22 October 2015 | The_late_Buddy_Ryan
Don't miss the brilliant second season of this HBO comedy
The 10-ep second season just ended, so it's a good time to be catching up; both seasons are still available on demand. S1 is quite entertaining: Em (a successful actress not unlike Emily Mortimer herself) invites her best friend, Doll, to come and work for her in LA after a devastating breakup, then finds herself being upstaged by Doll, who people (including Susan Sarandon and John Cusack, playing themselves) really seem to take to and who can cry on cue (a job skill Em's never mastered). Friendship gradually gives way to frenmity
S2 is truly brilliant: Doll and Em, reconciled after a falling out, collaborate on a play, which, from what little we get to see, seems heavily influenced by Pinter and Ionesco. Mortimer and Dolly Wells, who really have been friends since childhood, have an amazing rapport; the best scenes involve their wary relationship with the two actresses they've engaged to play themselves, Olivia Wilde and Evan Rachel Wood.
Scatty Doll and conflicted Em are wonderful, complex characters, and the series reaches a level of subtlety and spontaneity that's rarely encountered in cable comedy; at its best, "Doll & Em" has the feel of really good live theater. Standout scenes, IMHO: a brief glimpse of what seems like an amazing production of "The Tempest" aboard a barge on a London canal (Doll plays Ariel), Em totally fails to have it all as she tries to carry on a bubbly phone interview while her young son's standing a few inches away yelling, "I want pizza!"