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September 4, 2015

It's The Middleman vs. Echo on Dollhouse

by Mike Moody, posted Feb 16th 2009 3:08PM
dollhouse the target
I first noticed actor Matt Keeslar in Whit Stillman's 1998 comedy The Last Days of Disco. In that film, Keelsar played a squeaky-clean FBI agent who stood out like a sore thumb among all the coked-up club owners and yuppie partygoers on the screen. His straight man-routine -- and his hilarious dissection of Lady and the Tramp -- is unforgettable, and it's one of the best things about the film. I'm sure that performance helped him land the title role in The Middleman.

Keeslar played the milk drinking, law quoting, straighter-than-straight Middleman to perfection for one season before ABC Family apparently pulled the plug on the show. He's returning to TV this week, but it looks like he's trading the milk for something a little harder. Keesler will guest star on this Friday's episode of Dollhouse as an extreme hunter who likes to hear his targets scream. His latest target, of course, is Echo, played by Eliza Dushku. The first line of Fox's episode description makes this one sound like a Jean-Claude Van Damme flick:

"In "The Target", Echo is imprinted to be the female counterpart to an avid outdoorsman and quickly learns how the hunter becomes the hunted during her wilderness adventure. Agent Ballard receives a clue to Echo's real identity, encouraging him to continue his investigation, while flashbacks reveal the tragic events at the Dollhouse that led to Boyd's arrival and Dr. Saunders' scars."

I don't think I'd bee too excited about this episode If Keeslar wasn't guest starring. Like a lot of folks, I was pretty underwhelmed by the Dollhouse premiere, and watching a TV retread of Human Target doesn't sound all that appealing. I was hoping Keeslar would be playing the "Rogue Active," mentioned in the latest promo, but no such luck. Still, I'm trying to keep an open mind about this show. I have faith that Fox will let it find its groove, and I'm sure Joss Whedon and crew will deliver the goods soon, right? Right?

As for Keeslar, here's hoping his Dollhouse baddie has some of the Middleman's delightful squareness in him, even if it's just a screen to hide his inner killer. Check out some stills from the episode.

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The Middleman was fabulous, corny brilliance. I haven't seen that level of creative goofy fun and linguistic wit for a very long time. Who loves ya, Middleman? I do.

February 17 2009 at 9:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Genius Jones

Amy Acker is yet another one of the many reasons I am never going to have an objective opinion of Dollhouse. I'm a huge fan of her, Joss Whedon, Eliza Dushku, and Tamoh Pinkett.

February 17 2009 at 11:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm glad he's getting work, but I want my Middleman! It was goofy and awesome and had a lead female nerd!

February 16 2009 at 9:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

wait? The middleman has been canceled?!!

February 16 2009 at 6:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to PabloShong's comment

Don't be a tv show snob. I LOVED Middleman. I'd take that show over 80 percent of whats on TV now. I'd take it over everything on Fox's schedule, except maybe Fringe. Nah, I'd take it over Fringe too!!!

February 16 2009 at 7:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would have thought that the origin of Dr. Saunders scars would have remained a mystery a little longer, and not reveal it on the second episode. Oh well. At least it won't remain a mystery, you know, just in case...., and to see more Amy Acker is always a pleasure. On one hand I think Whedon is great at doing episodes that spotlight the supporting characters of a series, and gives them oppurtunites for them to shine. On another we don't want to learn everything too early on.

February 16 2009 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Middleman was the brightest spot in summer programming last summer. It was a corny All-American golly gee whiz cartoon come to life with some black and white insights into good vs evil. Not loving it is like saying waking up on Saturday morning and watching cartoons was somehow bad for your psyche.

February 16 2009 at 4:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Mary's comment
Joey Geraci

Mary, Middleman is just dreck. You want a fun show that you don't have to think much while watching, that still has a core of quality, watch Eureka. Numbers. The Mentalist. CSI. Etc. You can still get quality without getting deep, thought-provoking shows. You don't need to get shows that don't even try. That have budgets in the range of a couple hundred dollars an episode. That have scripts that are mind numbingly stupid in their lack of anything surpassing a sixth graders vocabulary.

As far as Saturday morning cartoons, at least in the 80's, many were far more thought provoking and intelligent than the Middleman.

February 16 2009 at 5:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've noticed lately that whenever The Middleman is mentioned, there's this guy ranting about how awful it was, even though the show's been dead for a while. I imagine he'll still be doing it years from now when MM is referred to AD- or Tick-style. Just one of the peccadillos to get used to on this site.

February 16 2009 at 9:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think middleman was awesome. it was campy and corny and utterly ridiculous but that was the entire point. It was never meant to be serious, thought-provoking TV. I was excited to see him in the preview. it will certainly be a more disturbing character.

I have compete and total faith in Joss Whedon to bring us some awesome Dollhouse.

February 16 2009 at 4:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

Uhm, the Dollhouse premiere was alright. It was Schindler's List compared to the dreck that is the Middleman. Really and truly Mike, you are embarrassing yourself when you trumpet this show.

The Middleman absolutely deserved to be cancelled. If you lament the death of shows like the Middleman, you water down protests for shows like Jericho and Firefly.

February 16 2009 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Joey Geraci's comment

"clean living was his creedo, and justice was his pride"

February 16 2009 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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