On ''Entourage,'' Eric's flirtation with both Ari's senior partner Terrance and Terrance's daughter gives him the upper hand

By Charles Curtis
Updated January 13, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST
Entourage: Claudette Barius
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”Entourage”: Eric’s power plays

Brooke Shields. Angelina Jolie. Russell Crowe. Eva Longoria. What do those names have in common? Obviously, if you watched this episode of Entourage, you’ll remember that all of the actors were either mentioned in it or, in the case of Ms. Shields, had a cameo appearance. But think a bit harder. Stumped? They’ve all made headlines in the past month or so. Current events, people. Having characters allude to current gossip makes the show feel like it’s taking place now. The made-up Page Six blind item about Mandy Moore and Vince perfectly captured the snarky voice of the New York Post‘s gossip page.

Though the show deserves credit for its more sophisticated use of cameos and name-dropping this season, it’s the continuous story lines that keep us coming back for more. That’s why I was so happy to see Terrance and Sloan return. Terrance is following through on the threat he made at the bat mitzvah, trying to steal Vinny right from under Ari’s nose. Sloan is definitely courting our boy E. And how could we forget little Mandy Moore, the actress who could sink a hundred-million-dollar movie simply by showing those cute little dimples to Vince?

Let’s start where last week’s episode left off. Frankly, I’m quite happy for Vince. If he’s head over heels for Mandy, then why shouldn’t he get completely obsessed and begin what looks like the destruction of his career? Okay, enough sarcasm. Here’s something I didn’t buy while watching this episode: Would a sweet, intelligent girl like Mandy (at least the way she’s painted on the show) dump her fiancé and, in the span of about 24 hours, come to treat Vince like a steady boyfriend? I know, I know — it’s just TV. But the way she’s acting around Vince and the boys gives me this sinking feeling that reality may hit her hard at some point. I can just see it now: ”Vince, I realized I rushed back into things with you and that I’m still in love with my ex-fiancé, who’s probably hurting real bad right now because I dumped him for a hot Hollywood star in the making.”

I also found myself appreciating the way the entire gang treated Mandy in their two scenes together. At first, it was Fifth Beatle Syndrome — you could see it by the look on Turtle’s face that these males didn’t like a woman invading their pack unless she was bringing three (or more) of her friends to party. But then you could see how they rallied around Vince. If Mandy was that important to him, then Turtle and Johnny were going to give her gifts too (even if it was a DVD set of Viking Quest). I also enjoyed watching Eric struggle with losing his best friend. Sloan acutely observed that he shouldn’t be fighting with Vince over a girl he doesn’t even like, but I read it as something else — Eric doesn’t want to lose his hetero life partner. How cute. In the end, Vince and E gave each other a hearty handshake and made up. The show has been missing some of its basic camaraderie ever since Mandy stepped into the picture, so it was great to see it back in all its testosterone-y glory.

Did I say testosterone? Because I’m wondering who injected Eric full of it before last night. His showdown with Ari over the fake painting was, in fact, Gold-like. He started spitting right back at Ari, showing the superagent that E and his client are more than willing to switch to Terrance if they aren’t satisfied. Sure, 95 percent of Ari and Eric’s typical interaction is insults flying back and forth, but this was one serious battle.

Finally, with all the cameos this season, we’ve had some pretty memorable moments: Ralph Macchio’s near-fight with Johnny, Bob Saget and his half-joking plea with Vince not to touch his daughters, Peter Dinklage’s tirade against agents. But nothing will ever top the line that came out of Brooke Shields’ mouth: ”He. Is. Hard.” That’s the kind of phrase I know you viewers with TiVos will have played back a half-dozen times. As her response to Tom Cruise’s rant showed, Brooke has a way with words.

What did you think? Will Mandy separate Vince from his posse? Will Johnny ever stop screwing up? And how does Brooke Shields’ cameo compare with the others this season?

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