La-La Land

"I spend way too much time figuring out who to fuck to get ahead. I can't help it. I'm obsessed with becoming a successful actress," says Michaela in The Assistants, Robin Lynn Williams's new novel about life in Hollywood as an underling to the stars.

Michaela is way past her prime. At the ancient age of barely-over-30, she has two claims to fame. One, she was in the pilot episode of Friends (she was replaced by the actress who now plays Phoebe). And two, she has a shaved pubis, guaranteeing her the attention of Tinseltown moguls for at least a little while longer. "A penis is an actress's best friend," she says.

Williams wrote this novel about Michaela and four other assistants after working for Tom and Roseanne Arnold. "When I first started working for Roseanne and Tom, I was in L.A. and I was in school and I was a huge fan of the show," she says. Before long, though, she realized, "Oh, my God, this is insane. These people are nuts."

While in their employ, she was supposed to answer phones, file faxes and order food. "The phone never rang, and there were no faxes," she says, "but I did a lot of ordering of food." Williams's experiences with the corpulent duo became prime material for her novel. As one of the characters says, "You've got to question the intelligence and credibility of a business that continues to employ Tom Arnold."

All of Hollywood gets magnified through the satirical lens of Williams, who's a native of Mission Bend (a community just outside of Sugar Land). A character named Griffin pretends to be gay so he won't intimidate his boss. Michaela disguises her beauty when working as an assistant to a star's husband, just so the lecher won't try to bust a move. And Rachel, a naive girl from Sugar Land, asks God for a favor: "to let me be a personal assistant to one of the most famous people in the world!" Well, kid, you gotta have dreams.

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Keith Plocek
Contact: Keith Plocek