The Husband:

Since the show is in its fifth season and really shows no signs of slowing down, I decided to take a step back with Entourage and only comment when I felt I really needed to, so here I am checking in on Doug Ellin’s HBO comedy about a laid-back movie star and his Hollywood exploits, flanked on all sides by his brother and his best friends.

And boom goes the dynamite . . .

And boom goes the dynamite . . .

After a good opening couple episodes, this season really started to drop for me, but not nearly as much as everyone else online and in other forms of media. People were really hating on it for a good long while, but I still think the nadir of the series is the first few episodes of s3 where they deal with the juggernaut that is Aquaman and its release.

Here, they just seemed to tread water, going all s1 on us and involving the viewers in Vinnie Chase’s dating life, which is never really my favorite. And even when they did this season, it was half-assed. (Hey Entourage, don’t get Leighton Meester to return to the show as a rising pop star, have Vinnie declare his love for her, then only use her for one episode and never have her show up again.) I was also worried about the Giovanni Ribisi/Lukas Haas screenwriter story because in all honesty it was looking like it was going to shape up into another Billy Walsh situation of egomaniacs defending every single one of their wrong decisions.

I did, however, like the “Let’s Go To Joshua Tree And Eat Mushrooms” episode, even though it was at the service of Vinnie deciding whether or not to choose to do a Benji movie, which we knew would never happen.

I must say that after years of defending him and his buffoonish ways, I am finally sick and tired of Johnny Drama’s shenanigans. It’s amusing to see him get himself into tricky predicaments, but somewhere along the line he decided to become Vinnie’s unofficial acting coach and is simply spreading his bad luck everywhere. (The episode where he was on The View and broke down crying after they brought up his recent break-up with the French girl was pretty awful, to boot.) He needs a serious retooling, because otherwise he’s going to drag the show down much, much further.

Three episodes ago, though, it all really started to pick up, because the Entourage I like is the one about moviemaking, plain and simple. Though Vinnie had completely burned his bridges with Warner Bros. after choosing Medellin over Aquaman 2, Ari accidentally gives the studio head a fatal heart attack, and is then asked by the studio’s owner’s conglomerate (for once, Alan Dale shows up not to have a heart attack but to talk about someone else having a heart attack) to take over. The two-episode machination of Ari’s decision was simply great television, a view into the bizarre world of Tinseltown and how hard decisions get made and how quickly one must make them. It was harsh without being nasty as Ari fucked over Carla Gugino’s agent character in her bid for the studio head position and instead showed loyalty to producer and former lover Dana, thus ensuring that he had a trustworthy ally at the studio that could help to make his clients’ dreams come true. (My favorite line of the season is Dana’s response to this good news: “I swear, I’ll rub your cock like it’s 1990.”) Good move, Ari. You’d never survive as a studio chief despite all the money that would be coming your way.

I also appreciate the show when it finds a middle ground between fortune-fucking and adherence to real Hollywood stories, so while Vinnie and E had to make some compromises to get Vinnie into the ensemble for the firefighter film Smokejumpers (the Ribisi/Haas script formerly known as Nine Brave Souls), it launched us as viewers directly into the chaos of filmmaking itself. It’s a roller coaster out there, alright.

I appreciate that we’re getting an extended look at the movie itself being made, because the show has a tendency to avoid such big stories. Queens Boulevard was filmed between s1 and s2, Aquaman between s2 and s3, and Medellin between s3 and s4 (with the first s4 episode giving a fairly good recap of all that happened, but not enough). It’s exciting, to say the least.

Now, the big question is whether or not Vinnie can stand up to Jason Patric for stealing his lines and confront the director (Stellan Skarsgaard being hilarious) over his haphazard and unrehearsed directorial style without getting fired in the process. Unemployed Vinnie Chase is pretty boring, and I would think that Ellin and all of his writers would want to avoid boring us interested viewers.

Three more episodes left in this season, and hopefully it can go out with a bang. Smokejumpers all the way.