V stands for "Very Soon Lizard Aliens Will Suck Your Face Off"
Thursday, May 21, 2009 | Author: Mad Typist
I was pretty excited when I heard that they were going to reboot/relaunch the classic sci-fi mini-series V. I was hopeful that ABC, which has done a great job handling the cerebral and compelling sci-fi show Lost, would pick it up, and indeed, V is now on the schedule for sometime next midseason.

Jace over at Televisionary was lucky enough to get a preview of the pilot episode and gives it glowing remarks (warning: the article contains spoilers). Here's his quick summary of the show's concept:
For those of you not in the know, V, originally created by Kenneth Johnson, was a series about an alien invasion that aired on NBC during the 1984-1985 season following a successful run as two separate mini-series. Likewise, this new incarnation of V, overseen by The 4400 creator Scott Peters also tells the story of the arrival of an alien race to Earth via behemoth spacecrafts that appear out of nowhere to hover above 29 cities around the world.

Calling themselves The Visitors, their leader Anna (Firefly's Morena Baccarin) quickly makes contact with Earth's leaders to deliver a message (in multiple languages) proclaiming that they come in peace and, in exchange for the use of Earth's water which they need to survive, they will provide the human population with technology, the curing of 65 different diseases, and universal health care.
I was thrilled to find out that the excellent Elizabeth Mitchell would be starring in this one. She's done great work in supporting roles (Juliet on Lost, Kim Legaspi on ER), so it's nice to see her get a chance to play a lead role for once. She'll be playing FBI agent Erica Evans, who's not so sure about these new "friendly" aliens. I noted in the trailer that she has a son, who may or may not get involved with the Visitors in some way (I suspect through good old fashioned teen lust with hot alien girl "Lisa"), which should rachet up the drama for Erica.

Also a good sign for nerds all over the world: there are TWO actors from Joss Whedon's cult hit Firefly present in V. Alan Tudyk (Wash from Firefly, Alpha from Dollhouse) is signed on to play Erica's FBI partner Dale Maddox. Tudyk's work on Dollhouse recently convinced me that he's got the acting chops to really shine in this lead role, so I'm hoping for good things from him as well.

Morena Baccarin is a great choice to play the leader of the Visitors, since she's always struck me as one of those "so beautiful it's GOT to be fake" kind of actresses. Watching the trailer, you instantly get a sense that behind that gorgeous smile lies a set of razor sharp alien fangs that would just LOVE to eat some delicious mammal flesh.

Assuming the new ABC series Flash Forward takes off (and I hope that it does, because it sounds awesome), V would be a good time slot neighbor for that show. If not, I expect that this high-profile reboot will be paired with Lost.

Because the original show was a mini-series, I was a little nervous that having an on-going show might be a mistake, as many sci-fi fans live in dread fear of the "Chris Carter syndrome": where a show runner has a promising idea for a series - The X-Files in Carter's case - and you think there's this awesome overall mythology... and then you realize the idiots in charge are totally making up the story as they go along, and it collapses under the weight of its own nonsensical continuity and poor story choices that hinder the show's ability to gracefully end. That's why this quote from this EOnline.com column gives me some small hope:
V's initial order will be 13 episodes. "We want to craft a whole series," says McPherson. "We believe it's going to be in four parts...It will have beginning, middle and end."
I've said before that it's crucial that shows with a long, complex mytharc have their ducks in a row, so it's great news that they have a firm structure for the story. That will allow characters and storylines to be developed in a way that leads naturally to the end the show runners desire.

I'm hoping that V lives up to its potential. It's got a solid cast, a crew that's familiar with heady sci-fi (there are several names who used to work for the USA series The 4400 attached), and a great cult classic source to draw from. Frankly, as long as they have the lizard baby with the human tongue, and the human baby with the lizard tongue, I'll be happy. I expect lots of fun face-peeling, mouse-eating, facism-allegories from this one, so *fingers crossed*.

While we wait for the show to premiere next year, go ahead and enjoy this spiffy new trailer for the show.

