Sunday, May 18, 2008


io9 has had some excellent coverage of Joss Whedon's upcoming show Dollhouse this past week, including the first upfront trailer. It might be too soon to say, but so far this looks to be the only new show I will be watching in the coming season. And I may not keep up with some current shows that are continuing next season, for instance Smallville, especially if that show will no longer feature Laura Vandervoort as Supergirl, who gave me a reason to keep watching among all the threats of kryptonite gum and Bizarro-loving Lana.

But I don't consider Dollhouse to be a replacement for Smallville, even if Eliza Dushku is just as beautiful as Vandervoort. a second...

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Well, it's close enough for government work. These two do not look all that much alike, but makeup, lighting and the possibility of some digital manipulation (maybe, who's to say?) tend to obfuscate the differences between them. Still, there are definitely similarities as well, my favorite being both Dushku's and Vandervoort's arching of the left eyebrow. Neither actress uses that left eyebrow to the degree that, say, Vanessa Williams in Eraser does (I would suggest creating a drinking game out of William's left-eyebrow-arching, but I don't think that eyebrow ever came down, so where would you take a shot?), but there are times when both use it on-screen.

But I don't want to give the impression that just women are acting with their left eyebrows. Over the last three seasons, Jason Lee's left-eyebrow-arching in My Name is Earl has been downright notorious, to the point where the writers finally brought it up in the show itself:

I have a pet theory that this was something that the writers wanted to address in season one, but no one had the heart to criticize Lee's acting, in jest or not, because it likely would have psyched him out and led to some blatant inconsistencies in his performance, which would have hurt the then-nascent narrative. With a couple of years under the show's belt, now is a more comfortable time for such meta-commentary.

On the other hand, no matter when the joke was used, its use does draw attention to the left-eyebrow-arching, and once you start to notice it, there really is no going back. You are going to notice it until the day you die. Unless, of course, you have the good fortune to be an "Active," in which case, upon the completion of the mission to read this post, you will have your mind wiped and never consider the merits of left-eyebrow-arching again.

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