Assessing the Contenders: Entourage – “The Day F*ckers”

[As the Top 10 Comedy and Drama series contenders have been released, and since Gold Derby has been kind enough to grab us the episode titles, I’m going through each submission judging its quality and its potential on the panel. As I prepare to write about the second Comedy series in contention, you can check out some great Spy reports gathered by Tom O’Neill and Boomer over at Gold Derby (One, Two & Three).]

Entourage (HBO)

Episode: “The Day F*ckers”

Synopsis: With both lovelorn Eric (Struggling to get over his ex-girlfriend Sloan) and Turtle (Who’s never been very good with dating) in slumps, Vince and Drama turn their rush to get laid in a casual fashion into a contest; meanwhile, Ari (Jeremy Piven) struggles to get his son into a private school despite his poor reputation.

My Thoughts: I’ll let my thoughts back when the episode aired to do a bit of the talking for me, although I’ll break into further analysis after the break.

That’s not to say this was a terrible episode of Entourage; as far as these really light and inconsequential episodes go, this one wasn’t particularly awful. But it just had no purpose: Ari’s storyline has been drawn out and neither funny nor dramatic, Eric’s love life has never been entertaining (Although Sloan remains attractive), and Turtle and Drama’s antics were just as ludicrous as ever. The episode just kind of sat there, not doing anything except advance Eric’s love life that tiny little baby step forward.

And when reading over this, and watching the episode, I have to agree: in context of this race, the episode gets even worse.

The episode just doesn’t feel satisfying: yes, Johnny Drama having sex with someone who’s into furries is entertaining, but it feels far too broad for a series capable of doing better. What I find strange is that this really isn’t a comedy series: it is much closer to a drama than sometimes it wants to believe, and this is an example of an episode that doesn’t even try to achieve drama (And where it does, it fails). The show is at its best when the drama works, when we believe the drama and the characters can be let loose as a result.

Here, that doesn’t happen: there’s no drama to the casual sex storyline other than “emo relationship drama” (As I called it quite simplistically when I wrote my original review), and Ari’s storyline doesn’t actually feel dramatic. He just looks petty and controlling, desperate to keep his kid from the “dangerous” public school system. It’s an elitist storyline that doesn’t appeal to Ari’s best qualities. I know the show’s fourth season was a fiery disaster in a lot of ways, and this certainly isn’t the show’s worst episode, but it does nothing for me.

Panel Potential: And for the mostly older voters, the episode probably won’t do anything at all. Not only does it mostly involve casual sex and lewd commentary, but it also doesn’t really have an identifiable character to latch onto as an audience member. Ari is being petty, Drama is being suave instead of wounded, and Eric is just too pathetic to care about. The panels will also, perhaps, not quite “get” the Furry element of the episode, which could prove detrimental to the final shot (Which is hilarious, but only if you’re young enough to get the whole point of it). From early reports this one laid an egg at the panels, and is anyone really surprised?

Overall: The show may have finished high in the popular vote, and made it in last year, but with an inferior tape and a few new comedies breaking through chances are Entourage won’t be making it a repeat showing.

Next Up: The high-class pilot from FX’s Damages.

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