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Our long national nightmare is over, fellow football fans. It was just announced today that Tony Kornheiser is leaving Monday Night Football. Allow me a moment to cackle my joy to the heavens that this blessed day has finally come. In my nightmares, I had pictured myself going to Hell, and in that Hell I would be chained to a La-Z-Boy and forced to watch 24/7 football commentary served up by Kornheiser and Dennis Miller. And every game would be the 2009 Detroit Lions versus the 2008 Dolphins.

I can't really say it better than the guy over at Yahoo! Sports - he pretty much sums up my thoughts exactly - so I'll just go ahead and link to his blog. I share his sentiment that my hate for Kornheiser is directed exclusively at his MNF performance. I actually really enjoy watching Pardon the Interruption (PTI) on ESPN, and think he fits that format really well.

Replacing Kornheiser on the show is former Bucs head coach, Jon Gruden (a.k.a "Chucky" to those of us who love his grumpy, "I may murder you soon" face, which reminds of so much of the doll from the Child's Play horror series). Gruden will bring a great coach's perspective to the booth, and I assume he'll jell better with former QB star Ron Jaworski (a.k.a. "Jaws").

For nostalgia's sake, I'm going to link to my original post complaining about Kornheiser, just to kick the dog one more time before he GTFOs my program forever. See you on PTI, Tony.
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It's Aliiiiiiiiiive!

Surprisingly, Fox has decided to renew Dollhouse for another season. To be honest, I think most people thought this show was a goner. But, as I said in my last review, since it's going to be back, I'm going to be there (so you readers will have to suffer through another season of my reviews, I suppose).

The show definitely laid enough groundwork for me to want to keep watching, but I'm not going to pretend it was a perfect first season. So, here's a quick list of the things that I'd want improved for next season:
  1. Make Amy Acker a regular. Dr. Claire Saunders had some great character moments to close out the season, and I'd really like to see her explored more - who was she originally? How does she feel about being a Doll? Will she choose to keep her current personality forever, even after her contract expires?
  2. Assuming Dr. Claire sticks around, I think she and Boyd would make an interesting couple. Both actors are talented enough to give a potential romance a lot of depth and nuance.
  3. Take it international. We learned in episode 6 that there are 20 Dollhouses scattered around the world, so let's go see some of those.
  4. We need to get a lot more information about the mole inside the Dollhouse, as well as the mysterious "true purpose" of the Dollhouse. Keep the focus there - limit the number of silly "Monster of the Week" style episodes. This show will live or die on the strength of its overall plot arc, so dedicate your resources towards making THAT part of the show as good as it can be.
  5. Make Paul Ballard less stupid. Seriously. Right now he reminds me of my mentally challenged cat - both seem like the type to get their heads caught in the handles of plastic grocery bags, at which point they thrash around all confused.
  6. Also make Paul Ballard less obsessed with Echo. It's creepy.
The one thing to be wary of about next season are reports that the renewal was earned partially by promising to reduce the budget and reduce the licensing fee. That may mean fewer good writers, or even some character deaths. Still, the show will be back for 13 more episodes, so we'll see what they can do with that.

Hooray for more underdogs!

On the heels of the good news about Dollhouse, a few other shows have been renewed that I think deserve a lot more love from critics and viewers out there.
  • Better Off Ted, the quirky and totally excellent sitcom on ABC starring Portia di Rossi (well, the lead is technically Ted, played by Jay Harrington, but di Rossi really steals the show), has been renewed for another season. Seriously, folks - I can't recommend this one enough. Delightful and fun. Part of the reason it's coming back is probably due to the fact that Scrubs was picked up for another season, and BOT had done a tremendous job retaining almost 90% of Scrubs' lead in audience. Expect to see the two paired together again next season.
  • I was never a big fan of Chuck, but a lot of people out there seem to love it, so they'll be happy to know that it's been granted a third season.
  • Party Down is the first original series on Starz actually worth watching, so I'm pleased to report that it's been granted a second season. It started a little slow, but has really grown on me, so if you missed this little comedic gem, check it out, and then hop on the bandwagon for season 2. It's worth watching just for the adorable and quirky romance between Lizzy Caplan and Adam Scott, and the hilarious buddy-buddy relationship between Jane Lynch, who plays an aging actress whose best days of bit roles involving ample nudity in 80's flicks that are thin knock offs of Meatballs, and Ryan Hansen, who plays her friend and semi-protege.
Summer crack

