Friday, July 10, 2009

Entourage: That's it for me!

"Entourage" has become a kind of no-win show for me. When I criticize it (as I've often done the last few seasons), its fans complain that I'm just watching to pick it apart. On the rare occasions when I praise it, the people who, like me, are still watching for reasons they don't really understand, complain that I'm going too easy on the show. And when I don't bother to write up an episode at all, both sides complain about that, usually by disrupting discussion of other shows.

Having seen the first two episodes of the new season (which begins this Sunday, after a new episode of "Hung"), I realized that I just don't care enough anymore to keep watching, let alone to keep blogging about it. I won't even rehash my usual complaints about the show (if you've been reading me long enough, you know what they are, and if you don't, click on the "Entourage" tag below for some hints).

So, barring something unusual, this will be my last post on the subject, and the only reason I'm doing it is to avoid more "Hey, where's the 'Entourage' post?" comments. For those looking forward to more posts, whether you like the show or hate it but can't stop watching, my apologies. File this under life being too short.

43 comments:

paulf said...

I reached the "not caring" point around the start of Season Three. I liked the show enough during it's first two seasons (though looking back it was rarely funny, just well made) but it never really caught me the way it did other people.

I don't miss it one bit.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I probably should have given up on it back then, but the brief period at the start of last season where it looked like Vince would struggle for once in his career sucked me back in.

Dan said...

I have to admit that it has gone seriously down hill over the past 2 seasons. However, it still offers enough comedy for me to tune in...albeit not as religously as I used to.

Plus, in my opinion you can never see enough beautiful women....

the2scoops said...

Congratulations Alan - sweet freedom at last. I am impressed you stuck with it as long as you did.

Fernando said...

The show is at its best when showing the wheeling and dealing it takes 2 get anything made in Hollywood. It has strayed from that focus some and done a lot of Vince lifestyle porn, but it still hits some high notes.

Anonymous said...

Stopped watching long ago.

But looking at that photo, I finally realized how damn short everyone on that show is. Isn't there anyone over 5'7" in Hollywood?

Club4911 said...

Alan,

Do you think Entourage would be watchable if it switched it's focus from Vince and gang to Ari as the central character. Let's see Ari battle managing multiple actors, writers, producers, studios, and the unique pressures of the industry today. (Even shows re guild strikes, concerns on digitization of content,etc...) This would be more interesting, and Piven is the only actor strong enough to hold a show together. Vince and gang could still be there, but as a small, side character only.

Would/could that ever happen?

Club4911 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eugene Freedman said...

Part of the problem is the show is that the lead character is unlikable yet everyone loves him. Vince is insufferable. Turtle is good comic relief, but he can't stand on his own. Johnny Drama can, but when the show becomes too much about him, it's no longer Entourage, it's the Johnny Drama Show. Ari is good, but when he's just sh!tting on people, it gets annoying. It's much better when Lloyd and Mrs. Ari are given material and aren't just props for Ari to unload on. Unfortunately, that's rare. And, while E may be the only complete character, he never seems to go anywhere, mainly b/c he's tied to the unlikable Vince.

Despite all this, I haven't found a lot of other shows to take my attention away from this one.

olucy said...

I watch for Piven. If he wasn't in the cast I would have bailed long ago.

I just caught Season 5 On Demand two weeks ago, and they ran the ep list a little out of order. So I watched the penultimate ep thinking it was the season finale and was temporarily impressed that they'd end with the boys going back to New York and facing the unknown.

That was short-lived when I realized my mistake. Once again Vince is given a life-line he hasn't earned. He's a bad actor, and I can't believe Scorcese or any director would think the scenes where he was *screaming* to convey *pathos* was good acting. Oh well. Like I said...I watch for Ari (and Lloyd).

Ryan said...

While I kept watching through Season 5, my current lack of HBO may break me of the habit. It's a shame because the first two seasons and the first half of season 3 were really good television. Beyond the limitations in the cast that others have noted, the writing on this show became progressively lazier as time went on. Remember Turtle trying to grow up so he could date Rufus' daughter? Better writing could cure some of this show's most glaring problems, but I believe they have talked about ending it after a 7th season. Hopefully it can somehow regain a little of its past highs rather than continue to stumble towards the finish line.

mjmercado said...

