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'Entourage' season premiere: Are you still pals with these guys?

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It’s a good thing Entourage has spent its history creating such a vivid sense of friendship that we just like spending a half-hour hanging out with these guys, because the show really isn’t that funny anymore, and its “plots” are so slim I have to put quotation marks around the word “plots.” This week’s sixth-season premiere found its best moments at Ari Gold’s office, where Lloyd is demanding a promotion. I like Lloyd, and I like Gary Cole playing Ari’s rather weaselly colleague. (Let’s face it, I like Gary Cole in just about everything. Don’t you? Lately I’ve had an urge to watch him again in his terrific 1984 TV-movie Fatal Vision.) But what does it say for Entourage that the non-members of the entourage are more interesting than the entourage these days?

Vince getting his drivers license? Z-z-z-z-z… Vince prepping for a Tonight Show appearance? A Tonight Show apperance with Jay Leno and not Conan O’Brien? Even allowing for the time-gaps in the series’ production schedule, couldn’t the producers have forseen this, and booked him on, say, Jimmy Kimmel? Seeing Vince on the Leno set already feels old, not even nostalgic. This was compounded by the moment when Vince said he’d save a racy anecdote about having a threesome “for Conan” — i.e., for a later hour. No, Vince, you’ll be saving that threesome for Jimmy Fallon.

Now, the good stuff: I’m still tickled by the notion of vacuous Vincent starring in Martin Scorsese’s version of The Great Gatsby. (Who do you guess is his Daisy? It’s probably Scarlett Johanssen, but I wish it was Megan Fox.) And while everyone I know says they’re kinda sick of Johnny Drama and his huffy insecurity, I’m always completely charmed by Kevin Dillon’s total commitment to Johnny’s brash vanity. Dillon never does the cheap actorly thing of showing how much he loves his character; he’s admirably brutal in making Johnny a desperate second-rater even now, when Drama has achieved TV stardom.

Yet I have to say I’m not too invested in Eric’s search for a new place to live, the metaphor for him getting too mature to continue lounging around with the guys. If E is too old for that sort of thing, isn’t Entourage implying that we all are?

What did you think? Did you enjoy last night’s premiere?

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