Monday, November 24, 2008

Entourage, "Return to Queens Boulevard": Every little thing's gonna be alright

Spoilers for the "Entourage" season five finale coming up just as soon as I buy a bar...

Dammit. Why did "Entourage" have to add Gary Cole to the cast? If it wasn't for him, it would be so easy to pull a "That's it for me!" after that finale, which was a concentrated burst of everything I dislike about the show. But I like Cole enough that I think I'm going to be suckered into watching at least part of next season.

It isn't just that everything always works out for Vince, in this case with a Deus Ex Marty Scorsese. (And was Scorsese watching a completely different set of "Smokejumpers" dailies than we saw? Because the footage they showed in the previous two episodes were a reminder that Vince isn't much of an actor.) I understand that the show is meant to be a fantasy camp. It's that everything always works out in the least interesting, least entertaining way possible. Vince and E have a big blow-up, E decides to explore a life without his meal ticket, and five minutes later, everything's just peachy. It's not dramatically interesting, it's not funny, it's not engaging. It's just... there.

Meanwhile, who wants to join me in filing a class action lawsuit for emotional trauma after witnessing the Turtle/Meadow Soprano phone sex scene? Maybe we could piggyback it onto some kind of suit against Michael Phelps' sponsors; dolphin boy will rue the day he agreed to have the briefest, most pointless cameo in the show's history.

What did everybody else think?

36 comments:

Supreme Cornelius said...

Mr. Alan,

I declare to you with sincerity that I thought the scenes depicting the angry Vincent Chase and the firing of manager and pal Eric were very good, but I too was beyond disappointed by the miraculous and ridiculously simple resolution.

I would have actually had optimism about Entourage if the season had ended with Vince out of work and Eric fired. Their two minute resolution at the end of this episode could have potentially been a decent multi-episode story arc to begin the next season.

This is the second or third time this season I had high hopes for the series only to see them quickly dashed. The other time was the ending of the episode when Ari was first offered the studio job. That was ruined when, in the next episode, Ari Gold inexplicably turned down a chance to run one of the largest studios in the industry and make a ridiculous amount of money for him and his family.

Senor Theodore IV said...

I would like to state the fact that, if Martin Scorcese were actually going to film "The Great Gatsby", I believe that he would set it in the time period of the novel rather than modernizing the setting.

I also declare that rather than this be a fictional idea in Enoutrage, that Martin Scorcese should ACTUALLY film an adaptation of "The Great Gatsby", and also that James Camerson should actually film an adaptation of Aquaman (although I doubt that it would beat Spider Man in real life).

Anonymous said...

haven't we been in the "I'm not going to be your manager"place once before, right before Eric actually became Vince's manager? (can't remember what season, but they were all getting on some private plane in that season finale)..unfortunately, all the seasons are starting to run together.
Not sure where this show can go any more, but I watch anyway...it's easy and you don't have to think too much.
Alan, one thing...after the flight of the conchords preview, there was some mini teaser about a new HBO comedy series coming in February...do you know what it was and have you heard anything about it?

Matt said...

Exactly--aside from the painful Turtle phone sex scene, the first 2/3 of this was actually pretty decent, until we got to the deus ex machina E/Vince reconciliation and Scorsese. (Also, isn't Vince more credible as Jay Gatsby, the guy who created his own fantasy life, than Nick Carraway?)

And the other show promoted was "East Bound and Down," a comedy starring Danny McBride ("Tropic Thunder," "Pineapple Express") as a former baseball player who returns to teach PE.

Toby said...

Michael Phelps should have bumped into Vince, not E. That would have at least been a good reason to bring him in to do the cameo - Clash of the Aquamen!

The rift between E and Vince should have lasted at least through the hiatus. Give the show at some kind of cliff-hanger to get some of the audience back next summer!

Anonymous said...

While I don't love how the show has been going, I do believe Vince is suppose to be a good actor.

Almost all the scenes we saw Vince was being sabotaged by a director who didn't want him. From the beginning Vince had his lines given away or removed. He tried to get the director to let him try scenes, and he wouldn't even allow Vince to do a full take. The final scene we saw Vince was doing fine until the cut to 3 hours later, which was the only real place Vince was doing rather bad.