I stopped watching after season 3. I had exactly the same type of reaction to this show, Alan. At that point I realized I had grown to hate all of the characters and was really only watching out of habit. Even Ari's act wore thin. Now whenever this show comes up in conversation, I trash it, probably because I'm mad about wasting so much time those first 3 years.

dyb said...

I guess now's the time to post a link to "Every week on Entourage":
http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1914477

(NSFW language bleeped out)

My guess: This season will have three occurrences of "Vince can't do the movie / Vince can do the movie."

LA said...

I'm still watching for the same reason I'm still watch Grey's... I'm somewhat invested in the characters, there are a few laugh-out-loud moments, and I get to mock it later.

Making Ari (and LLOYD) the central character is an interesting idea.

While I don't find Vince insufferable, I do find him utterly uncharismatic. Not sure if it's deliberate or if it's Grenier's acting (guessing the latter).

A couple seasons ago, I thought Drama was the heart of the show, but now I think it's E. He's the only one who has grown at all. Will be curious to see if that continues this season.

Nicole said...

If the Torchwood mini-series proves anything it's that it is possible for a mediocre show to actually improve as time goes on. Entourage was a funny mediocre novelty at first and has been repeating the same note over and over and over and over again. None of these guys deserve any of the breaks they get, especially Vince. Perhaps the show would improve if the focus stayed on Ari, but we would probably soon realize how little his character evolves from week to week.

DeeTV said...

I'm tired of this show too. The only reason I still watch is it's one of the few shows my husband will watch other than sports. So we watch together.

Alan - I've always been curious... do you get to pick the shows you watch to blog about or are they dictated to you by the "powers that be" (i.e., your boss/job)?

Anonymous said...

I'm another one of those people that will watch it even though I really dislike it. I don't have the will power to just stay away. Instead, I watch it just to make myself angry but at least it's only a half hour long oppossed to Heroes. If there's something better on during it's time slot, please let me know. But with the dearth of programming in the summer I know I'll end up watching it almost every week.

Kevin Michaels said...

I gave up on Entourage midway through season 3, although I picked up most of it through reruns on those nights when there was nothing else on. Whatever appeal it once had faded a long time - the only character who was even remotely interesting other than Ari was Billy Walsh, and he turned into another cartoon after a few episodes and Vince's accountant (Beansie from the Sopranos). It's just bothersome that Vince always winds up on top (and gets the girl) no matter what.....it's like no Hollywood scene I know.

Robin said...

Hey Alan,

sorry, I don't know where else to post this comment...but have you ever reviewed "The Listener?" I'm curious to know what you think about it.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Robin, I was so bored by it I didn't even bother to write a review or blog post.

Andrew said...

Vince isn't really the main character of the show. He's the person whose life the show revolves around, but isn't it supposed to be about his entourage-- the friends, family and hangers-on surrounding the star? (Hence why Connolly gets first billing in the credits over Grenier.)

I gave up before last season started. It could be a much better show than it aspires to be.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also, based on the Ari stories of the last couple of seasons, and the Ari stories in the two episodes of this season that I watched before throwing in the towel, I doubt even an Ari-centered Entourage would be all that interesting. The show's being written on auto-pilot.

Anonymous said...

Wait a second here. No one finds it believable that someone like Scorcese would watch outtakes of a few scenes and offer that guy the lead in a new flick??

SC said...

Alan,
Even the promise of more Gary Cole made you bail? How sad that Deadwood goes into the wind after 3 years, and this drech just keeps on going.....is it true that there are 2 more years??

Chip said...

I'm surprised you held out this long Alan. Hey at least new Curb is coming soon

Anonymous said...

