HBO News Blog

What We Know About…DOLL & EM

By Jef Dinsmore on Mar 5, 2014 to Doll and Em

DOLL & EM is fast approaching its debut, so HBOWatch thought it best to get you up to speed on the upcoming limited series premiering onDOLL&EM_logo

Production Company: King Bee Productions through Revolution Films has put together this six episode limited series in the UK in 2013 which was created by Azazel Jacobs, Emily Mortimer & Dotty Wells.   

Written By: Azazel Jacobs is credited with penning all six episodes. Emily Mortimer & Dolly Wells credited for writing on four of the scripts.

 People_AzazelJacobsDirected by: All six episodes were directed by Azazel Jacobs (pictured). He has written and directed a number of short films in the UK including Mama’s Man.  

Executive Producers: All the previously mentioned artists plus Alessandro Nivola. She
co-owns King Bee Productions with Miss Mortimer. 

 Cast:  Over twenty-five performers are credited to be in the series and most of them appear in only one episode each. For example both Susan Sarandon and Chloe Sivigny (BIG LOVE) each cameo. The only two actors appearing in all six episodes are the leads Emily Mortimer (ACN’s executive producer MacKenzie on THE NEWSROOM) and Dolly Wells (HBO Films: THE GATHERING STORM). Actor Kevin Hawley (JOHN FROM CINCINNATI) appears in five episodes. Respectively these three play Em, Doll and an on set electrical grip.  


 Details:  DOLL & EM is a semi-improvised comedy exploring what happens when a Hollywood actress hires her childhood friend as a personal assistant while making a film in Los Angeles. A bittersweet, intimate portrait of female friendship, the series follows their relationship through unexpected complications and surprising twists.

Ordered: One Season comprised of six half-hour episodes. The episodes are not titled but descriptions of each are available.  

 Episode #1 – After a nasty breakup with her boyfriend in London, Doll (Dolly Wells) joins her best friend, actress Em, in Los Angeles, agreeing to be her personal assistant during the production of a new film.

 Episode #2 – At a pre-production Hollywood Hills party for Em’s new movie, Doll gets stuck babysitting for Susan Sarandon’s son, and later faces a rival when Buddy (Jonathan Cake), a producer and the party’s host, invites her into his hot tub.

Episode #3 – Em is flummoxed by her inability to summon tears during an emotional funeral scene, while Doll, cast as an extra, makes grieving look easy. Between takes, Doll befriends John Cusack and twists her foot on a coffee run.

DollEm_01Episode #4 Em is forced, ironically, into role of personal assistant as a result of Dolly’s foot injury. She reaches the breaking point when Doll, already receiving an inordinate amount of attention from Buddy and the crew, interrupts a critical scene with Chloë Sevigny as Em is being critiqued yet again by Mike (Aaron Himelstein), the director.

 Episode #5 – As production winds down on her film, Em undergoes prosthetic makeup to make her look older, adding to her insecurities. Visiting the set to talk to Doll about becoming his new assistant, Andy Garcia is surprised when she tells him she’s leaving for London to do a screen test – for a role that Em failed to land. The revelation drives a stake between the two friends, who part ways after an emotional confrontation.

Episode #6 (season finale)  – Returning to London for the holidays with her husband and kids, Em has an unsettling encounter with Doll, who’s still working as a waitress after failing to win the role she coveted. Pained by their continued estrangement, Em learns that Doll is acting in a local performance of “The Tempest” and decides to attend, hoping to put the LA disaster behind them and reconcile.

Premiere Date: DOLL & EM premieres on Wednesday, March, 19, 2014 and debuts new episodes on 03.26 and 04.02. The episodes appear two at a time over those weeks with opportunity to re air across the HBO channel.

 Status: HBO continues to experiment with different comedies in its lineup and this work is the next to get a run. It is actually a 2013 production that aired for UK broadcaster BSkyB on its Sky Living channel. There it is one episode a week from 02.18.14 – 03.25.14. There is no word whether this series has a sophomore season ahead for either Britain or us, but since THE NEWSROOM is only offering one more season Emily Mortimer would have time to flesh this out as a bigger series in the future.DollandEm_02

HBOWatch Links: Since this was an existing international program not made for HBO we had very few posts about the show. We were not tracking its creation and development. It was not until we learned that HBO was importing this comedy from Britain did we follow it. That first post surfaced on 09.25.13 with the report that HBO snagged the show. It wasn’t until 01.10.14 that HBO’s official Press Release gave further details. Then on 02.16.14 we were able to give you a Tease followed by a Trailer on 02.27.14. Now we are about to approach the premiere date.  

In Conclusion:  All this raises one question for me. Why acquire the work only to have it burned off in three weeks on a night that we are not used to seeing a new series? It airs on Wednesdays which makes me wonder if HBO is slowly starting to experiment with a new night of first-run product. Regardless, I hope we enjoy the continued comedy experiment HBO is offering. For every comedy we lose they seem to throw another one out there even if it is not originally one of their own. DOLL & EM may not have been made in-house but we can still enjoy it – just remember when it airs.

  • Yardley

    I’m I guess different strokes for different folks-I love the show!!

  • John Sno

    This show is on air in the UK and…it’s awful. Like “terribad.”

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