Tech, TV

The Dollhouse Exists (In Japan, of Course)

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If you’ve watched Dollhouse — or heard any of my identical rants about the Joss Whedon show — you know that it’s a secret company that plants memories and personalities into people’s minds, so that people people can order whoever they want — a lover, a confidante, a whore, a bodyguard, a prostitute, a back-up singer, a companion, and yes, sometimes even a sex partner. Granted, these “Dolls” don’t really have a say in the matter, and their personalities are effectively erased until their tenure is over, but Japan has found a workaround — Japanese people. From Sci-Fi Wire:

A growing sector of business in Japan rents out fake spouses, best
men, relatives, friends, colleagues, boyfriends and girlfriends so that
clients can avoid embarrassment at social functions, the British Guardian newspaper reports.

The agency is called Hagemashi Tai (I Want to Cheer You Up) … sound like “Happiness Consultants” from HBO’s Hung? …

One agency now employs about 30 people of various ages and both
sexes across Japan with the skills and personality to temporarily adopt
a new identity: as the father of a boy who is in trouble at school, for
instance, or the parents of a woman attending a formal match-making
party. And there are 10 across the country, the newspaper reports.


For more — and the story of one of these non-Dolls in action, check out the story in The Guardian (which also happened to note the WHOSE RESPONSIBLE THIS phenomenon and called me a bully, but whatever). Much thanks to Katie Doyle for the tip.

About Author

Robert Bricken is one of the original co-founders of the site formerly known as Topless Robot, and its first editor-in-chief, serving from 2008-12. He brought the site to prominence with “nerd news, humor and self-loathing” as its motto, raising it from total internet obscurity to a readership in the millions, with help from his savage “FAQ” movie reviews and Fan Fiction Fridays. Under his tenure Topless Robot was covered by Gawker, Wired, Defamer, New York magazine, ABC News, and others, and his articles have been praised by Roger Ebert, Avengers actor Clark Gregg, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax, and others. He is currently the managing editor of io9.com. Despite decades as both an amateur and professional nerd, he continues to be completely unprepared for either the zombie apocalypse or the robot uprising.