I shudder to think that there will be a new season beyond the one that has not officially begun. It was an entertaining show. Rex Lee and Perrey Reeves are the ones who who make this show bearable when they appear. Piven's, Ari, has grown tiresome (and I lost a certain amount of respect via his short broadway stunt). Like Alan, I tuned back last year when it seemed that Vince and co. were basically going to have to struggle. And it was said that that the show was going back to when it was "fun" i.e, S1 & 2. I didn't believe it for a second for S6. The only reason I continued to watch was because of its' lead in last season, True Blood. There isn't much quality tv on at 10:00pm during the summer on a Sunday evening. I haven't considered Entourage, quality, in several years. I wish Showtime had something on Sundays during the summer besides Monday evenings at the same time. However, I suppose there's larger machinations at work so Sundays during the summer are "HBO" guaranteed.

Juan Antonio Samaranch said...

Bout damn time.

Zapf Dingbat said...

People who continue to enjoy this show, I just don't know what to say about them. It's not quite as bad as the people watching According to Jim and The Hills. But it's not far behind.

Kel V Morris said...

Entourage stopped holding up for me when it was no longer the stupid, vapid chaser that calmed my nerves after the bracing shot of The Wire, Deadwood, or The Sopranos. When it started following the stupid and vapid True Blood, I started thinking "Why the Hell am I watching this? Why the Hell did I ever watch this?"

Kensington said...

I've never quite "gotten" what this show is supposed to be. If it's supposed to be a comedy, it isn't funny. If it's supposed to a drama, it's far to insubstantial. If it's meant to be some kind of docudrama, it isn't realistic.

What it is, I think, is just a fictionalized Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous update.

I feel kind of embarrassed for watching it this long.

Chip said...

Great show, can't wait

Bill Rawls said...

There are a whole lot of people watching something they don't like around here. That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Yeah I totally hate it but I watch it anyway. Its like all the people on AV Club's world was so crushed just because Transformers made a bunch of money.

I love when people say, this show was so much better in season 1 and 2... what when it wasn't as popular?

This show has basically been the same show for all of its seasons, and if you don't like it for that reason fine. But don't try and sell me that it has changed so much.

I guess unlike the zombie masses here, I just enjoy these characters and like knowing what they are up to.

srpad said...

I know the show has been lame for about two years now but I'm still watching. For me it is all about the "Inside baseball" hollywood stuff. If only they would bring Larry Sanders back and I could get my fix from that.

Jim said...

Who's the woman in the hat? Mrs Ari?

I quit watching a while ago. I'd watch again if it were on and I was too lazy to do anything else. Piven is a lot of fun, the inside baseball stuff is sometimes interesting, But the idea that Grenier is this principled actor who's better than his pretty face suggests... they can't sell that. The scenes when he had a belly and a mustache to play the Columbian drug dealer? He looked like an eighth grader who had gotten the role of Angry Dad, or Dorky Vice Principal, in the Middle School Follies. And if that was intentional for comic relief, the writers, cast and crew didn't seem to be aware of it.

Test said...

Since this is kind of a downer thread for those that followed the show (never watched it so I'm guessing I wont be starting now), so those aggrieved maybe need some light relief and ...

Since you mentioned people hi-jacked other shows to discuss this one it's justifiably fair and...

Since I missed the last recent open thread and this wasn't aired then so I couldn't have posted it anyway...

And since I know Alan you're a Rys Darby fan...

And since most of you don't live in Wellington New Zealand and aren't neighbors with the CC's (ok that's not true everyone knows every kiwi's neighbor is a sheep)

Then you probably haven't seen Rys Darby's brand new advert here for a new mobile phone company that's just started airing in NZ.

So for those of you interested in a tiny little slice more Darby magic I captured it and have posted it up on megaupload here:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=ROWX6QI2

Normal programming will now resume... sorry for the interruption from down under.

Ryan W said...

@ Bill Rawls

Yes, on some level this show has not changed much since its birth. On the other hand, even if the trappings are the same, the filling has become more stale and inconsistent with time. Look at some of last season's episodes for examples. Unlike some people, I found the "furrie" episode funny as hell, but tripping with Eric Roberts was a downright abortion and Vince thinking he lost money gambling with Dennis Hopper was not much better. I am not sure I can speak for everyone on here, but I would say that I have kept up with the show hoping that it could get back to its glory days because it WAS that good.

