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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 5 - Fore!

22 March 2012

Synopsis: Sloan is helping to host a charity golf tournament which the entourage is taking part in. Johnny and Vince are paired with Tom Brady (of New England Patriots fame) and Mark Wahlberg. Johnny decides to bet big money on winning which of course he fails to do. Meanwhile Turtle, as a true blue New York Giants fan is determined to tell Brady where to go. Eric gets an invitation to play with Murray Berenson who offers him a job. When he finds out that Murry heard of him through Sloan he turns down the job and confronts her about her meddling. Ari is paired with long time client Jeffrey Tambor and is suffering the cold shoulder from his wife about Andrew’s affair. When Ari refuses to tell Jeffrey about it, he too turns on Ari.

The Good: Another mixed bag from Entourage. This season has focussed on Eric like no other and this episode continues the good work there. Eric has been one of television’s unsung stars when it comes to his anxious, lovelorn performance. With successive girlfriends he has battled with his natural inclination toward being in a couple and the possibilities of the single life which Vince’s stardom has afforded him. Once more he approaches domestic bliss with Ashley but his feelings for Sloan confuse the situation and he ends up lying to both women in typically convincing and awkward fashion. His understated, realistic acting will probably never receive the credit it deserves.

And Entourage’s lightweight approach to drama means that the show’s excellent real feeling plots can often get overlooked too. Here we have an understandable and actually very tricky situation for Eric to deal with. Sloan recommends him to Murry which is clearly a big opportunity to become a success in Hollywood as his own man. But Eric is proud and can’t help but feel like Sloan is trying to make him into a man that she could be with rather than accepting him for what he is. It’s such an understandable and believable reaction for Eric to have. Particularly when his entire success is built on childhood friend Vince, so he is naturally prickly to suggestions that he only succeeded through nepotism. Sloan of course only meant well and makes an excellent defence by pointing out that Murry is a huge name in Hollywood because he is a smart guy and not because he hires people based on recommendations by relatives.

The ongoing tensions between Eric and Sloan are making for intriguing drama. However it would be nice if we could get to know Sloan better, so that we could judge her as a character on more than a nice smile and a fancy wardrobe.

Ari is in a similar, real feeling dilemma. He lied to his wife but he did so to protect his best friend’s personal life. And his professional life. It’s a tangled web and Ari didn’t lie for the sake of it. He meant well. But of course lying doesn’t go down well and so he and Lloyd as a result, suffer.

The Bad: But rather like the majority of this season, the writers decided that the ‘B’ plot would be complete fluff rather than any meaningful character development. Vince remains completely anonymous despite supposedly having to deal with his entourage slowly moving off on their own. Johnny is wasted badly here. He fluffs every golf shot he plays, about the laziest gag the writers could think of. Of course he huffs and puffs to good effect but it’s such a criminal waste of the talent on display. Particularly executive producer Mark Wahlberg who pops by to prove how cool he is and Tom Brady who doesn’t break sweat establishing what a nice guy he really is. It’s all so pointless and self indulgent. Worse is to come though when Turtle sells out his New York Giants allegiance in a heart beat because Brady invites him round for dinner. With a bit more subtlety this could have been a lovely story for him. The point could have been made well that Turtle decided to be mature for Jamie’s sake rather than stick to his blind sporting dogma. But instead Turtle is soon begging his former hated enemy to join his beloved Giants. What a nice guy he must be.

Meanwhile the also-very-talented Jeffrey Tambor is stuck with an equally useless plot. He cheats and cheats his way around the course trying to impress his own brattish children. Again in about as simple and obvious a collection of jokes as could be written. Then he turns on Ari for not telling him who was having an affair at Miller-Gold. It felt so pointless. It was a reminder of what Ari’s story was but it didn’t do anything to advance that plot and felt like celebrity indulging time wasting as a result.

Comic Highlight: Sloan announces that Vince and Johnny will be paired with Tom Brady and Mark Wahlberg. Ari asks “Gee, whose the ugliest person on that foursome? Think fast.”

Victory?: Not a good episode. Usually when Entourage mixes its serious drama with fluff, the fluff is inoffensive. But here the golf jokes are so lame and so laboured that they really drag down the better parts. It has been a very disappointing season so far for a show capable of so much more.

 

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