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Entourage

Entourage is a half hour long comedy-drama about young movie star Vincent Chase and his best friend and manager Eric Murphy. Filling out the entourage are high school friend Turtle and Vince's brother Johnny "Drama" Chase. High powered, ambitious and foul mouthed agent Ari Gold also helps to manage Vince's career. HBO 2004-11

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Episode 12 - The Cannes Kids

29 March 2012

Synopsis: The entourage and Billy and Ari are at the Cannes film festival. They meet up with Yair Marx at Nicky Rubenstein’s behest and he offers them thirty five million dollars to buy “Medellin.” They turn it down because they don’t believe he has the distribution in place to make a great movie. Ari wheels and deals and gets a good offer from Dana Gordon. But in the meantime Yair offers Nicky seventy five million dollars and buys the movie. At the premiere the audience hate “Medellin” and Yair reneges on his offer. Harvey steps in and offers one dollar for the film which they take. Meanwhile Johnny is confident he can live out his French fantasy because “Viking Quest” was a big hit in France. He meets a girl (Jacqueline) on Yair’s boat but loses her when he kicks up a fuss about his hotel room. He hooks up with her again at the premiere and tells the guys that he is in love with her.

The Good: Entourage lives up to its reputation with this episode. That reputation is for producing entertaining, light hearted but cleverly plotted obstacles for the ever cool Vincent Chase and company to overcome. This episode confirms several other things about the show too.

First that Eric is the main character. Even though Vince makes their entire existence possible, it is Eric who turns out to be right all along about “Medellin.” Eric’s fear that Billy had messed up with the editing of the movie seem to be accurate.

Second is that Vince will come out of this setback just fine. Even after seeing an audience practically booing the movie he still strolls out smiling and without a hint of irony says “it’s only money.”  Entourage is a show with a formula and the formula is about giving us happy endings. One suspects that Harvey will reedit “Medellin” and Vince will come up smelling of roses once more.

Third is that Eric may be the main character but Johnny is the people’s champion. The best characterisation of the episode is reserved for him. Rather than gloss over the superficial nature of his relationship with Jacqueline the writers have Eric ask him directly if he minds that she only likes him because he is famous. His answer fits his character perfectly. We have seen him consistently desperate to be famous and receive the respect that goes along with it. So his claim that her attraction to his fame makes him feel wanted and validated at the same time rings very true. Johnny is living his dream and I suspect that most viewers will cheer him on. Especially as the writers make a point of having him be completely supportive of Vince throughout.

Meanwhile Ari’s scheming is what you would expect as is Billy’s anger. We also get a very nice turn from Nicky Rubenstein. Those familiar with his other comedy work (Friends, Joey) will have no surprise at his quickly delivered anger and desperation (see Comic Highlight).

Entourage is a pretty simple piece of television and yet it does a terrific job. Its formula is like that of an ancient Greek comedy, where the protagonists face seemingly insurmountable obstacles before overcoming them in amusing ways. And like those comedies, we have no doubt that a happy ending is waiting for us at the end.

The Bad: Like so many things in life Entourage’s great strength, its formula, is its biggest weakness. I would not blame viewers for feeling that Entourage was too predictable. I doubt we will ever see Eric at the unemployment line, Vince in the gutter or Ari divorced and miserable. Entourage is unlikely to shock you or involve your emotions too heavily and for some that will be a turn off. The weakness of this episode is that we get strong hints that “Medellin” will do fine once reedited and Vince won’t face any genuine difficulties in finding his next million dollar movie offer.

The Cannes crowd may be a harsh one, but there complete lack of applause at the end of “Medellin” is perhaps a little implausible. Certainly Ari falling asleep is. That is an amateurish attempt at comedy. Ari is a consummate professional and just wouldn’t fall asleep during his client’s movie.

Comic Highlight: Poor little rich boy Nicky Rubenstein is under house arrest in one of his enormous homes. As he talks frantically to Ari on the phone we can see two naked women cavorting in the background. Ari tries to talk him out of selling “Medellin” prematurely and Nicky yells toward the women “This is very stressful for me Ari, I’ve been sober for a year now which is not easy with fucking enablers around!” He complains about his financial situation and says that he might have to move to the valley. One of the girls says “Eugh” to which Nicky retorts “Can you two shut the fuck up, I’m not paying you to talk.” Ari reassures him once more and Nicky tells him to make sure he gets a good price. He then turns to the two girls again and quick as a flash says “I’m sorry I snapped.”

Victory?: A very pleasing and logical season finale. Season five is set up nicely with “Medellin” on the ropes and “Silo” now under serious pressure. Johnny Chase will make you smile as he realises the success he has yearned for for so long. Happy ending television with plenty more stories to tell.

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