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The Gold Standard: "Entourage" Returns to Its Roots

There's a new talent agency player in this town, as Miller-Gold (no, it's not a beer) opened its doors last night. Well, on Entourage anyway, which last night seemed to return to the pleasurably scathing Hollywood satire it once was.

The fictional agency, formed out of a partnership between Ari Gold and Barbara Miller (the silky-voiced Beverly D'Angelo), announced its intent to go independent, following a meeting of talent agency toppers that Ari likened to a "meeting of the five families." (I was rolling on the floor with laughter at the very bitter slap in the face afforded to, um, small fry agency APA, Agency for the Performing Arts.) With Ari's drive and ambition and Barbara's financing, it seems like Miller-Gold is poised to give ICM, CAA, William Morris et al a run for their money.

Fitting too then that things seem to be falling into place for the other members of this Hollywood entourage. Turtle's music managing career is ready to take off, with rapper Saigon about to break big. Following a threesome, Eric was tempted by the beautiful best friend (The Comeback's Baby Girl, Malin Akerman) of his girlfriend Sloane (Emmanuel Chriqui), but remained the good Catholic boy we know and love by refusing to give into temptation (yet, anyway). But the biggest news is that struggling actor Drama may have finally landed his big break, landing a role in a pilot directed by (guest star) Ed Burns. Johnny and Ed have a history together -- Johnny turned down the lead in The Brothers McMullen for a three-episode stint on 90210 as Tori Spelling's sexual harasser -- and things have finally come full circle for the lovable scamp.

But this wouldn't be Entourage if there weren't some drama and with everything going SO well for the gang, someone had to come along and knock down the house of cards they were building. I'm happy to say that the someone is Vince, who in recent weeks has become little too much of the golden boy, breaking box office records and cruising through his career with nary so much as a speedbump. (Even getting fired off of Aquaman 2 hasn't exactly fazed him.)

On last night's episode ("The Release"), Entourage finally answered a long burning question of mine by picking up the story threads revolving around Vince's arthouse pic, Queens Boulevard. (I couldn't for the life of me remember a few weeks ago whether or not Queens had ever been released.) In the hands of the studio, the gritty black and white arthouse film has become a hypersaturated, bubble gummy mess of a film, set to be released on 1200 screens nationally. (The Sundance favorite originally supposed to play on 4 screens.) The pristine monochromatic images have been infused with the paintbrush of Batman & Robin-era Joel Schumacher and the effect is all overblown reds and greens ("Aquaman-ized"); the film's one-sheet poster is all purple; and is that My Name Is Earl's Randy (Ethan Suplee) in that shot?

Leave it to Vince to get his head turned by Queens Boulevard's eccentric director Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro), who wants Vince to sign an injunction preventing the film from being released. And Vince chooses the worst possible moment to announce his intentions: at a press conference for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, where he belittles and castigates the studio for butchering the brilliance of Boulevard.

Like I said, things were going far too well for this gang and someone had to bring it down. My only hope is that Vince has pissed off yet another studio (after the Aquaman fiasco) and his career goes into an entirely unexpected direction (more art films, less fluff) while it's up to Turtle and Drama to bring home the bacon for a change. Will Vince bring down Eric and Ari just when things have started to fall into place? Will Vince drown his sorrows by going on a coke-fueled hooker binge? Will Drama actually become, you know, successful? And will Turtle ever stop wearing those damn track suits?

All I know is that Entourage finally feels like it's back to the basics again (that pitch perfect blend of satire and struggle) and it's about bloody time.

"Entourage" airs Sunday evenings at 10 pm ET/PT on HBO.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: The King of Queens/How I Met Your Mother (CBS); Star Tomorrow (NBC); 7th Heaven (WB); Wife Swap (ABC); Hell's Kitchen (FOX); One on One/All of Us (UPN)

9 pm: Two and a Half Men/How I Met Your Mother (CBS); Treasure Hunters (NBC); 7th Heaven (WB); Supernanny (ABC); Hell's Kitchen (FOX); Girlfriends/Half and Half (UPN)

10 pm: CSI: Miami (CBS); Medium (NBC); One Ocean View (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Spaced on BBC America.

If you missed Friday's Stateside airing of the hilarious and surreal 1999 sitcom Spaced (starring Shaun of the Dead's Simon Pegg), here's your chance to catch the season finale. On tonight's episode ("Ends"), Tim's ex-girlfriend Sarah (Monarch of the Glen's Anna Wilson-Jones) wants to give their failed relationship a second chance, but Daisy and Mike are less thrilled by the news than Tim is. Meanwhile, Mike is re-evaluated for the territorial army.

8:30- 9:30 pm: Peep Show on BBC America.

On tonight's special hour-long season finale of this deliciously twisted Britcom, Jeremy and his girlfriend Nancy (Rachel Blanchard) are planning on getting married so Nancy can get a visa, but Mark will do anything to prevent them from walking down the aisle.

9 pm: Hell's Kitchen.

On tonight's installment of the FOX culinary competition show ("4 Chefs"), it's down to the final four chefs, one of whom will actually win their very own restaurant at the Red Rocks Resort in Las Vegas (yes, one of these, er, impressive people will have their own eatery). While the final four manage to impress Gordon at the beginning of dinner service, things take a nasty turn. Well, it wouldn't be Hell's Kitchen if they didn't...

10 pm: Life on Mars on BBC America.

It's the second episode of this brilliant (and British) mind-bending mystery series that stars State of Play's John Simm as Detective Sam Tyler, a modern-day copper who wakes up in 1973. On tonight's episode, the series' second, Tyler decides that, even if he doesn't completely believe that what he's experiencing is real, he decides to accept that this is 1973 and commits himself to the job at hand, only to find that he disagrees with one of his colleague's crime-solving techniques.

Comments

Anonymous said…
"Entourage" has been less than inspiring this season. Personally, I think the boys (and Ari...especially Ari) have become overexposed. There's been too much hype and the show has become more style than substance.

But I agree that last night's episode was an improvement. The focus was actually on story rather than just about how "cool" everyone looks and acts. A lot of that is fun but without story to back it up, it's more of a music video than a TV show.
Anonymous said…
"Who invited APA?"

Cue me laughing louder than any laugh ever laughed in the history of laughter. Man. That was genius.

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