That Other HBO Show: The Return of Entourage

April 8th has been a day of much excitement for many television viewers, and television websites, as it signifies the beginning of the final season of The Sopranos. And, while this is surely a momentous occasion for all involved, it is important to remember that there’s another HBO show returning tomorrow night as well. That show is Entourage.

From a personal perspective, I didn’t know much about Entourage up until this past September. I had read that it had something do with Aquaman for a while, and I knew that Jeremy Piven played an agent named Ari Gold that was apparently quite good considering the amount of awards he was nominated for. However, I really knew nothing about the series; without actually getting HBO in Canada, and without being at home to see it on the Movie Network, I was basically incapable of really watching Entourage.

However, I took a weekend in September to get caught up, and what I found was an incredibly enjoyable series that overcomes any of its flaws with it’s own brand of posse brotherhood and agent/talent relations. Vince is the movie star, the standard model turned actor who struggles with the problems of credibility and relationship drama. His best friend Eric is his brains, brought to Hollywood to manage his career. He reads his scripts, organizes his meetings, and more or less has to keep Vince in line. Making this far more difficult are Johnny Drama, Vince’s half-brother who was once a television Viking, and Turtle, the posse’s driver and requisite spender of moneys. As a whole, they are the entourage, and tend to make Vince’s (former) agent, Ari Gold’s, life a living hell, not that he doesn’t attempt to do the same to Eric, Vince and Co.

Based on the lifestylings of Mark Wahlberg, who serves as executive producer, this premise is certainly not foolproof. There have been times which have certainly placed the characters in ridiculous scenarios, and sometimes the show has suffered because of it…and yet in the end it all works out. Sometimes it all seems too far-fetched, and yet others it could not be more grounded. I think that it’s Ari who truly humanizes the show at times, because he’s really just an average guy himself. He has a wife, he has kids, he has a day job that bleeds into his nights and weekends, and there’s something human about that. Mind you, Ari is also a hilariously bitter and angry man who has ridiculous mood swings, but it all seems to work because of Piven’s performance.

However, since it has been an incredibly long time since we last checked in with the boys, let’s perhaps consider where things were at last we checked:

Turtle wasn’t doing anything important, Johnny Drama was filming a TV pilot with Ed Burns and masturbating in his trailer over his microphone, Eric was still dating Sloane (Far more attractive than any of his previous conquests), Ari had just established his new agency and Vince was filmless. Why was he filmless? Because of the Ramones Project.

It was the big point of contention in the latter part of the season. Eric went to an elderly Hollywood producers home, found a script for a Ramones project which looked perfect for Vince. He took it to Ari, who was somewhat in shock but excited. In shopping around the picture, they had the distinct problem that Warner Bros. held the rights and they were pissed at Vince for passing on Aquaman 2 to film the Paul Haggis movie which ended up going to Benicio Del Toro, leaving Vince without a job. However, the script was in the hands of the elderly Bob Ryan, who after ruining one executive meeting Ari sent off to the wrong location. He proceeded to sell the script to Warner Bros. to spite Ari, knowing that this means Vince could never be in the starring role. Unsurprisingly, Eric and Vince blame Ari, and they decide to shop around looking for a new agent. After disastrous meetings where people want to turn him into a brand name through cheesy powerpoint presentations, they decide that sticking with Ari is for the best…until they get back to his office and he and his business partner present a carbon copy of the other presentations. The season ended with them walking out on Ari, and officially firing him as their manager.

And that’s where we left off. Here’s a few teasers for the new episodes to perhaps have a preview of where we head from here; specifically of note is Carla Gugino (Sin City, Spy Kids) as Vince’s new agent.

2 Comments

Filed under Entourage, Television

2 responses to “That Other HBO Show: The Return of Entourage

  1. Pingback: Summer TV Wrapup: Most Disappointing Show - “Entourage” « Cultural Learnings

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