A few series coming out (or returning) or returning this summer that may interest you.
  • Nurse Jackie stars the always-welcome-in-my-house Edie Falco, and premieres Monday, June 8th at 10:30 pm ET/PT on Showtime. This black comedy got a great advanced review from Jace over at Televisionary, and he's rarely wrong about these things. I'm definitely going to check this one out.
  • One of my favorite summer guilty pleasures, the wonderfully over-wrought and sexy True Blood returns for Season 2 on HBO June 14th at 9 pm ET/PT. While I will totally freak out if Lafayette is really dead (Season 1 left us with a cliffhanger on that), I'm very, very interested to see the new character played by Evan Rachel Wood, as well as what the deal is with Michelle Forbes's character (Forbes was promoted to series regular, so I expect to see a lot more of her character and her backstory with souful shapeshifter Sam). Catch the hot trailer for Season 2 here.
  • If you aren't watching AMC's brilliant Mad Men, then you're dead to me. Catch up on Seasons 1 and 2 (or rewatch them to catch the little subtle clues you missed the first time around) on DVD, then get ready to enjoy Season 3, which is allegedly on track to premiere this summer.
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News Nuggets From Around the Internet
Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Author: Mad Typist
Just some fun, frustrating or interesting things to pass along today.

Things that make me hate the internet:

1) "Noob" may become the millionth English word. A "noob", for those of you who are blessed enough to have avoided it thus far, is slang for "newbie", which itself is slang used to describe a clueless newcomer. It's normally used as a derogatory term, particularly amongst the video gaming community.

2) Ralph Nader whines about how the internet isn't good at motivating action. Shut up, Ralph. The internet is not a force in and of itself. It's not something that spontaneously spawns movements. However, the internet is an amazing resource for movements to utilize. The internet is not a motivating tool. It is a tool for motivated people.
3) Fake and/or misleading headlines. Considering this one from Yahoo! news (courtesy of the increasingly laughable AP), entitled "Study: Bad boy doesn't always get the girl". Sounds like it'd be an interesting psychological study about how the Western concept of the "bad boy" (the jerk, who treats women like crap and is perhaps a bully to other males) isn't necessarily what contemporary Western women respond to, right? Wrong. It instead just talks about the number of wives per aggressive male in a remote society where the murder rate is 46%. Which, while interesting, is clearly not what the headline promised. There are "bad boys" who smoke and perhaps don't call you back after sex. And there are "bad boys" who engage in never-ending cycles of murder. Which one did you think of when you read that title?

Things that make me love the internet:
1) When internet citizens use their training in troll-dom to actually do something good with it. Read this fascinating article from Ars Technica that details a group of netizens who have banded together to take on the infamous Nigerian spammers.

2) The Steam distribution system continues to rock my world. Not only does it allow me to thumb my nose at asshole brick-and-mortar game retailers like Gamestop, it continues to show that the conventional pricing systems are stupid. Go grab the amazing Plants vs. Zombies for just 10 bucks on Steam.

Here's a screenshot and review from the Onion AV Club:

http://www.avclub.com/articles/plants-vs-zombies,27802/?utm_source=homepage_current_reviews
3. Super bonus update: One news item I forgot in the original post - an Irish student proves that all those nagging fears you have about journalistic integrity and investigation in the age of 24/7 insta-news cycles are probably true. Why take the time to do good investigation when you can just copy+paste from wikipedia?
edited because you shouldn't post half-finished thoughts.
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Dollhouse Episode 12 Review
Monday, May 11, 2009 | Author: Mad Typist
Well, it's finally upon us: the season (and possibly series) finale of Dollhouse. How did it go? If I'm being honest, it felt a little flat to me. Those of us who have stuck around probably got our money's worth (it was a solid B/B+ for me), but the finale wasn't quite explosive enough or shocking enough to win any new converts. And that's a problem for a show that's struggling to survive. This just wasn't the kind of finale that is going to get people talking, building a buzz into next season that might attract new viewers. Also, I'm not sure what genius decided to air the finale on the same night as the new Star Trek film, but great job there - this episode did not do well in the ratings at all.

