I’ve been slacking off this summer on episode recaps and weekly reviews. And with a flurry of season finales currently coinciding with a slate of series premieres, this seems like a good opportunity to chime in on how some series fared, and how some new ones look. Next up: “Entourage.” Caution, spoilers ahead.
I must be a glutton for punishment. Every year, I say I’m done with HBO’s inside-Hollywood comedy “Entourage,” that it’s nowhere near as good as it used to be. Yet whenever a new season starts, I get sucked right back in, hoping it’ll recapture the breezy fun of its early seasons. And for the last — what, four seasons now? — I’ve been disappointed. You know the worst thing? I’ll watch next year too. Just because it’ll be the final season. (Of course, there’s supposedly going to be a movie made after that, but it’s easier to avoid a single movie than an entire TV season.)
What I liked: Season 7 wasn’t entirely bad. It started off with the best episode in years, with Vince crashing his car doing a stunt and Ari trying to woo the NFL to L.A. The NFL subplot was fun, if completely unrealistic (how eager would they really be to work with the guy who’s sucking them dry through the star players he represents?). Lizzie Grant (Autumn Reeser) was a terrific character until her storyline flew off the tracks halfway through the season and we never saw her again. Wasted opportunity there. It was good to see Turtle putting his business talents to use, even if his inexperience and naivete did almost cause Carlos to lose his beloved tequila company. Scott Caan stole every scene he was in as Eric’s sleazy rival/co-worker. But the highlight of the season was probably Johnny Drama and his reluctance to do an animated show. For some reason, everything related to “Johnny’s Bananas,” as terrible as the show sounded, made me laugh.
What I didn’t like: Vince’s whole story was boring. His descent into drug use was completely predictable, his acting wasn’t credible and his arrest at the end was unsatisfying (in Hollywood, isn’t a drug bust more of a career-builder than a hindrance?). I really think Vince should have holed up at the Chateau Marmont and OD’d. That would have been a better season-ending cliffhanger, and shown some real consequences for his actions. He was entirely unlikable, even more so than usual, by the final episode. I was disappointed in Ari’s career and family implosion, but that was more because I like the character. It was actually a good plot development; Ari finally had everything he ever wanted, and lost it all through his own self-absorption. I assume next season will be Ari’s redemption. Sasha Grey did a good job playing a vapid porn star, but her personality was vacant anytime she had to actually act. Turtle’s new girlfriend was annoying and her acting was really, really not good. Even worse than Sloan, who thankfully was only seen in brief moments. But my biggest disappointment was the lack of Lloyd. Where was Lloyd all season?!? He’s one of the funniest characters and serves to keep everyone else grounded. After his long-deserved promotion last season, I had high hopes. His presence was sorely missed.
Bottom line: You’ve heard the expression “It’s better to burn out than to fade away”? Well, “Entourage” is fading away, and hurting its legacy. But that wasn’t unexpected. This season had flashes of fun, followed by too much lazy writing, plots going nowhere, and the typical cringe-inducing misogyny. Another unsatisfying season. Still, there was some character development, and each big cast member was left with a life-changing decision to make. I know I’m probably being a sucker, but that gives me a little bit of hope for next season.
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