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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 1 - Welcome to the Jungle

29 March 2012

Synopsis: Shot as a documentary we join Billy, Eric and Vince arriving in Columbia to film Medellin. Billy falls for one of his actresses and can’t think how to finish the film. Johnny tries to get a part in the film and Turtle tries to stay out of harms way while Ari is filmed back in LA giving his advice on how to make a movie. Eric keeps calm and helps Billy solve his creative problems and gets the movie made on budget.

The Good: At the end of seasons one and two we left our characters as they prepared to shoot a movie. Here we get to see them making it, which is a necessary step because of their involvement as producers. The idea of having a documentary crew film production is the first time Entourage has attempted to present its narrative in a different style. It works very well because it allows for months of action to be broken down into thirty minutes with a consistent logic to what is shown.

Billy is a good foil for the entourage as his unpredictability throws up roadblocks which Eric and Vince have to overcome. Eric is relentlessly calm and reasonable and Vince is his usual cool self. Seeing Vince in the make up is good and enough footage of the movie is included to make this feel like a real film set. We cover enough ground too, from lighting to writing, to screening and catering to get a feel of the job they have had to do.

Johnny and Turtle provide much of the comedy and Johnny as you would expect stands out in that regard (see Comic Highlight). His never ending quest to give advice and bag a role in the movie provide the light relief. There is a clever montage of all the characters talking about being nervous or not which ends with Johnny not being allowed to finish one of his stories. Turtle asking Billy if he could write a nude scene for the village girl is funny as is Johnny’s interest in her. There’s a nice moment when she is interviewed and remembers to say film instead of movie (because Billy is adamant about it). And Billy has one of those great surreal moments when grilling the crew to see if anyone slept with her and we see him interviewing an overweight, middle aged Colombian man who seems genuinely scared.

The Bad: There are some weaknesses with presenting this as a documentary. There are scenes which don’t feel like they would be in a documentary because no one is wearing microphones and multiple camera angles are present. The shot of Ari getting into an elevator with the camera running seems particularly unlikely.

Eric claims at one point that Billy rewrote the entire movie. He can’t really mean that because so much has already been filmed. The main problem though flows from the style of Entourage as a show. While Billy throws up problems for them, as a viewer we are never in doubt that the movie will be made. We know that despite problems with “Queen’s Boulevard”, Vince was still very successful with “Aquaman.” So there seems little doubt that success or not, “Medellin” won’t really stop Vince from becoming a huge Hollywood star.

That lack of real tension is one of the selling points of Entourage. It’s a happy ending story and has always been presented as such. We know that the boys from Queens are going to be successful. The show is fun and light and there to highlight success and the amazing lifestyle which follows from that, not to show real drama of a struggling actor. From that basis therefore Billy’s dramatic claim that the movie might suck has no real sense of consequence for the characters. We know that they will be fine in the end.

Comic Highlight: It becomes clear that Billy has fallen for the village girl. We cut to Ari who says that if the director falls for an actor on set you have a big problem. We cut to Johnny who says “I nailed one of my directors on Melrose Place. That was the year they through me off actually.” The documentary maker asks if he think that was the reason. “I don’t know. I never really thought about that” he says and then he looks thoughtful.

Victory?: Entourage is back for its fourth season and filming this episode gives us a taste that maybe they will become more experimental with the show. But I doubt it.

As with most episodes of the show, it is fun and enjoyable and the characters feel like real people. But there is no sense of real jeopardy for them which means this lacks any dramatic edge. But if most fans are tuning in for beautiful people living a glamorous life and making jokes, then this is ideal.

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  • Thanks for commenting. Is this where you have reached in the show?

    Posted by The TV Critic, 30/01/2011 7:04pm (9 years ago)

  • I just love the show no matter what fumbles and jumbles are made. I am a fan for life!

    Posted by Beverly Stanley, 30/01/2011 3:22pm (9 years ago)

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