Oh how clever those writers at Entourage must have felt when they outlined the plot of this week’s episode. Like some well edjumacated film and television critics, I understand that real art occurs when the plot of a fictional television show transcends the veneer of ‘entertainment’ and manages to convey issues or stories that mimic real world problems or issues, enabling a viewer to connect to a story on a deeply personal level. Like when the writers of White Shadow were able to effectively reflect the absurdity of their own position, writing dialogue for “urban” (read as: black) teens, by depicting the white coach of an all black basketball team as a father figure. This was considered by many as ground breaking television. And now we have this week’s episode of Entourage to consider.
This week, Vince and the gang found themselves somehow bored with their lives, moping around LA like a bunch of sad sacks shooting a My Chemical Romance video. I waited with bated breath for the music supervisor to cue “I’m Not OK” during E’s emotionally trying montage in his empty office with nothing to do but water the plants. In some respects, the writers on this dreadful season of Entourage may have captured what shows like White Shadow and St. Elsewhere (thank you, Bob Thompson) achieved. But in those groundbreaking TV shows from the 80s, the emotion to be shared between viewer and fictional character was something a bit more substantial than boredom. When three of the four main characters express their utter boredom with their lives doing absolutely nothing all day, everyday, I can’t help but echo their sentiments by looking at my watch to see if I’ve reached the typical halfway mark of the average Entourage episode yet: somewhere around ten minutes into it.
Literally, nothing happened on this week’s episode other than the usual Entourage plot points: SPOILER ALERT Vince sleeps with a waitress and references seeing her again (and doesn’t), E feels sorry for himself and gives up on something, and someone buys Turtle an expensive piece of clothing that he will only wear once. Once the meat and potatoes of these points has been discarded, what do we have left? Similar to last week’s episode where the only emotional opportunity for any of the actors to display any sort of actual acting talent (E having to break the news to Charlie that he was off the pilot), the producers opted to skip past a seemingly crucial moment where Andrew tells his wife he’s done with her, unraveling Ari’s plans to make Andrew a made Hollywood man. “I know you were really begging to act this scene out in which your character shows something more than a passing grin over the course of a season, Gary Cole, but there’s just no time for real acting or character development this season.” Cut to: the gang piling on top of each other like a Budweiser commercial (this typical Entourage moment will coincidentally feature Budweiser in the shot).
To think that the writers have the audacity to present the characters we have come to love over the years walk around telling each other that they’re bored when every single person viewing the show can think of a more interesting direction the show could take, is almost staggering. I remember when I hated season four for never presenting anything original or interesting story-wise with the exception of the premiere episode in which we finally get to see the production of Medellin take place. Now I long for those days like the male audience and E long for Sloan’s return to the screen. But now? Not only do we not get to see them actually working (as characters, or as the actors failing to deliver anything worth watching), we have to be dragged through the mud by an episode that centers around the boredom of the characters? Talk about a way to alienate your viewers! But somehow every time I check the public Twitter trends to see what others thought of the episodes, the response is overwhelmingly positive: “Aww sht dawg, you see dem titties on Entourage tonight?! I luv this shw.” I guess the writers deserve some credit: the message of boredom clearly reflects their own interest in the show just as much as it does my own.