While working at home (on various home improvement projects), I’ve been half-heartedly watching Dollhouse. I’ve never watched it before, and it’s free on Netflix…
Well, it’s thought provoking. There are a lot of things not to like about the setup. A lot. That’s not necessarily bad, but I think that the results are far rosier than the setup allows. I would expect to see a lot more dead Actives than we’re shown, and a lot more permanently damaged physically.
All that said, I’m pretty much determined to watch through the end of the series. I’m about halfway through Season 2 now, and have a fair idea where all of this is going.
But what bothers me most about the series is the heavy use of the Instant Expert Trope.
The Instant Expert is where someone is made, instantly, into an expert in some field via a device (often alien in nature). Suddenly, they know astrophysics. Suddenly, they speak French. Suddenly they can fly a helicopter.
Oddly, I’m pretty much okay with all of those. Those are skills and knowledge. It’s this one that bothers me:
Now, I will say that Chuck (the TV series) handles this better than Dollhouse does. Chuck makes an effort to acknowledge that he needs physical training to go along with his knowledge. (They do show him training from time to time.)
Here’s a simple example: If I have the knowledge of Olympic Weight Lifting uploaded into my mind, I might even be able to lift 500 lbs. Once. But I will hurt my body terribly in the effort. I have a bad elbow, arthritic shoulders, and questionable wrists. Plus a lot of the skin will come off my hands. My body is not conditioned to do that sort of activity.
In the same way, the Dollhouse dolls–who seem to do yoga a lot, but not much else–should be coming back from assignments where they use martial arts with torn muscles, strained and ruptured tendons, and broken bones. (Also, facial injuries should bleed a lot more.)
And while this won’t stop me from watching, it’s annoying enough to keep the series out of my list of ones to rewatch (such as the eminently realistic Stargate and Farscape.)
It’s one of those things.