“Entourage” is the worst show on television. Yeah, I said it. Now before you go ape shit on me and swear your undying loyalty to the show, allow me to preface my argument by saying that I too once loved it and watched it religiously on Sunday nights. Then I got a life.
Aside from being almost entirely unfunny, “Entourage” is the biggest piece of fluff entertainment on a network that prides itself on thought-provoking, high-concept programming (Remember: it’s not just TV, it’s HBO).
This show is clearly anything but, as over the course of three seasons we’ve seen about as much development in character and plot as a Bud Light commercial. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that “Entourage” is nothing more than a 26-minute-long beer commercial designed for 20-somethings who wish their lives were nearly as exciting as E’s, Vinny’s and the gang’s. It’s all style, no substance.
No number of hot women, fast cars or celebrity cameos can save this show from the punch line it has become. In the first two seasons, this sort of shameless indulgence in superficiality is what made the show kind of cute, original and even ironic.
Who can forget Val Kilmer’s scene-stealing performance as The Sherpa in season one or Drama and Turtle’s rendezvous with the kiddy table at the Bat Mitzvah in season two? These were legitimately funny moments, mostly because it was the first time a TV show gave the viewer an inside look at the Hollywood lifestyle with such a humorous bend.
Then, somewhere around the beginning of season three, the show became absorbed in its own joke, and it was around this time that it became more predictable than Kate Moss staring down two lines of coke. The show now began to disappoint.
An excerpt from the show:
(The gang walks down Rodeo Drive, holding bags from Armani Exchange.)
Eric: Vince, don’t forget that we got that Rolling Stone interview today.
Drama: I’d give my left nut to Jann Wenner to do an interview with Rolling Stone.
Turtle: Drama, you’d suck my left nut to get a blurb in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Drama: Hey, any publicity is good publicity. Besides, they’re gonna have to start giving me some attention after my performance on “As the World Turns.”
Eric: Yeah, with your one line as the retarded step brother.
Vince: Hey, as long as you guys come with me, we’ll all get a shout out in Rolling Stone.
(Cue Vampire Weekend music as the gang walks past a group of hot girls. Cut to Ari’s office.)
Lloyd: Yes, Ari?
Ari: If you don’t get a hold of that Irish midget E in the next five minutes, I’m gonna send you to an internment camp in the freaking Malaysian Jungle.
Lloyd: Yes, Ari.
Lloyd: Yes, Ari?
Ari: I love you, even if you are a gay Asian.
(Ari does a fist pump as a Kings of Leon song plays.)
In case you couldn’t tell, I made that whole thing up, but is it really all that far-fetched? As long as the dialogue includes plenty of trendy references, an offensive Asian joke or two, an offensive gay joke or two and hot girls everywhere, then this will be the longest running and most appealing show in the history of television.
The writers of “Entourage” have found a formula that taps into the psyche of the American male, and any derivation from that formula would mean the death of the so-called “Sex and the City” for men.
Like the characters in the show, money is what’s important for the people behind it, and it remains crucial for them to stick to the safest recipe they can to guarantee continued success.
That means more gimmicky subplots, like Drama adopting a horse or Turtle wearing a bunny suit.
That means pointless celebrity cameos like Kanye West showing up out of nowhere to fly the boys to Cannes or more drab attempts at showing the humane side of Ari Gold and the fist pumps that accompany his realizations.
That means that more shows like “Entourage” will come out in hopes of achieving success, as deserving comedies like “Lucky Louie” and pioneering dramas like “Deadwood” and the immensely overlooked “John From Cincinnati” will get the axe.
Until it starts taking chances and showing the seedy side of Hollywood, “Entourage” will be nothing more than a shallow, empty vessel of insecure masculinity. If they wanted us to believe that this was the real Hollywood, there would be some semblance of serious conflict and not just sunshine and lollipops. There would be actual results to show for their work, not just material accruement.
All they have to do is give Turtle a drug addiction or put a cog in Eric and Vince’s life-long heterosexual dependency and that will guarantee some good television.
But until the show starts doing these things, “Entourage” will continue to reinforce the all-too-accurate stereotype of the modern American male: all talk and no action.
Milbrand is a member of the class of 2008.