Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mad Men

Hollywood Assistants like MAD MEN. Summer television is such a depressing wasteland. The lack of quality things to watch forces me to Tivo CELEBRITY CIRCUS and get excited for the Raven Symone/Wayne Newton death match on CELEBRITY FAMILY FEUD. It's bleak, bleak times. Don't get me wrong - watching Peter Brady light himself on fire is somewhat entertaining. But it's also rotting my brain. I feel myself getting stupider.

That's why I am so psyched that MAD MEN is coming back on July 27th. Picking favorite TV shows is, for me, akin to picking a favorite child. I just can't choose. But MAD MEN ranks right up there in my top 5. It isn't the disappointing son that dropped out of junior college. No, this baby got his MBA at Harvard. MAD MEN is truly one of the best things on TV right now because it is so well-written and incredibly engrossing. It has the most amazing ensemble cast. I am obsessed with Christina Hendricks, Jon Hamm, John Slattery, and Elizabeth Moss. And I love all of the guys who play the junior execs. My particular favorite is Rich Sommer, who plays his extramarital affair with such a wide-eyed bumbling innocence that it's hard not to love him. (Also, he has the cutest baby ever and I'm addicted his blog.)

Fellow Hollywood Assistants: it is a sin if you're not watching this show. It is a paragon of everything we should be encouraging our bosses to create. It is also hard to watch it without feeling a kinship with the steno pool at Sterling-Cooper.

Sure, we might have laptops instead of typewriters and, thank god, we don't have to wear girdles (but I will take their wardrobe any day... just leave the scary undergarments behind). But the unswerving loyalty to our bosses is still the same. So are the office politics and the feeling that for every great idea that comes to fruition, there are 1000 assistant (or secretary) man hours behind it. Thankfully the sexual politics have progressed somewhat. Women actually have a prayer of advancing in 2008, which was a rare thing in 1960. But to quote HAIRSPRAY, "We've come so far but we've got so far to go." (Ok, removing Gloria Steinem hat now.)

So please, I beg you, watch MAD MEN. I promise you will love it, thank me for it, and feel cool for being a part of the cultural zeitgeist. Also, I vote for reviving the lunchtime martini and the 4 o'clock office happy hour. Who's with me? Let's start a revolution.

WHERE: New season - AMC, Sundays at 10:00 pm, starting July 27th. Or season 1 on Amazonon July 1st. Or on iTunes. Or on OnDemand beginning June 30th. Or a season 1 marathon on AMC on July 20th. (Seriously, how easy do I need to make this for you?)
COST: $31.99 on Amazon

LA Fitness

Hollywood Assistants like LA Fitness. Welcome to Hollywood! It's everything US Weekly made you hope it would be, and everything your mother warned you about. The people here are beautiful. They are toned and tightened to perfection. Every guy here looks like he stepped off the set of a Bow-Flex informercial (...and in some cases, he probably did). Every girl here has a body like Hilary Duff's on the cover of SHAPE magazine (except, well, Hilary was retouched.)

Everyone, that is, except you. You, dear call-roller, are trapped behind a desk for 60 hours a week. The most activity you get during the work day happens when you lift your 19th Diet Coke to your lips. They warned you about the Freshman 15, but what they didn't tell you about was the Tinseltown Twenty. An old co-worker of mine devised a theory that sitting on her ass all day actually made her butt flatter. And not in a good way. There are 2 ways of staying skinny under these conditions - putting something up your nose (but we're a family-friendly blog and don't endorse this) and getting yourself into a gym.

So one day, in a burst of inspiration, you decide "Hey! I know! I'll start working out!" After about 5 seconds of research, you realize that the monthly dues at Sports Club/LA and Equinox will cost you the equivalent of a week's salary - not to mention that their initiation fees cost about the same amount that you just put down on your '98 BMW 3 Series. But thankfully there's a place for you to be up in the gym just workin' on your fitness: LA Fitness.

LA Fitness is assistant-friendly for a number of reasons. You can get unlimited workouts and classes for about $30/month, which is an affordable number on even the most meager salary. You'll never be the only one reading a script on the Precor (and thus won't feel like as much of a douche. You have a lot of reading to do... we know you aren't doing it to get attention). And their locations are, for the most part, convenient to whatever part of town you work in. The Valley studio-drones can sweat it out in Universal City or Hollywood, while the Bev Hills agency rats can frequent the Miracle Mile one or the one down on La Cienega. And even the Westsiders can get in on the action at the one in Westwood... although it is pretty much over run by UCLA undergrads. (But some people - mostly dudes - consider working out alongside cute coeds a good thing. We'll let them have their fun.)

