Joss Whedon On The Dollhouse

Posted by Blue McGee under has an interesting interview with “Dollhouse” creator, Joss Whedon. But it does contain spoilers so so only read it if you're not a spoiler-Nazi!

Click to read more

Dollhouse doesn’t have the same wit and snappy dialogue that your other shows are known for. Is that something we can look forward to in coming episodes?

There is humor in the show. But the fact of the matter is that this is not a comedy. If there is a typical Whedon show, this is not it. It’s not the lighthearted romp that the other shows were. There’s definitely funny stuff coming up. There’s always moments of funny, but it doesn’t build like a comedy. It wasn’t designed to be a comedy. If people are feeling like it’s too serious, then either their expectation has to be changed, or we need to lighten up a little. But, yes, I don’t think they’re ever going to see the same sort of long, six-page runs of just pure humor. This is not that show.

Am I interpreting this correctly, that in an upcoming episode we find out that Sierra was basically sold into slavery with the Dollhouse?

More or less. 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.

One of the things I hear from people who may have been a little bit reluctant to get into the show is what they call “the ick factor” of the premise. And Adele [head of the Dollhouse, played by Olivia Williams] tries to argue that most of the Dolls are there voluntarily and that she’s doing a good service for them by wiping out these other memories. But knowing that it is possible for at least one of the Dolls to have been brought in against her will, does that continue to make the show uncomfortable?

I don’t know, maybe. 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 have power and are trying to regain it. The “ick factor” 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.
Could you talk about the process of building up and hyping this particular episode and whether you think there might have been some negative side effect to all the interviews you did where you emphasized that episode 6 was the one where you wanted people to really get hooked?

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.” No, no, no, no. We did our best to try and figure out how to put the show over while under the gun, while we were in production or occasionally out of production. And then what happened with “Man on the Street,” was it 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. And I wrote it faster than anything I’d every written. It just poured out of me. It was like all of that brewing that we’ve been doing became the soup of that episode and so it really was a game changer for us on set and in production. The staff and the cast read it and a lot of tumblers fell into place. That’s how we felt about the episode.

There may be a negativity associated with hyping it, but for all of us, a lot of the following episodes really work on the model of “Man on the Street” more than anything else. So it was a big moment for us. It was a moment that we felt like we found a level and we were really proud of it. I figure that other people may feel differently, but we walked away from shooting that episode going, “Okay, we just added a layer and we feel pretty excited about it.”

Could you talk about what the tumbler was that clicked, what the other layer was that you feel like you found?

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 Agent Paul Ballard [played by Tahmoh Penikett] and of what’s going on with everybody, 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.

Will we learn why Ballard is so obsessed with Caroline and the Dollhouse this season?

We don’t really go back into his story in the first season, the first of so many seasons that there will inevitably be. [Laughs.] We feel like there’s a thorn in his side and we feel that we can push it further and twist it and possibly hit a vital organ.

It seems like the show is getting better by going at things sideways rather than head on. How much of that was you finding the show and how much of that was the network relenting and letting you get it to the place that you wanted?

I think it was both. The show definitely contains elements that were pitched or developed by people at the network in terms of the motivations of the Dollhouse and the feel of the politics and the thriller aspect. The show is very much full of the stuff that they were pitching. But, storytelling-wise, it was much closer to how I had envisioned coming at it in a sense that is clearer, than my original pilot. My original pilot was deliberately obtuse and you had to come along and stay with it and figure it out.

Here’s the situation. [The Dollhouse] is a myth. This guy [Ballard] is looking for it. We lay it out as simply as we did in the first five, but because we get to go inside the Dollhouse more, the events there take on much more resonance. It has what I had hoped to bring to the other episodes that I didn’t really have the opportunity to. 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.

Source: – Read entire article here..