Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Entourage Marathon - part 2

Since I don't have cable, I'm forced to watch some of my favorite shows in marathon sessions. Well, "forced" is not quite accurate as I actually prefer immersing myself in a whole season in one fell swoop.

Thanks to the generosity of my buddy Davey K., I got to catch up with season five yesterday. When I last saw the boys, Vince's passion project Medellin was an unmitigated flop at Cannes. Season five traces Vince's (along with his trusty pals Eric, Johnny and Turtle) journey from oblivion to getting back in the game.

One of my favorite things about watching the show is all the inside jokes and insider info, the backstabbing and the behind-the-scenes of the Hollywood machine. But this season the show veered all over the place--so instead of Malibu and Rodeo Drive, we got Mexico and Joshua Tree.

Changes in season two: Drama's up while Vince is down; Eric's got two new clients at his management agency--in addition to Vince, a young comic named Charlie, someone else (Last season he was briefly managing Anna Faris, but she ended that after he admitted he was attracted to her...); Turtle's got a girlfriend (Jamie-Lynn Siegler of The Sopranos...right--like we're supposed to believe that!) and Ari is Ari--except for a brief moment where he almost succeeded deceased nemesis Alan Gray to become head of the studio.

Actually, there was an attempt to show a more warm and fuzzy side of Ari Gold this season: devoted father, protective husband and loyal friend. But let's face it--Jeremy Piven's Ari Gold is most fun when spewing his vindictive rants. Usually in the direction of long-suffering assistant Lloyd.

It was good to see Rex Lee getting billed with the rest of the regular cast members this season (along with Perrey Reeves who plays "Mrs. Ari"). Piven's Gold is nothing without Lee's Lloyd. Whether he's talking Ari down from a mushroom-induced hallucination or talking him out of taking the studio head position, Lloyd is more than just a foil or straight-man.

Well, he's certainly NOT a straight-man...

While Entourage has always been a bit of a fantasy-land, there were a couple of missed notes by the writers which had me irked: in addition to the highly unlikely hook-up between Turtle and Jamie-Lynn Siegler (sorry Jerry Ferrara--I'm just not buying it...), there was the scene where Turtle is looking at the classified ads in a newspaper to search for a job. The only thing more astonishing than Turtle looking for a job, is the fact that anyone would use classifieds in a NEWSPAPER to find one. In L.A. no less!

Have the writers not heard of Craigslist?

Earlier in the season, the writers made use of Drama using an Apple MacBook to converse via webcam with his French girlfriend. So obviously the writer are aware of the internet, etc. Another outdated piece of technology was Turtle's use of a landline to have phone sex with girlfriend Jamie-Lynn. How many times have we seen Turtle attached to his cellphone? It seems an odd stretch just to make the pay-off of Turtle's mother listening in on the other extension...

While as always there were cameos galore--Ben Silverman, Gus Van Sant, Martin Scorcese, Jeffrey Tambor, Frank Darabont, a blink and I missed it Michael Phelps and even Mark Wahlberg himself (executive producer of the show loosely inspired by his Hollywood experiences...), the most intriguing performance was Stellan Skarsgard as Werner Vollstedt.

Watching Skarsgard as the tempestuous, mercurial, genius, fictional director, I couldn't help but wonder who he was REALLY supposed to be. Werner Herzog? Some people on the IMDB message boards wondered the same thing. The consensus seemed to be that it was Wolfgang Peterson, who directed Wahlberg in The Perfect Storm, who was being lampooned.

Another intriguing moment: when Vince asks Ari if he thinks he's a good actor. And Ari, without spinning as he usually does, replies that he signed him because he thought he'd be a great movie star, not because he was a good actor. That moment inspired an interesting post at The Daily Beast on whether or not Adrian Grenier is a good enough actor to play a bad one.

Whether or not Grenier--or Vince Chase for that matter--is a good actor or not is beside the point. Entourage is an ensemble piece--and the ensemble works. It's a testosterone-charged version of Sex and the City. Same penchant for designer clothes and assorted bling. Same comraderie. Instead of bitchiness, you get macho posturing and practical jokes.

It's a boy thing.

It was nice to see Debi Mazar reprising her role as Vince's PR agent Shauna and the brief reunion between E and Sloane (Emmanuelle Chriqui), Beverly D'Angelo's ball-busting Barbara Miller and most especially, Constance Zimmer's Dana Gordon being promoted to studio head, but all in all, Entourage--like Hollywood--is all about the boys.

1 comment:

  1. OMG, you too? We just got HBO hooked up (pre-Big Love/Conchords) so I caught up with first 8 Entourages yesterday