Joss Whedon Versus the Corporation

Big Business Critiqued in the Films and Television Programs


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About the Book

Screenwriter, director, producer and comic book author Joss Whedon is best known for his television series and films featuring villainous vampires, angry gods and even bloggers who wish to rule the world. Within these works is a prevalent yet commonly overlooked theme—the corporate antagonist.
This book examines the effects of this corporate culture on the protagonists of Whedon’s most famous works (including Buffy, Roseanne, the Avengers, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Dollhouse) to reveal explicit sociopolitical commentaries on corporate control in the real world.

About the Author(s)

Erin Giannini is an independent scholar whose research has focused on new technology and product placement and their effect on narratives. Currently the TV editor for PopMatters, she has written on religion, socioeconomics and corporate culture in works such as Supernatural, Dollhouse, Heroes, The Cabin in the Woods, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Sherry Ginn teaches psychology at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in North Carolina. She is author or editor of books on women, on sex and on time travel in science fiction television, and the award-winning series Farscape and Fringe.

Bibliographic Details

Erin Giannini. Series Editor Sherry Ginn
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 223
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, filmography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6776-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3109-7
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Worlds of Whedon

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Introduction. The Scariest Monsters of All: Corporate Culture in the Works of Joss Whedon 5

Part I. Antagonists, Complicity and Insidious Movements: An Overview of Corporate Culture in the Works of Joss Whedon

One. “Evil white folks really do have a mecca”: The Corporate Antagonist in Angel and Firefly 22

Two. A Stranger Comes to a (Small) Town: Buffy, Roseanne and the Long Reach of Corporate Culture 45

Three. Who Owns the Show? The Avengers, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Marvel vs. Mutant Enemy 61

Four. In the Belly of the Beast: Dollhouse, The Cabin in the Woods and Dr. Horrible’s ­Sing-Along Blog 80

Part II. Subverting Tropes, Corporations and Media: A Dollhouse Case Study

Five. “That is their business, but that is not their purpose”: Dollhouse as a Subversive Text 96

Six. Curiosity or Arrogance? Dollhouse and the Troubled Relationship with ­Corporate-Sponsored Technology 110

Seven. “We’re pimps and killers, but in a philanthropic way”: Interrogating Corporate and Governmental Politics 127

Eight. “Call us what you want, just not family”: Undermining Whedon Tropes in the Dollhouse 157

Conclusion. Whedon as Corporate Critique, or Can TV Change the World? 176

Chapter Notes 183

Bibliography 187

Television and Filmography 200

Index 209