HBO ENTOURAGE

 entourage

The Release

With all of the zigzagging feints, ping-ponging emotions, and corkscrewing narrative twists, tonight’s episode of Entourage left me reaching for the Dramamine. I’ve been an unabashed fan of season 3 from the start here on TV Watch, but sorry, web readers, this was probably my least favorite episode of the season. In the goal of pushing the story forward, this week’s installment (called ”The Release”) was crammed tighter than Joss Whedon’s lunch schedule during Comic-Con. I’m not even going to attempt to list all the various threads and overlapping story lines in the 25-or-so-minute episode, because it would take up all of my allotted word count (and put all of you to sleep). But about halfway through, just keeping track of all of the characters’ whereabouts had me feeling like an air-traffic controller.

And that’s not it. I’m just not buying this massive 180-degree change in Vince’s whole attitude and ethos. That he’s too ”principled” to have breakfast with Warner Bros. honcho Alan Gray was a stretch but somewhat believable. That he would follow up the Aquaman 2 debacle by embarrassing a second studio at a press conference was beyond ludicrous. Now we’re supposed to buy that Vince is some kind of activist-actor to whom money means nothing? Last time I checked, Vince lived in a mansion, rolled around in an Escalade, and bought all of his homies Ducati racing bikes.

By the way, the Willy Wonka-style colorization of Queens Boulevard was a goofy, funny way to villainize yet another studio, but I think the whole colorization debate died down about 20 years ago, didn’t it?

Enough griping for now. There actually were some fun things about this episode. The return of Barbara ”Babs” Miller, the ultra-bitchy superagent who might be the only woman — besides Mrs. Ari — who can emasculate Ari Gold with a single stare, brought the level of subterfuge to an all-time high. Beverly D’Angelo plays the two-timing Babs with a bawdy, sourpuss sulk; she looks like she’s just taken a bite out of a raw lemon. Plus, in a surprise return engagement, Rhys Coiro appeared as indier-than-thou auteur Billy Walsh, whose foulmouthed and aggressively anti-studio, anti-agent, anti-Hollywood, and anti-pretty-much-everything demeanor always reminds me of writer-actor-director Vincent Gallo: Any other ideas of whom he might be modeled on?

Lastly, our poor shlub Johnny Drama finally caught a stroke of luck this week, and just in time. I really thought the guy was gonna pack up and move back to Queens after Turtle’s hip-hop impresario career picked up. In an ironic twist, Drama’s long history of bad career choices has finally paid off for him. Instead of starring in The Brothers McMullen, he chose a three-episode arc on 90210 sexually harassing Tori Spelling, and now Ed Burns is returning the favor, in a kind of skewed reverse karma.

 In my TV Watch for episode 2, I mentioned that Drama was becoming a kind of meathead Larry David. His Costanza/David-esque qualities were in full bloom this week, with his argument with the traffic cop, his shouting at the taxi driver, and his rageaholic meltdown in the coffee shop. Though I have to admit I feel Drama’s pain on the coffee issue. When the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf discontinued its frequent-buyer punch cards — because of counterfeiting, reportedly — I almost gave up caffeine in protest.

Questions to think about: Is Vince ruining his career?

 Will Queens Boulevard ever get released?

 Will the Miller-Gold Agency get off the ground?

And will Ari get any of his money from Terrance?

Michael Endelman

Entertainment Weekly

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Posted on August 5, 2006, in Entourage and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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