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Valley of the Dolls, Part Two: Joss Whedon Talks "Man on the Street" and "Needs" Episodes of "Dollhouse"

A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to participate in a press call with Dollhouse creator Joss Whedon, who was answering questions about the series beyond the first initial episodes.

As Whedon had promised, Dollhouse would kick into gear with the "game-changing" episode "Man on the Street," which featured Patton Oswalt as a Dollhouse client with a specific need for Echo's skills as an Active.

While you were able to read the first part of the Dollhouse interview with Whedon here, I had to bank certain elements of his answers until the last three episodes had aired. Below you'll find what wasn't included the first time around as Whedon talks specifically about "Man on the Street" and Friday night's episode of Dollhouse, entitled "Needs."

As for why I couldn't include this information the first time around, it's because it's really spoilery. (Or maybe I did include it and just had Topher wipe your memory.)

Without further ado, here's what Whedon had to say about some of the twists revealed in the last three episodes.

Are we supposed to be wondering, after seeing "Man on the Street," if Echo really was compromised or if her efforts to reach Paul actually were just part of Adelle’s plan?

"You can go ahead and wonder that," teased Whedon, "but for now, I’d take it at face value."

In "Needs," when Sierra goes to the see Nolan (Vincent Ventresca), whom she says is who put her in the Dollhouse, should the audience walk away believing that he actually sold her into slavery?

"More or less," said Whedon. "I wouldn’t even say sold, so much as kidnapped. Her situation is by far the worst of anyone’s. How complicit the Dollhouse was in that, how much they actually knew about her past, we don’t go to in the episode, but what actually happened to her is just as appalling as anybody’s story."

Adelle tries to argue in "Needs" that most of the dolls are there voluntarily and the Dollhouse is performing a beneficial service for them by wiping out these other memories. But, even though this might be true in the case of November, does that continue to make the show uncomfortable or decrease the "ick factor"?

"I don’t know, maybe. It makes me uncomfortable," admitted Whedon. "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. [...] In the instance of November, I think [Adelle] is providing a service or in the instance of, as we’ll find out, Victor might be providing a service that somebody is looking for. And then in other instances, that is going to be abused and the 'ick factor' gets very high. It seems to get high with Sierra quite a bit, I’m sorry to say, poor girl. She really gets put through it. But it’s not something we feel that we can shy away from without being a little hypocritical."

"The Patton Oswalt thing [in "Man on the Street"] was an attempt to address the humanity of it," continued Whedon, "the beauty of somebody who wants something with context as opposed to something that is purely sexual and then have Paul Ballard just completely not be convinced by any of it, just again and again, just hit him with it to say no, but that doesn’t matter to show the two completely opposing viewpoints and articulate both of them."

Now that we know there is actually 20 Dollhouses out there, will the series be cutting away to any of these other Dollhouses?

"We do get to see one of the higher ups and we talk about the other Dollhouses," said Whedon. "We didn’t want to do a Italian Wolfram and Hart gag, where we just use the same set and fill it with Italians. No, it’s one of my favorite things he ever did, but that’s because Angel was a lot sillier. So as the economy started to take a toll on our budget, that and the fact that we’ve thrown out our pilot, we hunkered down. So, no, you will not see Dollhouse: Tokyo in this season, but, boy, I’d like to.

"Dollhouse: Miami," joked Whedon about where the series would go. "It looks like we, glasses off, have got a doll."

Dollhouse airs Friday evenings at 9 pm ET/PT on FOX.

Comments

Heatherette said…
I found "Needs" to be needlessly confusing. There are too many contradictions on the show. The Dollhouse is supposedly an impenetrable, myth-like fortress but they always seem to be in jeopardy. And Adele is so insistent that all the Dolls are there voluntarily that to learn that Sierra has been brought there by force just seems out of sync. And I thought the whole concept of letting some of the Dolls go to fulfill their needs was just ludicrous. The show seems to change the rules weekly to satisfy the plot, which puts it on very shaky ground.
Anonymous said…
Are people still watching Dollhouse??? Gave up after 2 eps. Whedon should be ashamed of himself.

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