For anyone that read my preview of the new season, you probably weren’t too surprised by the events that took place in tonight’s premiere, but I still enjoyed the episode a lot and think that it’s a strong start to what could be another great year for the series. With Eric more or less taking a backseat this week, the bulk of the episode revolved around Vince on the set of his new action film. And if you thought Vernon, the fictional German director of “Smokejumpers,” was intimidating, wait until you get a load of real-life actor/director Nick Cassavetes. Worried that the audience will know he’s cheating by using stunt doubles for Vince, Nick begs him to do an upcoming car chase sequence himself, and he agrees. That is, only because he doesn’t want Nick to think he’s a pussy, but the minute that Nick leaves his side, Vince goes running to Eric and Ari for help in breaking his promise without Nick knowing it was him who spurred them on.
Ari has more important things going on in his life as the new head of the biggest agency in the world. He’s got big plans for the company, including a possible deal with the NFL regarding the league’s TV rights, and yet instead of sending someone else to get their hands dirty (much to the annoyance of Mrs. Ari), he visits the set to speak with Nick himself. It doesn’t quite go as planned, however, after he threatens Nick to get the studio involved when he learns that they haven’t been insured for the stunt because he hasn’t told them about it. Nick threatens Ari to keep his mouth shut, and then delivers a little payback later on by taking a full-page ad out in Variety with a picture of Ari in drag and the following text below it: “Ari Gold. My Friend, My Agent, My Bitch.” Has Ari Gold finally met his match? Apparently, because I don’t think we’ve ever seen him step down from a challenge before – and that includes the aforementioned “Smokejumpers” director, whom Drama once referred to as a “cocksucking Nazi bastard.”
Nick piles on the pressure, though, and Vince decides to do the stunt, which doesn’t go as planned when the car fails to brake properly after jumping off a ramp through a gauntlet of pyrotechnics. Vince emerges from the wreck unharmed, and though he appears to be a little shaken at first, once he realizes that he’s okay, he wants to go again. The look on his face seems to say otherwise, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Vince’s big storyline this season involved him becoming a thrill-seeking adrenaline junkie. It would definitely be an improvement from previous years, as Vince tends to get the short end of the stick when it comes to character development.
Meanwhile, Turtle’s new call girl/car service is finally up and running, though we still don’t know how he got the money to finance it. (My guess: Vince.) It seems to be going pretty well, too, except that one of the girls (Alex, played by Dania Ramirez) is a complete idiot. She’s constantly late to work, forgets her uniform, and gets lost on her way to picking up clients at the airport, despite the fact that she’s been there several times and has a GPS unit in the car. Drama thinks that Turtle should fire her, but Turtle isn’t exactly thinking with his head when it comes to Alex, and it shows when, after she manages to lose her car in a parking garage (again, I can’t stress how dumb this girl is), he makes a move on her. But she’s not interested, and decides to quit before Turtle can fire her. Unfortunately, that’s not going to be the last we see of the dim-witted Alex, as word on the block is that she’s going to be romantically involved with Turtle throughout the rest of the season. Is it too soon to be missing Jamie-Lynn Sigler yet?
And finally, there’s Drama, who finds himself in quite the predicament after quitting “Five Towns” and turning down an offer to star in the new “Melrose Place” at the end of last season. (Anyone who pays attention to the entertainment industry, though, knows that was probably a good decision, as the real-life “Melrose Place” reboot was canceled after only one season.) Still, things are looking grim for Drama, who only has eight weeks left on his holding deal before he’s officially unemployed once again. His friend at the network, Phil, promises that they’re still waiting for the right project, but when he learns that a remake of “The Fall Guy” has been greenlit with Dean Cain in the lead role, he thinks that Phil is lying to him.
Quite the contrary, however, as Phil tells Drama that he still believes in him, and that because of his unique look, when they do find a show for him, it will be something really special. And you know what? I actually believe the guy. Drama may think he’s a good enough actor to deserve a dedicated team like Brad Pitt, but that’s just wishful thinking on his part. I’m confident that he’ll find something before his deal expires, just like I’m a confident that this season could be one of the best yet. It’s off to a good start, at least, so here’s hoping Doug Ellin and his writers can keep it up.