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'Entourage': New cars, no new ideas

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Last night I realized one big problem with Entourage‘s new season: The characters have a problem making up their minds, and thus give the series itself an air of awkward uncertainty.

Thus we had Eric squirming, unsure of how to handle the news that his client Charlie had such low viewer-test-scores on his sitcom pilot, the CW wanted to replace the performer. (Side note: How low do you have to score to get booted from a CW show? Sample viewers must have to rate you slightly lower than the Octomom. What a thankless role for Bow Wow.)

Meanwhile, it was Turtle’s 30th birthday, but he was unsure whether he could enjoy it. Why? Because only now in Entourage‘s history is he realizing he’s not pulling his weight in the world. So we were actually asked to sympathize with a character who’s just been given two new cars, whose girlfriend is Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and who lives on the same lofty level as the guy who actually pulls in the bucks to make his lifestyle possible, Vince. Boo-hoo, and on to business school for you, Turtle; let’s hope the writers come up with a good concept for your unrevealed business idea, because that was another frustration last night. If this was meant to generate suspense, it failed for me. I just found it coy and annoying.

For a show that used to be so loose-limbed and fun, Entourage is starting to feel labored. Were we really meant to think the 50 Cent cameo was funny? Were we really meant to think Ashley is cute and right for E? (Me, I think the character is written more like a yappy little puppy — I didn’t buy that Eric would find her alluring or her opinion about the sitcom pilot valuable.)

And did anyone doubt that Eric would not do what Ari advised, and accuse the CW exec of racism? Like too many characters here, he had no alternative ideas. I’ve really enjoyed Entourage in the past; here’s hoping it can pull itself out of this swamp of indecision.

Did you watch Entourage last night? What did you think?