Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at a few shows from the new fall season of television. You can find the archive of those reviews here.
Our Wealthy, Sexually-Charged But Ultimately Disappointing Future in Hollywood
by Alex Carnevale
To take the fun out of casual sex and Hollywood stardom is a heady and important task. While some shows glorify an upscale, urban lifestyle to the people in the center of this country, Entourage has managed to make being rich, famous, and able to get whatever ass you want entirely undesirable to the human race at large. Roots and The Sopranos never accomplished as important a task, for obvious reasons.
According to Mark Wahlberg, Entourage was initially conceived when his assistant asked to film him and his friends, calling them “hilarious.” Other reports credit Eric Weinstein, a long-time friend of Wahlberg’s, with the idea of filming the successful actor’s group of friends.
Some people – presumably those whose states end in vowels – hang out with their high school buddies through their lives. There is nothing wrong with this per se, but the more we watch this show, the more convinced we become that such an arrangement is stifling for personal growth.
Evolving is a difficult thing under such circumstances, and wannabe agent and closeted homosexual Eric Murphy is still trying to be taken seriously because of it. The little brute isn’t much for creativity, so he attempts to produce a film with little success. Seemingly, he’s still reeling from his breakup with Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), the last hot girl he will ever contemplate intercourse with.
The fact that Kevin Connolly had sex with Nicky Hilton and Haylie Duff is too maudlin and fantastic. It’s not real. What do you say after sex with Kevin Connolly? “That was pretty good, E”?
And yet the producers of Entourage have gold in this character. Watching him suffer is like having an orgasm slowly, and you don’t hate yourself afterwards, you hate Eric.
It’s sad they are unwilling to give him any more negative life feedback than sighs of disappointment and a client of color. But if they were out to make us feel uncomfortable, sad and disturbed about what Eric Murphy does for a living, they wouldn’t have him largely dispensing stony glares, and flexing the acting muscle of a young William Shatner. This show could be a lot more.
In this new season we can’t even vicariously celebrate the exuberance of Vince’s Jewish agent Ari. He’s depressed because his client can’t get a role. ‘Inaction’ is never much of a plotline for a serial, and yet Entourage seems to be milking it for a three episode arc. Hollywood is apparently so bereft of ideas that it can’t even invent random ones it will never have to produce.
medellin, vince’s bomb
Then there’s the Adrian Grenier character, who meaningfully utters in the second episode of Entourage‘s sixth season, “Ari, do you think I’m a good actor?” Why has this show not had him tempted by Scientology or the Kabbalah? It makes no sense.
Still, Vince’s predilection for grabbing what’s in front of him is sort of charming. For a person like Vince, every flirtation – real or on the internet is easily taken advantage of, even when it’s Gossip Girl “star” Leighton Meester. You can absolutely see the script meeting for this episode. “What’s a show that’s as badly written as ours, and yet slightly more popular?” “Gossip Girl?”
i’m going to stare wistfully until you agree not to pawn me off on your model friends, leighton
“I know that Entourage is often demeaning and crude, but there’s also a lot of social commentary,” Grenier recently quipped. Playing a movie star is every actor’s dream, and Grenier can’t get enough of it. Why do we feel like he’s a career move away from dating Melanie Griffith, or the modern-day Melanie Griffith, Anna Faris?
The reality of Hollywood glamour is, amazingly, even sadder:
Travis Case, a young, struggling actor scans the room at Guy’s and says, “Four out of seven times, I’ve gone home with a different girl.” The blonde perks up, inching toward Balfour. “I just turned 33,” she boasts. “And my breasts grew a cup size to C. Some birthday present.”
The brunette, whose breasts don’t need any help, feels left out. “I’m a 21-year-old virgin,” she says. “I date older guys. I dated this famous singer. I don’t want to say his name. OK, it’s Mark McGrath. I wouldn’t let him…you know.”
“Great,” says Balfour. “If you ever date one of my friends, I’ll remind them how you kiss and tell.”
the real life turtle with mark wahlberg
Honestly, this show has become so unintentionally depressing that it’s gotten good again. After I watch an episode of Entourage, I feel much better about being a (slightly) more substantial person. I read books, I don’t drink as much, and I no longer covet the advances of beautiful women, because what’s the point?
Entourage has taught me a more important lesson than the mere satisfaction of Ross finally getting with Rachel, or the exculpatory thrill of Janice shooting Richie Aprile with a shotgun. Living large isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. Would you like to know more?
PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING
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