Female Friendship Dissected in Doll & Em

Doll and Em

We haven’t had a shortage of female bonding orientated programming as of late. There’s Girls on HBO and Broad City on Comedy Central, two very gritty, realistic shows about 20-somethings. Both are very telling about the real life jealousies and issues that develop between friends as they navigate the waters of young adulthood.

But like I said, they’re about very young girls, and as much as I try to relate to them, I realize that I’m a good 20 years older than their characters and that the similarity factor can only go so far.

Real Life Best Friends

That’s why I’m kind of in love with the new HBO show Doll & Em. Real life best friends Emily Mortimer and Dolly Wells, two brilliant actresses who hail originally from the UK, star. Mortimer is a film star in L.A. whose career is taking off after the demise of her TV show (Newsroom, which in real life is going off the air after this upcoming season) who hires Wells as her assistant after a bad break up. Their relationship takes a bit of a turn when the roles change, and it’s really interesting to watch them deal with it. They are two women who have always turned to each other to cry, celebrate, get advice.

But when Wells starts having to get Mortimer coffee and depends on her for her next pay check, feelings change. When Wells gets asked to audition for the same roles her friend is in consideration for, feelings change. When they are both interested in the same guy (the beautiful Jonathan Cake), feelings change.  When Wells gets friendly with the likes of Susan Sarandon, Chloe Sevigny and John Cusack whilst on various film sets where Mortimer is working hard to stay in character, feelings change. So far they are simmering, but it’s only a matter of time before they spill over in an upcoming episode.

Doll & Em is a very realistic portrayal of a friendship between two women who have known each other their whole lives. There was a period of separation in which Mortimer left England for Hollywood, leaving Wells behind. During this time, she absorbed the narcissistic culture of Hollywood and adopted some of its falseness, while Wells stayed the same. As a result, Wells brings her snarky, innocent, sweet nature to Hollywood which is a breath of fresh air to producers and casting agents, while Mortimer has an air of a celebrity that clashes with them.

I applaud HBO for airing such an honest show about female friendship. I’ll keep watching. Check it out on Wednesdays at 10pm EST.


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  1. I’ve been wondering about this one. Looks intriguing. Now I’ll for sure check it out on demand!

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