Nonetheless, there was plenty of goodness here for loyal fans, so let's get right to it, shall we? There were two big switch-a-roos that probably shocked a lot of people. I think most of us figured out that Dr. Claire Saunders was in fact Whiskey, a Doll. However, I was still surprised at the beginning of the episode, when we join a client on a "Natural Born Killers" adventure gone terribly wrong, and find out that the Mallory personality to Alpha's Mickey is not implanted in Echo, but in Whiskey. I assumed that Alpha's fixation on Echo was due to actual time spent together as various personas, but this episode suggests that his connection to her was due to the fact that every male on this show instantly senses Echo's specialness (and by "specialness" we apparently mean "hot bod/pretty face"). We got some fantastic back story on Whiskey, as well as a sense of who she might be moving forward, and if we get a second season, I hope that they choose to explore Dr. Claire a lot more.

The second big switch-a-roo (and one that I suspect will be hotly debated by fans) was the end of the show, where we see Paul Ballard agreeing to serve as a "contractor" for the Dollhouse, in exchange for the Dollhouse releasing one of their Dolls early. While we all thought that Doll would be Caroline, we find that in fact he has chosen November/Mellie for release. I hate to say it, but I'm going to cry "foul" on this one, because this moment was totally unearned.

Problem #1: we never really got a sense that Paul was that invested in Mellie. He only submitted to her advances after Patton Oswald correctly identified Paul's less than pure motivation to rescue Caroline/Echo. So it always felt more like a pity hookup/convenience thing than anything resembling true love. Even when he was with Mellie, it always seemed like he was really interested in Caroline. And after it was revealed to Paul that Mellie was a Doll, he never gave any indication of guilt or sadness over losing his girlfriend - just anger that he had been duped.

Problem #2: again, Paul (and we the audience) know NOTHING about Mellie, so who cares if she's set free? It's clear from this episode that Caroline 1) regrets signing her life away 2) desperately wants to be back in her own body, and 3) has certainly earned that right. It's also clear, as I stated above, that Paul really cares about Caroline, so I'm not sure why he wouldn't choose to free her. Had they had the balls to destory the Caroline imprint, perhaps this would have made more sense - there'd be no more "Caroline" to go back to.

However, let me offer a possible explanation that might soothe your rabid anger at this unearned twist: since Alpha is still on the loose, and since he clearly would love nothing more than to slowly torture Caroline to death, perhaps Ballard feels that the safest place for Caroline right now is in the Dollhouse. There, at least, she can be programmed with ninja skills that give her a fighting chance, and she has 24/7 supervision (for all the good that that did the last time). I'll also allow that perhaps Ballard senses Boyd's genuine affection for Echo, and realizes that having Boyd (a fellow "Tall, morally judgmental man") around to help guard her is a Very Good Thing.

Anyway, we find out that Alpha isn't so much the calculuating evil genius we thought, so much as
a serial killer "soul" - as Ballard labels the ghost of their original personality that persists even after wipe - utilizing the memories and skills of all the imprints he's currently hosting. To be honest, that was sort of a let down. Are you telling me that this whole time, he's just been jonesing to go on a killing spree? If so, I'm not sure that I buy that he's wasted all this time just trying to collect Echo, when he could have been murdering his way across the country side. I guess we're suppose to believe that his original personality has been hungering for a playmate, and so to that end, Alpha's evil plan consists of cramming all of Echo's imprints into her at once, which he hopes will enlighten her to his world view. Of course, all he accomplishes is creating a fully realized super person like himself that retains Caroline's innate sense of goodness and now has the kung fu skills to rival his own.

This leads to a showdown where Alpha leads Echo on a chase through the power plant where his lair is located. The whole point of this is that Alpha escapes by distracting Echo by tossing the wedge containing the only copy left of Original Recipe Caroline off a ledge. Here's where the show really misses a golden opportunity, because instead of the wedge being destroyed, it instead lands on a ledge and totters there just long enough for Paul to swoop in and catch it before it shatters.

