Dolly and Emily compete professionally and sexually, but of course there's no competition, really. That tragic undercurrent gives the series its slightly sorrowful air. Emily may have a lot to lose, but that already means that she has a lot. She never has to give money a second thought, while in the fourth episode Dolly has to ask her friend for enough cash to buy the coffee it's her job to fetch. "I keep forgetting to pay you," Em confesses. She gives the classic Mortimer sad eyes -- her sincerity is never in doubt -- but it's hard not to be enraged by her apology when it's the kind of declaration only a person truly unaware of her privilege is in the position to make.


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Doll & Em is an oblique take on that old truism that every successful star pays their friends to hang out with them. But it's also an incisive look at how differences in money and power will inevitably poison the closest of relationships, especially in a pyramidal society like Hollywood's, where a servant class carries top talent on an organic cotton pillow. Hollywood isn't the real world, but the distance between the two gets smaller every day.

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