I'll say this about Entourage: It is a show that exists. There are opening credits. There are closing credits. There are lights, cameras, and action, action, action. Beyond that, I'm not really sure what the hell is going on.
Hi, I'm Steve Heisler. You may remember me from such rage-filled AV Club recaps as Heroes, and "the other one." When it came time to assign out another season of Entourage here at headquarters, Josh Modell balked. He was done, there was nothing more to say. And this guy was a legitimate fan, jaded by six previous seasons of the metaphorical game of industry Ookie Cookie that is HBO's Entourage. Clearly, it was time to move on.
But no. Surely, someone must comment on the weekly tit shots and bro hugs. And that someone might as well be me.
The best way I can describe my relationship with Entourage is with a brief story. I watched the first four seasons, which started off strong, demonstrated that the world of Entourage has no consequences, continue the same storylines almost verbatim, bored everyone, and didn't change or improve. I took a little time off, and one night I was flipping through channels and noticed the next season of Entourage was on. It was innocent enough, so I picked it back up—not too difficult.
It took me five weeks to realize I had missed an entire season.
And the worst part was, I just kept on watching.
I don't truly know what it is about Entourage that brings me back. It reminds me an awful lot of Heroes, my other "love," in that it used to be pretty good, and now the show has a) dragged on too long, and b) is actually not that far off from what it used to be. Like, seriously, I think a few writing tweaks are all it needs to be back on track. But nothing ever does change. It's stuck in between passably funny and gloriously terrible. It's like a placebo for actual good TV. For actual TV in general, because calling this a TV show would imply that something happens, it tells a story for a reason, and that, over time, its characters act roughly like real people. I don't think any of that is true.
But yet here I am, and here we all are, debuting season seven of this show, when who should walk in but Maya from Heroes! It's a sign that this was meant to be. And, within two minutes, boobs. Not naked boobs though. Entourage is gettin' all classy on us this year.
Turtle is running some sort of smutty chauffeur service, and he's refusing to fire eye-bleed girl (Dania Ramirez) because he has the hots for her. But, he makes a really uncomfortable pass at her (when she breaks down about her parents getting a divorce—really, Turtle? You're gonna play like that?) and she quits. So it all works out. Drama is upset to discover the network doesn't want to work with him on a TV show—that his exclusive deal is really just smoke and mirrors—but Lloyd and Ari convince him to have faith. So it all works out. Vince is talked into doing a stunt he doesn't want to do, and his team is unable to sway the director one bit. Then he does it to prove he's not a pussy, and he's fine with it. So it all works out. Eric talks on the phone, Ari talks on the phone, Eric talks to Sloane, Ari talks to his wife, the film Knight & Day gets name-checked. So…it all works out.
I appreciate Entourage at least attempting to make the stakes seem high. Vince doesn't just want to drive the car over a ramp, he's petrified that, I dunno, he might die—OR WORSE! And handling his hesitancy becomes a multi-man operation involving even Ari, who repeatedly claims to be in charge of the "biggest agency in the world." Yeah, the biggest. In the world. So, clearly, anything the agency does is going to be of the utmost importance, and failing is not an option. Meanwhile, Drama is told by his Melrose Place buddy that he has eight weeks to land himself a deal (and become the Last! Comic! Standing!). Time limits equate drama, right?
Oh, and Mrs. Ari is upset about something school-related. What will those Gold's get up to next?
Typically, Entourage episodes end one of two ways: 1) Things are all good, and at literally the last second there's news—usually on the phone—that some major hiccup has occurred, or 2) Things are all bad, and at literally the last second there's news—usually on the phone—that some major hiccup has been avoided, and the boys clink beer bottles. This one was neither: Vince emerges from the car, says he's ready to go again, and the music swells. The episode was bereft of anything resembling plot development, character development, toplessness, or even a guest star getting his or her proverbial dong waxed. I suppose it was a different kind of Entourage episode, though I did have the thought, "Well, it wasn't good, but it sure beat watching nothing." Which is a feeling all too familiar.
- Ready for a hilarious Entourage-themed Paul Scheer video? You better be.
- Could they have picked a more marshmallow man-looking body double for Vince?
- At least Lloyd and Ari are back in the same office. Lloyd deserves better. The character, and the actor.