The owner of the studio even said the takes he saw were great.

Jason said...

I watched the entire first Brady Bunch movie on HBO Saturday morning, and you know what? Gary Cole was awesome in that too.

M.A.Peel said...

I'm in the minority of the happy. I don't want any real-life tension in this half hour. I thought the Scorsese thing was fabulous. Like when Sex and the City brought in Baryshnikov, to top Mr. Big. It's a kind of gusto that I like.

zodin2008 said...

I found the whole "Smoke Jumpers disaster" to be rather depressing, since Vince had been struggling the entire season, so I maybe in the minority, but I felt very relieved to see things bounce back for everyone in the last episode.

I strongly disagree with you on this, Alan.

I also strongly disagree about Vince in the "Jumpers" dailies and thought he was doing a good job. And again, that a--hole director kept trying to sabatoge him, which didn't help.

Yeah, a lot of the down of the last few episodes being solved in the half hour format may seem a bit trifle, but it was such a depressing season at times, that I as a regular "Entourage" viewer felt vindicated seeing Vince and the gang end the year on a high note.

And I like the fact that the Jamie Lynn-Sigler/Turtle romance is bringing out a new side to the character and to the actor, Jerry Ferrara. And while many of us have a hard time believing someone who looks like her would be attracted to Turtle, considering there's real life (and really creepy) stories in the NY Post in recent months about her hooking up with former Sopranos co-star/brother Robert Iler, then it's now easier to believe her with Turtle.

bobviegas said...

The name of the show is Entourage, so you expect it to be about the ups and downs of mooching off a famous, wealthy actor. The show does a fair job with the upside, showing ridiculous perks when Vince is on the upswing. It doesn't, however, deliver on the downswing. The guy is broke and his friends are still mooching off of him, and he claims to be cool with it. That would never fly in real life.

Look at what happened to Michael Vick for hanging out with his entourage. Couldn't Vincent Chase suffer some repercussions (but less sordid, clearly) for "keeping it real"? It just amazes me how HBO have their hands on an idea that could be very interesting, but keep it as clever as an episode of Teletubbies.

All I learned from Entourage is to never read TV reviews from Newsday, because HBO keeps plastering praise from that paper every time they promote that show on TV.

Kevin Michaels said...

Hugely disappointing (other than the scene with Turtle's mother interrupting his phone sex - that was funny). I know this is fantasy-world but it gets a little boring watching Vince always triumph. Maybe it would be more interesting if we changed the concept of the show, focused on Miller-Gold and made Vince just a minor character......

Everytime I've watched this show for the past two + seasons I find myself paraphrasing Quintus from Gladiator: "People should know when thet are conquered" - in this case, people should know when their time's up.

Anonymous said...

The show would have been much better off if last week had been the finale. At the very least they could have used the trip back to NY for something other than an excuse to party yet again. I also think watching E make a go of his career without Vince as a client and potentially becoming the breadwinner of the group would have been a hell of a lot more interesting than Scorcese swooping in to save the day On the other hand, Vince has spent the entire season either tyring to recover from the Medellin debacle or dealing with the Smokejumpers fiasco. So I guess the writers feel like it's time for him to be back on top--it's just too bad that, as you said, they did it in the least interesting way possible and with so many mini-victories for Vince along the way.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I found the whole "Smoke Jumpers disaster" to be rather depressing, since Vince had been struggling the entire season, so I maybe in the minority, but I felt very relieved to see things bounce back for everyone in the last episode.

If the show wants to be a fantasy camp, that's fine. But then just be that. Don't introduce false jeopardy for the sake of false jeopardy, when you have no idea how to resolve it in a way that's remotely believable, funny, interesting, entertaining, etc.

It's Kanye West's plane to Cannes all over again.

Anonymous said...

If only the epsiode had ended about 3 minutes sooner. I would have loved them to go into next season with the group split and Vince out of work. I loved the cell phone scene and the arguement. Too bad.

bobviegas said...

