Sunday, April 08, 2007

"We're gonna celebrate your 40th birthday at Chuck E. Cheese.": Entourage

"How is that show?" said a friend to me tonight. "I refuse to watch it because it is appreciated by tools."

Well, not quite, but Entourage always leaves one wishing it was a bit more honest with itself. It feels happy enough to blame Ari for the breakup of the Vince/Ari partnership that was so successful in the first 2.5 seasons but doesn't get angry at Vince for being an aimless drifter, more content to have everyone around him do what needs to be done so he can just show up on set and be kind of an empty enigma. Maybe this is the show's ultimate joke on its audience, but it sure seems like the writers and other creatives side with Vince and think his stardom is earned. Maybe this is how it really is to be a big star in Hollywood, but most of the big stars certainly give off the persona of being hyper-controlling. Vince just seems like he sleepwalks through life.

But the Ari Gold show is still interesting to watch. Having been fired by Vince, Ari is treating it like a bad breakup, diminishing his new agent and sending him scripts on the sly, trying to lure him back. Jeremy Piven's livewire performance makes so much of this show that it's hard to watch the Vince-centric scenes that don't feature him. Piven's dance of agent seduction was easily the funniest thing about this episode, and his relationship with Lloyd borders on the tiresome but never QUITE gets there.

The Vince stuff just wasn't as good. I really can't buy Vince in an Edith Wharton adaptation (much less one directed by Sam Mendes), and I also find it hard to believe that his star would have stayed so hot this long, especially with when he ditched Aquaman 2 (that wouldn't have earned him some hatred from Aquaman junkies?). I realize that a big part of watching Entourage is wish-fulfillment -- this is what it would be like if I were rich and handsome and famous and I lived in LA. But the show also should deal with some of the consequences of Vince's carefree behavior -- can't he suffer for some of these choices and not Ari?

Still. . .I don't have a lot to say about this episode, probably because not a lot happened. Entourage is probably the least plot-intensive popular series on television, again, because most of its appeal lies in the wish-fulfillment aspect. I wasn't horribly invested in whether or not Vince would get the birthday party of his dreams because, honestly, Vince gets everything he wants. And to a degree, that's why I watch. But it's hard to see an eventuality where this doesn't get tired, simply because Vince never faces any real adversity.

But at least there's Ari.

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