Friday, April 06, 2007

Entourage: Separation Sunday

Today's column looks at the upcoming season (or half-season, or whatever the hell you call it) of "Entourage":
When couples break up, their friends are usually forced to pick sides. Continuing to hang around with both would prompt awkwardness, not to mention pressure to act as a spy for one or both. So you start weighing the pros and cons of each, maybe even write a list.

With "Entourage," I need no such list or even a moment to decide. I choose Ari over Vince.

When the showbiz comedy ended its last batch of episodes in August, callow movie star Vince Chase (Adrian Grenier) had just dumped splenetic agent Ari Gold (Emmy winner Jeremy Piven), blaming Ari's arrogance and bullying for the collapse of a movie deal. As the show returns in its new post-"Sopranos" coronation time slot, the split is treated very much like a romantic one.

Vince has tried to dull the pain by moving on to another woman, brunette bombshell Amanda (Carla Gugino), while Ari is pining and plotting to win him back.

The danger in splitting up the show's two main characters (three, if you count Kevin Connolly as Vince's manager/best friend Eric, who's also on the outs with Ari) is that you're not just forcing viewers to choose sides over who's right. (And in this case, the writers don't want to acknowledge how Vince's laid-back impulsiveness has derailed his career at least as much as Ari's behavior.) By keeping the two apart, essentially operating in parallel narratives, you're forcing them to choose which one they like better, and this is really no contest.
To read the full thing, click here.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised they're having Vince do more fratboy/wish fulfillment storylines. That was the focus of the first season, which was incredibly weak. The show only picked up once they started focusing on the biz (and, I guess by extension, Ari.)

And what is the deal with this "season?" Why is this considered part of the third season and not just the fourth season? And when will the fourth season be premiering? I don't understand HBO.

Dan Coyle said...

It's funny, but I always considered Eric the real lead character of the show.

Anonymous said...

Eric was supposed to be the lead. He gets first billing and when they were promoting the first season Mark Wahlberg brought Kevin Connelly with him to the Howard Stern show. But he's by far the least interesting character.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Eric is I guess technically the lead, but he's even more boring than Vince. And the same problem applies whether you consider E or Vince the star: without Ari, their lameness stands out like a neon sign.

benaiah said...

The show is dead without Ari. The basic premise of the show is pretty ugly, just male wish fulfillment basically. I have heard some call it the male "Sex in the City" a comparison that looks bad for both shows. Ari, though, is unbelievable. I disagree with the first season being terrible, as I think maybe the best moment ever was in season one. In "Busey and the Beach" when Ari storms into the house and absolutely eviscorates Josh Weinstein "You want Jo-jo the clown faced b****-boy call Josh Weinf*** the light weight pen stealing f***-face," and then he drinks his mimosa. At that moment I knew I would watch the show as long as it was on the air.

Andrew Dignan said...

The problem with the show is it's too breezy for its own good. There is no mini-conflict which won't be resolved by the 24-minute mark, often with all the guys in some sort of embrace (or shared experience). You also hit the nail on the head as the show's creators are a little too close to the source and seem unwilling to turn a critical eye towards Vince's myopic behavior. Yeah some of the lines are clever and I get the vicarious pleasure of being in on all the jokes (does anyone who isn't "industry" or at least "industry-savy" even watch this show?) but it's just so damn insubstantial even by the standards of a sit-com.

Intoxicated said...

Egad Alan. Did you have to give spoilers for the next 5 episodes?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Those aren't spoilers, not compared to some other things that happen over the course of the five.