Archive for the ‘Matt Keeslar’ Category

Dollhouse and Why Matt Keeslar Can Never Play a Bad Guy Ever Again

March 5, 2009

dollhouseSo, this weekend, I finally sat down and watched the first three episodes of Joss Whedon’s new FOX series, Dollhouse.  Prepare yourselves for a very lengthy review, most of which will be of the ranty and irrationally-upset variety.

Because I’m disappointed, to say the very least.  And kind of cranky, to say the very most.  And also surprised to realize I’m still planning on watching it for at least a few more weeks, despite my disappointment and crankiness.  I am an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in a piece of bacon that’s been crisped to perfection.

Mmmm, bacon.

It’s a miracle I have anything to say about this show to begin with, to be honest.  After the first train-wreck of an episode, I not only almost didn’t continue on, but  was sorely tempted to have all memory of it erased from my brain while I was at it (ha!).  By the end of the third episode, however, I was kinda-sorta glad I’d hung in there (kinda-sorta), and, I confess it, I’m kinda-sorta thinking I’ll hang in there for at least a few more weeks to see where it’s going.

That said, I have a LOT of problems with this show (not the least of which was its casting of ex-Boyfriend Matt Keeslar as a super-duper psycho crazy guy, but more on that in a minute).

And my primary complaint about this series can be summed up thusly:  its entire premise is totally lame.

That’s never a good way to start a show.

For those who haven’t tuned in, the show is about a secret organization that has somehow gotten its hands on a bunch of gorgeous young people (including ex-Buffy actress Eliza Dushku) and turned them into blank slates, devoid of any personality traits whatsoever.  When someone comes to this organization needing a certain type of person, the organization picks one of the “dolls” from the “Dollhouse” and uses a fancy-pants computer thingy straight out of Total Recall to “imprint” a new persona on the doll.  That doll wakes up and actually IS the new person for a finite amount of time, depending on the client’s requirements.

I’m not going to complain (much) that we’re given no idea how this works, where the absolutely vastly ginormous database of personas has come from (since the personalities used to imprint the dolls are all apparently from real people, which, whaaa. . .??),  etc.  We’re only a few episodes in, after all.

Instead, allow me to complain about these things. These VERY BAD THINGS:

1.  Rip-off city!  This series literally doesn’t have an original bone in its body (much like that cliche).  What the heck, Joss?  I already know you’re a genius, so why is every single element of your new series a total and obvious rip-off of something else?  To wit: Total Recall, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Alias, all the Buffy episodes featuring Adam, every episode of Law & Order: SVU that has to do with human trafficking, La Femme Nikita, My Own Worst Enemy, Paycheck, etc. etc. etc., all of which I have enjoyed more than I enjoyed the first three episodes of Dollhouse, I might add.

And yes, you did read that right.  I just said I thought even PAYCHECK was better, and it co-starred Aaron Eckhart in Calvin-on-picture-day hair.

2.  As if it weren’t bad enough that the premise itself is unoriginal, each episode’s storyline so far has also been pretty uninspired.  Take that episode with Matt Keeslar, where he “orders” the perfect outdoorsy girl to sleep her way up a mountain with him (because one of the Dollhouse‘s specialties is high-class prostitution, naturally), and then proceeds to turn her loose in the woods and attempt to hunt her down with a crossbow like she was an elk.  Good lord, how many times have we seen that done? Do not make me count the ways.

And the kidnapping episode?  Where Echo (Dushku) got imprinted to be a master kidnapping negotiator lady?  At one point, she says to the father whose daughter has been snatched that she’s been negotiating with kidnappers, “all her life.”  You gotta be kidding me that he didn’t bust out in mad laughter at that comment, given the fact she looks all of 17 years old.  Besides, he knows she’s a “doll,” so why did he appear to find that statement of any comfort to begin with?  Plus, haven’t I see this movie?  Starring Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan?

So far, to me anyway, the actual “storylines” of each episode seem like afterthoughts, quickly ripped off from somewhere else and tossed into place to fill out the hour, all so Joss can spend 5-10 minutes of each episode fleshing out his primary premise and Eliza Dushku can pretend she’s Jennifer Garner on Alias and play dress-up a lot.  Yawnsville, Illinois.

