten less troublesome since last season. Also because of Jamie Bamber, who I loved seeing as a bad guy. However, although Amy Acker's character's storyline does promise to be interesting, I've lost what interest I might have had in the rest of it, so have deleted it from my season pass on my DVR. I won't miss it.
Amy is only scheduled to be in two more episodes. She's starring on a mid-season replacement for ABC.

You may not have had to bother deleting your season pass. The ratings weren't just bad, they were CW bad. The lost viewers from their led in, Brothers. And had a 1.0 demo in the coveted 18-49 bracket.

And I have to wonder if the series would get as much praise as it manages to if Joss were not the brains behind it? What if Joe Smith had come up with the concept? Would the ickiness be more of an issue then?

I'm just glad Jamie's episode was first up. He's received some good notices and managed to make lemonade out of a lemon. ;)
Aha!...those are the reasons I couldn't put my finger on why I can't like this show. Thank you! Always more eloquent than I could ever hope to be. ;)
The abuse, both physical and mental, to these dolls is very disturbing and not the least entertaining. Joss, you have gone so wrong with this one.

And nope, Eliza, while very lovely, did not take any acting lessons over the summer or any other time it seems. The first clue was her clomping down the aisle like she was heading down Ventura Blvd. sipping a frozen latte. Wanted to see Jamie. Saw him. I'm out.
The first clue was her clomping down the aisle like she was heading down Ventura Blvd. sipping a frozen latte.

Hee! Clomping! Perfect description! :)

I always felt the series was ill conceived. I saw one blogger comment that Joss seemed to have just wanted to give Eliza a starring vehicle where she could play a different character every week and didn't consider what that would lead to. I just don't see a way to make this a non-offensive show. And I can deal with dark, I watched BSG for four seasons!
I don't want to be spoiled since I haven't seen this (and in fact, forgot to record it)

Two questions: is this on Hulu?
Will it be worth my time watching it if I do find it?
Yes, it's on Hulu - the episode name is Vows.

As to whether it's worth it - well, if you like Jamie Bamber a whole lot and want to see him playing a villain in something at least close to his original accent, it's probably worth it. Otherwise... *shrug*
Was it just me, or were Jamie and Tahmoh TOTALLY smirking at each other as they faced each other for that fight? (Oh, I see your line at the end.) Totally agree that Jamie kicked ass, and that the A line was the weaker story line.

Paul Ballard is really creeping me out. I loved his Mellie storyline. I hate the stuff with him and Caroline. I'm thinking it's SUPPOSED to be creepy, and if it is, that's fine. But Paul Ballard seems to be taking love lessons from Leoben Conoy in certain regards.

I'd forgotten about the gyn exam triggering erotic memories (and f/f ones at that.) Joss, you REALLY do not get what gyn exams feel like. Oh my god.
Not just you, I thought I noticed some smirking. It probably was intentional given their characters history, they are both good enough actors to not slip out of character on screen, but given their history together it could be misinterpreted.

I'm not so certain Joss is aware of the creepiness of Paul in regards to Caroline. Adele referred to Paul's feeling for Caroline, but I think we're supposed to see that as a good thing. But he doesn't really know Caroline, he just became fixated on a photo of her. And it's Echo he's dealing with now. It's all very muddled, like much of the story.

The exam was just bizarre. Eliza apparently gives zero input into the show and the producer title means nothing. And do they have any female writers to point out a really bad idea?
After watching this disaster of a show for the very last time, I'm having trouble understanding the idea that Joss is so sensitive and understanding of what makes women tick. I'm sorry, but compared to him, Roseanne Barr has more understanding of what makes women tick.

While it was nice seeing Jamie in something different, the show still creeps me out in the worst way. Eliza still can't act. Amy Acker is the luckiest person in the world to be getting another show. She was the best thing in the episode. And there is apparently one big difference between Eliza and Sarah Michelle Gellar - when Sarah acquired enough influence on Buiffy, gone were the mini skirts and low cleavage outfits.

