Dollhouse, Mary Sue, And Trying To Figure Out Just What Is Wrong With Whedon

Dollhouse, Mary Sue, And Trying To Figure Out Just What Is Wrong With Whedon

I’ve had this swirling around in my head since the last Dollhouse episode aired but haven’t had a chance to make it solid, so I want to discuss. I’ve been thinking about the whole concept of Echo being “special” and how this keeps being repeated over and over and hammered in, but we’re never really given a reason why. The show upped the ante with the recent revelation that Caroline (the pre-Echo) did something horrible to this Bennett individual which caused her to lose functionality in her arm and also to hold a very deep grudge. Bennett said something about how Caroline always charmed people and such, and that inate awesomeness apparently still comes through even though she’s Echo.

Thing is, I really just don’t buy this.

Not even just because Eliza Dushku’s acting doesn’t convey all this awesomeness terribly well. Beyond that, this whole concept feels really contrived and pushed on us by the writers instead of something the audience actually experiences. It’s very much like a Mary Sue plot, but whose Mary Sue is Echo?

You could say she’s Eliza’s since she is an Executive Producer and must have some say over plot elements. I don’t get that feeling, though. I feel like this is all coming from Whedon. That doesn’t disqualify this trope from being Mary Sue-ish (after all, Stephen Moffett just loves his female Mary Sues), but I wonder if something else is going on. Like, this is some weird male-centric fantasy that has the Mary Sue flavor but behind it is not some fantasy about being awesome and loved but a fantasy deeply centered in the male gaze and psyche.

Am I making sense? Are you seeing this, too? WTF is this all about? I am sure I’ve encountered all of this before but damned if I can remember a specific show, movie, or book.