Entourage 7.1 – Stunted

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.

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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.

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Entourage: Season Seven Preview

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After what was probably the worst season in the show’s history, it was nice to see Doug Ellin and the rest of the “Entourage” crew bounce back last year with a fantastic sixth season that returned to the show’s roots while still allowing the characters to mature. It also found Vincent Chase back on the A-list after a tedious detour into obscurity (and Mexico) that dragged on for way too long. In Season Six, he didn’t have much to do beyond the odd talk show appearance or fuck session, but that’s Vinnie at his best. The other characters, meanwhile, were given life-changing storylines, like Eric shutting down the Murphy Group to work for a bigger management company; Drama gambling to get out of his “Five Towns” contract for greener pastures; and Turtle going back to school to learn how to run a business. And let’s not forget Ari, who not only bought out Terrence’s agency, but finally promoted Lloyd to a full-time agent.

With the show’s June 27th premiere just around the corner, HBO has released a series of trailers promoting its return, One of them is nothing more than a series of shiny glamour shots of the quintet laughing and just looking cool as they stand around the show’s trademark 1965 Lincoln Continental, followed by the vague tagline, “What’s Next?” There’s also a more revealing trailer making the rounds with actual scenes from the upcoming season, and although it’s not too spoilerish, it does a reveal a few things about what to expect.

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For starters, it appears that Vince will be working with director Nick Cassavetes on a new action film, with Cassavetes looking pretty intimidating for a guy best known for helming “The Notebook.” Drama will also be busy trying to find the perfect project to showcase his talents, Turtle’s call girl/car service company will take off, and Ari will try to break into sports as the new head of the biggest talent agency in the world. Surprisingly, Eric doesn’t feature too much in this trailer, so hopefully Sloan doesn’t have him on too tight of a leash now that they’re engaged.

And in case you were wondering where all the celebrities were hiding, don’t worry too much, as Season Seven promises to have just as many cameos as usual, including appearances by Sean “Diddy” Combs, Mike Tyson, Stan Lee, and Jessica Simpson, among others. The most promising guest appearance, however, will likely be John Stamos, who’s scheduled to appear as himself (and alongside “Full House” co-star Bob Saget, no less) in a storyline that has something to do with Drama’s new show. Check out the trailer below, and then come back on June 27th to follow along as we blog the new season. Still not enough coverage? Be sure to visit Bullz-Eye’s Entourage Fan Hub for actor profiles, DVD reviews and more.

  

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Entourage 6.3 – One Car, Two Car, Red Car, Blue Car

For all those doubters out there who haven’t seen this week’s episode yet, please do, because it’s one of the best the show has ever produced. I’ve been waiting for Turtle to get a worthwhile storyline ever since that whole rap management thing fell through, and though he did get a lucky break at the end of last year by hooking up with Jamie-Lynn Sigler, their new relationship hasn’t exactly spurred any kind of change in his lifestyle. Now that he’s got a case of the birthday blues, however, Turtle’s ready to get his life back on track.

The fact that both his best friend and girlfriend have just bought him new cars (a Ferrari and Porsche, respectively) isn’t helping, though, and when his mom isn’t giving him shit about being a loser, 50 Cent is picking on him for being Vince’s lackey. Still, you really have to respect Turtle’s tenacity, because some people would be perfectly happy leeching off their famous best friend forever. Not Turtle, because even after Ari grills him on the concept of paying one’s dues, instead of giving up, he decides to enroll in business management class at UCLA. Here’s hoping the writers aren’t just introducing another subplot for Turtle only for us to never hear about it again. I’d still really like to know what happened to that other girl he was dating back in Season Three.

While Drama and Vince try and console Turtle, Eric is stressing out over the impending pilot test results of Charlie’s surfer sitcom. Unfortunately, it’s a good news/bad news situation. While the test audience actually liked the show as a whole, they didn’t exactly love Charlie in the lead role. I don’t know how that’s possible (if you don’t like the main character, how can you like the show?), but regardless, Eric is forced to make some decisions of his own. He still thinks Charlie is funny upon another viewing of the pilot – even after Ashley, who he’s clearly crushing on since almost blowing her off the night before, declares that he just “sucks” – but the studio wants to replace him. Again, Ari is called on for advice, who suggests that he should stand up for his client if he truly does believe in him. Eric does just that, and even plays the race card in a last ditch effort, but no dice – Charlie is canned and Eric follows suit to support him.

For as good as both Turtle and Eric’s storylines were, however, one of the major reasons tonight’s episode worked so well is because Jeremy Piven wasn’t overused, as he too often is. Instead, he had a short exchange with Lloyd early on that revealed that he had forced the agent-in-training to memorize every one of his client’s favorites drinks, and then shined in two great scenes with Turtle and Eric – not as his usual asshole self, but almost as a mentor dispensing words of wisdom to his young pupils. It might sound a little strange to think of Ari as the Mr. Miyagi of the Hollywood agency world, but sometimes, it’s nice to see his human side.

