California Literary Review

End of the Line: Entourage Shrugs It Out

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September 12th, 2011 at 4:24 am

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[Spoilers Ahead] In the comments for my first piece on Entourage, someone posed the question what’s the difference between this show and Seinfeld. There are several subtle differences. Seinfeld was populated by four amusing main characters and an entire universe of side characters; Entourage had two occasionally interesting main characters and Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro). Most every episode of Seinfeld was funny, with clever moments, memorable situations, different things happening, and quotable dialogue; Entourage had none of those things. And, as terrible as many people found the going-to-jail ending of Seinfeld to be, at least that’s better than Entourage‘s ending of nothing.

Like I said, the differences are subtle, but they are there.

The Entourage from Entourage

SPOILER ALERT: EVERYTHING WORKS OUT FOR EVERYONE

Last night, Entourage aired its final episode ever; it matched the feeling of “we don’t really care, and we don’t care if you care” that pervaded the entire season. However, before looking at what happened at the end, let’s review what occurred in the seven episodes leading to the epic conclusion.

I have to give credit to Drama (Kevin Dillon) for having the only storyline the entire season even remotely connected to the entertainment industry. His (and Billy’s) attempts to get their animated series off the ground while being sabotaged by a diva costar (Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay) was probably one of the best storylines this show has ever done. Clay himself gave a remarkable performance as a sad, pathetic, down-on-his luck version of himself, deluded that he still deserves the glory days of the late 1980s while living in a crappy, tiny walk-up apartment. Dillon was at his best, conflicted between getting another shot at restarting his career and sticking with Dice due to a combination of friendship and artistic integrity. (In the third to last episode, after it seemed like the studio was going to cancel the show, the series was approved. Everything works out for everyone.)

Andrew Dice Clay on Entourage with Adrian Grenier, Rhys Coiro, and Kevin Dillon.

Andrew Dice Clay of all people is given one of Entourage‘s strongest characters by showing the tragic alternate ending to the life of a superstar.

Making up the “emotional core” was Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), who spent eight episodes pining for his wife (Perrey Reeves) and screaming about Bobby Flay’s (Bobby Flay) fire crotch. It was repetitive, at least partially because the marriage difficulty subplot was trite relatively early in the series and partially because it was practically all Ari did for the entire season. However, it gave us the sexual tryst between Gold and studio head Dana Gordon (Constance Zimmer) with whom he had infinitely more chemistry with than his wife. Although it was clear that Ari was going to get back together with the Missus, it didn’t help that he got to interact with someone more his speed. Meanwhile Lloyd (Rex Lee) did nothing.

Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) continued his stupid business schemes. He sold stock in his tequila company before it went public, which would have made him a millionaire. Then he decided to franchise an East Coast-based clams restaurant in Los Angeles. To make the deal, he had to entertain the owners of the home restaurant
who were also the worst New Jersey stereotypes. Embarrassing tourists who asked him to spend lavishly on them and demanded a restaurant that required a significantly greater down payment simply because they liked the name of the street. While some viewers might want Turtle to succeed, when all I can do is doubt his business acumen, I want him to fail for being so incompetent. (In the second to last episode, after it seemed like Turtle couldn’t find any more investors for the restaurant, turns out Vince re-bought his stock and Turtle is now a millionaire. Everything works out for everyone, though the owners of Don Pepe will probably force the backbone-less Turtle to spend all his millions on tiles alone.)

Baked clams

Baked clams: The key to a multi-episode Entourage plot.

Eric (Kevin Connolly) continues to be a terrible manager, and one who seems incapable of focusing on his business. I was actually perplexed most of the season because apparently he and fellow young manager Scott Lavin (Scott Caan) ousted a long-term stalwart of the business (George Segal) and started their own shop (or took over his old one and renamed it the Murphy-Lavin Group). Even with megastar Vincent Chase as one of their clients, that still probably wouldn’t be enough for two people with practically no experience, no capital, and no clients to overtake one of the largest management firms in the businesses. Incredibly unprofessional, Eric does not meet with potential clients (when you’re starting out as an unknown in one of the most competitive businesses on earth, you should take meetings with anyone you can get) and threatens to fire an employee who books a lucrative actor (Jonathan Galecki) he doesn’t like for personal reasons. That might work for Ari, but it doesn’t work for Eric.

