SCRIPTEASE Dollhouse

It’s back! The reduced SFX Company relives the first season of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse in one bite-sized script…

Dollhouse: Season One

[Warning: contains major spoilers]

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OVERALL SYNOPSIS OF SHOW

A bunch of mind-controlled humans known as “Actives” are rented out to wealthy clients for nefarious purposes (and lots of rumpy-pumpy). This is MORALLY DUBIOUS and DISTURBING, but the Actives are hot, so nobody seems to be concerned about their rights. Also, because this is a Joss Whedon show on Fox, there is (a) angst and (b) the threat of imminent cancellation.

ACT ONE

A HOT WOMAN is having a wicked fun time: DANCING, wearing a VERY SHORT DRESS and RIDING A MOTORBIKE (because men think women riding motorbikes are SEXY). After some HIGH-OCTANE ADVENTURES, the HOT WOMAN meets up with her “handler”, BOYD LANGTON, who takes her back to a laboratory. She sits in a BIG CHAIR.

HOT WOMAN: “I had a fantastic time tonight! And the guy I was with was sooooooo attractive. I loved him. Really, really a lot.”
LANGTON: “That’s nice, dear.”

Her BRAIN is WIPED by the BIG CHAIR and its operator, TOPHER BRINK. When the HOT WOMAN wakes up, she is ECHO.

ECHO [blankly]: “Did I fall asleep?”
TOPHER: “For a little while.”
ECHO [blankly]: “Shall I go?”
TOPHER: “Yes. Run along and play. I’ll stay here with my super-scientific mind-wiping chair being slimy and creepy so it’s hard to identify with me. However, I’ll also make a few Xander Harris-style wisecracks every now and then to show I have a nicer side.”
THE AUDIENCE: “This is going to be a confusing show, we can tell already.”

Meanwhile, in her BIG IMPORTANT OFFICE, DOLLHOUSE’s head honcho, ADELLE DEWITT, is drinking tea from china cups.

ADELLE: “I’m very British and cold and unfeeling, just like this fine bone china. It’s all rather symbolic, isn’t it?”
LANGTON: “I’m uncomfortable with Echo going off on missions and having sex with strange men we’ve mind-controlled her into liking.”
ADELLE: “And?”
LANGTON: “Er, nothing. I’ll live with it.”
ADELLE: “Good. Anyway, this is a Joss Whedon show on Fox, so we’ll probably be cancelled before your conscience gets the better of you. Have some tea, dahling.”
LANGTON: “Don’t mind if I do!”

ACT TWO

DECTECTIVE PAUL BALLARD is becoming unhealthily obsessed with finding a woman named CAROLINE. We know CAROLINE is actually ECHO, but we can’t tell him, so he has to WORK IT OUT FOR HIMSELF. He confides in his neighbour, MELLIE.

BALLARD: “I’ve heard stories of a mythical place called the ‘Dollhouse’ where men and women have a lot of sex but don’t remember it afterwards.”
MELLIE: “That sounds like your average college frat house. Are you sure this is a bad thing?”
BALLARD: “They’re mind-wiped or something, I don’t know. It’s all very sci-fi but I’m sure it exists.”
MELLIE: “Well, I will support you every step of the way as you search. Mainly because I have a secret crush on you.”
BALLARD: “Sorry, what was that? I was staring at this photo of Caroline.”
MELLIE: “Er, nothing.” [Pines]

Back at the DOLLHOUSE, we are introduced to other ACTIVES alongside ECHO. SIERRA is getting sexually harassed by a colleague, which is VERY DISTURBING, while VICTOR is being sent out to feed information to BALLARD. ECHO, meanwhile, has LOTS OF ADVENTURES, not all of them NICE.

ECHO [blankly]: “Did I fall asleep?”
TOPHER: “For a little while. You also got hunted and attacked by one of our customers and may possibly be having problems being mind-wiped, but whatever.”
ECHO [blankly]: “Oh. I’m going to have a massage now.”
TOPHER: “I’ll say one thing for this place – it may be morally dubious but you can always get a good back-rub.”

ACT THREE

ECHO has lots of personalities downloaded into her BRAIN, from a BACK-UP SINGER in a band to a BLIND WOMAN, but seems oddly the same whoever she is. She has MANY MORE ADVENTURES using her SKILLS. She also has A LOT OF SEX.

LANGTON: “I’m really not sure about all this sex stuff. Aren’t we just running a very expensive brothel here? This is icky.”
ADELLE: “Shh. Have some tea.”
LANGTON: “Don’t mind if I do!”

