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''Entourage'': Adult language, brief nudity

”Entourage”: Eric straightens out his personal life, while Ari and Jaime Pressly show the bad side of Hollywood as only pay cable can

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Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, ...
Entourage: Claudette Barius


TV Show
Current Status:
In Season

”Entourage”: Adult language, brief nudity

Did I say sophomore slump last week? Waaaaay off. After watching the credits roll at the end of last night’s episode, I’ve decided to join some of my fellow viewers in asking — nay, demanding — that HBO give this show the hour it deserves. Entourage has been packing a whole lot into just 26 minutes, but imagine the possibilities. Then again, you can’t argue with the formula of a show that starts an episode with a fast car and ends it with ”Vegas, baby.”

What could be better? How about the triumphant return of the real Ari Gold? It took an episode to polish off the rust, but better late than never. Starting with the Lakers game, where Ari’s Jack Nicholson-esque barking got the ball rolling, the superagent seemed to recover from whatever was ailing him in the first episode. He stopped sounding desperate and started rolling with Vince’s punches. And of course, he had the line of the show, explaining at the Lakers postgame party that he couldn’t attend Jaime Pressly’s soiree since it conflicted with . . . his plans to share a certain type of intimacy with Mrs. Gold. But that moment became even more hilarious later when Eric confronted Ari about the agent’s statement that everyone in Hollywood is unfaithful, asking him if it applied to his wife. The very same woman he had loudly joked about ”punishing” suddenly became ”the mother of my kids.” Yes, Ari! You don’t have to put up with E’s insolence. A little tough love will show these rookies that you’re their only hope of maintaining the flow of cars, starlets, and mansions.

The MVP of this episode, however, is little Eric, who is all grown up now. When you’re the Scoutmaster surrounded by a bunch of Cubs who aren’t exactly what one might call responsible, it must be disconcerting when their rampant suspicions about an unfaithful girlfriend are actually correct. Now, raise your hand if you did a Tiger Woods fist pump when E stuck it to Kristen. Yes, yes, I know — two wrongs don’t make a TV relationship right. Eric’s little hotel tryst with Perfect 10 model Liana might make him the last character on the show to earn the adjective ”sleazy,” but you knew it was only a matter of time before he got rid of the lyin’, whinin’, cheatin’ Kristen. As Turtle put it so nicely, ”The three of us can’t stand her.” If I haven’t made it obvious enough in both last week’s and this week’s TV Watch, make that four. (Sadly, this probably isn’t the last we’ve seen of the girl who cried food poisoning.)

While Vince’s best friend and new manager received a free Maserati and a few phone numbers to restore his swagger, Vince’s brother couldn’t catch a break. Johnny Drama’s obsession with his skinny calves was worthy of eye rolling, but the look on his face right before the director asked him to strip was priceless. You could only wish that Turtle was around as a witness to needle him about it for the rest of the episode, instead of only one throwaway joke comparing Johnny’s legs to those of the Dallas Mavericks’ lanky 7-foot-6-inch center, Shawn Bradley.

Guest star Jaime Pressly also deserves an entire paragraph. Why? Unlike Lakers’ forward Lamar Odom, who pulled a Peet by stopping by for a total of 12 seconds of airtime, Pressly was the engine that ran this episode. My first thought was that the producers could have snagged someone who hadn’t made her last big headlines with a prime-time make-out session with Tiffani Thiessen on Fastlane, but Pressly held her own, providing both some heat for Vince and a pretext for the gratuitous nudity that reminded us that, yes, this is HBO, where F-bombs and stripping are always on hand to show us just how wild Hollywood really is. Between the shirt that came off on the bed at the Peninsula Hotel and those shed on Jaime’s beach, we get the idea.

And on an extreme side note: Did anyone else notice that Debi Mazar has made her way into the show’s opening credits this season? Though she went AWOL from this episode, that must mean we’re going to get a major dose of Shauna soon. Adding the foul-mouthed, icy publicist to an already volatile mix can only make things better. Maybe she’ll have an intra-cast affair with Ari and help persuade their star in the making to do Aquaman. Too Friends for you? Thought so.

What do you think of this week’s episode? Were you surprised by Eric’s infidelity? How do you like Ari now? And will Vince actually enjoy reading a script?