Well, that’s a wrap – the guys of “Entourage” have slammed their last car door, and though it’s a little sad to see the series end, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it probably should have happened sooner than it did. But while the last few seasons weren’t quite up to par with the early years, Doug Ellin has done a nice job of rewarding the fans who stuck by the show with a fairly conclusive series finale that delivered the feel-good happy ending that just about everyone was expecting. “Entourage” has gone to some pretty dark places in recent seasons, but it was always going to end only one way.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that it didn’t have its problems. For starters, I don’t really believe that a woman who was so opposed to the idea of even dating Vince would suddenly agree to go on a date with him and then accept a marriage proposal in the short span of 24 hours. Not only is that incredibly disrespectful to the audience, but it completely undermines who Sofia is as a character and what made Vince fall so head over heels for her in the first place. Nevertheless, Vince and Sophia have decided to tie the knot in Paris, and Drama and Turtle have taken it upon themselves to convince Sloan to be in attendance – although she doesn’t entirely believe their story at first.
But while Sloan is honored to be considered important enough to be there for the big event (how Billy Walsh, or even Scotty Lavin for that matter, was left off the guest list is a mystery), she’s concerned that it’s all just a ploy to get her and Eric in the same room together. I’m sure that was partially the plan, but Vince and the guys were never going to let Eric run off to New York without at least trying to fix things. And though Vince initially made it worse by accidentally dropping the news to Terrence that Sloan was pregnant, he made things right in the end. That speech to Sloan was both sweet and touching, and it’s yet another example of how much Vince has matured since the first episode.
You could say the same thing about Ari, who’s been fighting tooth and nail to win back his wife all season. But while he’s always been able to talk a big game, Ari showed that he could follow through on his words as well by impulsively quitting the talent agency when he realized that it would be the only way to save his marriage and his relationship with his kids. I have to admit that it took me a little by surprise, because while I fully expected for him and Melissa (whose first name reveal was awfully nonchalant considering all the attention it’s been given throughout the years) to get back together, I never thought that he’d give up the only other thing he loved in order to make it work. In hindsight, however, it makes sense that quitting would be the only way that Mrs. Ari would take him back, and I applaud Ellin for allowing Ari to make that kind of sacrifice.
So, to recap: Vince is headed to Paris to marry Sophia; Eric has hopped on a plane with Sloan to work things out; Drama’s star is on the rise; Turtle is a millionaire; and Ari quit his job and moved to Florence with his wife… only to receive a call from the head of Warner Bros. days later offering him the chance to take over as CEO. That was a pretty cheeky move on Ellin’s part, but if a big screen movie really is in the works, then it’s the next natural place to take the story. Because even though they got their happy ending, you’d be crazy to think this is the last we’ve seen of Vincent Chase and his entourage.
As far as penultimate episodes go, “Entourage” has done a pretty stellar job of getting all its ducks in a row leading up to next week’s series finale. The journey getting there hasn’t been quite as linear as I had expected with so few episodes, but the various twists and turns have at least kept things fairly interesting. Instead of my usual recap, however, I’m going to break formula a little this week by talking more about the potential outcomes for each of the five main characters following the events of tonight’s episode.
1) Vince finally settles down
Obviously, I don’t mean that Vince is going to quit acting, move to Connecticut and start a family, but it definitely seems like he’s ready to start the next chapter of his life. Though trying to win over Sophia’s approval by making a video of interviews from ex-lovers might not sound like the greatest idea, it still had the desired effect – at least when combined with Drama and Turtle’s personal anecdotes. I still don’t buy the idea that Sophia is the first woman that Vince has ever pursued this intensely (a case can be made for both Mandy Moore and Sasha Grey), but he does seem like a new man after leaving rehab, and it’s nice to see him finally focusing on the important things in life.
2) Drama gets his chance to be the star
The one thing that Drama has wanted more than anything else since the show’s first season was to be taken seriously as an actor – something that has eluded him even when he was part of a hit TV series. But this miner movie sounds like it’s finally going to get him the respect he so desperately desires, especially when everyone in Hollywood seems to love Billy Walsh’s script. Of course, a lot of them also think that it’s too good for someone of Drama’s abilities, but Vince is so determined to make the movie with his big brother as the star that he donated $100,000 to Phil’s favorite charity in order to convince him to move ahead with the project. Could an Emmy nomination be far off?
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.
After last week’s mostly uneventful episode, I was starting to get worried that this final season might end up being just a whole bunch of filler. But thankfully, there’s plenty to talk about tonight, starting with the latest development from the Vincent Chase career rehabilitation saga. Though it wasn’t totally surprising that Vince would botch his interview with the Vanity Fair reporter once he realized that she was smoking hot, I expected much worse to come from all his flirting. Instead, Vince took it upon himself to make things right, and though he did successfully smooth things over by giving a good second interview, he still had the urge to hit on her again when it was over. Vince claims that he’s in love, but this has happened too many times before for anyone to seriously believe that it’ll end any differently.