One more headscratcher - a Joss Whedon show without an ounce of humor.
I think there were attempts at humour, but they totally fell flat. The Tempura Joe thing, for example. Yeah, not so much.
I'm won't dwell on the superficial because when doesn't Jamie look good on screen? I only wish he could have stolen the wardrobe for personal use. ;)

Hehe, you made me giggle. What? You don't like how he dress himself?

I may not care for the show, but I was very pleased to see Jamie show more range.

Jamie is working hard at not being typecasted! With his smart and talent, I think he doesn't need to worry.

Also, Jamie finally getting to take down Tahmoh? Priceless.


I like Amy Acker too. I never watched Angel, but I saw her turn on Supernatural. She's good.

The Jonas Brothers? Yeah, that won't seem dated in a few years.

You WIN!
Amy did some great work on Angel. I especially liked her character's arc in season 5, though not everyone would agree with me on that.

Yeah, that wasn't so good. Eliza just cannot act. The script was week as you said. So, Jamie wasn't the client after all... so Martin the sociopath had no idea she was a doll...so Echo/FBI plant presumably had a long term relationship with him. They said long term assignment but good grief. Unless Martin was the idiot marrying Khloe Kardasshion(sp?) this weekend it would have gone on for several months at least? Paul must have a mighty bank account to keep Echo tied up like that.

No over BSG ref, did Joss gain self control over the summer?

The flashback during her perlvic exam was just disgusting. Eww.
Yeah, the twist was Paul, and not Martin, was the client. Which was an interesting concept, but not particularly well executed. And I don't know, besides her programming breaking down, that they could all maintain such a long term operation. There's also the little plot whole involving the photos. Were Paul and Echo caught together right before the wedding?

Pelvic exams on TV are never a good idea, unless there is a pregnancy storyline involved and then I can at least accept it as a necessity, maybe.
Hm. I agree with everything you say, but still really liked the episode. Is that weird? Yes, Eliza is a clomping talentfree wonderbra mannequin. Yes, the whole concept is disturbing. But there still is a certain poetry to some of it. To the lostness of Amy's character. To the cluelessness of Topher. To the lonelyness of all of them. Plus, there's so little TV these days with sexy men, and I really like Tamoh (and, ahem, Topher). Maybe watching the dreadful Vampire Diaries first made it look better than it is?
If Dollhouse was starring Amy Acker and focused on her character I'd probably be on board. Her dealing with the knowledge of who she is (and who she isn't) I find interesting and well played.

(and, ahem, Topher).

Topher? Sexy??? Can I blame post partum hormones on this? ;p

Maybe watching the dreadful Vampire Diaries first made it look better than it is?

Well, that I can agree with.
I have been trying to put my finger on why this series in general isn't working for me. It isn't just Eliza, or the squick-factor of the concept. I think Joss is out of his depth and doesn't know who his audience is supposed to be. It's humourless. But the darkness isn't done well, either. And more importantly, we don't care about these flawed people. It's like it's supposed to be a one-upped creepy version of Alias that plays into the idea of personality, persona, and souls, and it's a concept that COULD be good, and yet it's not.

I know Joss can still write. One need only rewatch of Dr Horrible and it has Joss written all over it. It's like a microcosm of what he does best as well as all of his core themes and flaws as a writer wrapped into a very concise package. It has moments of brilliance and pathos and a hell of a lot of self-depricating humour. And it's SO very Joss. I see no Joss whatsoever in Dollhouse. Topher is almost Jossian but even he feels flat and lifeless. And swapping out Eliza for another actress (or her learning how to act--like that's ever going to happen, lol) won't fix that.

It's a little disappointing to hear that not only hasn't it improved, it seems to have gotten worse. Urgh.

I'm going to be really upset if this dies a quick death, since Dollhouse was renewed and - because of that - Sarah Connor wasn't.
AintItCool said this season of Dollhouse is the "most improved series" and they really loved Epitaph One and this first episode. For me, it was a total disappointment...and that's coming from someone who really loved the last few episodes last season. Oh well.

Re: Douche-ku in sexy outfits...it reminds me of Charmed, the sole purpose of which was to put Alyssa Milano into the sexiest costumes they could get past the sensors.