Skip to main content

Danger Beach: Has "Entourage" Peaked?

I've had a love-hate relationship with HBO's Entourage for the past few seasons. Whereas once I lovingly tuned in for every installment of the bros-before-hos comedy in the beginning of the series, my interest has waned considerably of late.

For one, the series seems to have lost a little of its luster (and a lot of its humor) over the past two seasons or so and the antics of its lead characters aren't quite so fun and amusing now that they are considerably older than when the series first launched.

I wasn't sure what to expect when taking an advance look at the series' first two installments. HBO is launching the series' fifth season, after a considerable delay (due to the writers strike) this Sunday evening and I sat down to watch "Fantasy Island,"only slightly curious to see what Vincent Chase, E, Drama, and Turtle were up to these days.

The stench of Vincent's last botched pic, Medellin, hovers over the action. Vince has gone into seclusion on a Mexican beach hideaway with Turtle and dozens of women in order to escape the fallout while Eric attempts to save his career and broaden his own by taking on some additional clients. Drama is dealing with a lost-distance relationship with Frenchwoman Jacqueline involving lots of iChat and nightly video tuck-ins. And Ari is... well, still doing the same OTT irate shtick that he's been doing for the last four seasons

It's not until the second episode of this season, "Unlike a Virgin," that things start to heat up a little, aided by a fantastic turn by Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester as a former virginal teen songstress who has since become a hell of a lot more adult since she and Vince last crossed paths. (Hell, she's now doing duets with Tony Bennett, in a guest star role.) Also look for Giovanni Ribisi and Lukas Haas to turn up as a pair of redneck screenwriters looking to lure Vince into starring in their very first screenplay, executive producer Mark Wahlberg to play himself (including offering a cutting line about his own film, The Truth About Charlie)... and NBC's own Ben Silverman, playing himself, in Episode One. While he might only have one line, it perfectly encapsulates the essence of Ben.

But still, it feels as though something is missing from Entourage. The series used to be a hell of a lot more fun and, with the launch of Season Five, I can't help shake the feeling that it's going through the motions a little. We've seen Vince at the top of his game, at the bottom, struggling, and trying to go indie and, while it's somewhat refreshing to see him re-energized in Episode Two, it has an aura of been-there-done-that.

When Entourage first premiered five years ago, it succeeded initially because it skewered the public's perceptions of the Hollywood fame machine, offering up an insider's satirical look behind the pretty facade of the entertainment industry. (And encountering more than a few fans within the industry itself.) Since then, however, it's become a victim of its own success.

After all, how do you keep Vince's struggle interesting after five years of ups and downs? While he's starting over again, as it were, at the start of Season Five, it's hard not to see that the seesaw of success will swing the other way by the end of this season. When Vince moans that maybe the gang will have to live off of Eric's management company should his acting career not rebound, it's hard not to sigh. Vince is one star that's forever falling and rising and, rather sadly, I just don't want to watch that never-ending trajectory in the dark sky of Hollywood.

Entourage's fifth season launches Sunday night at 10 pm ET/PT on HBO.

Comments

I feel like Entourage peaked awhile ago. The first couple of seasons were great but then, like Vince, the show became over-hyped.

I must admit that I'm somewhat intrigued by Leighton Meester's presence in the second episode (and Ben Silverman's one liner in the first) but guest stars and Hollywood cameos are not enough to re-energize my interest in this lackluster show.
Bill said…
I couldn't agree more about it losing its humor. Now, every show seems to pair up E and Vince to do serious movie business, while Turtle and Drama go do something stupid. But I'm still watching, I'm not really sure why.
Anonymous said…
I have to disagree. I actually thought first season was horrible and I didn't watch Entourage past the second or third episode. Then I caught an episode again in the third season, and I've been hooked ever since.

Entourage isn't just about Vince's career-- although that's obviously a big part. It's about the rest of them finding their own ways and growing up. So while Vince's work issues may seem familiar, I'm still psyched to see E, Drama, et co and how their careers (and love lives) advance.
Rich said…
I completely agree with the been-there-done-that-this-show-has-peaked assessment...and I'm sad to say that I am in agreement.

I really used to look forward to this show - laughing for 27 minutes and looking forward to the next installment.

After waiting a [super] long time, I was definitely deflated by S05E01. It was really just a big helping of "more of the same" that has already been shot in the 4 previous seasons.

Vince acts like his shiznit don't stink, even after tanking with MedellĂ­n and E is trying once again to get him to make the "right" decision. Drama and Turtle both assumed their roles as well.

The only thing that I seemed to pick up on more this season felt like a quadrupled effort by the product placement team in every scene (Apple, we get it, your stuff rocks)

That said however, J.Piven (Ari) still cracks me up in *whatever* scene he's in (ex: talking on the phone when he's handed some paperwork, calmly continuing his discussion on the phone as he walks out of his office into the office of the person who wrote obviously wrote said paperwork and throwing it at said person violently as he calmly continues his discussion walking back into his office. Cracks me up.

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

Me Want Food: Jenna Gets Famously Fat on "30 Rock"

I don't know about you, but I've already ordered my "Me Want Food" t-shirt from the NBC store. Last night's episode of 30 Rock ("Jack Gets in the Game") was, in my opinion, one of the strongest of the series and has officially pushed the zany comedy into the realm of Arrested Development : deftly plotted and intricately layered, with so many jokes piled atop of jokes that it requires several viewings in order to catch them all. While at its heart, 30 Rock is a workplace comedy, it's left that narrow pigeonhole behind to become a witty example of how intelligent and taut humor can work (and flourish) on television... and exist in harmony with hilarious throwaways like the Thriller -inspired Werewolf Bar Mitzvah music video that would have done the AD crew proud. I want Will Arnett to appear on this series whenever possible. His gay exec Devin is hilarious, manipulative, and has an inexplicable weakness for Kenneth the Page, but he claims to have

"Gilmore" Guy: Who is New Showrunner David Rosenthal?

A few days later and I am still processing the news that Gilmore Girls showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino--and her exceptionally talented husband, writer and producer Daniel Palladino-- announced their departure from the whip-smart drama after six seasons. The news wouldn't be such a blow, save for the fact that Gilmore Girls is as much about Amy and Daniel as it is about Lorelai and Rory. In their capable hands, the show explored a supremely complicated family dynamic through the beautiful friendship of mother and daughter Lorelai and Rory... and did so with smart dialogue usually found in a Nick & Nora film rather than on television. Zany subplots abounded as did quirky, beloved supporting characters. And now, after six seasons (including this most recent--and very shaky--season where Amy and Daniel wrote less episodes than usual), Amy and Daniel are passing on the showrunning torch to... Dave Rosenthal?!? For those of you in the audience unfamiliar with David Rosenthal ,