The previews for the new season of “Entourage” showed Vince and E on a rollercoaster, at the top of the very first hill, arms up and eyes wide, ready for the plunge. At the time, I’d hoped this was symbolic of what we should expect from the show this summer. After the first several episodes, it seemed I was out of luck: “Aquaman” broke records, Vince was hotter than Jessica Alba in a wet t-shirt contest, and Ari’s sputtering agency was finally gaining footing. Even E, Turtle and Drama were livin’ large, what with E scoring a threesome with his hot girlfriend and her hotter girlfriend, and Ari taking Turtle and Drama on as clients. Everything seemed hunky dory.
Well, all is not hunky dory after tonight’s episode. For starters, Ari, who’s planning on using the $11 million settlement he got from Terence to form the biggest agency in town, gets ambushed at a lunch date with Barbara Miller by all of the industry’s big wigs. Apparently, they know what Ari’s planning and, intent on keeping Ari away from their agents and their talent, they tell him they’ll do everything in their power to kill his venture. When Ari assures them that the only person he plans to steal agents and/or clients from is Terence, Terence says that, while he may have signed the settlement agreement, he hasn’t signed any checks yet, and he’ll gladly pay $50 million to make sure Ari doesn’t get a dime of the settlement.
I’m not really sure where Terence has a leg to stand on – if he signed the papers, how can he refuse to pay Ari? I’m assuming the $50 million was in reference to taking things to court but, again, Terence signed. What’s the problem? I’m no lawyer, so maybe I’m missing something here, but it seems Ari didn’t really have anything to worry about. Of course, that didn’t stop him from reluctantly agreeing to take Barbara on as a partner, since Ari is now flat broke and can’t afford to pay his agents. Either way, the new agency is up and running, only now Ari’s got someone to answer to. That spells trouble, I’m sure.
But the big story tonight came when Ari told E and Vince that “Queens Boulevard” was going to be released wide to 12,000 screens, with an announcement set to be made later that afternoon in front of the Hollywood Foreign Press. Just the kind of pub Vinnie needs in the aftermath of the “A2” debacle. But when E calls director Billy Walsh to tell him the good news, Walsh says he already knows about the plans and that he’s filing an injunction because he doesn’t want “those douche bags to ‘Aquamanifi’ my movie.” What’s he so worked up about? In preparation of the wide release, the studio has elected to colorize “Queens,” and it’s an awful colorization job at that (E says it looks like Willie Wonka, and he’s not far off). Walsh wants Vince to sign the injunction so the studio knows they mean business but E can’t get Ari on the phone to run the idea past him. Which means when Ari shows up, with new partner Babs in tow, he’s completely stunned when Vince tells everyone at the press conference that the studio “ripped out” Queens’ soul, “because, like all studios in this town, they don’t give a shit about art; they only care about one thing: money.”
Hard times lie ahead for Vince, and not just because he got booted off “A2,” and not because he just pissed off another set of studio execs, but because he insulted every studio in Hollywood with his speech. But, hell, who cares? Seems the writers had every intention of taking that plunge hinted at in the season previews, and I’m loving the ride. How far will all of this go? What kind of role is Vince going to be able to get now? If my initial hunch was right (and at this point, it doesn’t seem very likely), “Medellin” may still be an option, but even if Ari was telling the truth about Paul Haggis going in another direction, that seems like exactly the kind of role Vince should be going after now. Fuck the big studios, fuck the suits. It’s obvious Vinnie has an appreciation for film that goes far beyond the green it sends back his way, and this may be his opportunity to take on some independent roles rather than chasing the buck. Granted, that’ll mean a change of lifestyle for the boys back home, and likely some hard times for Ari and his new agency, but it could also lead to some award-show hardware down the road.
A couple final notes from tonight’s episode: Looks like Drama’s getting a pretty big break — despite another public temper tantrum — with “Eddie” Burns offering him a role in his new pilot. I wonder if this means Ari will pay Lloyd his promised 10,000 Yen…. And speaking of Ari: “Fuck the phones, Lloyd. Unless Carmen Electra calls for an emergency titty fuck, don’t answer.” That’s this week’s Ari Moment, which came after his ambush lunch when he was trying to set up a meeting with his agents and Lloyd told him that Eric and Vince had called several times. I imagine if Carmen Electra ever called for an emergency titty fuck, just about anything you were working on instantly would become less of a priority.