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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 9 - Security Briefs

22 March 2012

Synopsis: Johnny’s torture at work begins with a gruelling make up session which leaves him with fake burn marks all over his face. When Aaron informs Vince that the suspected stalker works in S&M store “The Pleasure Chest”, Johnny rushes down there to sort him out. Meanwhile Turtle learns that the underwear theft was actually a sorority prank. Ari steals Zac Efron from long time rival Adam Davies. So Davies offers Lloyd a job as an agent. When Lloyd confronts Ari about his “hundred days” Ari reacts angrily and demeans him. The stress of this abuse leads Lloyd to crash Ari’s car and walk away.

The Good: What Entourage does, it does very well.

Ari’s abuse of Lloyd has a solid balance to it. Ari has built his career on his abusive, unsympathetic management style. High on the success of signing Zac Efron he decides he can ride roughshod over Lloyd and crush him further under his heel. From Lloyd’s perspective of course, Ari completely overreacts to his simple question about whether their agreement is still in place. Ari’s stubbornness pushes Lloyd into the arms of Adam Davies.

Entourage certainly shows a commendable commitment to its minor recurring characters. Davies returns yet again to play the slimy foil to Ari and does it well. It’s nice that he is portrayed as no fool, sensing where Ari’s weakness lies. It all seems to set up a nice three episode arc to close out the season where presumably Ari eats humble pie and gets Lloyd back to Miller-Gold as an agent. Zac Efron pops up to provide yet another enjoyable celebrity cameo.

Speaking of cameo’s, credit to Sadie, who plays the check out girl at “The Pleasure Chest” with a nice gentle tone and pleasant comic timing. It’s always fun to be reminded of Johnny’s past before his brother became a superstar and he got on a network show. As ever he plays the hot headed and slow witted enforcer for Vince with ease. The end of the stalker storyline is typical Entourage, for better or worse. There was no real threat to Vince, it was just some attractive college girls having fun. It sums up the ethos of Entourage pretty nicely.

Ashley looks set to drive Eric away through jealous paranoia which is a fair story if told well. The little detail which was excellent though was that the call Eric received was not from “Turtle”, “Drama” or “Vince” but from “Rupert Pupkin” which led Ashley to be suspicious. At the end of the episode Johnny gets the call from Vince to tell him not to do anything stupid and up on his phone comes “Rupert Pupkin.” Clearly a pseudonym so that strangers can’t easily steal Vince’s phone number. It’s a very subtle touch to aid the Ashley story.

It’s good to see Johnny’s war with Coakland gets a mention. The makeup burns are a very effective piece of writing. They constantly remind you of Johnny’s ongoing story, even though it isn’t being addressed this week. It also provides a nice cheap laugh as each new person reacts to it.

The Bad: Also providing a celebrity cameo is Frank Darabont, director of The Shawshank Redemption. As well meaning as his warning about celebrity stalkers is, pulling a gun out of his bag is not. He claims he shot his stalker in the ass and thus encourages Vince to do the same. That’s not the message that needs to be put out there and I’m surprised he was happy, even in a fictional setting, to imply he would do that.

There are several parts of this episode which induce slight groans. Ari’s venomous anger at Lloyd seems a little contrived after their relationship has grown in affection over the years. There was no follow up on Andrew Kline, who drove into his own house last week! His life was still in ruins yet he gets nothing more than a metaphorical slap on the back for signing Aaron Sorkin and that’s it.

Then there are the Ashley and stalker stories. The writers may well prove me wrong but the Ashley story looks headed down a dull and familiar feeling break up which may be no fun to watch. And the swift anticlimactic end to the stalker story is yet another reminder of the show choosing style over substance.

Comic Highlight: Frank Darabont warns Vince of the dangers of stalkers. He tells him that many convicts wrote to him, including one who threatened to “Shawshank me in the ass.” Johnny Drama (who else?) interprets this in bizarre fashion and comments “Who couldn’t love that movie?”

Victory?: Another standard Entourage episode. The stories move forward in entertaining fashion with the odd really nice moment. But for the most part it leaves me wondering what more could be done with more focus and endeavour.



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