Meanwhile, the AUDIENCE is experiencing a PROBLEM.

THE AUDIENCE: “Look, this show is slick, and funny, and exciting, and full of great Whedon dialogue and twists, but It’s very difficult to empathise or identify with Echo when she’s a different person every week. In fact, it’s hard to empathise or identify with anybody on this show because they’re all kind of evil.”
TOPHER: “But I quip a lot!”
ADELLE: “And I have a softer side, even though you haven’t seen it yet!”
LANGTON: “I care about Echo! For now, anyway!”
BALLARD: “I’m a good guy, honest!”
ECHO [blankly]: “I’m… er… I forget. Did I fall asleep?”
THE AUDIENCE: “Hmm. We’re not convinced.”
ADELLE: “Remember, we’re a Joss Whedon show on Fox, so we’ll be gone before you know it. Don’t waste time worrying!”

ACT FOUR

Despite the fact they’ve been MIND-WIPED and are empty shells, VICTOR and SIERRA have fallen in love.

VICTOR [blankly]: “I don’t understand these feelings.”
SIERRA [blankly]: “Nor do I. Fancy a massage?”
VICTOR [blankly]: “Don’t mind if I do!”
TOPHER: “That’s not right! I’ve got to fix them! There’s no place for love in the Dollhouse!”
ADELLE: “Yes! Destroy their innocent love! Plus I’m sleeping with Victor on the side, so I’m jealous.”
THE AUDIENCE: “What? Ewww! But he’s a helpless, mind-wiped shell and you’re his boss! This show is really gross!”
ADELLE: “Our love is pure and true. Anyway, a woman can only drink so much tea. I have needs. You’d totally do it too if you were me and could mind-wipe a hot guy or girl to shag you whenever you felt like it.”
THE AUDIENCE: “No way! Never! Um…. Maybe…” [Guilt]

Back at BALLARD’s apartment, MELLIE is nervously flirting.

MELLIE: “I love you very much!”
BALLARD: “Pardon? Sorry, I was watching this recording Caroline sent me.”
MELLIE [sadly]: “Nothing. Here, I baked you a pie!”
THE AUDIENCE: “Mellie’s really sweet. Let’s identify with her!”

MELLIE gets a PHONE CALL from ADELLE which makes her kill a man. She’s a SLEEPER-AGENT ACTIVE who is really called NOVEMBER!

THE AUDIENCE: “Curses! Foiled again!”

ACT FIVE

BALLARD finally meets CAROLINE, aka ECHO. It turns out she was an ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST who signed her body over to the DOLLHOUSE for a set period of years.

THE AUDIENCE: “An animal rights activist? Really? She couldn’t have been something a bit more exciting?”
ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS: “Have you ever been an animal rights activist? It can be massively exciting! Wiping lipstick off beagles’ lips is also very fulfilling, we’ll have you know!”
ECHO/CAROLINE: “I know who I am! And I don’t want to be here! I want to rescue bunnies. I am a bunnie girl!”
BALLARD: “Erm, not quite. That’s what I’m saving you from!”

He doesn’t.  He also realises he kind of LOVES MELLIE, but she is now NOVEMBER and leaves him. Distraught and resolute (and square-jawed and hunky), BALLARD seeks out ALAN TUDYK, the guy who built the DOLLHOUSE, to help him break into it.

ALAN TUDYK: “I’m a helpless, harmless geek!”
THE AUDIENCE: “You’re Wash from Firefly and so we instinctively like you and your character! At last, someone we can identify with!”
ALAN TUDYK: “Bwah ha ha ha! Surprise – I’m actually an Active named Alpha who went bugshit crazy and killed a ton of people! And now I’m going to do it again!”
THE AUDIENCE [stunned]: …
JOSS WHEDON: Didn’t see that coming, did ya? I win!

ACT SIX

FELICIA DAY is allowed time off the internet, and gets a special episode all to herself set in the future. It’s very TERMINATOR and SUPER-COOL and kind of SCARY.

THE AUDIENCE: “This is great! Why couldn’t all of Dollhouse have been like this?”
JOSS WHEDON: “Meh, I was just messing about because I knew the show would be cancelled anyway. You think we could afford this every week on Fox? Whatever.”
FOX NETWORK: “Actually, even though your series is morally dubious and we don’t like any of the characters or even like the concept, we’re going to give you a second season after all!”
JOSS WHEDON [blankly]: “Did I fall asleep?”
TOPHER: “For a little while.”

ENDS

Script by Jayne Nelson