I found the whole "Smoke Jumpers disaster" to be rather depressing, since Vince had been struggling the entire season, so I maybe in the minority, but I felt very relieved to see things bounce back for everyone in the last episode.

Struggle? What struggle? Barring the repoing of a car, a couple of lines from an accountant and some coach plane rides, there was no change in their lifestyles and antics. Then again, I guess the writers count that viewers living vicariously through these characters need not empathize with them.

Ben said...

I think someone made reference to this earlier, but I think the the only way to really save this show is turn the focus on to Ari and the Miller/Gold agency.

Ari dealing with new clients every week so they can keep pumping in the cameos

Lloyd right by his side, great.

Drama and Turtle can stay around, but yes, turn E and Vince into minor characters.

I know this isn't going to happen, but after this piss poor ending, something needs to change

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one that sees this ending as a great set up for next season? Vince on top, way on top, oscar winner top. E and Vince still have a rift from their fight, E struggling to make it on his own, Drama, failed as an actor and a bar owner, and Turtle finally getting something to do. With Vince on top, it gives the rest of the cast more to do, he's just there to make money.

Ryan said...

Funny, as the credits started rolling last night I immediately told my girlfriend what Alan's reaction to the show would be, and I wasn't far off the mark.

I agree that the final two minutes could have easily comprised the first half of season 6, but, then again, this show has never been known for its tight writing (Turtle's magically disappearing relationship with Rufus' daughter? The casualness with which both Sloan and Anna Faris were written off?). I still think season 2 holds up as one of the best seasons of a TV show in recent memory, and the first part of season 3 is not far behind it, but this season wasted a lot of early promise. Even if it makes me a big sucker, I know I will probably be back to watch this again.

Nicole said...

Did I miss the part where Johnny Drama was kicked off his television series? I couldn't figure out why he returned to New York if he still had a job in LA. Also, who was the brunette hanging out with them? I missed if she was a former girlfriend and sorta didn't care enough to rewind to find out.

I think it was stupid to resolve all Vince's problems in the last two minutes because his scene with E where he was angry actually held some interest for me. The writers on this show are so lazy, I just don't understand the praise.

Tyroc said...

While this wasn't as shocking a jolt as the last few minutes of the first season of Californication were, (minutes that ruined that show for me, and I haven't looked back) the quick turnaround at the end of this episode was pretty terrible. And not funny, clever, or particularly interesting.

Why couldn't they have ended the season with Drama being the star of a TV show (thus making the thirty grand per episode-- or more -- that could pay for the bar investment) with Turtle finally in a relationship (even if it's not a very believable one, despite the truth of their real life relationship as Jerry Ferrara is a successful actor and Turtle is not), and E doing well as a manager without Vince. Thus Vince, is left with having to live off his Entourage for a bit. And also with having had a split with his best friend over business issues. THAT would've made a good finale.

But instead they went for the "happy" ending where everything once again works out for Vince, even if he was completely passive in having achieved it. Boring!

Andrew said...

Also, isn't Vince more credible as Jay Gatsby, the guy who created his own fantasy life, than Nick Carraway?

No way. Gatsby is a meaty role that requires some genuine acting talent and ability to show inner torment. Carraway is in many ways a passive observer, which makes it a role that an empty vessel like Vince might actually be able to play without it being immediately noticeable how much he sucks.

Anonymous said...

When Scorsese called, did anyone else think that he was calling Vince to sell him a timeshare in Boca Raton?

Agree with Alan about the ridiculous "everything is all right" ending. They should have milked the split between Vince and E for at least an episode or two.

Best part of the episode was the use of the Stone Roses song. Epic.

Darren

Dave said...

I too was disappointed with the quick resolution. The show should have ended its season with Vince and E having split. The resolution was just too neat.