Eventually you'll get to take your pilates class at Equinox and work out alongside the B-list TV stars at Sports Club/LA. But for now, save your $$ and get your ever-expanding ass to LA Fitness.

COST: $29.99/month

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Taken from a Gchat correspondence on 6/5/08:

DevelopmentAsst: You know what Hollywood Assistants like?
AgencyAsst: what?
DevelopmentAsst: Gchat.
AgencyAsst: Totally agree!
DevelopmentAsst: Gchat is so the new AIM.
It's like AIM's hotter, cuter, easier sister
AgencyAsst: It's totally the second wife
DevelopmentAsst: That's so Hollywood
AgencyAsst: Sometimes I feel like I'm cheating on AIM with Gchat
DevelopmentAsst: Me too.
AgencyAsst: Like I'll occasionally talk on AIM but all my attention is focused on Gchat. It’s the only thing on my mind.
I want to shower Gchat with gifts while I just want dinner on the table with AIM.
DevelopmentAsst: hahahahahaha
Gchat is the mistress, but you don't have to pay for her
She's FREE!
AgencyAsst: Totally free.
And looking to please you. You gotta work for AIM. Like a real relationship, ugh.
DevelopmentAsst: Well, it makes it so easy because everything is in one window
AgencyAsst: For real.
DevelopmentAsst: Like you can be checking your email AND chatting. Talk about multi tasking.
AgencyAsst: Tell me about it. I need to be maximizing my online activities. On AIM all you do is chat. Boring.
And speaking of AIM, I used to stalk people's away messages on it. Like all the time.
But now I stalk people's status messages on Gchat.
DevelopmentAsst: I LOVE status messages.
How else would you know what your friends' side projects are?
AgencyAsst: Or what videos are making them guffaw like crazy?
DevelopmentAsst: Isn't it fun when your friend posts a link to their new "comedy" website in their status and it sucks?
And is the furthest thing from funny ever?
AgencyAsst: Not funny, more awkward.
DevelopmentAsst: Yeah, that's the word I was looking for.
AgencyAsst: Because then they'll ask you if you watched it and then you have to lie and say work was crazy busy.
DevelopmentAsst: Yeah, so Gchat gives you warning
it's like the Tornado Alert system
CAUTION - Shitty Side Project ahead! Duck and cover!
AgencyAsst: hahaha, code red for self indulgence.
DevelopmentAsst: You know what else is fun about Gchat?
Group chats.
AgencyAsst: Ooh I love group chats.
Two's company, three's a party
DevelopmentAsst: YEAH
Group chats are especially good for when you're planning for the weekend
Instead of 30 reply-all's, you can just get all of your friends in a room and hash out which shitty bar you're going to hit that night
AgencyAsst: Definitely. Totally easier. It's the Gen Y version of a conference call (and we get enough of those while actually doing work).
DevelopmentAsst: In our office, we do a group chat to decide what we're ordering for lunch
That way the interns can't chime in.
Is that mean?
AgencyAsst: Kind of. Especially since they're the ones who have to pick it up.
But when I was an intern I would never have expected to get a say in where we ate lunch.
DevelopmentAsst: Okay, maybe next time I'll invite them to the group chat.
AgencyAsst: Maybe on their last day.
Make them feel special.
They can write about it in their journal: “and today they actually let me speak! I love Hollywood!”
DevelopmentAsst: Thanks for being my conscious.
Gchat often makes me feel really popular
Like, when I have so many different windows open that it has to start closing some
That's when I feel like the Prom Queen
AgencyAsst: Love it.
And that's the best part of Gchat, if you X out of a window and you go to type that person back the whole convo is still there!
no, "wait, sorry, what'd you say".
that's AIM lingo, not Gchat lingo.
DevelopmentAsst: Although that can be dangerous
AgencyAsst: True. It's like you can never quite escape a conversation.
That's when you go Invisible
DevelopmentAsst: There are some things I've said in Gchat that I'd rather forget
Like when I tried to tell you about my awkward romantic interaction with my cube mate.
And realized that I was typing in the wrong window. And that I sent the whole story to my boss and not you.
AgencyAsst: It happens to the best of us.
DevelopmentAsst: I cannot wait to get CRUUUUNKED tonight.
Oops, wrong IM!
AgencyAsst: Well, you’re lucky it was just me and not someone who judges. :)
DevelopmentAsst: Who are you kidding? Of course you judge. This is Hollywood. Everyone judges. But that's another topic all together...

WHERE: The best e-mail server on the web, GMAIL!
COST: Freeeeeee