The more complex our personal technology gets, the more eager television is to take advantage of it. In the case of interactive TV, that now means the ability to vote on contestants and otherwise effect the outcome of what transpires shows – often in real time. But as our TV critic David Bianculli notes, this new “interactive” wrinkle actually is as old as television itself. In fact, even older.

Listen to the piece and follow along with images here.

Fresh Air TV critic David Bianculli (of tvworthwatching) reviews the new HBO series Doll & Em, starring real life best friends Dolly Wells (left) and Emily Mortimer.

After a traumatic break up, Dolly leaves England for Los Angeles to serve as Emily’s personal assistant while she films a movie. The two must navigate the “fairly rigid Hollywood class system,” exposing vanity and insecurities along the way. Bianculli writes:

What weighs down this sitcom, especially at first, is its lack of subtlety. Plot points, like recurring jokes, are hammered home too hard and much too obviously. Even the closing theme song, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?,” telegraphs that things will get worse before they get better.

Despite all that, though, if you stick with Doll & Em, eventually it will stick with you, too. And as the central dynamic shifts and the friendship unravels, you’ll care about both of them, and what happens next.

image via HBO