”Entourage”: The morning after
Remember the ongoing ”Will they or won’t they?” romantic plot threads back in the 1980s on Cheers, Moonlighting, and The A-Team? (Fine, maybe most of you don’t agree there was clear homosexual subtext between B.A. and Murdock).
None of that here. Nope. Not for a second. How nice that HBO didn’t keep us wondering if Vince would actually take Amanda up on her offer last week to consummate their relationship. Just minutes into the episode and Carla Gugino and Adrian Grenier were hot and heavy in a bubble bath discussing the People’s Choice Awards. Both of them gave lip service to their agreement that it would be a onetime thing — Vince even said, ”Until I vacate the premises, this still is the one time” — but then he sent Amanda flowers and the duo made smoochie faces at each other during an E-mandated lunch the next day. The actors nailed that perfect storm of flirting/bonding/shyness that is so annoying about brand-new couples. E, who immediately caught on to their unprofessional shenanigans, said they were like ”a bad Meg Ryan movie.” E was concerned that blurring the line will have repercussions. As he told Amanda, Vince finds it ”hard to separate business and sex.” Which seems true considering the Mandy Moore-Aquaman debacle. At the conclusion of the episode, Vince was smitten. After learning that Amanda ”likes” him, he told E, ”I think I like her too.”
Is mixing business and pleasure going to work? And how glad are we that the writers didn’t attempt to keep the boys out of the loop about the Vince-Amanda relationship? Though it was gallant of Vince not to spill the beans, it would’ve been unrealistic had E not immediately known. Close friends can always tell about a new bedroom conquest.
A quick ”Is it just me” aside: Is it just me, or is Vince more like my grandma than a movie star? I say this because his excuse for being clueless about the Amanda lunch appointment that E set up was that he doesn’t know how to check voice-mail. And Vince doesn’t know how to drive — in Los Angeles! My grandma couldn’t do those things either. I’m fine if Vince wants to be chauffeured around town like the Grand Marshal of the Rose Parade — that’s one of the perks of fame — but not knowing how to check voice-mail? You can’t open a copy of Us Weekly (don’t you judge me — I was waiting in the checkout line of the grocery store) without seeing a celeb chattering away on a Blackberry, Sidekick, or (soon! very soon!) iPhone. My point: Vinnie is more like my grandma than a movie star. So endeth the rant.
The B-story threads belonged to Drama and Ari. Turtle set up Drama to appear on Pauly Shore’s new hidden-camera show Gotcha!, which Turtle referred to as a rip-off of Punk’d. (Nice return of Pauly, who had a cameo in the Playboy Mansion episode in season 2.) Since Turtle had tipped him off that he was going to get pranked, Drama refused to give up a parking place to Ultimate Fighting champ Chuck Liddell, calling Liddell a ”WWF wannabe.” Not smart, Johnny. Rule No. 464 in L.A.: Nothing is more important than a good parking space. My dad still boasts about the time he got a spot that was perfectly equidistant from the movie theater and Baskin-Robbins. And that was in 1993. (It’ll happen again soon, Dad!) Then they tricked Drama into thinking that the actual prank involved a group of Girl Scouts who were trying to overcharge him for cookies. So Drama agreed to go apologize to Liddell at a charity exhibition fight. Comparing himself to real-life goodfella turned rat Henry Hill, Drama seemed to be thinking that it’s better to take a beating now than spend a lifetime living in fear. In the end Pauly got his Gotcha! moment of Drama begging for forgiveness inside the ring at Liddell’s feet. But Drama was not only happy about not getting whupped by Liddell; he was thrilled to have appeared in two pilots in one season! For an L.A. actor, that’s even better than not getting punched in the face.
The other third focused on Ari and Mrs. Ari, who hosted Ari’s old college friend (Artie Lange) and his fiancée (Leslie Bibb) for the weekend. I hated this part of the episode. I started to read the calorie count on my Orville Redenbacher white-cheddar microwave popcorn when Ari found out his former screwup of a friend was now worth $65 million thanks to Stamps.com. I flossed my teeth when Ari told his wife that he was going to hit on his pal’s special lady friend as payback for all the times his college chum sexually harassed Mrs. Ari. And I thought about rearranging my sock drawer when the Golds got hot ‘n’ heavy as their guests left to check into a hotel. What was the point? No Lloyd, no office politics, no anything of substance. So Ari learned to love his life? I’ll rent It’s a Wonderful Life for that. In Entourage I need Ari to be a superagent — not a cracked-out version of Jimmy Stewart.
So tell me: Who’s going to become more needy with the new relationship: Amanda or Vince? How many episodes left before Ari and Vince are back together? Did you figure out the Gotcha! scam before Drama did? And does anyone else recall that Artie Lange was in Elf? IMDB says he was, but I don’t recall him as the ”Gimbel’s Santa.”