”Entourage”: Drama reads his reviews
There are those of you out there who hated the entire Amanda story line on Entourage. There are those of you out there who thought the previous several episodes were aimless. ”What’s the point?” you cried. ”If we wanted a show about relationships, we’d watch Grey’s Anatomy.” Well, to all of those who felt that way, congrats! As far as you’re concerned, Entourage is back to form. Personally, I could watch Carla Gugino read the phone book. In her soft, intelligent, and sultry manner, she’d glide from Abbott to Zeigler, and I’d be a happy man because she embodies smarts and sex appeal in a tiny Armani package. But I too am glad that Vinnie is finally, finally back with Ari. That’s the show that we first fell in love with, and that’s the show we want to see. Although how about a spin-off for Amanda? Would you tune in?
But before we plan on TiVoing any potential new shows, let’s discuss tonight’s episode. ”The Resurrection” split into three story lines, and there was nary a bit of fluff among them. Starting off, it was Drama’s big day — the premiere of his Ed Burns series Five Towns. Actors are a superstitious lot, and Drama is no exception. (I had a friend who was compelled to watch the very first Friday showing of his movies for good luck. What I learned: Actors are crazy, and Twizzlers plus coffee from Starbucks is not really a tasty breakfast combo.) Drama was nervous about reading the reviews and demanded that all copies of Variety or any other entertainment publication be removed from his sight. The day did not start off well: In a bad-omen moment, a bird went kamikaze through the kitchen window into Drama’s batch of eggs. (Is-it-just-me rant: The boys still don’t have a chef? Come on! They live in a 28,000-room mansion but haven’t hired a backup for Drama? So if he’s out of town, no one eats at home? Hard to believe. All I want is some reality in my fantasy, you know? So endeth the rant.)
Everyone tried to calm Johnny down. ”It’s NBC, Drama,” said Ari. ”They gave Joey 46 episodes.” Nothing helped. And then we headed toward the biggest ”ick” moment of the year. I’m not a prude. I subscribe to Cinemax. I even bought the unrated version of Van Wilder. But when Johnny Drama bolted from Ari’s office to relieve some tension at a massage parlor, I didn’t believe they’d go graphic. Oh, but they did — at least in the audio. As Johnny received, shall we say ”manual stimulation”? from one of the ladies, somewhere a Foley artist went to hell, as the sound effects left no doubt as to the seedy activity at, um, hand. And don’t get me started on the racial stereotypes. The entire scene was unsubtle and gross. Gross-out humor works — gross does not. This fell firmly in the latter category.
To top it off, Drama didn’t get any satisfaction — from breaking down and reading the review in Variety, I mean. Incensed by being singled out as a weak link, Drama jumped into a cab and stormed the Variety offices looking for the offending critic. (Running into an actor that we’ve slammed is a fear of many a critic in the EW office. On the other hand, I bet Carla Gugino might send me a fruit basket with a nice note if she read this TV Watch.) The fire and fury quickly left Drama after the critic told him, ”I call it like I see it” and ”It’s not personal; I just don’t think you’re very good.” Wasn’t it hard to watch all the bravado seep out of Drama? Someone finally said to his face all the things that he has whispered to himself during his darkest moments — that he will never make it in Hollywood because he has no talent. But there was a happy ending for Johnny Drama. After racing out of town — and ending up at the Grand Canyon — Drama awoke with a call from the boys informing him that Five Towns had premiered to 16 million viewers. A hit! Johnny ended his losing streak — and the episode — by recalling his last big moment. A booming cry from Viking Quest: Victory! It’s long overdue for the older Chase boy to get a break — and I can’t wait to see how he blows it.
Good fortune also found Turtle after he met a hottie who shared his love of sneakers. While picking up Drama’s newly tricked-out convertible, Turtle became enamored with Kelly (Lauren London), the daughter of garage owner Rufus. (Remember him? He hooked up the boys with a home entertainment center in season 1. Guess he found a new profession.) Turtle told Rufus that he was one of the good guys and ”I work hard…kinda” before receiving approval to ask for a date with Kelly. Which Rufus forced Turtle to do right in front of him. Points to Turtle for not backing down or getting embarrassed. This is an old-school father-daughter relationship, and in Hollywood, if a man wants to make sure his pretty daughter doesn’t fall in with the fast crowd, he’d better keep a close eye on her. Doesn’t look like Rufus has a problem doing that, and this Romeo and Juliet scenario is ripe for some funny moments ahead. I thought the side-mirror shot of Turtle ogling his new love while driving away was just a cool camera trick until the car collided with another vehicle. So it was a cool camera shot and a telling moment about how Turtle is falling hard. A nice twofer.
At last we get to the juicy stuff. Like the famed Phoenix of yore, Medellín rose from the ashes. Vinnie and E still wanted it. And they wanted it bad. They told Ari there was one easy way to earn back his old job: pull Medellín out from turnaround hell and find a producer willing to pony up 80 million bucks to make the film. Okay, not so easy. This was a new Vinnie Chase — gone was the easygoing, mellow movie star and in his place stood a determined, focused artist. I liked the new guy. While having lunch to try and dip into the deep pockets of portly producer Joe Roberts (Michael Lerner), Vinnie showed more character and passion then we’ve ever seen before. Ari said that watching Vinnie’s pitch was ”like when a father sees his baby boy become a man for the first time.” Yes, Vinnie transformed from a Peter Pan enjoying the perks of fame — girls, money, and more girls — to an industry player using the power of his position to attempt to create something good. Let’s call it his Angelina Jolie moment. And the icing on the cake was Vinnie’s response to Ari’s effusive compliments: ”Stop kissing my ass and get it done.” Of course, Vinnie’s new persona hasn’t compromised his principles. Despite Joe Roberts’ generous offer to bankroll Medellín if Vince would agree to star in his action flick Matterhorn (formerly known as Big Thunder Mountain — this nod to the Disneyland rides makes the richy producer a nod to Jerry Bruckheimer), Vinnie stood firm. He was doing Medellín, or he was doing nothing. So he took the big gamble and chose to sell the mansion and buy the script himself. Vinnie was going for broke. Literally. Even as E called him nuts for risking all he’d earned, Vinnie pointed out he was ”not crazy enough to let anyone control me.” Just as it seemed Roberts would start a bidding war on the script, he bowed out. Ari told Vince that for the bargain price of $5 million dollars, he was ”the proud owner of 150 pieces of paper.” Does that seem like a wildly inflated number to you? It isn’t really. The studio needed to recoup the wasted moola spent on the Paul Haggis production. And the old saying about good scripts being hard to come by is true. So the boys got their script, and Ari got back his clients. What remains? Finding the cash to make the movie. Which leads us into next week.
What do you think? Who will they ask for the money: someone we’ve seen before or a new player? Will Drama let his ego sink his new career? And is this true love for Turtle?