3.  You know what else doesn’t work for me?  That all the clients of the Dollhouse know how it works.   They know the person they encounter after they’ve placed their order is a blank slate with a computer-generated personality, and they know they can make that person be or do anything they want.  It costs them a bazillion dollars to do so, but they’re all rich beyond measure in the first place, so who cares?

Why is this  a problem?  Well, first of all, there’s no way all those clients could keep the Dollhouse a secret — you’re telling me that all those pervs and dorks purchasing “dolls” for sex aren’t going to be bragging about the hot chick they just scored with to all their pals?  None of whom are going to gossip about that with THEIR pals?  None of whom know or come into contact with any reporters?  My ass.

And how about this:  If you were a father whose daughter had been kidnapped, would you hire a REAL kidnapping negotiator expert or would you hire a FAKE kidnapping negotiator expert?  Yeah.  Me too.

What would’ve made this far more intriguing, in my opinion, would’ve been keeping the nature of the Dollhouse a total secret from everyone, ESPECIALLY the clients.  Make the Dollhouse the place you go to find the perfect “agent” for any job, and let the clients think those people are real people; that the Dollhouse is an enormous collective of mad skillz.  Because you can’t keep something like this a SECRET in today’s world.  To me, that is an utterly ludicrous element of this show’s entire premise and, frankly, I am irked by it.

mattkeeslar4.  Also, Matt Keeslar?  As an evil psycho guy?  Sands of Zanzibar, Dubbie!  That just doesn’t work for me after The Middleman, I’m sorry.  (Incidentally, The Middleman got canceled — ABC Family bastages!)

5.  Essentially, the dolls serve primarily as super-duper expensive prostitutes who aren’t even allowed to maintain their own brains.  I’m disturbed.

6.  Also disturbing:  This is a Joss Whedon project?  Where the hell is the snappy banter?  Snappy banter might have a chance in heck of saving this show from its ludicrous-ness.  Worked for Buffy and Firefly, right?  Did we not happily suspend all disbelief for those shows, despite the fact they were about vampires and space cowboys?  Yes, yes we did.  And we were rewarded for it with genius, not hack.  I want genius here.  And so far, I ain’t gettin’ it.

7.  Eliza Dushku gets on my nerves.  The end.

tahmohAnd now a list of the GOOD THINGS (just to balance this out):

1.  Tahmoh Penikett is darned good-looking, gosh darn it, even though I keep waiting for him to call Galactica Actual and deliver his sitrep.

2.  Sure, nothing about it is original (NOTHING AT ALL, PEOPLE!) — nevertheless, it’s all stuff I love, and even though I could get the same effect from a double-feature of Total Recall and seasons 1-4 of Alias, I’d have to get off the couch for that (swapping out the DVDs, etc.).  With Dollhouse, it comes to me.  Weekly.  With Tahmoh Penikett.  Laziness wins again!

Um, yeah, and that’s pretty much it for the good things, I’m sorry to say.

Will this series survive?  It’s highly, highly doubtful.  And I can’t decide if I’m sad or happy about that.  Obviously, I’m sad because I love Joss and want him to be successful in everything he does.  But I confess I’m also kind of happy, because this show is just plain weak and if it got the boot, maybe he’d try something else that would end up being better.

Amore — eet ees so complicated sometimes.

By the way, a couple of quick other TV things:  Reaper came back this week, did you notice?  I confess I burned out on it before the end of last season, but am ready to give it another try now that I’ve had a break.  And I do confess to a massive crush on Sock — who could blame me?

Also, raise your hand if you almost threw up when Katee Sackhoff turned up on Nip/Tuck.  Ugh.  Me too.   Katee!  Start running your offers by ME first — your manager is going to kill your career!!

Discuss.

Save The Middleman!

September 24, 2008

Hey, guys, I have just been informed that there is a campaign on the web to save ABC Family’s terrific new series, The Middleman.  The network hasn’t yet decided to do a second season, so fans of the show should take a few minutes to encourage them to take the plunge!

Sensei Ping may love pain and suffering like tornadoes love trailer parks, but I DON’T.  So, don’t let them kill off my favorite new show, yo!

Find out what you can do to help here:  http://middlefan.com/

Let’s kick the tires and light the fires!