Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hopelessly Devoted to HBO's Entourage

Buy from AmazonHands down, Entourage is the sexiest show on television. Ordinary people, rejoice!

Apologies to those who eschew the benefits of cable or prefer to spend money on basic necessities. If you count yourself among the former, the Complete First Two Seasons are currently available on DVD. Me? I’ll continue to quaff this farcical half hour expose of the Hollywood underbelly the old fashion way - via satellite.

I’ve been a huge fan of the show since its 2004 debut. The camera angles create a delicious illusion of being an insider looking in. I am a fly on the immaculately clad shoulder of Mary J. Blige, a penitent congregant shushing Trustfund Baby (Adam Goldberg aka Nick Rubenstein) between prayers, the melting ice quenching lecherous sunbather Jay Lester (Will Sasso), or a diner in the private enclave of studio honcho, Harvey Weingard (Maury Chaykin), eavesdropping a blusterous tirade.

the hottest ride in LASunday night invitations are out. My weekly cruise down Sunset Boulevard is in. The neon soaked view from that exquisite Lincoln Continental gives me reason to dream. It’s Tinseltown on steroids, sun swept scenery as far as the eye can see, commercialism times ten, up close and personal glimpses at real and invented beautiful people. I revel in every made-up minute.

Last Sunday night’s episode "The Young and the Stoned," left me satiated, yet begging for more. Starting with naughty flashes of house porn (I want that house, I want that house now), segueing to E’s bumper locked serendipity with platinum-tressed Anna Faris, rollicking to the sensual friction between Mrs. Ari and her man, a quick wink and a nod for the strong silent bond between Vince and his half-brother, Johnny D., a wince at Turtle’s untimely encounter with the LAPD (all the recent Hollywood arrests made a happy ending unlikely), culminating in the ultimate climax. Mixed skinny dipping overlooking a breathtaking apex after dark. Need I say more? Be still my blasé-riddled heart.

Every recurring character is steamy hot, including everyone’s favorite personal assistant, Lloyd. Don’t listen to those who characterize the show’s spectacular premise as Sex in the City for men. Okay, okay, it’s four good-looking guys who like to hang out together, but that’s where the similarities end.

core cast, from left to right: Jeremy Piven as Ari Gold; Kevin Connolly as E; Adrian Grenier as Vincent Chase; Jerry Ferrara as Turtle; Kevin Dillon as Johnny Drama Vince, Johnny D., Turtle, and E have been BFFs since grade school. They can push each other’s buttons, reminisce about old times, go for the Gold (as in Ari), and still share a breakfast of champions. Yes, they’re riding the coattails of the star with the more meteoric rise, but that doesn’t diminish their individual accomplishments. Coat the main setting in plastic, throw in a smattering of personal growth, and mix with a smidgen of conflict. Voila. Pathos.

That would be enough to hook me (I was a huge fan of Thirtysomething in the 1980s). But Entourage is much more than childhood buddies using a cutthroat agent to dodge the bullets of fame and fortune roulette. Every episode is a stroll down the red carpet, a peek at the seamier side of Rodeo Drive, a dissection of cogs in the showbiz grind. Before Entourage, I got my celebrity fix from pumped up tabloid tales and Internet fan gossip. Rancid. I devoured stories like You’ll Never Eat Lunch in this Town Again and The Devil Wore Prada. Needs salt. With Entourage, I get a heaping helping of the good, the bad, and the ugly with a simple flick of my remote. Tasty. Please, sir, I want some more.

My biggest complaint is my own Baltimore skew. It hinders any ability to separate possible reality from outright fiction. For instance, David from the gay nightclub in "Dog Day Afternoon" was not David Faustino (appearing in season one episode two), nor David Milch (Deadwood mega mogul and creator of pilot episode), but rather Jim Holmes, a character actor, writer/producer. His chance romp with the flustered Pivster was hilarious. Mr. Holmes apparently avoids the limelight because he barely registers on the celebrichter scale. Must be tight with some bigwig to snag such a juicy part. Some people have all the luck.

To Doug Ellin, Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, and Rob Weiss, thank you for answering the prayers of the superficial. This gratified patron declares Entourage a delectable confection of delight. Now get back to work.

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(This article reprinted with permission of Blogcritics Magazine)