Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Television - To Be or Not to Be in the Entourage

Let’s face it, this is not compelling drama. The plot line and story arc are as thin as the cocktails at an Amish wedding. But what drives this show –for good and for bad—are the characters. And this, even though the writers have failed to give them any depth. Quite simply, these characters are shallow.

And that is either the most profitable event of serendipity in history or a ballsy risk taken by the writing staff of this program, because somehow these boys are interesting despite the fact that they are not interesting at all. They seem like people we all know; they’re not superlative; they’re accessible, like guys you could comfortably hang out with.

That’s the point, right? The boys have a modicum of charisma and a reasonably chill attitude, so much so that you’d feel right at home doing bong-hits with them in their kitchen. They celebrate E’s breakup by rolling off to Vegas, and you’re right there wedged in the car with them. Throw in millions of dollars to waste like spare change, and you’ve got the ultimate plug-in fantasy.

At least, that’s the way it is through the first two seasons. If you’ve plodded through the show week by week, forgetting about it between seasons, you may not have picked up on the nuances of change. But if, like me, you’ve watched all three seasons back to back over the course of ten days, you may have returned to your pre-Entourage ennui –if not visceral hatred—of the shallow cesspool that is LA.

By Season 3, you decide that these guys maybe aren’t so cool. It might be fun to have them visit you for a couple of days, as long as they stay in a hotel and not your crib—but after that it would be best if they moved on. No sense ruining a good thing.

By Season 3, Vince’s laid-back affability transforms into a perennially glib, affected aloofness. E’s natural modesty and insecurity has grown into smarmy superiority. Johnny Drama remains the same oaf, but is no longer low-key; rather, he’s grown exagerrated to the point of obnoxious. Turtle, probably the least attractive member and therefore not subject to quite as much off-screen, ego-inflating attention as the others, has maintained his odd blend of confident humility. So far.

The character of Ari, played by Jeremy Piven, if not the most experienced actor in the cast at least the most adept, has somehow improved. It’s as if he has taken the journey in reverse. Starting out as the most exagerrated egomaniac in the show, he has come to embody the more endearing qualities of honor and respect. Great credit for this must be given to Ari having actually had compelling events written for his character.

Still, as much as these guys have come to make me smirk rather than grin, I’m eager to see Season 4. It is an addictive show. Perhaps I should get a life.


Dude in Hammock said...

I agree. Ari is the only character who shows any sign of intelligent development. Another aspect of the show that irritates me is the way plot lines just get dropped. What happened to the whole 3X thing with E's girlfriend, for example? It occupied a couple of episodes, as I recall, then just disappeared.

You're right. It's all surface. Compelling, but unfulfilling. Chinese food for the soul.

Yosemite Sam said...

I wish there were more shows like Entourage. I find that the majority of stuff on tv is the same thing, another cookie cutter tv series, for example CSI and Law and Order....that, and every law, cop, and hospital show out there. This show is extremely original. The life of a movie star and his entourage and we actually get to see him hang out with other movie stars and directors. What sets the show apart is getting to see the power struggle among the agents and money men and the excessive means Ari has to go through in order to please his client and make the world around him work. In that atmosphere, there the viewer sees the full gamut of emotions, most of the time a lot of running around, yet in that the show is hilarious and extremely well designed and delivered. Entourage's originality makes it one of the best on tv and that's why it's up for the golden globe and why Jeremy Piven won for best actor in a comedy series at the Emmy's this past year.

....and hammock, I don't think you understood the threesome episodes. Eric wanted what he couldn't have. The threesome simply showed how he's struggling to maintain loyalty to his girlfriend and how it feels when faced with the temptation of being naked with another women without the permission to have sex with her. I'm glad Tori is gone, so he can keep dating Sloane. This shows Eric's stability and loyalty to Sloane.