Then we have the on again/off again relationship with trust fund baby Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), a character so vapid and lacking in personality and substance that she makes Vince come across as Don Draper. Even though she’s been part of the show since season 2, I barely remember that she exists and didn’t even mention her during my first Entourage article. I have no problem with her and Eric being together (bland, empty people tend to be attracted to bland, empty people, and they have a bland, empty relationship that leads to bland, empty babies) or being apart, but it didn’t occur to me until this season that I think we were supposed to want them to get together. Anyway, she’s pregnant.

Kevin Connolly as Eric and Emmanuelle Chriqui as Sloan

Sloan, conflicted over marrying Eric because her father doesn’t like him. Quite the gal.

And Vince. After the police busted him for cocaine at the end of last season, he opted for rehab instead of prison. The show touched lightly on the fact that he wasn’t an addict (he wasn’t), but just partied a bit too much. When first released, however, none of his friends were aware of this fact and went to extreme limits to hide all temptation (booze and pot) from him. However, by the next episode, they seemed cool with him drinking, and only had a problem with him smoking pot because he had to take a drug test. I don’t doubt that Vince explained to them the situation, it would have been nice to see it. (In the fifth to last episode, after it seemed like Vince was going to fail the drug test and thus his probation, he used a fake penis with no problem. Everything works out for everyone.)

As far as his career goes, his latest movie, Air Walkers, was put on hold for his sake and then it was never mentioned again. He developed a treatment for a TV-movie based on the Chilean miners story, which Billy wrote an apparently amazing script for and they set it up to star Drama. Therefore, I guess Vince didn’t really do anything with this plot beyond earning a “based on a story by…” credit. (In the third to last episode, after it seemed like the network was going to cancel the movie or hire someone else to star in it, the movie was approved with Drama as the lead. Everything works out for everyone.)

He also spent half the season pining for a reporter (Sophia played by Alice Eve) because she didn’t fall for his hackneyed pick-up lines (“I respect women. Now let’s go for a drink so I can show you how much I respect them.” (paraphrased)), which of course means he was smitten. She reasonably refused to date him, so Vincent produced a DVD of all his ex-lovers saying how cool he was to them, which might be the stupidest courting move of all time and one deserving of relentless mocking and ridicule.

Entourage's Adrian Grenier and Alice Eve

Entourage’s Adrian Grenier and Alice Eve as real people.

And that brings us to tonight…

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As we begin, Vince just ended his first date with Sophia, a 24-hour affair that ended with him proposing and her agreeing, even though it’s clear that it’s only puppy love. At least from Vince’s side as we are never allowed any insight into why Sophia agreed even though it did not really fit with the little we know about her character. That’s pretty much all Vince did. At the end, the gang jets off to Europe.

Eric continued his season-long attempt to woo Sloan by harassing her, trying harder now that he knows that she’s pregnant with his child. That’s pretty much all Eric did. At the end, Vince rents Eric and Sloan a plane to fly anywhere so they can work out their differences. I’m sure they will, and in two months, Eric will find some other minor thing to freak out about and leave. Last time, it was because her father wanted him to sign a prenup.

Turtle and Drama argued on behalf of Eric to Sloan. That’s pretty much all Turtle and Drama did. Turtle’s restaurant? Who cares. Drama’s animated series and TV movie? Who cares.

Jeremy Piven as Ari Gold and Perrey Reeves as his wife in Entourage

Jeremy Piven as Ari Gold and Perrey Reeves as his wife in one of the show’s many more-pointless-than-The-Sopranos’ therapy scenes.

Ari Gold and his marital strife took center stage. Not that this is the worst thing as Piven is the best actor in the cast, but the show is Entourage and not Agent for a Member of an Entourage, and, as I mentioned before, the problems with his wife were played out. Also, some couples shouldn’t be together even if both parties love one another; the Golds were such a pairing. Nevertheless, Piven provided a good performance that only highlighted the error of making the finale about three people in love when only one of them could handle the desperation and longing required to make us believe in it. At the end, an in-the-midst-of-a-breakdown Ari quits his job, abandons Hollywood, and decides moves to Italy with his wife. She agrees.

But waits, there’s a post credits sequence! While in Italy, a rich and powerful studio owner offers Ari his job! Now, Ari could be the guy behind the guys! Will he take the job? Well, that’s for the movie to tell us. A cliffhanger like that puts the Joker card at the end of Batman Begins to shame.

Joker Card from Batman Begins

Am I being too critical of Entourage? Probably. Even from the start, everyone knew it was fluff, but does fluff necessarily means devoid of all substance? With the story told, Entourage ended up being about nothing more than idiots bored with everything, for whom everything works out, with only the most negligible suffering (plus Ari Gold). That could have been an interesting angle to take — the ennui that comes with having anything you want at your beck-and-call – but it never took that angle. It never took any angle. And I doubt the possible movie will have an angle either.

