Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Secretary, or an Active, Is Not A Toy

I'm still thinking about last Friday's Dollhouse episode, "A Spy In The House of Love." While the big news is that Laurence Dominic is now a discarded non-Active in the Attic, the other big surprise is who is this Miss Lonelyhearts that Victor keeps visiting...and it's Adelle DeWitt! She programs Victor as "Roger", her romantic ideal, with whom she can bare her soul and inner conflicts about life, love and anything else.
Does anyone see how wrong this is? She does, eventually, but only because it hurts her focus on her job.
It's more than that, though. It's the second time an Active is exploited for fulfill a superior's needs. The other example is Hearn raping Sierra in her neutral state. This, along with concerns about Victor's man-reactions whenever he's close to her, led Adelle to make this statement at the end of "True Believer"

A place of safety, of untroubled certainty, of purity. This is the world we must maintain. It is imperative that nothing disturb the innocence of life here. Once any temptation is introduced, it will spread like a cancer, and all will be infected. Victor must be scrubbed and monitored closely.

At face value, Adelle makes sense. Inside the Dollhouse, the Actives should be at peace at all times, with no worries about being hurt or threatened. Having sexual urges would make life too complicated, which is why Actives don't have sexual feelings in their neutral state. However, as we heard from Claire in the last episode, they are programmed for clients who want to experience same-sex engagements. It's part of what the Dollhouse does. If an Active is always sexually neutral, or at peace, it makes it easier for them to do the engagements they are programmed to do.

While Adelle demands the Dollhouse world to be filled with peace and harmony, and those who violate it must be punished, what are we to think when we find out Adelle has been having an "affair" with Victor/Roger because he was programmed for it. What happens when the supervisor becomes the client? Isn't that against company policy. Is there a policy?

We should remember Hearn did to Sierra was cruel. It was a clear abuse of his duties, and his death should have been a message to any Handler or supervisor who even thinks of exploiting an Active.
Adelle's decision to use Victor as her romantic idea doesn't look cruel, but it is curel...maybe slightly more to herself than to Victor. She's given up on the idea that a man would love her, maybe because of the business she is in. Therefore, she decides using an Active as lover and confidant is her only way to survive her stressful job. Also, there's no chance of being accused of sexual harassment because she can just wipe away those romantic memories until the next time, and no one would know. No matter how you look at it, it is still very bad. You also have to wonder if this is happening in the other 19 Dollhouses around the world.

The title of this post is a variation to the classic song "A Secretary Is Not A Toy", from How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. I think the Dollhouse Network ought to add "Actives" to that title, too. Otherwise, people may think the company is more evil than it should be.

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