Hey TV.com, Should I Watch HBO's BFF Comedy Doll & Em?

By Tim Surette

Mar 18, 2014

We're all busy these days! Between spring cleaning, spring training, spring dirtying, spring springing, who has time to watch every show on television? Me, that's who! And since you don't, please allow me to be your guide with regard to which new shows you need to keep up with. Today we're looking at another quiet HBO comedy entry, the British import Doll & Em, in this latest edition of Tell Me Whether This Show Is Good Or Not!

Doll & Em, so this is a show about Doll and Em?

It sure is. Em is a Hollywood actress from England who looks a lot like Emily Mortimer from The Newsroom. Doll is Em's old friend who calls Em for support after a bad break-up, and Em tries to help by offering Doll a fresh start as Em's new assistant. Can their friendship survive the relationship between a big-time actress and her lowly assistant, or will Doll lose it once she starts spending her days getting Em coffee? 

Who created the show and who stars in it?

Both those questions can be answered at the same time because Emily Mortimer (The Newsroom) and Dolly Wells (Free Agents) created it and star in it. Yes, Mortimer plays Em and Wells plays Doll, so there's no way to get them confused. The pair wrote the series with Azazel Jacobs, who directed each episode; it was originally made for the U.K.'s Sky Living channel and has already aired over there.

When does Doll & Em start?

Doll & Em premieres Wednesday, March 19 at 10pm on HBO with a pair back-to-back episodes. Because there are only six episodes in the first season, it'll be over in three weeks, finishing on Wednesday, April 2.

Who might enjoy Doll & Em?

If you're into female-skewing indie movies and satirical looks at Hollywood life from the inside, then you might enjoy this! It's kind of like a less silly Episodes, I guess?

What's to like about Doll & Em?

It is physically impossible to not like Emily Mortimer, and we see a more realistic version of the actress here than we do on The Newsroom, even though she's still playing a heightened (read: celebrity) version of herself. And it's plainly obvious that she and Wells are great friends in real life because of their easygoing chemistry. There are also cameos by some big names in the first few episodes, including Susan Sarandon and Chloe Sevigny. 

What isn't so great about Doll & Em?

The chemistry between Wells and Mortimer is good because they're friends in real life, and the project is based on their lives as friends, so it feels like you're just watching two friends. Just two regular friends. Unfortunately, that's not super exciting, especially compared to HBO's more heady stuff. It's also shot cineme verite style, which feels unnecessary and doesn't match the show's tone. Or maybe I just didn't really get it, and it IS actually funny when Doll doesn't know how to pull over the car over to pick Em up? 

So, should I watch it?

Doll & Em has its charms and can be mildly amusing, but there's better television out there. Maybe save up all six eps to binge on a rainy day afternoon, but there's no need to go out of your way to check it out. 

Let's take a look at a trailer!


Doll & Em premieres Wednesday, March 19 at 10pm on HBO.

  • Comments (17)
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  • HelloStuart Mar 20, 2014

    Dolly Wells looks like an Anglo Rashida Jones.

  • averysays Mar 24, 2014

    ...if Rashida Jones had been born male.

  • averysays Mar 24, 2014

    This comment has been removed.

  • MarlboroMagpi Mar 19, 2014

    Episodes is one of the best comedy on TV ! The third season which just ended was not as good as the first two but still way funnier than most sitcoms on TV. I will give this show a shot only six episodes after all.

  • quentingrosjean7 Mar 19, 2014

    "It is physically impossible to not like Emily Mortimer"
    I really cant stand her and she s the reason, amongst others, i quit the newsroom !!

  • Muderboy Mar 19, 2014

    Watched the first two and it's exactly as Tim says. Didn't hate it, and will probably watch the rest...

  • Carla-Wexler Mar 19, 2014

    I have a feeling it will join Family Tree and Hi Ladies...

  • DavidJackson8 Mar 18, 2014


  • Mate Mar 18, 2014

    As much as I like Emily Mortimer, I think I am going to pass. Or at least wait to see if HBO cans it or keeps it.

  • fweak Mar 18, 2014

    Thanks for the information about this HBO series, I hadn't found much yet. I'm very hopeful the show will be more about crazy gal adventures (like Broad City) more than another faux-Hollywood series (like Episodes).
    I'll give the show a try and hope for the best!

  • ben45tpy Mar 18, 2014