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Finding refuge in “Dollhouse”

Even though it was announced a few weeks ago that “Dollhouse” was being canceled, I am still eagerly looking forward to the remain episodes, which begin tonight.

I’ve been a loyal viewer from the beginning, though at first I wasn’t sure I was going to like, as the series did have a bit of a slow start. But towards the middle of the season, it really started picking up. And then I bought the DVDs and watched the DVD-only episode “Epitaph One” and it really blew my mind.

It is a scary, scary future to think about… personality replacement being used as a weapon. But despite the apocalyptic future depicted in “Epitaph One,” I can’t help being fascinated by the concept of the Dollhouse. I’m about to lose some feminism points, I think, when I say that the idea of being a doll is somewhat… appealing to me.

I read a lot. I watch way too much TV for my own good. And I do these things as a form of escapism. “Dollhouse” plays fast and loose with the ideas of morality and ethics, but in a way that makes you think about them. And still, I find part of myself wishing I could be one of them. To escape my life, which I find hard to deal with at times, and to be something more exciting… even if I can’t remember any of it at the end of the day.

And I realize that makes me sound a bit crazy, because if you’ve seen the show, you’d know it’s not just about the exploitation of a body, but of the mind and soul.

And now, to make myself sound incredibly more emo (I’m totally blaming my recent foray into the insanity that is Twilight), I sometimes feel like an active awaiting assignment. I go through the motions of my day. Get up. Go to work. Come home. Watch TV. Go to bed. It’s like I’m waiting for my life to happen. What I wouldn’t give to be someone else, if only for a little while.

Of course, I could never be a doll, because I’m not smokin’ hot like Eliza Dushku, but I can understand why some of the characters chose to put themselves in that situation. Even if it is only fictional.

As I sit here at work, watching the clock tick ever more slowly towards quittin’ time, I eagerly await my two hours of escapism tonight, courtesy of the “Dollhouse.”


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It started a few weeks ago with a desire to watch “Once More With Feeling,” from “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer” season 6 (otherwise known as the Buffy musical). I’d had my “Whedon Soundtrack” (consisting of my favorite songs from the Buffy musical and Dr. Horrible) playing in my car all that week, and I just wanted to see the episode again. That led to a desire to see evil!Willow again, which in turn made me want to see the beginnings of evil!Willow in season five, when Glory sucks Tara’s mind. And thus, I have embarked upon the Great Buffy Re-watch. Though I’m watching them all out of order. Season five, season six, season seven, season four and I’m now in the middle of season one.

Watching them out of order really hits home on how cheesily bad season one really is. No wonder I didn’t start watching until season three. I’m amazed it even got a second season after that. (It probably wouldn’t have if it had been on Fox.) Thankfully, Buffy eventually grew out of its awkward beginning stage into the brilliant show it became by season five. I’m looking forward to seeing seasons two and three again, too. Spike and Faith are two of my favorite Buffy-verse characters.

I love Joss Whedon’s work. The stories are compelling and the writing is excellent. I wish I could be more eloquent than that, but I have a hard time waxing poetic or even being witty. I think that’s why I like “Buffy,” “Angel,” “Firefly” and “Dollhouse” so much. Because I wish I could be that funny. There are moments in each series where I am struck by how brilliant the writing really is. And I get hit by writers-envy. But it doesn’t stop me from enjoying it.

I really love the new series, “Dollhouse.” (New episode tonight! Yay! No more until December! Boo!) But of the four series, I think “Firefly” was the most brilliant. Or maybe I just love Nathan Fillion that much. But it’s definitely my favorite.

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Breaking up is hard to do.

Breaking up is hard to do.

There are many emotions involved. Sadness over the loss of something you’ve cultivated for years. Guilt over making such a tough decision, even though it had to be done. Regret, because even though the relationship is over, you still care.

Decisions such as these are never easy to make. But… there’s only so many channels I can record at once.

With the new fall season upon us, and with the crazy reshuffling of my favorite shows this year, I’ve had to make some cuts.

So, I’m sorry, “Ugly Betty.” I’m breaking up with you.

It’s not you, it’s me. No, wait… I take that back. It’s ABC, for moving you from your Thursday evening time slot to Friday nights at 8, where you conflict with “Medium” and “Dollhouse.” And since I’m forced to choose between the three of you, well, “Dollhouse” wins, with “Medium” a close second, earning a spot on the DVR. And “Ugly Betty” gets kicked to the curb.

That may sound a little harsh for a show I’ve been (mostly) faithful to for three seasons. But I’ve been with “Medium” for five seasons, and “Dollhouse” and I are still in the early, exciting days of our relationship (plus, I’d been involved with “Dollhouse’s” older siblings, “Buffy,” “Angel” and “Firefly,” for many, many years). Something had to give. And wannabe fashionistas with braces just can’t compete with psychics and Eliza Dushku.

“Ugly Betty” isn’t the only program I’m giving the “Dear John” treatment this season. “The Mentalist” has been given the boot as well. This time, though, it’s not so much of a scheduling conflict, as it is a lack of interest on my part. It was fun in the beginning, but the magic quickly evaporated for me. Pity. Simon Baker does make for some nice eye candy. But I guess we were just destined for a one-season stand.

“Survivor” is also on the chopping block. After 18 seasons, I guess I’ve finally had enough of the lying, the scheming, and the lack of clothing and general hygiene from my first reality show love. Plus, the locations don’t seem so exotic anymore. If you’ve seen one South Pacific beach, you’ve pretty much seen them all. Perhaps a change of venue is needed to breathe a little new life into the show. Drop the contestants somewhere really dangerous… like the streets of Miami, or better yet, the mountains of Appalachia. When “Survivor: Deliverance Country” premiers, give me a call.

Some shows and I are on dangerous footing. If this weren’t the last season of “Lost,” I’d probably have to look at how seriously I take that relationship. But, I’ve stuck it out this long — might as well see how it ends.

“Heroes,” Zachary Quinto and Masi Oka are your only saving graces right now.

I also fear my love affair with “Grey’s Anatomy” is coming to an end as well. I can’t understand what I ever saw in it, really. If I ever found myself needing medical treatment in Seattle, I would NOT want any of those self-involved doctors treating me.

But from the ashes of these doomed relationships, new ones are formed. I’ve been flirting with the promos for “Flash Forward” all summer, and two episodes into the season, I think there might be something there between us.

I’ve also embarked upon some experimentation with a new form of programming, the Webisode. “The Guild” is a weekly sitcom, streamed free on MSN. Written and starring one of my favorite up-and-coming actresses, Felicia Day, the show follows a motley crew of online gamers who one day decide to meet in person. (Gasp!) It also doesn’t hurt that each episode is between three and eight minutes long, perfect for those of us who have the attention span of a fruit fly when it comes to surfing the ‘Net.

Although… now that many programs are available online, perhaps my breakup with “Ugly Betty” won’t be as, well, ugly as I thought it might. There may be some wiggle room in the relationship after all.

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