I’ve heard that this show doesn’t grow up much between now and the current (7th) season, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t spot little hints of maturity here and there in this supersized 20-episode season. It all came from none other than Ari Gold, which might come as a surprise if all you’ve heard about this show is that he’s a massive prick. He is. But Jeremy Piven is a genius at playing this massive prick, and this season he got to show little glimmering specks of Ari’s soft side. When Vince fired him, Ari went into this tailspin, acting not with more rage but with more compassion, and it was, dare I say it, beautiful to watch. He sacrificed Yom Kippur to get Vince the movie he wanted, he rescued Lloyd from a potential whoreing situation, and then he was back to his old self, almost as if it never happened. Johnny Drama may get the obvious laughs, but it’s Ari that makes you cry, in more ways than one.
Turns out Piven is kind of deep, too. I watched the Paley Center panel thing on the last disc and learned a lot about a man. It’s easy to assume that he’s just as much of a tool as his character, probably because he’s so dang good at it, but he had so much more to say about the show than the rest of his castmates. Piven obviously likes to go deep into characters, but he rarely gets the chance to because he’s typecast as a brash egomaniac, or at least he has been since 04. Anyway, I think the point I was trying to get across is that I fucking love Jeremy Piven. The show is worth it for his little anal-retentive blow-ups as well as his rare gentle moments. And the man can wear a suit.
This season was much more plot-oriented than the last two. Maybe it’s because they had roughly six more episodes to work with, but anyway it really stood out to me. Each episode ended with some sort of relative cliffhanger, which was a welcome change from the sort of “ambient noise” feeling that this show gave off for its first two seasons. Also, for the first time, I actually started to care about these characters rather than simply just be entertained by them. It does give you a look into the seediness and wishy-washiness and vagueness of Hollywood, how so much is done over lunch and talk and people give their “word” all the time but never mean it. It’s hard on the surface to feel sympathy for people who choose to live in the public eye and make millions of dollars, but within the context of the environment there are some interesting high-stakes choices being made all the time. Depending on someone’s mood, a large chunk of change could be lost. Dreams can be crushed. That sort of thing. It’s the price one pays for going into the business, I suppose, but these people wouldn’t be so crazy if we the fans didn’t make them that way, or almost demand it from them.
I guess I didn’t mean to wax so poetic on a show as “douchey” as Entourage, but if I haven’t convinced you already to watch it, I suggest giving it a try. I’ll let you know when things start to get stale.