This enrages me to no end and here's why: as Boyd observed earlier in the season, everyone at the Dollhouse, including the people who work there, are broken in some way. But Whiskey and Victor are broken in ways that can never be fixed. Whiskey NEVER gets to wake up like Sleeping Beauty from a dream. Even if her original personality is restored, she can't go back to being who she was before the Dollhouse. That's why her statement to Topher at the end of the show is so powerful. She knows who she is - who she was is irrelevant, thus she has no need to know who she was before she came to his place. The Dollhouse has made her into something new, and there's no going back.

By failing to allow Caroline, as we knew her, to be "killed", the show robs the Echo character of that fascinating and compelling storyline. Caroline CAN be fully restored, it's just a matter of her serving out the rest of her contract, apparently. Imagine if, instead, we had the Echo character who hypothesized that without the Caroline imprint, she's just an empty vessel playing host to alien minds. Then the show could have truly explored the notion of soul - without her memories, could she ever truly become Caroline again, and feel whole? But no, Caroline still gets to wake up from her dream and go back to her life. Lame!

Speaking of lame, I was disappointed that the composite event that Alpha experienced was a technological mistake, versus some true specialness about Alpha that allowed him to retain all his personalities. Allow me to just quote the Couch Baron from Television Without Pity here, because he pretty much sums it up:
So... after all that, his composite event was just an accident? That's pretty lame, I have to say, given that they built it up to be so much more. I mean, I can understand everyone having been so concerned about Echo and the others' growing ability to remember things, because that is part of what made it possible for Alpha to commit such horrific violence, but the show strongly suggested all season that the composite event would be the final consequence of that development, when in fact it's completely unrelated. Like I said: Lame.
Word. Let's face it - Caroline sucks. We would NOT have missed her that much if she "died". I'm only interested in Caroline in that I hope her Dollhouse experience has changed her enough that she'd be a different person. Now we have the constant threat of original, annoying Caroline returning at any moment.

It may seem like I'm complaining a lot here, but it's just because I HAVE enjoyed this show a lot, and it just pains me to see it failing to live up to all the potential it's got. I mean, I still am glad I took the time to stick it out through the first season, and there were some genuinely great moments in this often uneven show. Here's where this episode, and this whole season, leaves me: Would I watch a second season of this show enthusiastically and without reservation. Absolutely. Would I wail and gnash my teeth, cursing the universe and invoking the names of Firefly, Freaks and Geeks, My So-Called Life and so forth if FOX cancelled this show tomorrow? No, not really. I'd be happy with the way things concluded, and I'd move on to another show.

Some final thoughts to wrap this all up.

Things we learned this episode:
  • Adelle thinks Paul is stupid, just like the rest of us. There's a reason I like this lady. Her retort to Paul, when he suggests that he'll escape just like Alpha, of "Alpha's a genius" was just awesome. Olivia Williams really sold the silent "And you are so NOT one" with her delivery and expression.
  • Interesting detail revealed during the final scene between Whiskey/Claire and Topher: he intentionally programmed her to hate him. That adds another layer to Topher that I'd love to see explored more next season. I also hope that next season Amy Acker gets to be a series regular, because I'm completely fascinated by her decision to essentially embrace who she is now, instead of demanding to be restored (or to even ask who she was before she came there).
  • I had long wondered why Alpha didn't kill Claire during his spree on the way out of the Dollhouse. Now we know why - he gave her the scars prior to that incident, and was interrupted before he could finish. He killed the original Dr. Saunders, who apparently was a kindly older gentleman who liked to give the Dolls lollipops.
  • Boyd and Ballard fall into a buddy-cop vibe almost immediately. I'd like to see this explored more next season. Boyd could star in his own mini-version of Marley and Me, except that it'd be "Ballard and Me", and instead of an over-enthusiastic puppy ruining everything, it'd be.... an over-enthusiastic puppy ruining everything. Hmmm.
Things I still want to know:
  • Is this show coming back, or what?
  • Why, oh why, didn't they stick with the original script for this show?! The script posted here details a MUCH more exciting final confrontation, adding Sierra and November to the mix, and also inserting a few pretty funny moments. It also shows Alpha taking advantage of November's hidden activation code "There are three flowers in a vase..." which also would have explained why Paul would have wanted November freed.
  • Who, exactly, is aware that Dr. Claire used to be Whiskey? Does Boyd know? As far as we've seen, he was introduced to her when she was already Dr. Saunders.
  • Since a lot of people DO clearly know about Whiskey, why haven't we seen more characters contemplate their own identity? io9.com has a fun post up speculating on who else could secretly be Dolls.
  • Ballard spoke for all of us when he wondered why someone like Boyd would choose to work for the Dollhouse. Boyd's later response to Ballard that "There's always a girl" could be seen as a clue to Boyd's motivation.
Anyway, it's been swell. Thanks to everyone who commented on this reviews this season.
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Feminism and Dollhouse - Every Fan (and Hater) Must Read
Thursday, May 07, 2009 | Author: Mad Typist

