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.