Entourage: “Motherfucker”
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Entourage: “Motherfucker”

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Entourage

“Motherfucker”

Season 8, Episode 5

If you can believe it, at this point we’re more than halfway done with season eight of Entourage (it’s only eight episodes long, and sometimes each one, like last week, is only 22 minutes). And if you can believe this—which is easier I suppose—there have been a lot of plotlines and loose ends thrown around along with fake penises, not all of which come around at the end or have any real bearing on the story. Two episodes ago, Andrew “Dice” Clay walked off the set of the show, and his replacement was proven to be a really bad Diceman-imitator. This was certainly going to be the end of Drama’s comeback. But then last week, Drama made nary a mention of his show, and the episode surrounded Vince and the aforementioned plastic weenis.

The show is called Entourage, and when it began, it was as much about the supporting players in Vince’s life as it was about the movie star himself. Which of course makes sense. But one of the inevitable things in an eight-season comedy is that if you have a character at the center of the orbit, even a weak and boring one, you’re going to have to eventually visit his planet, so to speak. The problem with just about every Vince storyline, though, is that it’s all-or-none. Either his career is going to end in a fiery boob-flurry, or transcend every mean thing ever said about Vincent Chase and make him a lasting actor the likes of whom have never been seen. There’s very little in between, and it’s in the details where a lot of drama (and Drama) can be found.

Last week, Myles mentioned that he found the episode decent, but not overtly funny. It’s been a long time since Entourage was, you know, really funny. Episodes have a few funny lines, but it’s more a comedy in the traditional, Shakespearean sense, in that things work out in the end. They always have, and always will. That’s fine: I’ve come to view Entourage in the same way I view Burn Notice—as comfort food I can turn on in the background during chores, unless, of course, I’m writing about it for a reputable journalistic institution. So now that we’re nearing the end of the show’s run, there’s a lot of pressure for Doug Ellin (and, to a lesser extent, Mark Wahlberg) to wrap everything up. And this time, it has to be EVERYTHING, even a fabricated Vince storyline that’s introduced more than halfway through the season.

The writers really don’t know what to do with Vince at this point. This season he’s gone from rehab to movie-of-the-week writer to suicide-viewer to journalist-falling-in-love-with-er. Vince finally started paying attention to all the little details of his career, be them publicity or the inner workings of the studios. And much like the interview he gives this week—for a Vanity Fair article about his comeback—it comes off as too little, too late. He clearly couldn’t give less of a shit about how he comes off to that reporter, resorting to flirting rather than honestly answering any of her questions. Then, when he requests a follow-up interview (going around Shauna’s back), he appears to be more professional, but he still asks the reporter out for a drink afterwards, and professes his love for her once she rejects him. Vince isn’t playing a character who’s learned from any of his misgivings; he’s just mellower, and mellow is boring.

While so much has happened to Vince over the course of these five episodes, not much has happened to Drama, it’s just taken a lot longer to get there. Andrew “Dice” Clay (oh boy, am I ever sick of typing that, quotes and all) threatened to walk off the show early on, and it took a few episodes to actually get him to do it. Now, after skipping an episode, we’re back to this whole thing, and Drama’s peeved enough at the network to offer up part of his own salary to Dice just to get the guy back. Dice is flattered, but has pride for some reason, and wants to get it from the network, not his friend. If Entourage were more focused, this could have happened in episode two, but it didn’t. Instead, the show assumes we care about Dice just because he’s been around for a long time. But man, is he ever the worst actor; it’s a very obvious he used to be a stand-up comic, in that he’s tackling the lines as if they’re set-up to a punch line, not in a way that would let them stand alone. By the end of the episode, Drama walks from the show too, but this feels like a traditional Entourage tactic of spinning its wheels: Get something good, then ruin it from the inside, just so the show can give it back to the characters later on, but better. It’s like a kid who breaks his old fire truck hoping to get a newer one for Christmas.

To the show’s credit, there’s been a bit more subtlety to Eric’s and Ari’s storylines. The fire trucks they’re breaking weren’t recently acquired, but came a long time ago. In E’s case, it’s his feelings for Sloan that are in jeopardy, in that he still has them but is forced to make decisions as if he didn’t. This leads to the signing, and subsequent bedding of Sloan’s ex-stepmom, which not only does Eric regret immediately, but Sloan’s now clued in to his behavior. It was nice to see evil Melinda Clarke evil it up once again like she used to do every week on The O.C., and her reentry into the story gave Eric a safe place to vent about Sloan, and introduce that relationship as something that’ll be revisited by the end of the season.

There’s no doubt in my mind that E will wind up with Sloan, just as there’s no doubt in my mind that Ari will wind up back with his wife. But knowing the destination hasn’t made the journey any less fun. Tonight Dana is forced to visit Ari at work, and it just so happens that his kids are there to let Dana know just what Mrs. Gold thinks of her. The ensuing awkwardness, and follow-up make-up, was great—for once, the show demonstrated legitimate discomfort and made Ari out to be a character worthy of some redemption. Why now and not before? Because the results of Ari’s actions have been festering for eight seasons, and things aren’t immediately being resolved. To continue the metaphor from before, Ari spent a bunch of years breaking his old fire truck hoping to get a newer one for Christmas. Only this time, he got socks.

Stray observations:

  • Nothing really for Turtle to do, which is fine as long as the show keeps it that way. It’d be real tough to suddenly introduce something for him in the next three episodes, so here’s hoping he has a few decent lines and toasts Los Angeles in the season finale like everyone else.
  • I never noticed just how much walk-and-talk there is on Entourage. Aaron Sorkin must be rolling in his grave, were he dead and not very much alive.
  • Hey guys, who’s up for some Smurfs or Friends With Benefits? Dana Gordon-produced!