”Entourage”: Party at the Playboy Mansion
Last night’s episode was a lesson from Comedy Writing 101: It’s all about the punchlines, kids. Every cameo, name drop, and sight gag provided a genuine laugh: Shauna telling her assistant to make room in the trunk for Star Jones’ chocolates. Ari’s pajamas sticking out of the bottom of his suit, allowing his wife to force him to take a three-week vacation in the south of France with her and the kids. Even Turtle’s lame subplot had a good payoff, as his $1200 pj’s — ‘scuze me, Turtle, ”formal night wear” — got smeared with a Playboy model’s body paint.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m probably still a little woozy from getting an insider’s look at a party at Hef’s. And I don’t think I’m alone. You could just hear the sound of male ears (and other body parts) pricking up when the boys dropped the phrase ”the Mansion.”
This week’s spotlight turned from Eric to Johnny. ”Drama’s drama” almost prevented all the drooling male viewers from getting a peek inside the Playboy Mansion’s famous Grotto. (You may have seen it once before on an episode of MTV’s Cribs, though it was empty and shown during daylight. Stop being such a tease, Hef!) I actually got momentarily nervous that Johnny’s long-ago drunken liberation of Hugh’s monkeys (there’s a phrase I’ll never write again) might keep Vince and his boys outside the gate. (And didn’t you shed a tear watching Drama walk home in a floral robe that probably belonged to his mother?) But let’s face it — just as we always knew that Ross would wind up with Rachel, we knew that the Entourage crew would someday wind up partying with Hef.
I had a different problem: When the elder Mr. Chase knocked on his buddy Ralph’s door to get him to fess up to freeing the monkeys, I thought Johnny was just talking to some old chum from back in the day. Ralph Macchio wins this year’s Jennifer Grey Award for total unrecognizability. I actually had this conversation with a coworker after I viewed my preview tape of the episode a couple of days ago:
Me: ”Great episode of Entourage, right?
Coworker: ”Yeah. Wasn’t that thing with Ralph Macchio amusing?”
Me: [Quizzical squinty-eyed look of confusion.]
Coworker: Johnny’s friend from back in the day. That was the dude from Karate Kid.
Me: [Long pause.] Did he have work done?
Cut me some slack: With Entourage‘s machine-gun dialogue, it subsequently took me a few rewinds of the tape to pick up those references to The Karate Kid. Still, as we’ll see later, this episode teaches a valuable lesson, friends: When a celebrity cameo is the punchline and not just a ”Look! I’m a celebrity playing myself on Entourage! I’m hip!” moment, it’s hilarious.
It was also good to see the younger Mr. Chase giving in to the Hollywood machine after resisting for so very long. Look, Vince, I didn’t want you to sell out either. But if you want to keep us entertained with your hot parties and free-spending ways, take Shauna’s advice: ”One for them; one for you.” And of course we viewers realized as soon as Vinny said, ”We’ll take it,” to Brando’s Spanish estate that he would have to don the tights. But Vince was right: That silly, bordering on plain crazy Aquaman suit, complete with Seth Green’s goggles from Can’t Hardly Wait, would definitely make him look like ”an underwater Elton John.”
Now I’d like to clear some space and discuss the Human Punchline, the Weasel himself, Pauly Shore. Raise your hands if you guessed that he was the Pauly that Johnny had mentioned before. I had no clue, so here’s another tip of the hat to the writers. But Pauly, did you really have to drop the F-bomb that many times? We’ll laugh at the sight of you — and even giggle a little at your calling Hef ”bra.” If they gave Emmys for cameos, Mr. Shore, you deserve a nomination. Unfortunately, there’s still no way I’m watching Minding the Store.
What do you think, readers? Were you excited to visit chez Hefner? Are you disappointed that Vince has compromised his principles for money? And did you recognize Ralph Macchio?