Smart Pop Books — Dollhouse

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Dollhouse Gift Guide (and Giveaway!)

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Dollhouse: gone but (we hope!) not forgotten. And for those still mourning, we have a few gifts this holiday season to ease their suffering.

First up, a few catchphrase-inspired t-shirts.

The first–in standard and “girly” (pictured)–would pair particularly well with a pair of pajama pants. The Medicinal Carrot Enthusiast shirt just made me giggle. And Three Flowers in a Vase, well, there’s no better nod to your favorite Dollhouse fan’s unexpected capacity for deadliness.

Even dolls deserve a little flair: plus, these buttons will help even the least self-aware Doll remember his or her line. This journal could come in handy for recording flashes of one’s previous self.

And there’s always music from the Dollhouse theme song’s singer/songwriter, Jonatha Brooke. …

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The Dollhouse contest entries you can read now

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While you’re waiting for Inside Joss’ Dollhouse to read the 18 winning entries from our essay contest, check out some of the other great entries:

“A View From the Street”

The interviewees [in “Man on the Street”] fall into three distinct categories. There are those which see the dollhouse as a positive, wish granting entity. There are those which see the dollhouse as a negative, human trafficking agent. Finally there are those which are no so much concerned with what it is, but rather its greater implications for the world at large . . . The show doesn’t paint a picture of good and bad, instead Dollhouse challenges the viewer to analyze various viewpoints and come up with their own logical conclusion, as

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Dollhouse Essay Contest Winners

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First, let me say, thank you all for making this essay contest such a great experience. As I mentioned before, we received a ton of great entries, which made the choices hard in the very best way. I continue to be grateful I wasn’t the one to have to make them.

Or, in our judge Jane Espenson’s much more articulate words:

I just wanted to let you know that I found the entries in this contest to be extremely illuminating and heart-warming. I’m delighted that so many people were willing to devote so much time and effort to exploring the deeper aspects of the show. There were so many sharp insights that it was very hard picking out the best four. All of the

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Your Dollhouse Contest Entries: A totally unscientific breakdown

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I’ve spent a lot of time this week with your Dollhouse contest entries. And while we’re a ways off from announcing winners, there are a few things I can share now about the essays we’ve received.

(A caveat: The figures below are in no way scientific. They’re the result of my very fallible note-taking, and they should be used for entertainment purposes only!)

We received almost 100 essays, in total. Just about every entry received had something great going for it: an inspiring, creative idea or great writing. And we’re going to have a hard time narrowing them down. I don’t envy Ms. Espenson her work! 

A very shoddy gender breakdown, derived solely from name-based assumptions:

  • At least 54% of the entries

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Dollhouse Essay Contest Tip #3: Be Passionate

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This is your final Dollhouse essay contest tip, since essays are due February 15. If you’re already putting the finishing touches on your essay–or have already finished and sent yours in–great! We can’t wait to read it! But if you’re still working on finding just the right angle for all those thoughts you’ve put down on paper, or if you’ve finished your draft but feel like something’s still not quite right, maybe this last tip will help.

Maybe this goes without saying, but the place every great Smart Pop essay starts is with passion: passion not just for the show or book series, but for the idea that drives the essay.

You’re already passionate about Dollhouse, or you wouldn’t be writing an essay in …

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Dollhouse Essay Contest Q&A

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We’ve gotten a lot of great questions the last few weeks, and wanted to share a few that may have occurred to you, too.

Q. The rules say essays should be submitted as a text document. Does that mean a .txt file?

A. We’ll take .txt, .doc, .rtf . . . pretty much, if we can open it with Word, we’ll accept it.

Q. What do you mean when you say “alternate way to contact” me?

A. Phone number, mailing address, another email–basically, if we can’t get in touch with you using the email you sent your entry from, we don’t want to have to give up.

Q. Can I co-write an essay with someone else?

A. Absolutely! Just make sure you …

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Dollhouse Essay Contest Update: Deadline Extended!

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The original Dollhouse essay deadline was February 1. The final episode of Dollhouse airs January 22. Seemed like a shame, not giving essay writers enough time to really take that final episode into account.

So we’ve extended the deadline two weeks.

Dollhouse essays are now due on February 15.

Happy writing!…

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Dollhouse Essay Contest Tip #2: More Than Just Story

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It feels weird to be posting this right after the announcement of Dollhouse’s official cancellation. But we’re still planning on doing the book, and so we hope you’re still planning on writing an essay. (A book like this is as fitting a memorial as I can think of for such a weighty, complex show.)

Let me also take a second to remind you, or let you know for the first time, that we’ve added a place on the contest page where you can sign up for updates on the contest and book. We’ll also make sure to remind you when the deadline approaches . . . though if the last episode of Dollhouse airs as hypothesized on January 22, that’ll likely be reminder enough.

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Is neuroscience still the bad guy in Dollhouse? (Duh.)

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When we posted Ed Connor’s essay “Psychology Bad” (from The Psychology of Joss Whedon) last week, I couldn’t help being impressed how prescient Ed’s essay was. He labeled neuroscience as the bad guy in Firefly and Serenity, and identified it as a major theme in Joss Whedon’s work–before Dollhouse was even a glimmer in Joss’s or Eliza Duskhu’s eye.

Here’s Ed extending the ideas in his essay to Dollhouse:


My major thesis in this essay was that River dramatizes what it means for us to be simultaneously neural and human. Neural, in the sense that we are brains–unimaginably complex wetware computers with rich potential and tragic vulnerabilities. Human, in that we are capable of love, courage, sacrifice, and self-determination.

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Sign Up For Dollhouse Contest Updates and Reminder

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We’ve just done something we really should have thought of doing from the start: added a form on the Dollhouse Essay Contest page where you can put in your email to automatically receive

  • updates on the contest and book (including the first look at the cover)
  • notice that we’ve posted another essay tip on the blog
  • a reminder a couple of weeks before Feb 1 so you don’t miss the deadline

It’s right up at the top and hard to miss; just go to our contest page, enter your email, and hit submit!

Hope your essays are going well!…

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