The problem with holding a mirror up to a mirror is you get a reflection of nothing, an infinite vacuum. And as any Hollywood habitue will tell you, La-La land is a town of mirrors, the narcissistic capital of the known universe. That vacuity, whether intentional or not, is at the heart of this fledgling series on the IFC network, and it's largely a hit or miss affair, at times sharp and laugh out loud hilarious, at others, simply tedious and sophomorically over-arch.
Laura Kightlinger (who has one of those only in L.A., one surgery too many faces) portrays Jackie, a hopeful screenwriter (and who isn't in L.A.?), surrounded by a coterie of off-the-wall supporting characters (including the appealing Nicholle Tom from "The Nanny") and B and C list guest stars (Sally Kellerman, Andy Dick, etc.). Kightlinger has obviously paid her dues as a writer (and stand-up), and her experience shows in the throw away details that are frequently funnier than the ostensible gags. In a town where nothing is sacred, the targets for potential satire are legion, and Kightlinger makes good use of them--everything from the celebrity religion of the moment to surreal pitch meetings are dealt with scabrously.
That said, the series on the whole has a certain unevenness with as many jokes falling flat as those finding their bullseyes. It's a show written and performed by insiders for insiders or those who want to think they are. The show probably plays better for 20 and 30 somethings, with their jaded, "been there, done that" personae. Once the series settles into its second season groove, hopefully fewer of the laughs will seem so forced, and more of the throwaway humor will rise to the forefront.
Though the DVD packaging claims a standard broadcast ratio of 1.33:1, the episodes are actually 1.78:1, with no anamorphic enhancement. Picture quality is generally good. Some of the outside locations lack the crispness of the interiors.
An acceptable Dolby stereo track is the only audio option.
A promotional puff piece, "Introducing the Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman," as well as a second season preview are the only extras. Considering Kightlinger's credits (not to mention producer Bob Balaban's), some deeper background would have been appreciated.
If you're a fan of dark, if not totally black, humor and Hollywood satire, this could be an enjoyable rental for an evening or two. Too smug and self-aware to be consistently hilarious, it's probably best in small--one or two episode--doses at a time. The series definitely has potential, and is probably worth catching if you get IFC.
"G-d made stars galore" & "Hey, what kind of a crappy fortune is this?" ZMK, modern prophet