  

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Entourage 6.2 – Amongst Friends

Last week’s season premiere received a bigger negative response than I expected. In fact, I’m kind of surprised that more of these detractors didn’t come out of the woodwork last year, when there was actually something to complain about. At least then it looked like the show was taking a turn for the worse, because as far as I’m concerned, the first two episodes of the new season have been nothing but classic “Entourage.” If you’re not enjoying it now, then I find it hard to believe you ever did. Sure, it might seem a bit repetitive after six years of the same thing, but the chemistry is still great and the story arc for this season actually shows real promise.

As for boys still being boys, well, that’s very much in full swing at the beginning of the episode when Turtle launches into a rant about how Katherine Heigl’s character from “Knocked Up” would never bang the guy played by Seth Rogen. (Our own John Paulsen would likely agree.) Apparently, being funny doesn’t make up for being ugly. I don’t know what that means for Turtle and Jamie-Lynn (he claims that girls think he’s cute, even though he’s always had a hard time convincing them to have sex with him), but for the time being, they’re very much the happy couple – so much so that Jamie-Lynn finally makes their relationship official at Vince’s big movie premiere. The rest of the guys score dates as well. Vince brings some chick he hooked up with last weekend, Drama convinces a vivacious retail clerk to tag along, and Eric goes with Sloan… as friends.

Obviously, the ever-changing relationship between Eric and Sloan is going to play a big part this year, especially now that they’ve introduced the superhot Alexis Dziena as Eric’s new “friend,” Ashley. I mean, he didn’t even seem that interested in the girl at first (her appearance at the party definitely caused some awkwardness between him and Sloan), but after confessing his true feelings to Sloan and getting denied, he was more than happy to use Ashley as a last-minute back-up plan. Sloan’s text message apology (what, she was too busy to call?) seems to indicate she cares more than she’s letting on, and you can be sure that once Eric finally starts getting serious with Ashley, Sloan is only going to want him back.

Also, is it just me, or does it seem like Ari doesn’t even work for Vince anymore? With the exception of the odd run-in with his star client, he’s been spending most of his time these days with Andrew, who Ari discovers may or may not be having an affair with a junior agent. It’s the kind of news that Ari doesn’t want to hear, especially since he’s just gone out of his way to convince Mrs. Ari to become friends with Andrew’s wife, Marlo. He’s urged Andrew to put an end to the fling before his wife becomes any the wiser, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this is going to end very badly. And poor Lloyd is going to be one that gets punished for it. Oh well, we knew Gary Cole wouldn’t be around for the long haul. It was just a matter of who would be the one to push him out the door.

  

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Entourage 5.6 – Redomption

Can you believe that “Entourage” is already halfway through the new season? It sure doesn’t seem like it, but that’s probably because despite hinting at where the story could be headed, the show hasn’t made very much progress in actually getting there. Following on the heels of what many considered one of the worst episodes to date, tonight’s show wasn’t that much better. I’m not exactly sure why anyone thought it was a good idea to bring back Dom – a character that a lot of fans complained about during his mini-arc in season three – but his return served no purpose other than to tie up Vince and Eric for an entire episode while they waited to hear back from Ari about the fate of “Smoke Jumpers.”

The subplot was supposed to show that Dom had finally matured as an adult, but honestly, does anyone even give a damn? His character was on the show for only a few episodes, and during that entire time, he was nothing but a nuisance to the whole gang. Why does the writing staff feel the need to redeem the guy, and better yet, why should the audience care? It’s bad enough that the show’s main characters are struggling for decent story arcs, but then they go and waste time developing a minor character that we’ll probably (hopefully) never see again? It doesn’t make sense, and it’s the latest in a line of bonehead decisions that the “Entourage” team has made so far this year.

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The episode may have been named for the redemption that Dom supposedly earned, but it was the other two subplots that were the real saviors. I’ve always given Drama and Turtle a lot of heat for being forced to play the comic relief week in and week out, but this time around, their storyline actually had some meat to it. It’s nice to see Turtle actually taking this whole job hunt seriously, and though his one-day trial as Drama’s assistant didn’t quite work out, you can’t blame the guy for not trying. Were Drama not such a diva (seriously, where does he get off demanding such an overcomplicated breakfast?), I really think Turtle would have done a good job. After all, it’s what he’s been doing for years as part of Vince’s entourage, so it’s not like it’s something he isn’t already accustomed to. If I were him, I probably would have quit as well, but not before I got the number of that female assistant he chatted with earlier in the episode.

The real story of the night, however, was Ari’s golf outing with Alan Gray. I have to be completely honest, I didn’t think Ari would actually lose the bet (even with Phil Mickelson by Alan’s side), but when he was given a second chance to win Vince a spot in “Smoke Jumpers,” I thought to myself, “Oh, okay, he’s going to sink this putt.” Nope, Ari misses both times, and when Alan gets worked up over Ari’s ballsy decision to bring up Vince’s name even when he specifically asked that he didn’t, Alan has a heart attack and dies. Only Drama is willing to point out that Alan’s death may be a good thing for Vince (since it means he can make movies for WB again), but that doesn’t mean everyone else wasn’t thinking it. If Alan Gray truly was the only thing standing in Vince’s way, then he shouldn’t have any problem getting “Smoke Jumpers,” and he might even have a shot at working on that “Ramones” biopic as well. Check it out, I just wrote season six.

  

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