Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Dollhouse Uncertainty Principle and ep. 6 Ratings/Deathwatch Update

As some people might already know, I've been struggling with "Dollhouse" for some time. Let me be clear, I'm not talking about the quality of acting, writing, sets, editing, music, or any other creative part of the thing....not at the moment anyway. That's not the largest issue for me. Much like not knowing what's good/bad, real/unreal in the show, I'm having an issue with what's good/bad, real/unreal outside of the show. I don't know what I feel as I've been overly influenced. I'm talking about being a part of the Cult of Whedon and it's unsavory effects on my psyche. I'm talking about the Dollhouse Uncertainty Principle.

Unofficial 4th blogger Ryan and I talked a little quantum physics earlier today. He was explaining Schrödinger's cat and long story short, I, of course, brought it back to Whedonville. I'm sorry Ry, but to be were right there with me. And it was then that I realized maybe I could speak about Dollhouse on this blog again. All you Whedon fans out there are likely suffering the same disorder I am and may not even realize it.

Before the "Dollhouse" hype machine started we only had Schroedinger's Dollhouse which made it both a great show and a terrible show at the same time. Anything was possible and we were unaware. Then, stories of Gouda Pizza-induced brainstorming sessions in fancy Hollywood eateries, Eliza Dushku's Fox deal, casting, network problems, re-written pilots and everything else we learned, not to mention simply being Whedon-addicts, started to confuse us. Was this actually an already flimsy plot thought up on a whim and made even more forced because of network interference or is it the usual Whedon genius?
We will never know the answer to that question because now that "Dollhouse" is out we are faced with Heisenberg's Dollhouse a.k.a the Dollhouse Uncertainty Principal. This means we can never tell whether it's great or terrible because the measuring changes the outcome. Technically, this is a double Heisenberg because some people who might normally love it now dislike it only because they know too much about behind the scenes, spoilers, etc. - while other people who wouldn't normally watch it at all because they think it sucks subconsciously feel they need to love it anyway because they are a part of the Cult of Whedon. I have no idea which camp I'm in. I'll never know.

There is no way of measuring ratings that can determine the quality of the show and none of us can be certain as to why we like or dislike it. We are all tainted. If we went back in time and never learned a thing about Whedon and stumbled upon this show on a Friday night because we loved "Connor Chronicles" and watched what followed, then we can form an untainted opinion.

Actually, that's a great segue into Connor Chron. I love that show. A lot. I know I love it and there is no confused feeling. There is no SCC Uncertainty Principle. It's really a great feeling. Unfortunately, that feeling is followed by a feeling of doom due to its impending cancellation (Note from Ryan: A Sarah Connor Uncertainty Principle probably exists for long time fans of the Terminator franchise, of which Tara is not. This is not to be confused with the Terminator Uncertainty Principle, which is a theory about whether time-traveling robots can change the future).

Next time, Ryan and I plan on discussing Bell's Theorem where the shows Buffy and Angel are always connected in quality and cannot be separated. But that's next time.

In the mean, "Dollhouse" scored a 2.6/5 in the ratings to move FOX ahead of NBC this past Friday night with overly promoted episode 6: Man on the Street, though it's viewership was actually down from last week. Here's the updated Dollhouse Death Watch.

And the optimism continues! If next week's ep actually airs (which seems almost certain) then Bitsy's group is out and it's down to Michelle vs. Me (the realists versus the delusionals!)

If you want to share an opinion of what you think is Dollhouse's fate and be added to the list above, see the following options and leave your choice of group in the comments:

Bitsy's Group (the S&M hard-core skeptics) - who's sure Dollhouse will not even make it to the 7th episode. (next week's ep!)

Tara's Group (the bitter realists) - thinks FOX will show all 13 episodes ordered, but will then cancel it and thus, Dollhouse will not make it to season 2. What can I say? We're jaded.

Michelle's Group (the starry-eyed optimists) - who believe that Dollhouse will show all episodes and even get renewed for a second season.


John Lee, executive producer said...

I have no idea what the future holds with Dollhouse. That's part of the Joss Magic of Suspense TM. That fate was predestined by Fox before the 1st epp.

buffygroupie said...

I started to comment, but it got really long, so I moved it here - - if anyone cares to read it.

elaine said...

For me this ep was classic Joss and I loved it. Finally I can be very happy about Dollhouse, the fight was better than anything on TV, Whedon fights have always been excellent and make other shows looks weak. Loved the Man on the street "interviews" that was perfect and all the plot twist just makes me yearn for Friday night.

Jgirl said...

Count me in for Tara's Group. I would have gone with Bitsy a few weeks ago, but now that it's been airing and there's no buzz about abrupt cancellation, my money is on the network riding the season out just for convenience sake.

Such high hopes being dashed on a weekly basis is hard to stomach. But what's a girl to do?

AndrewCrossett said...

I think all 13 episodes will certainly air this season, and if the show can maintain its 30+% DVR numbers and its consistent Top 10 download status, it will get reordered for another season (13-18 episodes).

Its ratings were down this week from last week, but this week it was on against the BSG series finale. That it still managed to top 4 million viewers was a far better result than I expected. With the DVR and download numbers added in, this may end up the most-watched episode yet.

The show was hurt early on by bad buzz, rather than bad quality. Now the buzz is turning positive and the audience base is still there. Things should improve from here on out.

Tara said...

Again, please don't get me wrong. Most of this post wasn't about the quality of the show. I think this past ep was fantastic. Emphasis on the "think" though because i can never be sure. The only way to be sure is to go back in time and stop myself from watching Buffy some how (doubt that's possible bc there was hard-core outside influence, but whatever.) If that was the case, I wouldn't be in the Cult of Whedon and I could form a real opinion. -OR- I stayed away from every bit of info surrounding Dollhouse...gouda pizza, see above.) But Buffyfest exists, so that is also impossible.

Anonymous said...

Great great episode. I certainly hope it comes back and for the first time I'm optimistic

hitnrun017 said...

I think a big problem is that fans expected genius from Joss right off the bat. We've all seen the best of Buffy, Angel and Firefly, so I think a lot fans thought Dollhouse would start that way. But those three shows also started off shaky. It's nearly impossible to compare the first episodes of Buffy and Angel to places the shows went to. The same can apply to the first couple episodes of Firefly. Given time, Dollhouse can achieve that status of Whedon-geniusness, and Man on the Street seemed like a great place to start.

I'm apart of Michelle's group, but if there isn't any improvement over the next two episodes, I'd wish I chose Tara's group. Man on the Street got a lot of positive buzz, plus being against BSG... so I think the next two are the one's to watch.

Greer said...

Count me in to the realists group--I wish that it would last longer but Friday is a death wish night and the ratings are deathly ill right now :/