And I had trouble with Scorsese wanting Vince for a remake of The Great Gatsby. Just done't see it. So I got to thinking, what would be an appropriate movie remake and role for Vince to appear in. Here's my list:

1. Gone with the Wind (as Charles Hamilton)
2. The Godfather (Fredo)
3. It's a Wonderful Life (Bert or Ernie)
4. Star Wars (C3PO)
5. 2001 A Space Odyssey (Hal 9000)
6. High Noon (Harvey Pell)
7. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Sleepy)
8. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Woodcock)
9. Raiders of the Lost Ark ( Arab Swordsman)
10. Double Indemnity (Mr. Dietrichson)

That's just off the top of my head... I'm sure others could do better :-)

driches said...

I thought they were going to resolve "Smokejumpers" by twisting the assumptions about the director: I thought they were going to have the director (before he admitted to hating Vince from day 1) be right about him as an actor, and once Vince drops his ego and accepts the direction, he really does give an amazing performance that resurrects him (he was TERRIBLE in that scene...the notion that that scene got him Gatsby is doubly ludicrous).

Alan, the show isa fantasy camp, but the fantasy should be in the peripherals: model-hot girls everywhere, fancy cars, etc. However, the inside-Hollywood stuff has to be somewhat realstic to work. That's what made season 2 so compelling.

Deus ex Scorcese was terrible. And how many times do we need to see a variation on the Vince/E "this isn't working out" followed by "I love you, bro" scene?

So Cal said...

I really enjoyed this season up til this last one...

To see Vince actually show emotion and care about his career was nice to see, as was their fight. Really pathetic they solved it over the course of the episode.

And i agree with driches. My roomates and I watch the show every week and could not believe the studio head, Van Sant, and Scorese liked what he did...HE WAS AWFUL


D'ah well, i know i'll be back next summer, only to be disappointed again

Andrew said...

Re: a show centered around Miller-Gold - they already did that years ago. It was called Arliss.

floretbroccoli said...

First Patti D'Arbanville, now Mercedes Ruehl. Who's going to play Mama Chase next?

JasonR said...

@floret

I believe that Patti was E's mother, Mercedes Ruehl was always Vince and Johnny's mother.

floretbroccoli said...

Thanks for the correction. I remembered it wrong and imdb was NO help.

lungfish said...

It seems like they condensed 2 episodes of material into 1. They didn't even bother explaining how E got Vince the spot in the Scorcese movie. Plus Vince being that close to his new girlfriend all of a sudden seemed rushed too.

Too bad Joaquin Phoenix deciding to quit acting in real life happened after they shot this episode- it would have saved them the trouble of coming up with the breaking of his arm bit.

Anonymous said...

The phone sex thing was a travesty.

Jamie Lynn should fire her agents STAT.

sane jane said...

lungfish,

You have to follow the trail of breadcrumbs: E was persistent with Van Sant, who wound up actually liking the dailies (again, wtf?) from Smokejumpers and eventually passed them over to Deus Ex Scorsese. That's why Ari gives E the credit.

This has undoubtedly been the worst season I can recall. Entourage went head-to-head against Mad Men S2 and lost every time. And I'm not even a huge MM fan...

Liam said...

Agree with Darren, my least favorite episode of all time, until I heard Love Spreads. Legendary. My reaction was to jump up and down screaming "STONE ROSES." Pretty much turned around the entire episode. Seriously, The Stone Roses. Go acquire their work somehow.

Joshua said...

I think that was the finest bit of acting Michael Phelps has ever done, no joke.

Brian said...

I was really hoping to see E stand his ground this time - this is the 2nd time Vince has showed NO faith in him and try to fire him.

And I wish E would throw back in everyone's face that HE had a buyer for Medellin but they all blew it by taking the movie to Canne.

Anyway, I think the show would've been far more interesting seeing E prove to himself that he can manage someone with no family/friend ties to the top and Vince seeing how tough it is working with a new manager. I would've been OK with them maintaing their friendship, allowing the whole "entourage" thing to continue - but E should've backed off as manager.

FredrikH said...

Considering the latest reports about Phelps post-Olympic life-style, I think he is exactly the kind of target audience the show wants (i.e. those who wants to attend wild parties with the rich and famuos). So, I think he is pretty happy with any cameo on the show...;)