Johnny finally scores at an audition, but Vince realizes that he's not over his lost love, Mandy Moore

By Charles Curtis
Updated January 13, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST
Entourage: Claudette Barius
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”Entourage”: Johnny’s break; Vince’s lost love

You had to wonder how Entourage could possibly top the on-location trip to Utah, especially after the high drama of the Aquaman deal. As we packed away our snowboards and North Face apparel, we were welcomed back to California with a few intimate revelations. Some of the characters’ neuroses and private quirks were exposed, and I’m not just talking about Eric’s fear of sharks. Yet the whole 25 minutes weren’t just about airing dirty laundry. We got some of the usual sprinkle of Hollywood pixie dust: an immediate $2 million paycheck for Vince, just for signing on the dotted line. Plus the boys will be shacking up in Jessica Alba’s oceanside mansion for a month while they fully load the Brando mansion with toys. But the real payoff in this episode was getting a look inside the brothers Chase.

We’ll start with A-list star Vinny and work our way down. As I said a few weeks ago , ”wouldn’t it be more creative and comedic if there was a woman in Hollywood who wasn’t head over heels for the young Mr. Chase?” Thank you very much, gods of HBO — I got my wish in the form of…Mandy Moore? Okay. Not exactly the big star cameo I was waiting for. I don’t think she would even be considered for a role in a blockbuster like Aquaman. But it didn’t matter who it was: We finally saw Vince’s ultraromantic side. It turns out — gasp! — that he proposed to Ms. Moore after an extremely short courtship that began when he met her on the set of her weepy 2002 flick A Walk to Remember. Worse, after she dumped him, he even made her a mix tape. We now know that beneath Vince’s gorgeous stubbly veneer and crop of curly black hair is a boy who wishes Mandy Moore missed him like candy.

As Vince came down off his Aquaman high, older bro Johnny was doing just fine. I was bummed that most of his performance as the sixth lead in Queens Boulevard was snipped out by director Billy Walsh. And yes, that dig about Drama’s age by Dr. Joyce Brothers was a bit of a low blow. But a movie-of-the-week! That’s huge for Johnny, especially if he gets to work with the great Joe Mantegna. I even felt like a proud parent after learning that Johnny managed to nail his audition despite being distracted by the production assistant fiddling around with a Sidekick. Last time that happened, Johnny went ballistic.

But I did learn two rules of California-highway etiquette from Drama’s encounter with the surfer dude (whom Turtle hilariously called Point Break, after the atrocious Keanu Reeves-Patrick Swayze movie): 1. Never call a native Californian a ”townie.” 2. Never tell a has-been actor that you recognize him from a part he played ”like, 20 f—in’ years ago.” The latter quip may start a fight on the side of the freeway and result in your convertible PT Cruiser being smashed by an irate former star of Viking Quest swinging a Callaway 9-iron. Despite the fact that Johnny now has a court date due to his road rage, I’m actually glad to see the story line of season 2 switched from the elder Chase’s failures to his successes.

Speaking of elder characters on the show, we also received a tidbit of information about Ari Gold: He’s about to turn 40. The shock! The horror! And who else would tattle about Ari’s real age but his former assistant and would-be rival, Josh Weinstein. As I said earlier this season, I want to see an all-out throw-down between Josh and Ari. Josh has been taking swipes at Ari ever since last season (when Josh gave Eric a copy of the Queens Boulevard script), and he continued to torment his ex-boss when he delivered the news to the boys that James Cameron was attached to Aquaman. It’s time for Ari to take back his turf.

What did you think of last night’s episode? Did you think the Mandy Moore story line broadened Vince’s character or was out of character? Who would you like to see as Aquagirl? And what should Ari do to Josh Weinstein to settle the score?

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