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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


Episode 5 - Tree Trippers

29 March 2012

Synopsis: Unable to get a part in Smoke Jumpers, Vince has to consider whether to take the part in Benji instead. Johnny suggests that they take some shrooms and head out to Joshua Tree to think it over. With Ari in tow and Eric Roberts leading the way the gang begin to hallucinate.

The Good: It’s nice to see Entourage try something different. Instead of the usual Hollywood shenanigans we get the five main characters trapped together and we see explicit drug use in the way that most television shows can not.

The tripping ought to be a chance to explore our characters a little better but there is only one hint of this. Vince becomes insecure and desperate to be in Smoke Jumpers. As he tries to explain why he says “everyone must know that E makes Vince good.” It suggests that rather than Eric making Vince’s career easier by managing him, there is also a down side. The down side being that Vince feels pressure to do well in order to make E a success. It’s an idea which the show doesn’t seem too interested to explore further but there is a rich bed of resentment which those two could lie down in.

The Bad: Unfortunately this episode reveals a lot of weakness in the writing. Shrooms do not normally lead to seeing “little goblins” as Ari claims and much of the trip slides into silly drug clichés rather than genuinely interesting or funny areas. Similarly Eric saying his mouth won’t talk sounds silly and Turtle “talking” to his dog falls short as well. The writing doesn’t want to go too silly but instead presents one mildly surreal conversation after another, none of which reveal much about the guys or their lives. In fact the only conclusion they reach is to do Benji which Vince swiftly turns against after having a Jim Morrison moment on the road side (seemingly a reference to the Oliver Stone movie about The Doors).

Meanwhile Entourage’s determination to have Ari’s wife and Lloyd be a part of the show backfires. Ari looks like an idiot for not hiring a dog walker instead of insisting Lloyd spend the entire evening at his place. While Lloyd trying to guide Ari to safety feels like a waste of time and doesn’t lead to any good jokes. And again why would Ari’s wife have been angry at him for going somewhere with Vince to help him with his career? He doesn’t need to tell her the truth.

Comic Highlight: Sadly for me it was Turtle pointing out the down side of appearing in Benji, “You won’t be banging your co-star.”

Victory?: This is probably a polarising episode. If you watch Entourage without a connection to the story or characters then you may well enjoy this more than I did. I can’t help but see all the wasted opportunities. But having so explicitly shown drug use, the effects are dealt with very tamely.



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