Doll & Em TV Poster Image

Doll & Em



Real-life besties poke dry fun at fame and friendship.
  • Network: HBO
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2014

What parents need to know

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

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.

Not applicable

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


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

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking, recreational drug use (smoking pot).

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Premiere date:February 18, 2014
Cast:Emily Mortimer, Dolly Wells
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of Doll & Em was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • 2 Broke Girls Poster Image
    Odd-couple restaurant comedy serves up witty, risqué humor.
  • Broad City Poster Image
    Absurdist buddy comedy is female-friendly, edgy.
  • 30 Rock Poster Image
    SNL alums craft clever media satire.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.