Revisiting the Entourage Finale

Lately I have been working on some small projects and I find that when doing so having something I haven’t seen before on the TV is too distracting. It works much better when it’s just background noise that I don’t have to pay attention to. So over the last few weeks I inadvertently plowed through all eight seasons of HBO’s Entourage. I re-visited the finale as part of my best finales piece last year, but seeing it all in context helps even more. And now that it’s been nearly a decade since it premiered, and 2.5 years since it ended it was a good time to soak it all in.

During most of it’s original run, this was my favorite show on TV. There was no show I looked forward to week to week and no show I missed more in-between seasons. I was hooked from the first episode and lived vicariously through these guys for most of my 20s. There are dozens of great cameos from both actors/celebrities playing themselves as well as original characters. The first couple of seasons were pretty much the ultimate male fantasy of Hollywood brought to life. The show did a great job of showing Vince’s rise and fall, and his battle back to relevance.

Most would argue that the show starting falling fast after Vince landed a role in Martin Scorsese’s Gatsby at the end of season 5. After which Vince was again an international superstar and had no problem getting everything he wanted after that. the drug problem and wild life he experienced in season 7 was a nice place to take thinks, and the show had to show him bouncing back, but the last few episodes of the series are so awful and bad, it’s still remarkable there would be interest a movie.

Assuming that the 7+ years of time the show was on the air does a good job of approximating how much time passed in the (semi) fictional world, Vince had just two “relationships” before his last one. One was a failed attempt to get back together with Mandy Moore, and the other with Sasha Grey. Both of these showed Vince’s ability to fall hard and fast, so maybe that helps justify why Vince would want to marry Sophia so quickly. But the justification for them falling in love, off camera at that, after she so clearly not only had zero interest, but after she since legitimately creeped out by him, seems fully unreasonable.

Sloan’s decision to reconcile with Eric was also a unbelievable, since he repeatedly slept with ex-stepmother and was downright angry at him for everything he did. She very quickly brushed that aside and there is not even a mention of how her father is going to handle the situation, or the prenuptial agreement that derailed their engagement in the first place.

Johnny Drama’s story was less unbelievable in the context of things because everything about him was always meant to be cartoonish. The fact that someone in show business 20 some years with nothing but failures would be given such a long lease is beyond belief. Turtle finding out Vince didn’t sell the Avion stock is semi-believable, although Vince not doing it because he forgot would have been much more realistic.

Ari Gold’s storyline was strange as well. Jeremy Piven was the most talented regular on this show by a longshot, and the focus on his character grew as the show went on. Much of the final season is about him as it is everyone else, and his abrupt decision to just quit and leave it all behind was more than just a little strange, but was sold well by him getting the job offer in the post-credits sequence and then lying to his wife about it. Like most characters in television comedies, Gold became an extreme version of his original character by the end of the shows run. Many of the things he said and did, particularly in the shows latter seasons just didn’t seem like something someone would actually get away with, but the business of Hollywood is something I really know nothing about.

This show as a whole is such an easy watch that the end can be somewhat forgiven. Despite a few blemishes I skipped over (any episode with Dom in it), there is some great stuff in here. There are plenty of callbacks to earlier events and Billy Walsh’s redemptive storyline is the second greatest second act in history1. But in a perfect world, the 7th and 8th seasons could have been trimmed and combined into a shorter arc that doesn’t end with Vince marrying a girl he met two days ago.

It’s best not to think about that and instead just enjoy the laughs, nudity, references to obscure things Johnny Drama starred in (how great is his fictional filmography on Wikipedia?), Ari Gold one-liners and rich guys’ toys.

  1. Steve Jobs’ owns the first, if you believe the book title []