dollface

Stars: 4/5

The surreal millennial pink show navigates the difficulties of friendships, especially among women.

Jules (Kat Dennings) gets dumped by her boyfriend of five years, Jeremy (Connor Hines).

Realizing her life revolved around Jeremy while they were dating, Jules decides to rekindle her friendships with PR executive Madison Maxwell (Brenda Song) and party girl Stella Cole (Shay Mitchell).

In rekindling these relationships, the clueless Jules must navigate the intricate female friendships with the help of her overactive imagination while rediscovering their importance. Jules must also balance her work as web designer for wellness company Woom and her coworkers Izzy “Alison” Levine (Esther Povitsky), Alison B. (Brianne Howey), Alison S. (Vella Lovell) and Woom CEO Celeste (Malin Akerman).

I didn’t know what kind of show this was going to be. I was confused when Jules got on the imaginary cat bus full of heartbroken women driven by an imaginary cat lady (Beth Grant), who offers Jules guidance every time she’s confronted with a situation she doesn’t know how to handle, like attending Madison’s PR event even though she’s an introverted, sweatshirt-wearing homebody. The solution is usually the opposite of what Jules wants to do.

While I love an ensemble cast of powerful women, the show does classify each into a stereotypical sub-category. Jules is the mom friend, Madison is the boss lady, Stella is the party animal and Izzy is the stray weirdo adopted into the group. While this is potentially problematic from a feminist aspect, it makes it easier to add different perspectives to the conundrum that is friendship.

Despite that Jules ditched both Madison and Stella for Jeremy when they began dating, they welcome her back into the fold after she shows she genuinely wants to renew the friendships. Madison defends Jules when Jeremy steps in, prompting Jules to finally stand up for herself and tell Jeremy she hates it when he calls her “dollface.”

The show does a great job of putting the characters in peculiar situations such as Joey Lawrence’s “death” party and on a boat to Alaska, forcing the women to deal with secrets between friends, social anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, work issues, asking for a raise, friend type casting, changing one’s image and other problems in sometimes realistic, sometimes ridiculous ways.

Woom is a running gag. The company parodies wellness company “Goop,” which offers quasi-holistic, allegedly natural, preposterously overpriced and absurd health products, recipes, lifestyle advice and a query of other products and services. The company is widely considered a scam and is headed by actress Gwyneth Paltrow, whom the out-of-touch-with-reality Celeste seems modeled after.

The moral of the show – and what makes it so great – is that it emphasizes the importance of women maintaining their friendships with other women and standing up for each other. Even Jeremy’s sister, Ramona (Shelley Hennig), maintains her friendship with Jules and insists she still wants her to be her bridesmaid despite the breakup.

It’s a difficult world we live in, and it’s even more complicated if you’re a woman. Despite the stereotypical characters, women in the show generally support, help and uplift each other, which is significant because women are usually portrayed as unkind or indifferent towards each other. It’s friends who are there when one needs help, advice and support no matter what.

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