The Husband:

All things considered, this was definitely a weak season of Entourage. There’s no way around saying it – the first half of the season was meandering, depressing, unfunny and (worst of all) uninteresting. As I mentioned in my last “checking in on Entourage” post, unemployed Vincent is not really must see TV by any means, as Vinnie has always really just been a catalyst for all the other characters, a straight arrow main character with nary a personality. This is not to see Adrian Grenier is not good as Vinnie Chase. In fact, I think he’s great at playing this kind of aw shucks movie star who can fill movie theatres and draw the attention of many women around Los Angeles and yet proceeds to just…exist…and not much else. It’s a hard role to play and I think people mistake his ability to play nonchalant as an inability to act.

But yes, an unemployed Vinnie is an uninteresting Vinnie, so it was great to see him finally get a job near the end as one of the firefighters in Smokejumpers (a.k.a. Nine Brave Souls). Unfortunately, that production went up in flames when Vinnie clashed with costar Jason Patric and director Werner (Stellan Skarsgard), leading to a fallout between the crazy German director (with his overblown budget) and the studio (who decided to cut their losses and halt production indefinitely).

(No thanks to Entertainment Weekly’s Jessica Shaw for ruining that plot by revealing too much in her TV Watch two issues ago.)

Apply directly to the forehead.

Vinnie Chase: Apply directly to the forehead.

Distraught at an entire television season of failure, Vinnie and the gang return to their native turf of Queens to really take a look at themselves to see where they are at, in their lives, in their careers, as themselves. Vinnie and Eric almost ruin their friendship over trying to get Vinnie an audition for a Gus Van Sant movie currently filming in New York, but make up when they realize that their camaraderie is more important than any Hollywood bullshit. (i.e. the driving force of Entourage, which is its heart and not its excess.)

Since the season comes in at a C+/B-, it would have been a shame to see the show go out on anything other than an extremely high note, so I’m glad that HBO will continue to produce episodes. At the same time, however, this final episode of s5 would have thematically been a great place to wrap up this dramedy. Turtle finally has a steady and loyal girlfriend (Jamie-Lynn Sigler as herself), Drama is now co-owner of a New York City bar, Eric finally lands a mega-deal establishing himself as an agent/manager worth noticing and Vinnie, in the final moments of the episode, is offered the lead in a Scorsese movie (based entirely on the scrapped Smokejumpers dailies). By returning to where it all began and finally giving the characters what they need – in some form or another – is a happy ending for all and not a bad way to go out, storywise.

About that Scorsese movie – it’s apparently a retelling of The Great Gatsby but modernized and set in the Upper West Side, and Vinnie has been tapped to play Nick Carraway. Upon first hearing about the project, a few things put me off until I got over myself and just accepted them. First, the real Great Gatsby is set mere miles from Manhattan and wondered about why the switch, but then I supposed that Long Island really isn’t, for all intents and purposes, as hot socially as it was back in the Roaring ‘20s (save for the Hamptons, which wouldn’t have really fit the story anyway). Then I thought…Vinnie isn’t good enough of an actor to play Carraway, especially in a Scorsese movie, but then realized that, hey, DiCaprio hasn’t been great under Scorsese’s care either (coughgangsofnewyorkcough) and so I just kind of accepted it. Vinnie is a bit of a cipher, and so is Nick Carraway. Vinnie has spent most of his life pretending to be rich and popular as opposed to actually being rich and popular – seriously, how many times has Vinnie been hard up for cash in the entirety of this series? – and was raised in a nonglamorous society, much like Carraway. (Queens isn’t the Midwest, but still, you get my drift.)

So, I decided that he was actually perfect for the role. Gatsby, no, but Carraway, yes. We’ll see how it turns out.

(Yes, I’m weighing the merits of a fake movie. If the show is going to attempt verisimilitude, I have a right to do so, dammit.)

So I simply hope the writers can take a step back and rethink their show for next season. Make us care more. Make it fresh again. Make us actually give a shit about Johnny Drama. But please…no more cousin Dom. He’s a terrible character.

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