We all have (at least) one show that we associate with lockdown because that’s when we binge-watched it. In my case, it’s “Dollface.” Short episodes, light vibes and all about celebrating women. Following its official debut on Hulu back in February, Disney+ blessed us with Jules’ new adventures in the ten-episode-long second season on April 27. With this being said, let us unpack the bubbly new installment.
Now, to get things clear, I was totally obsessed with the first season of “Dollface.” I remember craving another season as soon as I finished it. The plot follows Jules (Kat Dennings), a young woman who, after getting dumped by her longtime boyfriend, finds herself alone. She realizes she has lost her friends because she was too caught up in her comfort zone/dating life. The first season revolved around Jules burrowing her way back into her old squad’s lives and making up for her absence. The possy consists of Madison (Brenda Song) and Stella (Shay Mitchell), who Jules met in college. Izzy (Esther Povitsky), Jules’s co-worker, smoothly joined in as well. The season finale left off with Jules likely to be jobless, but having managed to rebuild her friendships, making for the strongest foursome base ever.
The second season fast-forwards a year into quarantine in which Jules cohabitates with her bestie Madison. Covid-19 seems to have become a rite of passage in TV shows, and I must admit: I love feeling so concerned. Faithfully reflective of the pandemic (spraying the mail, marathoning TV, online work), it almost felt nostalgic to see the characters live out in isolation.
Hopping back into the world, both ladies get hit with the looming “turning thirty” milestone. While Madison is restless as to how she has not achieved all the goals documented in her vision board, Jules is leaning towards pouring all her “caring capacity” into her friends, leaving not a drop left for her own professional career. Offered a promotion, she does not feel thrilled nor any desire to take the leap. But fear not, because the Cat Lady (Beth Grant) is here to push Jules in the right direction. When Jules asks her about the “relationships with women have to be sacred” lesson the Cat Lady taught her, the latter responds that “maybe one of those women is supposed to be [herself].” *Epiphany moment epitomized by fireworks.* This new season is therefore focused around Jules learning to figure out what she wants out of life and invest in it.
In a minimal amount of screen time, “Dollface” manages to broach what it means to turn thirty in a purely honest, but engaging way. When Madison struggles with where she’s at in life, she learns to let things go and not to be so harsh on herself. Getting let go at her work in the wake of the pandemic was such an effective tool to portray the hard-driving woman’s evolution. Through Madison, who is used to putting all of her self-worth into her success and accomplishments, viewers learn a lot about how it is ok not to be exactly where you would have wished to be by this or that stage in your life. This notion peaks when Madison comes to terms with the impossibility to celebrate her thirtieth year of existence in Greece no matter how hard she tries to and being fine with it. Viewers are basically told that “it is alright not to have made it; there is something else for you out there, know that you are not late, but just in time. And sooner or later, it will all make sense.”
Jules, on the other hand, comes into her own by embracing a “yes” instead of “no” politic and thriving out of her comfort zone. Extremely satisfying to watch, her arc only made me root for her even more than I did in the previous installment. The most thought-provoking part is probably that, no matter how far Jules gets, she is never a “completed” character. She always has lessons to learn and internalize, and that makes the show all the more relatable.
Parallelly, Izzy also got treated to a great arc this season. She, who was always trying so hard to be liked and cool, emerges from quarantine with a new hot boyfriend. It should be noted that I have been continuously baffled by how little she thinks of herself. This second season takes a step further with Izzy engaging in a self-sabotage loop that plays out both surrealistically and realistically. Surrealistically, because the show’s seal is the incorporation of magical surrealism elements (including the iconic Cat Lady). Izzy’s lack of confidence and fear of not being good enough for her beau acts out as a visually amusing anxiety tornado apparition. As “Dollface” is centered around a female-oriented friendship, her girlfriends supportively participate in the enchanting illusion illustrating Izzy’s spiral. Realistically, because of how identifiable Izzy’s overwhelming negative thoughts are. In fact, Brenda Song recently mentioned the tornado scene in an interview with Screen Rant, defining it as “taking these crazy moments and amplifying them in a fun way and being able to deal with them in a fun way.” Who would have known that exaggerating an issue would actually downplay it?
The second installment of “Dollface” playfully introduces the “Millennial meets Gen Z” clash. Sky (Santina Muha) and Q (Owen Thiele) are the newcomers at Woöm, the wellness company Jules works at. They come off as Gen Z walking clichés, yet they earn their spot like clockwork. The “Millennials make things so complicated” line was the “must touch” to their characters. Notwithstanding, both generations come together forming wondrous chemistry. The moment when Sky, Q and Jules fall in line with each other on how “haunting” it is that little girls are still being targeted with mainly princesses’ toys is insanely gratifying. “This is very retro 90s’ sitcom,” points out Zelda, a 17-year-old teenager who Jules meets at a music festival (and whose parents are Millennials and nerds.) The writing is elementary yet so blindingly canny. “Dollface” is skilled regardless.
While turning thirty is a stage where one gets to check in with one’s self, the girls rediscover themselves and reevaluate what is best for them. In this elevating, authentic new season, “Dollface” tackles social questions like loyalty, ambition, aging, the fear of missing out, feminism and so much more. Not only is it cathartic to watch your fears being dealt with with a light hand, but viewers will surely delight in this luscious, entertaining program. Plus, the female-led cast is as good-looking as they are talented. So, get ready for an optically invigorating, feel-good experience. P.S.: Lilly Singh joined the cast this season and she rocks it.
“Dollface” is now streaming on Disney+ and Hulu.