Because the show is ending soon, Entourage apparently feels the need to reveal big-picture factoids about the characters, I guess in case we weren’t paying attention, which we were not. It’s revealed in “The Big Bang” (GET IT?!?) that Turtle wants to find success on his own, that Drama’s a crazy self-saboteur, Vince is an insecure womanizer, Ari is a secure womanizer, and E is just plain impulsive and spiteful. It doesn’t take long to get to these realizations, and in some cases the characters literally say the words that I’ve typed above about themselves. Entourage was never subtle, but at least it’s becoming sentient—aware of its own existence as a robotic television show, and not afraid to call itself out on its blunt characterizations. Hey, that’s something.
A few things get resolved in “The Big Bang,” but it’s becoming clear that the show doesn’t want to bite off more than it can chew. The plotlines left open are the ones that the show’s been building towards during its entire run, and the ones that close are the ones recently opened.
Chief among the latter category is the feud between Johnny Drama, Dice, and CBS. If you’ll recall, Dice wanted more money, and Johnny wanted Dice. So Dice walked, and reluctantly, so did Drama. Now faced with the very real prospect of unemployment, he’s terrified, but is holding strong because he’s trusting Dice to know how these sorts of negotiations work. He spends the episode working out with a trainer, and just generally being anxious and neurotic. Then, just when things seem their worst, he gets a call from Phil who tells him, point blank, that if he walks from the show, Vince’s movie won’t get made. For the first time, Johnny is controlling Vince’s destiny, not the other way around. Johnny stands strong, and it turns out the network was bluffing, and he’s got his show, and his Dice. Phew. That was a close call. This is what sarcasm sounds like.
There’s also the matter of Vince, by far the most robotic of the four who’s now becoming the most self-aware—like that Threadless T-shirt where the robot stares down at the heart and wonders how he can get it inside himself. Vince is distraught because the least star-fuckery article of all time has come out, which is probably inevitable but not one Vince was prepared to confront. It’s a great six-page piece, but it mentions that Vince is an insecure womanizer, and those are words Vince isn’t ready to read. I mean, they’re true, of course. He just doesn’t want to know the truth, nor can he—to put it in the parlance of the times many years ago—handle the truth. He heads off to confront the reporter, which doesn’t give him much closure, so he pulls a High Fidelity and begins to track down all his exes, stopping at just one, and realizing that he really hasn’t had that many substantial relationships, if not any. Vince’s little quest for self-actualization is interesting only in that it is happening; I doubt it’s something I’d say I would have been interested in seeing, but I kind of want to know where this is going. I guess I could say that about the entire run of Entourage, too.
Speaking of relationships, it’s now more than obvious that both Ari and E are hung up on their exes, and are taking it out on those around them in very different ways. E is denying the whole thing and, up until this episode, mainly took it out on himself. Then, when he learns that Johnny Galecki might be fucking Sloane, he decides to end Galecki’s career; now he’s taking it out on others. Meanwhile, Ari took his aggression out on every single person other than himself—Dana Gordon, Bobby Flay, his ex-wife, Babs, Lloyd, the therapist—and after tonight, has decided to simply wallow in his own pity. He’s visited by his lawyer, who informs Ari that unless he comes up with $11 million, his ex-wife will own his company. He confronts her at the house, runs into Bobby Flay, and simply walks away, realizing this fight is already lost. It’s probably the most mature I’ve ever seen Ari, and a welcome change of pace. It almost reminds me that there was a time Jeremy Piven was an actor I really liked before his real-life douchiness forever tainted my opinion of him. Almost.
The most heartbreaking story by far is the saga of Turtle. He just wants to get his little restaurant off the ground, but he flies out the owners of the spot in Queens and all they want to do is look at celebrities and not talk to Turtle about business, or really at all. The thing that sets Turtle apart from every other character on the show is that while everyone asks for the world constantly, Turtle asks for so little. He just wants a little respect, a little weed, and a little cash to become a modestly successful businessman—an arena he’s actually pretty good in. And the fact that he can’t even get that—well Entourage, you’ve sucked me in.
I was talking to my roommate the other day, because I’ve become completely and utterly addicted to Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for my Xbox 360. (Bear with me, this has a point.) It’s basically a role-playing game where you take on missions as you seek them out, meaning the game is as large, or as small, as you want. Sometimes the missions are really stupid, like you have to find a missing necklace, you go talk to someone, they give you the necklace, then you return it. Sometimes you fight your way through dungeons and sneak around in the shadows, which is much cooler. The point is that it’s going to take a very long time to feel like I’m “done.” So in any case, I was talking to my roommate about the game, and he wondered why the game was so compelling. After all, the missions can be really dumb. What’s keeping me around? I posited that, sure, sometimes the game is really stupid, but I’ve already invested so much time into it, I’d hate to think that time was wasted; I’ll only feel good about myself if I make an honest effort at finishing as much of the game as I can.
I feel that way about Entourage. There’s little keeping me around, but with only a few episodes to go, I’d hate to think I got this far only to give up.