Tyroc said...

The second season was amazing.

And from what I hear, it's the least favorite of the head writer.

Which means the show is not for me.

I saw a promo during Hung where they interviewed the head writer and he said this new season is all about getting back to the fun -- the success. Now maybe he's under pressure to do this because that's what an HBO focus group said fans like, and so the network wants this. But when things go well for Vince it's amazingly boring.

And when the focus is NOT about how Eric is dealing with all this -- as the only real character on the show -- it's very repetitive, no matter how funny Kevin Dillon is. He's wonderful, but it's not enough to keep watching.

Oh, and what ever happened to that sweet African-American girl Turtle was courting? I liked that plot a lot better than his dating Meadow.

jasctt said...

Amazed you lasted this long. I gave up after the 3rd season. When the show began, I really thought it was something special because of the friendship between Eric and Vin, but as it went on, it lost sight of those "working class" roots and just became all about soulless, vacant starf*cking. I guess. As with everyhting else on HBO, the show is in decline. So sad. Ending DEADWOOD and the THE WIRE started the downturn.

Eyeball Wit said...

I probably should have given up on it back then, but the brief period at the start of last season where it looked like Vince would struggle for once in his career sucked me back in.

Does everything have to be The Wire or Deadwood? I got back from a five-hour drive with two bickering kids and minivan seats shaped like no human I know, and when I got back, there's no way I could have sat through The Wire, or even Sports Night.
But Entourage was perfect. A little stupid, but easy, the kind of show you can *watch* on auto-pilot.
FWIW, I was about to give up on it last season when things go bad for Vince. It would be like Sex in the City where Sarah Jessica Parker's character decides to give her Manolo's to Goodwill and do a mission trip to Paraguay.
The weird thing is that the last arc seemed like it was timed perfectly to coincide with Great Depression II. You know times are bad when even Vince can't find a job.
(FWIW, I *hated* Ari's confrontation with Adam Davies. Have Mrs. Ari go down and smack Davies, but if not, Ari's gotta end up in jail, with a broken jaw, or a broken windshield in his Ferrari.)
I am hopeful about this season. There will be Ferraris, girls in bikinis and maybe even some Emmanuelle Chriqui. I can live with that.

the Stanfield Org. said...

To revive a dying thread about a dying show, my take:
Season 1 was very good;
Season 2 I thought was great; Season 3 more or less sucked, but w/ enough good moments to stick around, hoping it could rebound to (close to) Season 2 form;
Season 4, which I think was really two separate seasons, was as much of a suck-fest as 3, minus the glimmer of hope that it would return to form.
Recently watched Season 5 on a bored night on demand, and, while marginally better than S3-4, still bore a far closer resemblance to those seasons than 1 and 2. Completely disagree that the show has not changed at all; while you could say that this is cosmetically the same show as when it first appeared a few years ago, the stories were a lot fresher, and the characters more likable, maybe because we didn't yet know they weren't actually going to progress at all. Worst part of watching Season 5 was that I pretty much found every Johnny Drama line to be groan-inducing, when I thought he was a genuinely funny and likable character in the early seasons.
I'm not planning to watch the new season week-to-week, but will probably watch it all in similar marathon fashion down the line, and imagine it will serve the same purpose as my season 5 viewing, namely as a breezy, irritating-but-not-entirely-unpleasant passing of a few hours time on a hungover Sunday afternoon, nothing more, hopefully nothing less.

Robin said...

HAHAHA, thanks Alan. I'm glad you thought The Listener was as bad as I thought :-)

Anonymous said...

Alan, you are such a loser for not liking this show ... this is my personal attack on you and your lack of taste. GFY

theo said...

Entourage jumped the shark a few seasons ago. imho it suffers from what i call actor's disease. all the actors want their characters to be likable or admired. but the question should always be: "is it funny". prime ex. turtle going out w/ JLS. i'm sure Jerry Ferrara whisperedin the writers ears to write his real life gf into the script to show her off but pls can anyone tell me what is funny about that storyline? nada. actor's disease is like a cancer on a show.