TV review: 'Doll & Em' on HBO

Wednesday, 19 March 2014 01:11 PM Written by 

emily mortimerHBO's "Doll & Em" (10 and 10:30 tonight) seems like one of the network's slighter efforts. 

HBO didn't preview it at press tour, the show isn't airing in the prestige HBO Sunday night line-up and promotion for it has been scant.

It's almost like they picked it up to stay in business with actress Emily Mortimer, who co-created and writes the series. She's also a series regular on HBO's "The Newsroom."

A six-episode comedy that will see episodes air back-to-back from 10-11 on Wednesdays for three weeks, "Doll & Em" stars real-life best friends Mortimer and Dolly Wells ("Bridget Jones' Diary").

Read more after the jump. ...

Mortimer plays an actress named Emily -- possibly a version of herself? the show doesn't make that clear in its premiere episode -- whose best friend, Dolly (Wells), gets dumped by her boyfriend and visits Em in L.A. where Em hires Dolly to be her personal assistant. Dolly previously worked in a London restaurant.

Dolly knows nothing about being a personal assistant, which is where hilarity is supposed to ensue. I think.

Most of the comedy seems to come from Emily's Hollywood blinders. Emily returns from a dinner after Dolly has been locked out of the house -- in a bikini -- complaining about what a terrible experience she had at a posh Hollywood shindig, oblivious to shivering Dolly, who had wrapped herself in an outdoor lounger cushion for warmth.

"The insensitivity of these [expletives]," Emily rages.

In another scene, the girls discuss the desire to have ice cream but no one makes a move: Dolly waits for Emily, as her host, to get it; Emily waits for Dolly, as her assistant, to get it. That gag was kind of a nice, funny moment but the humor is very much of the low-simmer variety.

Much of the comedy comes out of that type of awkwardness but "Doll & Em" is less a comedy-of-the-uncomfortable series (a la a female  "Curb Your Enthusiasm") and more just kind of slow and boring.

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