Monday, August 27, 2007

"I've seen Scary Movie 10 times": Entourage

My brother (Joey) wandered into the room as I finished the latest episode of Entourage ("No Cannes Do"), and as I marveled at the wincingly insane ending that incorporated another wooden guest star turn (the third in this episode alone) along with the most glaringly awkward "everything comes up roses for Vinnie Chase" wrap-up (thanks for stealing my thunder on that one, Todd), I said "this show has lost its mind". It's a few hours later, but I still believe it. I mean...what WAS that? What was the whole episode, for that matter? It felt like a few barely-strung together half-jokes that were never finished, set around one of the lamest story ideas they've ever attempted. I mean, literally, the entire plot of the episode could be described thus: "the gang waits for a plane to take them to Cannes. Shenanigans occur". I mean, honestly. It's not like I think half-hour comedies need intricate plots. Think of Seinfeld, setting whole episodes in a parking garage or in line at a Chinese restaurant. But Seinfeld had jokes that dovetailed into each other majestically, every character's action having reverberations throughout every other plotline. This was just a few crudely banged-together C-stories the writers had lying around to fill the gap before their big Cannes-set finale.

Let's pause on that for a second: the FINALE of season four is being set in Cannes! That means stupid frickin' Medellin has supposedly dominated this whole season, and it doesn't even have a fake release date yet! I say supposedly because this season has in fact had no real arc to it at all. There's been the odd Medellin episode and a couple about the gang finding a new project (what was a mountain movie became a dystopian thriller last week, but it all--surprise surprise--worked out in the end), but most episodes have been structured around Eric moaning and Drama scheming to engage in some form of deviant sex. The whole season, I think, has been a disappointment because Doug Ellin and his staff never committed to an industry plot, like they did in season 2 with Aquaman and (to a lesser extent) season 3 with Medellin. The show is at its best when it's satirizing the industry. Yes, there should be the odd party episode where the gang just fools around, but that's heavily dominated this season, and I think that's been the real downfall here. Although, last week was an Ari-dominated industry plot, and while it was better, it still wasn't nearly as sharp as the show used to be.

I'm going to briefly touch on the Anna Farris stuff just because it was so, so irritating. Again: it's not like I have any problem with Anna Faris. But to have Billy Walsh suddenly chime in on her prodigious talent and treat her like his next muse was a bridge too far. I hate how self-serving this show is to its guest stars! This week we had Sydney Pollack, Kanye West and Faris, and each one of them got a sort of silent reverence whenever they entered the scene. It really breaks the rhythm of an episode, even one as bad as this, and the haphazard way that they're introduced (like, who HASN'T Ari represented at one point or another?) is so cringe-worthy. I'm glad they dumped Faris after this ep, because her stuff with Eric was so boring, but that's a plot that would have worked far better with a different actress. They just didn't get the right fit at all.

I won't even bother with the rest of it. Ari bickering with both his wife and Lloyd was nothing new--neither were his reconciliations with them. Yeah, Piven's good, and it's nice to include Perrey Reeves and Rex Lee week to week, but give their spats a rest--it just clogs up the episode, especially when they're this meaningless. Turtle's irrational fear of terrorists was probably the most halfhearted joke the show has ever tried to make (they backed down from it almost immediately) and all Drama did was preen in the background. I dunno what else to say. I'm sure I'll be able to rant a little more at next week's (one assumes) star-studded finale. It's been a tiresome summer with this show, that's for sure.


Bianca Reagan said...

The coolest part of the episode was the airport scene When Ari met Ari. (Emanuel, for those of you whose lives aren't ruled by Defamer.) It's sad when the highlight of your show is a way-inside baseball cameo by an infamous talent agent.

If Turtle knows Kanye, and has those connections, why did his rap artist leave him last season? Why didn't Vince just get on the plane with Sydney Pollack? He definitely needs the career boost. Why can't Anna or E make the obvious decision not to do Billy's movie? From all reliable accounts, it sounds like a terrible script.

Why am I even asking these questions? Every character on this show has somehow lost every working brain cell. Who flies out of LAX when they work in Hollywood? Take a plane flying out of Burbank, geniuses. Or Ontario. Or Santa Monica. Or even Long Beach.

I'm calm now.

Libby said...

I thought THE SAME THING regarding the airports.
Christ, they could have even flown out of freaking SAN DIEGO!
The only way I'm watching a single episode of this next season is if Medellin completely bombs at Cannes and also, like, someone dies in a horrible, fiery car crash.
I mean, it would only be a drop in the bucket of karmic equilibrium, but it would definitely be a step in the right direction.