And as one Chase brother attempts to put his career back together, the other is coming dangerously close to tearing his apart. Then again, can you blame him? While Drama has tried to stick it out after Dice’s decision to walk from the show, his new replacement has become insufferable to work with, even going so far as to criticize his performance in the recording booth. Desperate to get Dice back at any cost, Drama makes the unselfish offer to give him the difference in his pay so that they would be making the same amount. Dice graciously declines, however, stating that if anyone’s going to pay him, it’ll be the network, and is confident they’re going to give in to his demands soon.
But Phil doesn’t think that’s the case, letting Drama in on the secret that the network is so pleased with his work that they’re planning to tailor the entire show around him. Granted, I thought that’s what they were doing this whole time by making a cartoon called “Johnny’s Bananas,” but I digress. Drama feels that if the network really believes in him that much, however, that they would be willing to do anything he asks, so he decides to walk from the show in an attempt to convince them that the cartoon will only be successful with Dice’s involvement. That would have been a pretty boneheaded decision a few weeks ago, but now that Drama knows what he does, it’s his best chance of saving the show. It also proves just how much he’s matured over the last eight seasons, because I don’t think a younger Drama would have done the same.
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.
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.”
To be completely honest, “Entourage” probably should have called it quits a few seasons ago after Vincent Chase reemerged from the failure of “Medellin” to reclaim his spot among the Hollywood elite. But now that the final season is just around the corner, I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t excited to see how it all ends. Even with the chance of a potential big screen adventure, it’s hard to imagine that creator Doug Ellin won’t want to provide at least some kind of bookend to the series – particularly one that’s a little happier than the way he left off things last season.
With perhaps the exception of Eric, whose rekindled relationship with Sloan led to the pair getting engaged, the rest of the guys ended Season Seven on a low. After bringing in Mark Cuban as a potential business partner for Avion tequila, Turtle was seemingly pushed out of the deal with nothing to show for it; Drama gave up a plum job on network TV only to wind up settling for a new animated show conceived by Billy Walsh; Ari managed to save his career but not his wife after she walked away from their marriage; and Vince was thrown into rehab following his arrest for possession of cocaine.
Fortunately, the only place to go from there is up, which means that even if Season Eight doesn’t cap off the series with a completely happy ending, it’ll at least have a much brighter outlook than the previous season. Though everyone involved is holding their cards pretty close to their chests in regards to what we can expect to see, HBO has released a few promos and snippets of information that tell us a few things. For starters, the season will begin with Vince being released from a 90-day stint in rehab and eager to get back to work. But when he finds it difficult to land an acting job due to his recent tabloid-worthy exploits, he decides to write a starring vehicle for himself.
The rest of the guys will also continue to try and forge their own careers now that they’ve severed their dependency to Vince, with Turtle launching a new business venture to open a Hollywood location of the New York-based Italian restaurant, Don Peppe; Drama beginning production on “Johnny’s Bananas” alongside Andrew Dice Clay (presumably as one of the other voices); and Eric opening a new management company with Scotty Lavin. Interestingly enough, it also looks like his engagement to Sloan has hit a snag, while Ari will dedicate his time solely to winning back Mrs. Ari following their separation.
It all sounds promising enough, as long as things don’t get too serious. That was one of the main problems with last season, which often forgot it was a comedy at times by focusing all of its energy on the darker and more dramatic moments. And with only eight episodes for its grand finale, Ellin and Co. will have to be especially mindful of staying true to the story they want to tell while still delivering the show that fans know and love.
The eighth and final season premieres July 24th at 10:30 pm EST on HBO.
Seth Meyers may have joked that MySpace is the abandoned amusement park of the Internet, but let it not be said that it no longer has something to offer. As a social networking site, yes, Facebook has wiped the floor with them, but it’s still a great outlet for bands, especially if you’re at anything like us and like being able to check out a band’s material without handing over some private information for the privilege. Download our new song! All you have to do is fork over your email address. That practice just gives us the willies.
And then sometimes, something really awesome happens, like the unsolicited friend request from a really good band that you never would have heard about otherwise. Case in point: Ex Norwegian, a Miami trio that lives in this magical place where ’90s power pop is still going strong and nu metal and emo never happened. They sent us a friend request, and we asked if we could hear more. The kindly sent us their first album Standby. We liked. We posted a song from it in our download column Me, Myself and iPod. A little bit later, they sent us a link to download their recently completed new album Sketch.
Damn, it’s even better than their first album. Sweet.
Here’s the video for opening track and first single “Jet Lag.” We love the way it opens with a clear nod to grunge rock (that opening bass line and guitar chord is none more Alice in Chains), then gives way to a sky-high chorus that Sloan would be proud to call their own. If you like this, there is plenty more where it came from on Sketch, so do something you probably haven’t done in a couple years and hit a MySpace page, namely theirs. You won’t regret it.