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Joss Whedon Talks About Dollhouse Episode Six, "Man on the Street"

Joss Whedon Says Tonight's the Night to Watch Dollhouse

If you haven't been watching Dollhouse, no less an authority than series creator Joss Whedon says it's time to tune in. Earlier this week, Whedon hopped on the phone with a bunch of reporters to talk about why there's so much hype around tonight's sixth episode,"Man on the Street," which he says is the struggling series' best yet.

I wasn't sure about the show at the start, but it's been sucking me in — to the point that I might have told my real-life friends I was busy so I could hang with my fictional Fox friends instead. Uh . . . just kidding. That would be weird. Ahem.

Anyway. My point is, I'm into the show, but at this point there's still a lot to be explained in terms of the ground rules of this universe — possibly a result of Whedon's disputes with Fox over how to tell these stories. Whedon promises tonight's episode will answer a lot of questions for fans but says it's also a point where someone who has never seen the show before could jump in without a problem. Here are some of the big points from his chat:

  • On whether hyping this episode could have a negative effect: "You know, there may have been a negative side to it, because we may have said, 'The first five episodes are crap,' which I don’t believe. . . . There's also the negativity of somebody saying, 'Well, now he’s blaming the network for the other episodes.' Like, no, no, no, no. We did our best to try and figure out how to put the show over with a new paradigm under the gun while we were in production or occasionally out of production. And then what happened with 'Man on the Street' was really, it just came to me as a concept really quickly. I pitched it to the network and for the first time, there was a real simpatico. They went, 'Oh, yes, we get that,' and it was a very simple thing."

There's lots more from Whedon (including his thoughts on the show's "ick" factor) after the jump. Just


  • On what about tonight's episode works so well: "I think it was doing an episode that somebody who had never seen the show could walk in on, because it explains very clearly the premise. In fact, it's kind of about explaining the premise and at the same time really getting under the skin of the dollhouse and of Paul's character and of what’s going on with everybody and the workings of the place and coming at it sideways rather than just showing an engagement and flipping in some information around that engagement. This was one where we really got to look at the cogs of the clock, and that’s what gave it such momentum for us."
  • On jibing with the network on how to tell this story: "We lay it out as simply as we did in the first five, but because we get to get inside the dollhouse more and have the events there take on much more resonance, it has got what I had hoped to bring to the other episodes that I didn't really have the opportunity [to do] as much. So I felt like it was really finding the code to a show that I can do my best work in that the network still really can get behind. So it was a meeting of the minds."
  • On the possibility that dollhouse staffers could actually be dolls themselves: "How many layers of unreality can you have in somebody's identity? . . . We have to pull ourselves back and say, 'If we make this a lie within a lie within a lie within a lie, people are just going to start slapping us.' We're like, 'Now we're not invested in anybody.' So we've talked about [it], but we've been very restrained with the concept, because you have to have some touchstone of reality, even in this world."
  • On the "ick factor" of the show's premise, where there are hints that some of the dolls may be essentially slaves instead of volunteers: "It makes me uncomfortable. I'm not going to lie. But for me, it's part of what we're dealing with. We're dealing with people who have power and are abusing it and people who don't and are trying to regain it. . . . It's not something we feel that we can shy away from without being a little hypocritical."

Photos courtesy of Fox and Source

Join The Conversation
BabyNorbert BabyNorbert 8 years
I'll try again ^^^ I like this show and I love Joss!
BabyNorbert BabyNorbert 8 years
I like this show and I <3 Joss!
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
Actually I thought this week was weaker than normal, except for that "surprise twist". This show is much too loosely plotted. It pales in comparison to the show on before it - The Sarah Connor Chronicles - in pretty much every measure. I see it falling apart within a season or two. Also, the "ick factor" is pretty darn icky. Female sex slaves? (okay, there's one male one too.)
cocom cocom 8 years
I thought this episode was fantastic! There were so many great moments. I'm sticking with the show.
teachgal teachgal 8 years
I've got to agree with bastylefilegirl. I was a huge Buffy fan but never understood why everyone was so big on Eliza. I didn't love Dolhouse at first but stuck with it b/c it's Joss. I'm into the story now but really do think Eliza's acting will eventually kill this show.
daise daise 8 years
Also, to CoralAmber - love your idea about the agent being Alpha! It kinda makes sense now that I think about it!
daise daise 8 years
LOVED THIS WEEK! For all you doubters out there, the storylines is working out! Promise! Also, I do agree that Eliza's acting is pretty atorcious - she's not good enough to carry a whole show by herself. The only reason Alias worked was because Jen Garner was amazing! Also, Victor Gerber and Michael Vartan! I wish the people up there put a bit more thought into casting. It would be such a shame if the show got cancelled because its premise is amazing and creative.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 8 years
I love this show and last night's episode really dug deeper. I've been suspicious of the one girl all along and I have a wild theory about the agent. He is Alpha. He has a split personality, and sends himself the notes. I have no idea who the inside man or woman is, but I'm looking forward to being surprised. I was thrown for a nice loop when Echo wanted to finish her engagement, but I'm trying to figure out what it means. Thank you Joss for multi-layered storytelling!
emalove emalove 8 years
I watched this show last week and I have to say, I'm not a fan...I thought I'd like it, but it's not for me.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I've really been liking this show actually. It's definitely into my regular rotation at this point.
Liss1 Liss1 8 years
I really wanted to love this show. But i watched 5 mins of the first episode and neither my hubby or me wanted to watch anymore so i deleted it and the second episode from my dvr.
Taadie Taadie 8 years
I am going to keep hanging in there with Josh. Its not a great show but I know he has the potential so I will stick with it.
Nitachequita Nitachequita 8 years
Ditto bastylefilegirl. While I love me some Josh, Eliza was terribly miscast, with little/no variety with each episode. What a wasted opportunity to really stretch ones acting chops.
amloveaffair amloveaffair 8 years
Last week's episode was probably the best one yet. Tonight Allen Tudyk is supposed to be on as Alpha! I can't give up on my Tahomoh<3
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
Haven't seen the show yet, but loved the interview. Thanks, Buzz. I may just have to watch this episode.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
I'm with CG the show is not very good. The poor acting of Eliza is criminal and while the premise was promising it's lacking a cast that can carry it off.
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
I actually really like this show. I think it has taken a while to get into a groove but I can't wait for this episode. I already thought that the doctor and some of the handlers were dolls but I would like to see him get further into it.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
sorry Joss washed my hands of this train wreck already, I dont invest 5 hours of my time on bad tv, so you can "surprise" the next one is a good one...and then what 5 more craptastic episodes?
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