Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Entourage Marathon

As I've mentioned before, I don't have cable but fortunately I have friends who will record shows for me. My friend Dave K. TiVos Entourage for me. He'll record a whole batch and then we get together and watch them all at once. Usually that's seven or eight episodes at a time, but today it was NINE episodes. Four and a half hours of Entourage--whew!

When last we left Vince and the gang, they were off to shoot Medellin in Columbia. Somehow the episodes Dave recorded got out of order and we ended up watching episode 44 before episode 43 but it was all good. After all, I originally started watching the show by renting season two (the video store didn't carry season one) and then Dave recorded the first half of season 3 for me and we watched that as a marathon. Then I netflixed season one and again Dave and I watched that marathon-style. Then we watched the second half of season three and now the first three-quarters of season four.

So I can handle one episode being out of order. Although I'm still confused about when and how Sloan and E parted ways...Loved the reference to the character of Bob Ryan in the episode "Welcome to the Jungle"--with newbie producer E reading his book titled "Is That Something You Might be Interested In?" And Drama's cameo at the end of Medellin made me laugh out loud.

But one of the things that bothered me about the documentary-style episode was the part where enfant terrible Billy Walsh insists the ending of the script is crap and must be re-written. By him, not the original writer--who wrote a script that was so good that it haunted Vince and E for three seasons! So after hiring Stephan Gaghan to do the re-write, Billy pulls an all-nighter and not only re-writes the ending but the ENTIRE SCRIPT. AFTER everything but the ending has been SHOT! What's the point of that? Not only did they blow $275k on Gaghan for one day of nothing, but they don't have any budget left to shoot the entire production again based on Billy's re-writes...

The other thing that was annoying is the arrogance of the director re-writing the original writer (not surprising given Billy's character, but still annoying), the whole auteur mentality and the "A Film By" issue. Not that it doesn't happen all the time in Hollywood, but Entourage is a product of a medium where writers DO have power and on cable where many writers (such as David Chase, David Milch, Alan Ball) are auteurs themselves. Why miss out on the opportunity to provide a platform for the issue? Discuss it, expose it, lampoon it? In fact, other than the Gaghan cameo (and one by M. Night Shyamalan in another episode), writers are fairly invisible on this show. Yo, Doug Ellin--what's up with THAT?!!!

Dave is consistently dumbfounded by how much money gets thrown around in Hollywood and I dream of the day I get my very own shark-like agent just like Ari Gold. Looks like we've got three more episodes before season four wraps up. Wonder what the cliff-hanger will be for this season?

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