(S06E04) "Wow, you pay for that or is there someone out there that would actually bang you for free?" - Ari
This is shaping up to be a helluva season for Entourage. Only four episodes in, and it feels like a completely different show than we're used to. Rather than wallowing in endless "woe is me plots" (every character on the show has been guilty of them in the five previous seasons), things feel fresh and the characters are growing up. Plus, instead of making me constantly laugh, Entourage is making me do something I never expected -- think.
(S06E01) "Can we drive with the airbags deployed?" - Drama
The boys are back, and as I mentioned in my Early Look review last week, everything we knew about Entourage finally seems to be evolving. Some of it's logical and some of it's forced so that the story progresses, but all of it makes sense. Entourage was due for an overhaul if you think about it, and what could be more perfect than seeing what life is like for the guys when they aren't constantly worrying about Vince's career?
You think Turtle would have ever had time to smoke a J in a hot tub with Jamie-Lynn Sigler if Scorsese hadn't called Vince? I don't think so.
Like many shows before it, Entourage has officially reached a point where the title of the program doesn't exactly make total sense anymore. Think season two of Prison Break after they had, you know... broken out of prison. In this case, we've spent five seasons watching boys become men, and much like the tagline for Entourage's sixth season plainly spells out, "life changes, friends don't." What exactly happens when Vince no longer has an entourage?
The show gets a helluva lot more interesting is what happens.
I've talked at length in the past about how much I've loved all the creative taglines Entourage has featured over it's previous five seasons. They're short and witty, yet the brevity always gets across the point of the season too. The latest promotional campaign for Entourage's upcoming sixth season is no exception:
"Life changes. Friends don't."
When we last left Vinny and the boys, they were gearing up for Marty Scorsese's Great Gatsby re-imagining and it began with moving home to Queens. Speculation seems to be leaning towards Vince finally getting his due and being recognized for what's sure to be a stand-out performance in a Scorsese classic.
As one of the few hits that's currently keeping HBO afloat, Entourage is still only a modest success - it's recent fifth season premiere hit a three-year low. Despite the lackluster ratings, HBO still gave the greenlight to a sixth season much earlier than expected... because, well, they don't have much else going on right now.
That being said, I'm a huge fan of the show and have been since it began. Yes, I'm one of the few that actually tuned in for the mostly ignored eight episode freshman season. I honestly don't see HBO pulling the plug without a true series finale at this stage in the series, but weirder things have happened and I want season six to roar back. So if you watch the show, great - glad to know you weren't part of that "three-year low" I mentioned. But if you used to watch Entourage, or never have, then this will be good for ya - the only six episodes you need to watch to know just what the heck is going on in the world of Vincent Chase.
(S05E12) "She's treating me like she usually treats Johnny." - Vince
Things certainly weren't looking good for Vince. But in true Entourage style, something always works out. Despite the fact that this was one of the strongest episodes of the season, I really wish it had ended differently.
(S05E02) "No indies E! Think of it like the Holocaust - never again!" - Ari
Ever since the beginning of Entourage, I've been waiting for this episode. As much as I love Vince, it's been a long time coming for his "I'll do whatever the hell I want" mentality to finally come full circle and bite him in the ass. His career is in the toilet, Ari even admitted that his worth as an actor "remains to be seen," and E is officially taking his own career more seriously. If Vince wants a comeback, then it's going to be up to him and I love that it's been set up that way. Up until now, his failures have been a direct result partly because of his reliance on Eric and partly because of his own laissez-faire, "what will be will be" attitude. If he screws it all up now, it's his own fault.
(S05E01) "Our next film is Medellin - the ultra-violent story of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar starring Vincent Chase in a fat-suit in bad make-up that makes him look like the love child of Jiminy Glick and a case of Twinkies." - Richard Roeper
Ouch. It's been six months since Cannes, Medellin is getting a straight-to-DVD release, and people are still talking about it. One of the worst films of the year. I can't say that I'm surprised. Considering how last season ended and what we've come to expect from Entourage, this felt less like a season premiere and more like just another episode. Vincent Chase can only stay down and out hidden in Mexico for so long before the allure of his almost dead career came calling.
