Doll & Em

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Doll & Em TV Poster Image
Real-life besties poke dry fun at fame and friendship.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Female friendship -- and its potential complexities -- is the overarching theme, and it's explored in an absurdist but ultimately realistic way.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Doll and Em aren't perfect, and both make their share of bad choices. But there's an underlying truth to their friendship that's real and genuinely complex.


Some sexual situations (including kissing) but no nudity. Intercourse is implied but isn't shown on-screen.


"S--t" and "f--k" are audible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking, recreational drug use (smoking pot).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Doll & Em includes unbleeped swearing (often "f--k" but also "s--t" and other colorful descriptors) along with some social drinking and recreational drug use in the form of pot. Some scenes veer into sexually charged territory, but there's no nudity, only some light kissing and flirtation with implied intercourse.

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What's the story?

In the wake of a bad breakup, Doll (Dolly Wells) calls her best friend, Em (Emily Mortimer) -- a successful British actress living and working in Hollywood -- and ends up flying to the States to work as her personal assistant. But DOLL & EM's well-intentioned arrangement soon becomes a dysfunctional competition between lifelong mates who probably shouldn't be working together.

Is it any good?

With its bone-dry wit and quiet focus on a complex friendship between two grown women, Doll & Em isn't likely to appeal to young viewers -- and, to be fair, it probably wasn't meant to. But this ultimately watchable series created by real-life best friends Mortimer (a British actress recognizable for her roles in movies such as Hugo and TV shows such as The Newsroom) and Wells (a lesser-known British actress who's not actually Mortimer's assistant) may well ring true for adult moms and their friends.

One reason is the show's believability in spite of its occasional absurdity, which likely stems from the actresses' off-camera bond. True, they're playing exaggerated versions of themselves, but their thoughtful take on the complications of female friendship -- in which women can somehow compete with and complete one another -- feels very real indeed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Doll & Em's take on female friendship and how it compares to other shows about women and their BFFs. Does Doll & Em get it right or horribly wrong, or is it somewhere in-between?

  • How do Doll and Em measure up as role models? Is their friendship a positive example for teens, in spite of its flaws and complications?

  • How would you describe Doll & Em's comedic tone -- and does it work? How does the show compare to other comedies that take aim at Hollywood, including Entourage, Episodes, and Extras?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love female-friendly stories

Themes & Topics

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