I remember when Entourage was a fun show.
It was only a couple of seasons ago that the HBO comedy was focused on a movie star named Vince (Adrien Grenier), who spent his time working and celebrating life in Hollywood. Last season, though, the show took a dramatic turn when Vince started using heavy drugs and getting into trouble with the law. The show has since become more serious and dramatic than I ever expected it to be.
Now, in its final season, the show continues to focus on dramatic storylines about rehab and recovery but it shows glimpses of its
former self when it focuses on more exciting storylines and the life of superagent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven).
So far, the first four episodes of season 8 have already aired.
“Home Sweet Home” In the season premiere, Vince leaves a rehab facility after living there for a couple of months. He’s trying to start anew alongside his manager Eric (Kevin Connelly), who is getting over a break up with his former fiancé Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui). Vince’s overprotective older brother Johnny (Kevin Dillon), who works as a voice actor on a cartoon called “Johnny’s Bananas,” decides to throw an alcohol-free party for his brother. Turtle (Jerry Ferraro), the third member of Vince’s entourage, assists with the party and helps rid the house of alcohol and drugs.
Meanwhile, Vince’s overcaffeinated agent Ari has his own issues to deal with. Ari has been separated from his wife (Perrey Reeves) for over two months and misses her terribly. After trying to get back together with her, she confesses that she is dating someone else. The heartbroken Ari ends up attending Vince’s “welcome home” party, only to watch the house go down in flames after Turtle accidentally lights it on fire.
Although I’ve never found Entourage laugh-out-loud funny, I usually find it entertaining and enjoy its insider references to Hollywood. It’s also fun to imagine being part of such an entourage and getting the chance to live in such an upscale setting with cellebrities living next door. The show is escapism especially for men who can imagine themselves surrounded by beautiful women and living the good life. However, Entourage has lost some of that by focusing on the serious issue of drugs and rehabilitation. When it enters E! True Hollywood Story territory, Entourage loses some of its appeal. I have never enjoyed the rehab storyline on the show and find that it slows down the show. However, as usual, Ari’s combative but well-written relationship with his wife make up for some of the episode’s deficiencies.
Final Grade: C+
“Out with a Bang”: This second episode is far superior to the premiere. It’s much more entertaining and features more of Mr. and Mrs. Ari Gold, who continue to face marital difficulties. After the fire of the premiere, Vince and his friends are now living in a hotel.
Early on, Eric receives an angry call from Sloan. In the season premiere, Eric had inadvertently left her a foul message so she’s calling back to insult him accordingly. When Eric drops by her apartment to pick up his stuff, the two reunite and share a sweet scene together.
The most exciting parts of the episode, though, belong to Ari and his wife. After Ari suspects that his wife is dating a waiter, he
sabotages that waiter’s audition for Mad Men. After finding out what he did, Mrs. Gold arrives at Ari’s office with dramatic music playing in the background showing that an argument is about to ensue. Watching Ari, a cool confident agent, battling with his wife is dramatic gold for this show. It’s always fun to watch Ari battling with fierce opposition and his wife, who he loves but often neglects, is the toughest opponent he’ll ever face. For the Ari storyline and the nice connection between E and Sloan, this episode deserves a solid B.
Final Grade: B
TRR TV Revue by John Hanlon