When I first posted about the new Joss Whedon show Dollhouse, I got a lot of interesting responses on my reviews of early episodes. Some fans stuck around and are enjoying the show in the second half of the season. But other fans were repelled at the basic premise of the show. I saw commenters charge Joss Whedon with creating a misogynistic, sexist show. There was a lot of vitroil in some of those comments.

Anyway, I wanted to bring to your attention this excellent article from Tiger Beatdown, entitled "Dollhouse, Joss Whedon, and the Strange and Difficult Path of Feminist Dudes: Some Thoughts" Here's an excerpt:

Which leads me to: this new show, Dollhouse. Are you watching it? Oh my goodness, it is amazing. It is also the Whedon show that has drawn the most critique from other feminists: because it depicts rape of a very "gray" variety, because it doesn't condemn the forced prostitution and human trafficking it conveys strongly enough, because its characters aren't Strong or lovable in the way they have been in past Whedon shows. Fair points, all! Also: points with which I disagree.

Dollhouse is, pretty much specifically and entirely, a show about consent. It's built around an organization - the titular Dollhouse - which erases volunteers' personalities and memories and renders them childlike and passive, in order to implant them with new, built-to-order personalities custom made for wealthy clients who wish to order the "perfect" person for a specific job. The purpose for which these mind-wiped folks (called "dolls," and I do not think that we are for a second supposed to miss how creepy that term is) are rented out is, primarily, sex. Also, they have no knowledge of or ability to consent to the "engagements" for which they are rented out. Also, they seem, in large part, to not really be volunteers at all - most of the ones we know about, including the central character, Echo, have become dolls in order to get out of jail time or worse, and one woman in particular was literally sold into the organization. Also, several Dolls have been used for sex by Dollhouse employees, sometimes with the illusion of consent in place and sometimes not.

So, at this point, people were like, "um, is noted feminist auteur Joss Whedon aware that he is making a show about forced prostitution and rape?" Whedon's politics have repeatedly been called into question, and usually for damn good reason. (Here is the thing about doing stuff that appeals to politically engaged audiences: you cannot fuck up politically and have people fail to notice or just go, "oh well, par for the course, ha ha ha!" You get yelled at. Sorry. Deal.) Dollhouse, in particular, had the potential to be hugely offensive. Here is the thing: Whedon, unlike most folks and many feminist or progressive-identified dudes, seems to actually listen when he is called out and to improve his work accordingly. In the case of Dollhouse, I think he is doing smarter work than he ever was. Getting smarter about oppression, I would submit to you, requires making the visible manifestations of it or metaphors for it much, much uglier.
Anyway, I highly encourage you to head over to that blog and read the whole piece. It's really thought-provoking, even if it doesn't bring some of you around totally.
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Fake Tits Make Me Feel Confident!
Monday, May 04, 2009 | Author: Mad Typist
+ = !!!!

It's now been confirmed that the Miss California pageant funded breast implants for this year's winner. Here's the gist:
Friday morning a Miss California Pageant official confirmed previous reports that controversial contestant Carrie Prejean received free breast implants, organized and paid for by the pageant, weeks before the Miss USA competition.
So, not only is Carrie Prejean an unrepentant homophobe, she also has fake fun bags. Nice. The article goes on to post a full transcript of the exchange between "Early Show" host Maggie Rodriguez, and the Miss California official, Keith Lewis. Allow me to share my favorite quote from Mr. Lewis:
"Well, you know, first off, it's not something that we endorse, nor is it something that we suggest. But when we meet with the titleholder when she's crowned Miss California, we put to her a litany of questions about how she feels about herself, what she feels she needs to work on, what she may need to change, what is good, what is not good. We want to put her in the best possible confidence in order to present herself in the best possible light on a national stage."
Not to point out the obvious, but wouldn't confidence in yourself and the natural tits God gave you be a fucking prerequisite to winning Miss California in the first place? Of course, I'd also assume that the ability to speak extemporaneously without pissing off half of America would also be a prerequisite for the job, so it just goes to show how little I know.

