TV Talk: Entourage
Starring: Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Rex Lee, Perrey Reeves, Jeremy Piven
Series Creator: Doug Ellin
I once lavished extensive praise on this series, after catching up on the first two seasons through the power of downloads. It was fresh, hip, and fun, accented by a fantastic performance by Jeremy Piven as the motormouthed insult king Arie Gold.
Then I was able to watch the series as it aired beginning with the third season, and strangely, my enthusiasm for it faded. The series moved away from spotlighting the charmed life of Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), and began to thrust more and more obstacles at the cast, going on an extended hiatus with Vince firing Arie after a long period of unemployment and aborted attempts to book him a follow-up to Aquaman.
For some reason, after several months off, the show decided to pick up the story and continue on the season (after releasing season three part one as an overpriced DVD set). Why they didn't just call this next session of episodes "season four" is a question best left to the philosophers of the future, especially since the firing of Arie had all the hallmarks of a season finale, and the next episode jumped ahead a few months with Vince having hired a new agent (Carla Gugino).
But the second half of season three did share one thing in common with the first half: it still wasn't any good. But, it shares that distinction with season four (which started two weeks after season three finally ended, making this season separation thing even more stupid). The fun of the first two seasons has mostly ended, leaving me with the stark realisation that the show isn't all that funny, and every character on it is a worthless jackass. Worse, I'm not entirely confident that this wasn't always the case.
Once they softened Arie's character, giving a bigger role to his assistant Lloyd (Rex Lee and his wife (Perrey Reeves), who both joined the main cast, and somehow became less appealing as a result. At this point, I basically watch the show every week because it's easier to watch it than it is to not watch it. It's a half hour when I only watch one other show during the week. Were it on in the fall, I'm not sure that I wouldn't have given up on it already.
The big story of the season is their effort to finally make Medellin, a movie Vince and Eric (Kevin Connolly) have been after since season one. They finally got the movie at the end of season three, and made it to begin season four, showing us the making of with a mockumentary-style episode that at least did something new for the series. Sadly, the whole fake movie looked terrible, but I'm not sure it was supposed to. Worse, the promotion of the flick and the next movie has pushed crazy director character Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro) to the forefront, and he's basically the Cousin Oliver of the show and symbolic of everything that sucks about the series. He's unfunny, obnoxious, and hammy.
Do I think the show can turn it around? Not really. I think the word is out, and the fun guest stars that used to power the show are no longer interested in attaching themselves to this sinking ship. Instead, the show finds floundering celebs like M. Night Shyamalan or hacks like Brett Ratner and praises them as though it were an episode of Inside the Actor's Studio. It's really embarrassing. Will I keep watching? Sadly, I probably will, at least until the end of this season, or the half-season finale or whatever they're doing this time.
Thoughts? Disagreement? Ideas? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Entourage - Seasons One and Two
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