To conclude, let me throw in praise for another HBO series based in the movies — Extras. In it, extra, writer, and actor Andy Millman (Ricky Gervais) had to choose between fame and artistic integrity. This internal debate drove the character, especially during the second season and final episode. At one point, he is told that only the very best get to have both, and he is not one of those people. This made for a much richer character than Vinny Chase and a much more fulfilling show than Everything Works Out For Everyone.

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  • phil just phil

    This show has been a suckfest of suck since the New York season and then Vince is back in business. Whatever anyhoo I tuned cause I loved the characters of the show more then the plot lines. Last year really captured my interest due to the whole Vince downfall thing. I swear it would have been great have Vinnie Chase die as a result. If anyone says hey we see that in the real hollywood stars far too many to name then I respond thats exactly why I wanted to see him die as such. Not hate towards Vinnie Chase at all but that would have been totally an unexpected but most importantly a unique plot twist to the show. Then I can see this season with all the stuff without Vinnie chase. Sure he is the star of the show but it would have been so cool to watch a tragic downfall of a young star.

  • Gary Dinowitz

    Super suckfest. Another show that ends with little thought or imagination. At least this time they finished the thing, if barely, not like HBO did with Carnival or Heros did on the network.

    I have never been so disappointed in an ending, they did not even try to end things with any effort. Should have had Sloane die in a car crash, Vinny get Aids, Turtle end up gay with Lloyd, Drama become a star and Ari go broke.

  • Killer

    I love this show…!!! all of u suck and not the show

  • Connery

    Entourage has always been true to it´s core values, so I was´nt expecting nothing revolutionary for the ending, just the same simple formula that I loved.

    I can´t wait for the film.

    Seinfeld has got nothing to do with Entourage, don´t see the connection, so I see no point in your bitter comparison. Did´nt see no one with the talent of Jeremy Piven in Seinfeld either.

    With Entourage I learned about the Hollywood backstage like no other show did. Still don´t know what did I got with Seinfeld besides a few canned laughs.

  • Andreas

    Entourage should not be seen as a show, created for the critic to love, but solely as a feel-good show. It is easy to tear apart the plot and make it look silly, but the true value lay in the depth of the characters, the way they evolve and their relations towards eachother. It is so easy to relate to their feelings and that is what caries this show imo.

    So please dont butcher the poorly written plot and focus on the gallery of characters, which in my eyes, is some of the best ever seen on television (at least the years i’ve been around)

  • fringe

    In response to

    Connery Says:
    September 12th, 2011 at 8:34 am

    “…..Seinfeld has got nothing to do with Entourage, don´t see the connection, so I see no point in your bitter comparison. Did´nt see no one with the talent of Jeremy Piven in Seinfeld either……”

    Jeremy Piven WAS in fact in Seinfeld so your observation is invalid as is your grammar.

  • guy

    Great review, I reviewed this too and also agree with the statement that even fluff should have some substance. The show seemed to revel in its unbelievability. Vince gets married..yes that would seem to be a good ending point, but the execution was outlandish. Also, asking a girl to marry you after one day isn’t “growing up” as some defenders of the show have stated. Its the opposite. Its almost like some teenage version of love and shows immaturity. And for this woman to go along with it also seemed to be a betrayal of what we knew of her. Strippers marry guys they meet in Vegas after a day, not award winning journalists.

    Saint Vince makes Turtle a millionaire, gets E back his girl and gets the happy ending. Disney shows for teens are less sugary sweet. Eric sleeps with her stepmom, freaks about a prenup and dumps her(hardly surprising if the character has daddy’s money) and her family despises him, but all that goes out the window for the big happy ending. Its just too unbelievable even if you like the show.

    I always thought Ms. Ari was miscast. That actress is way to good looking. Woman who keep that kinda body in their 40’s like guys like Ari because they want shopping and the finer things. They do not want their men playing house at home. (its usually the opposite) A woman a little frumpier that would be jealous of her bigtime husband that he loved would have been more believable.

    The show had no conflict, no drama, and was unbelievable. The little wit and skewing of the entertainment industry it had ended around season 3. The series took no chances and never showed anyone in a bad light. There wasn’t even any sex or vugarity in the final seasons despite being on HBO. As I said, except for some swear words, this could have been a bland network show. Very dissapointing

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