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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hi! I'm the Internet, and I'm Gere to Suck The Joy Out Of Your Life

It must be frustrating to be Joss Whedon.

I'm watching The Dollhouse, season 1, on DVD with my wife. We just finished episode 5 the night before this writing, and we're enjoying it immensely. The internet, in particular forums and people like this guy, feel extremely differently.

As near as I can figure it from reading old forum posts-- which is something, dear reader, you should never ever do-- there are four stages of Whedon Fandom that repeat indefinitely.

1) Anticipation. "OMG! There's a new Joss Whedon TV series coming out! It's got a quirky, offbeat take on an old genre and an actress that will probably spawn an internet fetish subculture! I'm so excited! I hope the network gives this one a chance for a change."

2) Consternation. "Hey! This isn't the show I was expecting at all. It's like Whedon can't even read my mind or something. I'm going to stop watching it until it gets better."

3) Vindication. "That new Whedon show was cancelled? Well, I can't say I'm surprised based on the three episodes of it I watched before declaring it utter crap."

4) Indignation. "OMG! I'm watching this Joss Whedon TV show on DVD and it's so incredibly awesome! I can't believe the stupid networks cancelled it so soon."

... and proceed to step 1.

When your core fanbase is like that, what chance do you have for commercial success? They'll love your show to death as long as you're not making new episodes, or as long as you don't dare to make something that might appeal to someone besides the niche market (LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR SELLOUT BULLCRAP!).

And then if someone genuinely likes some of your work, other of your so-called fans jump down their throats for being a fanboy with no taste. Some people even write comics about it.

(To be fair, Dollhouse is a show that plays better (for me, anyway) on DVD than it would on TV. These episodes dripped out one week at a time would have me losing my patience rather quickly. I felt the same way about The Pretender. The multitudinous threads and weaves were just too much for me to keep track of if I could only get a carefully restricted glimpse of the loom once a week. But give me the ability to devour two, three, four episdes at a time and the show becomes pure brilliance.)

If you love something, or like it or even find it mildly tolerable, the internet is not your friend. That's because it's full of joyless people who think they'll feel better about themselves if they tear down stuff that other people like.

It has been my goal on this site to be the opposite of that person. You'll note that most of my reviews are positive, and I try to talk about things that I like and why I like them rather than going off on rants about why such-and-such is so awful. I hope to be a tonic for anyone sick of the legions of trolls who angrily type badly spelled rants about how some beautiful model is, in actuality, objectively ugly and disgusting because they say so.

Or anyone who posts comments after Youtube videos. Here's another handy internet survival tip: Never read youtube comments. I can't prove it, but I believe they actually suck brain cells out through your eyeballs.

That may be a losing battle, but when you're a fan of Joss Whedon you get kind of used to those.

It's a cliche', but happiness is a choice. You can accept the way things are, and maybe find some enjoyment there, or you can forever lament how things are not, and be an internet troll. I oversimplify, but that's another feature of the internet that I don't have as much of a problem with.

Well, I'm enjoying Dollhouse, and I have right from episode 1. I understand why it was cancelled, and I suspect it has less to do with Fox's mishandling (though I wouldn't doubt that as a factor) and more to do with a certain segment of a certain writer's fanbase being unpleasable, or at least acting that way on internet forums.

Because, seriously, if you can watch the first five episodes of Dollhouse and come to the conclusion that Elizu Dushku can't act, you're standards are un-meetable.