Maybe I'm in no position to judge, as I have had fairly normal sized boobs my whole life, but I can't imagine what it must feel like to hate your body so much that you would willingly increase the size of those inconvienient lumps on the front of your body.

However, thanks to the power of imagination, I have been able to come up with a list of ways that I could envision breast implants would improve my life and my self-confidence:
  1. In the event of a water landing, perhaps my giant tits would serve as a flotation device.
  2. I would be well protected if a football player in full pads came up and wanted to do a celebratory chest bump with me. Bump away, Troy Polamalu, because Jessie's tatas are ready to take you on!
  3. With a massive set of DD boobs, I'd eliminate the need for a TV tray when watching Grey's Anatomy. I could just balance my popcorn bowl on top of Lucy and Ethel (for that is what I'd call my left and right teats if they were that large).
  4. I don't enjoy having a healthy back. I want to see what the world of chronic lower back pain is all about.
  5. I dislike eye contact when conversing with men. Having my co-workers and superiors able to focus on my chest makes it easier for me to feel more confident at work when in meetings.
  6. I also dislike eye contact when conversing with lesbians. So, enjoy the view, gals.

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Dollhouse Episode 11 Review
Monday, May 04, 2009 | Author: Mad Typist
This is it folks - the final 2 episodes of the season (and quite possibly the series, which is looking like a long shot for renewal at this point).

First things first. Alpha is back, and he's Alan Tudyk! Those of you hipsters out there will best remember him as Wash from the dead-too-soon Whedon show Firefly (or the movie version, Serenity). Those of you who are not hipsters may remember him as Steve the Pirate from the movie Dodgeball. I'll talk a little bit more about Alpha's dramatic return in a moment, but first allow me to touch on something else I realized this episode....

Enver Gjokaj (Victor) is a freaking treasure. Whedon has this way of discovering talent (Tudyk, Nathan Fillion, Amy Acker and so on) and giving them the tools to shine. I can only hope that Enver will be a part of the Whedon stable of actors for a long time, because he has just been blowing me away this season. This latest episode allowed him to highlight his gifts as a talented mimic, as the Dollhouse receives a mysterious USB drive addressed to Laurence Dominic, thus forcing them to pull his memory out of storage and insert it into Victor, so they can ask Dominic how to unlock the drive. Enver does a pitch perfect imitation of Reed Diamond's Dominic, to the point where I thought they maybe dubbed Diamond's voice into the scene.

Dominic-in-Victor screams in terror as he realizes that he's been put into a Doll's body, but after a healthy dose of sedatives and truth serum, helps them unlock the USB drive. On it, they find a series of Alpha-related materials, including an article that suggests that Alpha may be running amuck in Tucson (which apparently is the main HQ for whoever runs the Dollhouse). This is alarming enough to Adelle that she immediately sends Sierra, imprinted with an FBI forensics personality, down to Tucson to investigate.

Meanwhile, Paul Ballard finally shows some glimmer of initiative by breaking up with Mellie, who is so distraught that her handler has to intervene before she throws herself off the highway overpass. Mellie gets loaded into the black Dollhouse van, so she can go get a treatment, and we realize that Paul has been tailing her the whole time, anticipating that very occurance. Paul figures out where the Dollhouse is located, and then sets about finding the eco-friendly architect who designed the self-contained system that powers the Dollhouse.

Paul is so pleased with himself that he's gotten the upper hand on the Dollhouse finally, that he fails to realize that he's STILL being played, only this time it's Alpha himself pulling the strings. Alpha is masquerading as the architect, and "reluctantly" agrees to help Ballard break into the Dollhouse. Of course, this is all a smoke screen, and while Ballard is busy making a mess of stuff, getting caught because he has no real plan to speak of other than "rescue girl, be big hero, make out with girl", Alpha takes advantage of the situation to hack the Dollhouse's security and snatch Echo for himself (after popping her in the chair and giving her a new, sexy badgirl brain). He also carves up Victor (at which point I screamed "Nooooo!!! Not his beautiful face!") and terrorizes Dr. Claire for fun.

