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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled iEntourage/i: Return To Queens Blvd.
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Illustration for article titled iEntourage/i: Return To Queens Blvd.

So we come to the end of another season of Entourage, and maybe this is true of all the seasons, but it feels like we're back where we started–and this roller-coaster ride is getting a little boring. Vince is on top of the world! Vince is ready to quit the business! No, Vince is in demand! Vince is a great actor! No, he sucks! Last season let us build our hopes on Medellin and then dashed them (pretty well, I thought)–this one tried to repeat the formula what seemed like six times. With mixed results.
But let's talk about tonight's episode, which began with Vince's career completely in the shitter and ended with him on top of the world. (Sigh.) Taking the boys out of L.A. was probably a good idea–they actually look incredibly different against the Queens background. They absolutely don't fit in there anymore (if they ever did), but the locals don't mind. Vince and Johnny's mom (played by Mercedes Ruehl) is funny, worrying about Vince's career like she never thought she'd have to. (Even funnier: The homemade sign at their welcome home party that said "WELCOME HOME INTERNATIONAL TV STAR VINCENT CHASE" and then, in much smaller letters, "and TV star Johnny Chase").
It's actually Vince's mom that sets the story in motion–she read in the paper that Gus Van Sant was in NYC shooting a movie, and that Joaquin Phoenix had to drop out. Eric, trying to be the diligent manager, decides to pursue the role for Vince, but Van Sant isn't interested. (Because Vince is a shitty actor, right?) But Eric won't take no for an answer, and he stalks Van Sant–who proves himself to be a pretty shitty actor–and demands that he watch the dailies from Smoke Jumpers, which are supposed to prove that Vince is actually a great actor after all. (Just like Mark Wahlberg in Boogie Nights, only different, right?) Eric does a pretty great job of selling Vince, though, as this exchange demonstrates: Van Sant says, "You're kinda desperate, huh?" to which E replies, "It doesn't mean I'm wrong." Amen. (Except you probably are.)
Adrian Grenier, as Vince, needs to get reined in a little bit, though, if we're going to believe that directors can possibly take him seriously. In his big "emotional" scene under the bridge with old neighborhood flame Cara–and in the later scene in which he fires Eric–Grenier was just hammy as hell, all hands and no believability. Part of me actually thought this whole episode was going to be a long dream sequence, because bits of Vince's lines were so damn over the top.
But anyway, back to the matter at hand. In a huge emotional climax that turned out to have zero real-world repercussions, Vince fires Eric. Despite Vince's overacting, I thought it was a pretty believable scene, particularly Eric's reaction: He feels like he's done right by Vince, and Vince is too damn quick to blame him (for "embarrassing" him, which is pretty ridiculous in a town built on embarrassment, and in a season that started off with Vinny doing some goth chick's birthday party for cash).
But of course the big deux ex machina showed up in the form of Martin Scorsese. (Koski e-mailed me to call BULLLSHIITT immediately–I wasn't quite as shocked.) Apparently Gus Van Sant wasn't so busy SHOOTING A MOVIE that he couldn't send Vince's Smoke Jumpers dailies to his buddy Scorsese (all big-name film directors talk pretty much every day, I suppose), who loved those few scenes enough that he wants to cast Vince as the lead in his upcoming "reimagining" of The Great Gatsby.
Blast through a short montage of Eric being successful without Vince (Bow Wow can afford his own Prius–sweet), and Vince flying back to L.A. to apologize in person and deliver the good news. "Any chance you'd be my manager again?" Awww… And then we hit the damn reset button again. The great dance begins anew next summer. What will happen? Surely things can't go perfectly smoothly. Will there be drama with the studio? Will Scorsese regret his decision? Will Turtle continue phone-fucking Meadow Soprano? We've got to wait until next summer to find out. But you know what? We won't really be all that excited for it to start again.
Stray observations:
— I like that Gus Van Sant saw Aquaman.
— Jamie Lynn Sigler on the phone with Drama was funny: "Whatever, we're fucking." Drama's suicidal reaction was good, too.
— Oh yeah, Johnny bought a bar and they're apparently all going to move back to New York to shoot the Scorsese movie, so maybe that'll be a good change of pace.
— Oh, I almost totally forgot to mention the Michael Phelps cameo, which I missed while looking down for a second. I didn't miss much–you can see it in its entirety in the photo above.

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