HBO's boutique hit Entourage is a Hollywood wish-fulfillment comedy: a movie star and his buddies enjoy the material and sexual perks of fame. The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman (IFC, Fridays, 11 p.m. E.T.) is a Hollywood wish-deferment comedy. Jackie (Laura Kightlinger) is a writer for an obscure film magazine who wants to be a screenwriter; her best friend, Tara (Nicholle Tom), is going nowhere as a production-company assistant. "You're in the industry?" a neighbor asks Jackie. "Not as far as the industry knows," she answers.
With luck, the industry will soon know comedian Kightlinger (Lucky Louie), who also created and writes this acerbic, indie-flavored complement to Entourage's big-budget studio fantasy. Minor Accomplishments gets off to a middling start, with a forced, satirical episode involving a cult and '70s movie icon Sally Kellerman. It gets realer and funnier in the next three, which focus on Jackie's dream: writing a long-gestating biopic about her aunt, a '30s Roller Derby star. The movie gets sold--not by Jackie but by a man she briefly dates who steals the idea. She ends up hired as his writing assistant, while--adding insult to insult--the studio decides to convert her idea into a tween movie set in the present. "No offense," an exec tells her, "but nobody goes to the movies to see chicks get old."
The show sends up the usual Tinseltown types, but Kightlinger thoroughly rounds out Jackie, giving her the kind of drawling feminist sarcasm rarely seen since Roseanne left sitcomdom. Cynical yet principled, bitter but still ambitious, Jackie wants to conquer Hollywood yet not be of it. (She refuses, for instance, to drive.) She's the kind of tough, tart 21st century broad you would expect to idolize a '30s Derby queen: she's armed with a Billy Wilder wit and unafraid to throw elbows. And it's refreshing to see a sitcom about a woman past her 20s who is obsessed with her career clock, not her biological one. A minor accomplishment? Maybe, but one to be proud of.