Entourage 8.6 – The Big Bang

Is it just me or does Vince’s career seem like the least of his concerns at the moment? I thought for sure that his big story arc this season would revolve around yet another comeback, but instead, it appears to be more about him becoming a better person – first in his unselfish decision to write a starring vehicle for Drama, and now in trying to find a meaningful relationship with a woman that isn’t just about sex. So what spurred this sudden moment of self-reflection?

Believe it or not, it was that GQ reporter from last week (as if anyone thought that was the last we were going to see of her), whose interview with Vince pegs him as a bit of a womanizer. You can understand why he would want to do everything in his power to prevent a piece like that from ever running, but I’m a little surprised at his overall reaction. Vince seemed genuinely shocked at her portrayal of him, which makes me think that they either erased his memory “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”-style at the rehab center or he’s even dumber than he looks. Of course, at the rate this season is going, I’m sure that Sophia will eventually fall for Vince’s movie star charm, domesticate his inner wild child, and they’ll go on to live happily ever after.

It might seem crazy to think that Vince could ever adapt to that kind of future, but we’ve certainly seen crazier things happen – like Eric’s recent run of form. In fact, it’s almost as if the two friends have swapped bodies. Eric has been acting completely out of character lately, and after learning that Johnny Galecki might be sleeping with Sloan (isn’t she supposed to be in New York?), he gives Scotty the ultimatum to either dump Galecki as a client or say goodbye to their partnership. I get that Eric is still upset about his break-up with Sloan, but what kind of grown man acts that way? This definitely isn’t Eric’s finest hour, and only the writers are to blame, who have practically ruined one of the show’s most complex characters over the course of only six short episodes.

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Entourage 8.3 – One Last Shot

If there was ever any doubt that Vince would be able to kick his drug habit without relapsing even once, then tonight’s episode surely put an end to that debate, as it’s hard to imagine him even thinking about cocaine after what he witnessed. Though everyone warned him not to trust producer Carl Ertz (who, in addition to screwing him out of a movie a few years ago, didn’t appear nearly as drug-free as he claimed), Vince was all too willing to give him a second chance.

And though it looked like his faith in Ertz was actually going to pay off after CBS agreed to produce Vince’s TV movie with Drama attached, it all came tumbling down when he realized that Ertz was only doing him a favor so that he could pitch him some crappy action thriller called “Tax Man.” Turtle knew right away that something wasn’t right, but Vince was determined to stay and help Ertz get through his latest drug bender without anyone getting harmed. I kept telling myself that it wasn’t going to end well, and sure enough, Ertz ended up locking himself in his bathroom and shooting himself in the head. Talk about scaring someone straight. I’ve never seen Vince that shaken up before, and that includes his recent brush with death on that Nick Cassavetes movie.

While Vince tried to play sponsor to Ertz, Eric and Scotty were busy making sure that Drama didn’t shoot himself in the foot by siding with Dice over his contract demands. Though Drama wasn’t exactly opposed to the idea of making more money, after Phil reminded him of a past gig he had (a ‘90s cop show called “Concrete Heat”) that tested through the roof only to last a single week on the air, Drama agreed that it probably wasn’t worth the risk. Unfortunately, Dice refused to budge, and though Eric told him that the network would just fire him if he threatened to walk off the show, Dice decided to take his chances. As it turns out, it was a lose-lose situation for everyone involved. Dice got the boot, and in trying to replace him with an impersonator (played by Jamie Kennedy), Phil may have just ruined the only good thing that “Johnny’s Bananas” had going for it. Drama definitely didn’t look too happy about his new castmate, while Billy Walsh threw a king-sized hissy fit and stormed out of the building in classic fashion.

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Entourage 8.2 – Out with a Bang

After focusing pretty heavily on Vince’s return from rehab this week, the actor was stuck in the background for most of tonight’s episode, leading me to wonder whether he’ll even get the chance to mount another comeback before the end of the season. Sure, there was a tiny subplot involving him writing the script to that Romanian miner movie he wants Drama to star in, but apart from getting Billy to read the outline and agree to help flesh it out, Vince was surprisingly MIA this week.

He mostly just followed the rest of the gang around like he was part of Drama’s entourage – a scary thought, I know, but things are once again looking up for Vince’s older brother. Despite my personal feelings about “Johnny’s Bananas,” the guys seem to think it has the potential to become a runaway hit, even if Andrew Dice Clay has reservations about it performing well with the public. So when Phil drops by the recording studio to inform Drama and Dice that the show is being screened for a test audience, Dice practically begs him to tag along.

Unfortunately, that may not have been the best decision, because as soon as the Dice Man hears that “Johnny’s Bananas” tested through the roof, he immediately starts planning a mutiny to walk from the show. That’s pretty amateur behavior on his part, no matter how much he thinks they’re being underpaid. After all, the cartoon isn’t even on the air yet, and as Jerry Seinfeld (whose own show famously scored terribly with test audiences) can probably attest to, those scores mean very little in the grand scheme of things. Drama would be wise to keep his cool and not let Dice get into his head, because if he screws this opportunity up, it could very well be his last.

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Entourage 8.1 – Home Sweet Home

Tonight’s season premiere of “Entourage” was about one thing and one thing only: picking Vincent Chase up out of the gutter and getting his career back on track… again. After a 90-day stint in rehab, Vince is finally free to return home, but little does he know that Drama has been obsessing over making sure that his baby brother doesn’t relapse. Along with getting rid of all the real drugs and alcohol in the house, Drama goes so far as to even prevent any pill-shaped substance from being in sight, whether it’s an Advil or a Tic-Tac. It doesn’t take long for Vince to realize that the gang is babying him (even more than normal), and how could he not? Everyone was acting so awkward the minute he stepped out of the rehab clinic that it was only a matter of time before he called them out on it.

Vince seems willing to put up with all the coddling, however, if it means he can get back to work. And amazingly, Warner Bros. still wants him as the star of that Stan Lee superhero film, “Airwalker,” as long he’s willing to take a drug test. But the movie doesn’t start shooting until March, and Vince is raring to go, so he suggests directing his own film about a real-life story of Romanian miners getting trapped underground. The rest of the guys think it sounds terrible (a Lifetime movie-of-the-week at best), but because they’re trying to be supportive, they refrain from telling him the truth. That is until Eric, who’s still a little pissed at Vince for ignoring him while he was away, speaks his mind.

You can hardly blame him for being so grouchy lately. Though he’s enjoying professional success after taking over Murray’s management agency alongside Scotty Lavin (who, despite being partners, still fight like a couple of siblings), Eric’s personal life is in the dumps following Sloan’s decision to call off the marriage when he refused to sign a prenup. I’m guessing it was more of a matter of integrity than Eric simply being greedy, but that didn’t stop Sloan from sending back the engagement ring in an envelope. And as the gang so humorously points out, “not even a padded one.”

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