(S04E12) "In France, I'm a Viking god." - Drama
Medellin. We've been talking about it all season. We've seen clips, a ridiculously good trailer for the film, and even a "making of" documentary. Despite all the positive hype, we've only had one question: what if it sucks? Well guess what? It sucks... a lot. Amidst a frantic and hyper crowd at Cannes, Medellin's screening worked like a sedative. Only Billy and Vince seemed to be enjoying the film as if they were in on some joke. It even garnered a few "boos." To be honest, it felt anti-climactic to me if only because this was exactly what I've been expecting. This was the only logical outcome. Everything always comes up roses for this crew. They needed a reality check and this proved to be the perfect vehicle for it.
(S04E11) "Ninety-seven minutes, E." - Drama
It just keeps getting better. Like everyone else, I've complained here and there about some of the mediocre episodes that have aired this summer. However, it's hard to stay angry when we get one like this. It was perfect really. Hands down, one of the best written episodes of Entourage -- spanning all four seasons. Think about it. When was the last episode that flawlessly integrated every character into the action as well as guest spots from Kanye West, Sydney Pollack, and Anna Faris?
(S04E10) "I like being E." - Turtle
Back to the season. This episode did what we like to call "advance the plot." Remember the plot? This show had one at one point, and as much as I've enjoyed the past few episodes exploring E's choices, I'm glad we finally got back to what the show is all about: Vince's career. Another cool factor? Eric had nothing to do with it this time around. As many folks predicted in last week's poll, right out of the gate E seemed to be focusing his energy on Anna and putting Vince on the back-burner. Doubt very much that'll last too long.
(S04E09) "Looks like someone found some fresh meat at the market." - Drama
Once again, another episode that didn't really have anything major going on. It was good though. It had some funny story lines and kept up with this trend of character development. We got tons this time around from Eric, Mrs. Ari, Vince, and Drama. Overall, the show is really establishing itself as more than just the story of Vince. It's broadening out in all directions, and even though I'm looking forward to the culmination of the season at Cannes, I'm looking forward to where everyone else ends up too.
I swear I tried to come up with a creative title for this post, but sometimes simplicity is best. We had to wait almost a year for the concluding half of Entourage's third season. It kept getting put off again and again, and I think it was because HBO wanted to keep it in line with the return of The Sopranos. Whatever. My point is that you'd think with all the re-scheduling, that the DVD set would hit the shelves quicker. No dice.
The set for season three, part two won't be in stores until October 2. Besides having to wait that long, you'd at least expect it to cost a little less, right? After all, it was only 8 episodes just like the first season. Wrong again. Expect to pay the same price that the longer seasons go for. Around thirty bucks. I wish I could say something exciting about some great special feature to make it seem like a worthwhile deal, but as with the other sets, I'm sure there will only be a few audio commentaries. I'm complaining, but of course I'm going to buy it. Part of me just wishes they had released the whole third season as one giant set and added a few featurettes or cast interviews. Something extra would have been nice.
[Thanks to reader Cam for the tip!]
(S04E08) "So... you've come to acquire my newly acquired desk." - Gary Busey
I'm starting to get the impression that the goal of this season of Entourage wasn't to create some huge season long story. Most of the season four episodes have been one-shots, with little connection to an over arching plot. Instead we've gotten boatloads of character development and this was no exception. Eric is going legit (finally) and it proves to be harder than he thought since it seems the only person in Hollywood who knows him is Vince. That story, while great, pales in comparison to the return of Gary Busey though. I guess Turtle's previous prediction of Gary "flying off the planet" didn't quite pan out.
(S04E07) "More like a smile I'd like to service." - Turtle
I'm not sure what they were thinking with this episode. It's not that it was bad. I thought it was great - some funny moments and some loose ends tied up. It was sort of like the Vegas episode. Looking at the big picture, it doesn't have much impact on the season but it still provided a nice departure from everything else that's going on. I guess it just goes to show that Entourage can pull off something like this more than once.
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