Another week, another bunch of setup for Vince and Eric–I'm beginning to think that's all this show is, just one long lead into something that doesn't necessarily payoff. Where are the Gary Busey cameos? Where are the pointed little subplots? Did those things ever exist?
Anyway, two big storylines dominated tonight's episode. The less interesting of the two is Drama's continuing obsession with his French ex-girlfriend, Jacqueline. Remember that huge sigh of relief we all breathed when we thought she had disappeared from the show completely? Nope, she's still there, if only in Drama's thoughts. He's a man obsessed, which is strange considering he's always been a man obsessed–but only with himself. (I think I liked that Drama a lot better.)
So after the drunken sweet 16 party that ended the last episode, Drama has to wake up, purge and make it to Vegas to appear on The View (in a strange bit of stunt casting). He appears with all of his Five Towns castmates, only to be interrogated by a really weird-sounding Whoopi Goldberg (was she sick or what?) about his ex-girlfriend. He eventually breaks down on TV, as Shauna and Turtle look on in horror. Later–after Drama gets arrested for drunkenly stripping and throwing his pants at a motorcycle cop–we learn that public perception, at least among Lloyd's friends, is looking up after Johnny's meltdown. But overall, kind of a weak use of The View, a lame subplot overall, and–maybe worst of all–a signal that we haven't seen the last of his girlfriend.
In the main storyline, things are heating up. Eric is in control of the hottest script in Hollywood, Smoke Jumpers, written by gun-toting yokels Lukas Haas and Giovanni Ribisi. Though he promised it exclusively to Amanda (and her client, Ed Norton), he's allowed Vince and Ari to shop it around town in a desperate attempt to get Vince some work. The studio suits–including Tim Matheson (of Animal House, among other things)–love the script (about firefighters) but don't want to work with Vince in the lead. Matheson does offer Vince Benji In Alaska, though, which could pan out into something reasonably funny.
Some inside-Hollywood stuff actually worked in this episode–Ed Norton wants to buy the script for "100 against 300," meaning a hundred grand up front and 300 grand if the movie gets made. The writers insist on 500 and a guarantee that the movie will get made, which everyone thinks is insane. Ari teaches Eric a lesson–after they almost get in a fistfight, which I wish they would–about keeping your clients in control, furthering the idea that Eric is slowly becoming Ari. (When Entourage ends and we see a flash-forward of all the characters, Eric will surely be a Hollywood sleaze.)
It finally looks like everything is working out, with Vince agreeing to take the second-lead in the movie and Matheson's character agreeing to buy it for 500 grand. But then Ed Norton swoops back in, offering a ton more money and a studio to back him. The only catch? Vince burned bridges with Aquaman 2, so he won't be able to take the secondary role. Decisions, decisions. It wasn't a great episode, but the teaser for next week's actually looks sorta promising, with the guys heading out to the desert to make some tough choices. Namely whether Vince should take the role in Benji. Ari promises Miss Alaska in his trailer waiting to blow him after every take, so maybe he'll go for it.
— Turtle just does less and less every week, doesn't he? Wasn't he going to manage rappers or something?
— Would these dudes really be excited about appearing on The View? They wouldn't make fun of it just a little?
— "You've never been hit in the face with anything besides a cock."
— That Cold War Kids song that played over the end credits is everywhere this week, it seems.