It's a bit disappointing that we're in the final two hours of the season, and yet Echo remained off the canvas for a good chunk of this episode. It seems like a waste to put her in a random subplot that involves her dealing with a troubled girl in foster care, just to establish the rather hamfisted metaphor between the fable of Briar Rose and the story of the Dollhouse.

In any case, Echo does return to the Dollhouse just in time for her two would-be protectors to tussle over her. It's a fascinating battle, actually, because both men have very different ideas about the best way to protect Echo, and I'm not sure that either one really has it right. The Briar Rose metaphor does set up the idea that the Prince who swoops in at the end gets too much credit for saving Briar Rose, and this neatly parallels Ballard's own tale. Caroline/Echo has done much of the heavy lifting in terms of working towards her own freedom, but Ballard thinks he's the one doing the rescuing here. However, as Echo has flashbacks to her fight with Ballard and the tender moments with Boyd where he's clearly her protector, she rejects Ballard's overtures and instead attempts to aid Boyd in the fight. Boyd, however misguided he might be, has at least earned the right to serve as Echo's protector/savior for the moment.

All in all, a really good episode that leaves us with a ton of forward momentum as we barrel into the finale next week. Is it bad that I'm sort of cheering for Alpha at this point?

Things we learned this week:
  • Dominic-in-Victor has a moment in his drugged out state where he says "Whiskey." I, like Dr. Claire, was confused by this, but after perusing the internet, I realize now that he didn't mean the drink, he meant the letter "W" in the phoenetic alphabet. Since the Dolls all bear names based on that alphabet, and since Dominic's statement was directed at Claire, it seems that the good doctor may herself be a doll (*dun dun dun!*). This would make sense, as it was always odd that Alpha spared a Dollhouse employee the first time around, since he clearly has so much rage for the people that work there. But if Claire was indeed Whiskey the Doll then I can see a scenario where he spared her, much as he spared Echo, and then the Dollhouse quickly imprinted her with the personality of a doctor, in order to help with the carnage. Perhaps they didn't even have a fulltime doctor on staff, and decided to just keep Claire/Whiskey around for future scenarios.
  • Alpha/Echo apparently have some past connection, or were at least imprinted with personalities that were connected. Maybe they were a team sent out on assassin missions together who became lovers, and Alpha retained that memory even after the wipe.
  • Ballard, for all his hemming and hawing about the immorality of the Dollhouse, seems to only be there for Caroline, since it looks like he's working with the Dollhouse next week to rescue her from Alpha.
  • I see that the Dollhouse has learned NOTHING from the Dominic incident, as it was stupidly easy for Paul to break into the Dollhouse. I'm not sure that I buy that this incredibly secret, wealthy and powerful organization wouldn't have laser sensors in the air ducts, locks on all the doors, and so forth.
  • We learned that there's a reason that Alan Tudyk is a beloved member of the Whedon stable of actors. The way he slipped effortlessly from bumbling, pot-smoking weakling to the razor hard, diabolical Alpha was awesome (and terrifying).
Things I still want to know:
  • What is Alpha's end game? At first, I assumed that he wanted to destroy the Dollhouse, but now I'm thinking that maybe his goal all along was just to retrieve his playmate, Echo. Are they headed towards a Natural Born Killers type of rampage, because the previews certainly seem to suggest that?
  • Are they going to brain wipe Paul Ballard? If they try, is Boyd going to attempt to save him (as he clearly objects to unwilling wipes, save for extreme cases like Dominic)? Does Paul really have that much of a brain to wipe, really?
  • Is this the end for Mellie?
  • Is Claire really Whiskey?
  • What about Victor's beautiful face?!?!?
  • Which personality did Alpha implant in Echo? Is it a personality that the Dollhouse already had in the storage banks, or is it a home-brewed version that Alpha put together himself?
  • If the show gets canceled (it's not looking great right now), does next week's finale serve as a satsifying series finale, just in case it's the last one we ever get?


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