Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hugging it Out with Entourage

If you click on that Entourage tag below, you'll see I haven't been shy about my dissatisfaction with the last, oh, three seasons of Entourage. What was once a fun and frothy way to vicariously live through some rich people with insignificant problems lost all that fun once Vince's career slide began. Somewhere between Medillin and Smoke Jumpers, I realized I didn't like anyone on the show anymore and certainly didn't care about their failure to land a movie.

So when I say that I've been thoroughly enjoying this season so far, I'm as surprised as you are. Entourage has been sucking for so long now that nobody else seems to have noticed, but these five episodes have shown a correction to a number of the show's biggest recent problems. At best, it was never anything more than something fun and light to enjoy over the summer, but for the first time in years it's meeting that low benchmark.

So what's going right? First up, Vince's career is back on track. We learned last season from Smoke Jumpers once and for all that Vince can't actually act, but that's not what the show is about! The show is about super rich and successful people enjoying their money and fame! When those things disappear, so does the reason to watch. Vince is not a real enough character for me to care when he's unhappy (and he's never realy that unhappy anyway), so he only fulfills his purpose when things are going well.

Better yet, the successful career means a lot less of the focus is on him. Even back in the good days it got repetitive watching project after project fall apart just to make the season last. Instead we're back with Eric, who was the show's original heart as the normal guy making his way in Hollywood. I know - he got really annoying the past few seasons. But he's looking to grow up this year, and Sloane's back in the picture, who always made his stories better.

I'll admit - Turtle and Drama still mostly annoy me. And they've had some of the worst storylines, like Drama's desire to cast Turtle's girlfriend as "Girl Drama Makes Out With" on his show. But again - at least they're trying to grow up a little, between Turtle going to school and holding down a girlfriend, and Drama having had a steady job for awhile now. Ari as well has gone in some nice directions this season. One moment he's acting like Papa Bear, dispensing advice to Turtle and Eric in this season's third episode. And just when you think he's going soft, he's back to yelling at Lloyd. Some things don't change.

Entourage has always aspired to be a male Sex and the City. In not trying to hide from that description, it's become something worth watching again.

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