After speaking with several creative, well-read individuals about the show “Dollhouse” (produced and directed by Eliza Dushku and Joss Whedon) I decided to watch and see what could be gleaned. I expected to find science fiction fun, but not the deep and probing emotional connections made with most of the episodes. I wanted to write about it, starting last weekend. To brief you, Dollhouse follows an evil corporation that implants people called Dolls (or Actives) with new personalities and emotions. This is done so that wealthy, self-obsessed and emotionally wrecked people can use, show off, or make a little love with whatever kind of person they want. People who have had incredibly traumatic memories that they don’t want to face, or a life they want desperately to escape, sign a contract for five years to become one of these poor creatures called Dolls in exchange for forgetting that part of themselves. As expected in any great narrative, we have heroes and dark heroes. There are decisions that seem easy to a morally self-righteous audience, yet may yield different results had we been offered someone to replace our dead husband or child.
The characters have a touch of classic Whedon spunk, but A) Who doesn’t like Topher or Xander? and B) What kind of representation of humanity would it be, if it didn’t include the snarky underdog faced with a major philosophical dilemma? The beautiful but wrecked girl who turns out to be the answer to many questions and the cause of many problems? Your goofy Uncle Ted? A very studly and untouchable soldier fighting by the pretty girl’s side? I cheered for these people, because I knew them. Leaving the elements of plot momentarily, I’ll turn now to an experience of theophany. Thanks to my literature professor, I now know that this means “a visible manifestation of a deity” or in more personal terms “seeing God.” In the show’s typical “Attic” fashion (the Attic was a place of eternal dreaming), I had a disturbing albeit framework dream to push tonight’s post about this t.v. show in a new direction:
One of my best friends, a random guy, and myself were the last three people left on this earth. For the first part of the dream we sat calmly around a gorgeous, light-filled loft with three bedrooms and waited for the evil to come to us. This loft had a soft white and classic black theme. Think white linen couches with black fur throws, black rugs, an enormous bay window that looked out over an ocean, and silver touches everywhere: eating utensils, pillows, frames for the windows. It was insane how immaculate and peaceful this light was. Also interesting that the decor was sparse black and white, not the pangs of color my friend and I both love and feel most comfortable in. Sarah (the bestie)left for something, and I barely noticed. Random guy and I were sitting down playing some kind of game…cards, chess, it really didn’t seem that important. I asked him where Sarah went, and he said, “To fight them with our weapon.” All of a sudden, a heaviness pounded completely over me. We’re talking my body in real life compressing in on itself, and causing me to sweat. In the dream I then knew that Sarah wasn’t coming back, and Random Guy and I were going to die a terrible, tortured death from the enemy. So I asked him to sleep with me, not sexually, but as if he were my little brother and we were hiding from the monster.
Then, I turned to him (who turned into a her, reminiscent of Eliza Dushku in soldier’s garb) and we were now sitting on the floor playing games again. The dreadful heaviness continued, and then exploded into my tears. “Do you believe in God?” I asked her. She didn’t respond.
“People ask why God lets us suffer…” I never finished. I then entered some bizarre dream-like state where nothing was happening, but in my brain I was crying out: “He doesn’t want us to suffer! He spend so much hoping we wouldn’t suffer! He hurts just as much as we do when we suffer, and what keeps Him going is that we’ll be soon enjoying lives without any form of suffering if we just believe him!”
I then woke up with a sharp headache on my left temple, and had an overwhelming urge to yell to people who didn’t understand this love. “He love you. He loves you. He loves you! Please don’t leave him. You won’t get to see the other side of suffering.”
Please understand, books like Left Behind don’t appeal to me and I don’t like to spend time worried about the near-distant future. Mostly, I don’t worry because my hope as a Christian believer established what will happen for me when I’m dead. But after experiencing the awful, physical pain of spending final moments with someone who feels they may die pointlessly…well, that kind of theophany changes a person a little. I’m thankful that Dollhouse gave me some inspiration to re-visit some of what really matters in life and afterwards.
“Just as you do not know how the breath comes to the bones in the mother’s womb, so you do not know the work of God, who makes everything.”- Ecclesiastes 11:5