Joss Wedon’s Dollhouse

 Posted by on 23 February 2009 at 12:01 am  Psychology, Television
Feb 232009

Joss Whedon really got my attention with his wonderful but sadly shortlived TV series Firefly and its related movie Serenity. So when I found the premiere episode of his Dollhouse series on Hulu last night, I was eager to check it out.

Quick review: I’m intrigued. Excellent production, solid acting, short skirts. And most important, a sci-fi premise that will make you think about the nature of personal identity. What if you could copy aspects of people from a library of personas to create an amalgam in a host, tailored for some particular application? Need someone who flies helicopters and has a doctorate in neurobiology? Coming right up — but you’d better hope that the amalgam is stable and that none of the donors’ psychological quirks mess things up before the mission is completed and the host is wiped clean again.

Which brings us to the hosts, the agents used in these missions. What would be their motivation for undertaking such a lifestyle? Who would volunteer to become a vessel forever filled and emptied by someone else? Sure, whatever horrible memories they’ve accumulated in life would be erased, which sounds appealing. And they would get to be and do an amazing variety of things — presumably bringing about happiness and justice and so on. That’s pretty cool, too.

But who are you, if not the sum of your choices and actions and experiences? And what is any of it worth to you if you have no knowledge of what “you” did?

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