The Husband:

No matter what your thoughts are on most of Entourage‘s sixth season, and oh man do I know a lot of people who were threatening to give up on the show this year, I think it ended on a very clear, concise note of an overarching theme that just took too long to get started. No matter what the flaws, the constant deviation away from the life of central character Vinnie Chase and his movie star woes, one remarkably poor casting decision, it wrapped up nicely, and season six came to be about the pros and cons of being impulsive. Everybody except Vince — who pretty much had no arc thanks to him already having a job to go to at the end of the season, shooting Frank Darabont’s Ferrari biopic — completely redefined their lives over the course of what seemed like a very short season, and while it couldn’t get to the heights of some of Entourage‘s best arcs, a lackluster season of this show is still an effortlessly watchable endeavor.

This was the year that we really got into the lives of “the guys,” and for better or worse, I’m glad it was able to dive so deeply. Eric, failing to get his management company off of the ground, takes a job at a bigger firm run by George Segal, gets a sweet-ass receptionist played by Brokeback Mountain‘s Kate Mara (who will definitely present some major opposition to E’s happiness next season) and already establishes himself as a dominate force against douchey Scott Caan. But his love life has become lazy, and his multi-episode back-and-forth with Alexis Dziena didn’t seem to amount to anything other than obnoxious scenes that went nowhere. And yes, Dziena sucked the life out of any scene in which she appeared, even though I can’t remember having a problem with her acting in the past in work such as Invasion and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. But she was terribly miscast here, and her presence was only validated when E finished off the season declaring his love for Emmanuelle Chriqui’s Sloan and finally getting engaged. It took a long time to get going, but I’m fine with E’s story overall. His impulsiveness threatened to destroy two of his relationships, but it ended up working in his favor.

Turtle, meanwhile, got the best arc of the season, or at least the most sincere, in exploring his relationship with Jamie-Lynn Sigler after their canoodling last season. For the first time in a while, their relationship seemed to be built with a major dose of reality, and their problems — her jealousy, his wandering eye while studying business at UCLA, the long-distance dating problem that is part of the world of a wanted film and television actor — didn’t feel like the frat raunch fest mode that this show has a tendency to slip into. And upon their final break-up, Turtle’s impulsive decision to hop aboard a plane headed for New Zealand turned into humiliation, and here’s hoping that between this and his education, he can mature further into adulthood.

Drama’s story was the one I dreaded the most this season, because honestly I tend to roll my eyes at nearly everything he does nowadays. I’ve been sick of his shitty decision-making for seasons now, and his comic relief persona hasn’t rubbed me the right way the entire time. It’s one thing for the world to work against you, but it’s another to be the sole cause of all of your problems, whether you were an asshole in the past or an asshole in the present. His impulsive decision, based entirely around the word of somebody who could have easily fucked up his career just for kicks, to drop out of Five Towns (after his physical confrontation with that douche from Eli Stone, of course) only to see his Melrose Place audition nearly cause him a heart attack (no thanks to you, Dean Cain), was going to be the latest straw of self-destructive behavior. But for the most part, this show doesn’t like to keep its characters in hell, and while Drama suffered so much this season that he nearly quit acting, his MP audition got “the network” interested in creating a star vehicle just for him. The soul-searching came too late to really save the arc, but it’s appreciated nonetheless.

And, of course, we have the saga of Ari versus Lloyd, whose pairing finally implodes when Ari so terribly tortures his assistant that Lloyd has no choice but to up and quit, moving on over to Malcolm McDowell’s company (and Ari’s former employer). It had been a long time coming, and the only way to break what was starting to become a tedious plot device (Lloyd does something good, Ari berates him, repeat) blossomed into something bigger and better. This led to Ari making some majorly ill-advised impulsive decisions when offered the chance to buy out McDowell and merge their companies, but his final decision to give in to a few ego-bruising demands made it all worthwhile. It’s still a bitch that Ari would even consider using his wife’s television money to make the deal, and that it was originally all for spite, and maybe you shouldn’t go around shooting paintballs at your new employees to indicate that the merger equals them losing their jobs, it was an emotional change for Ari nevertheless. It was also a considerably better story than last year’s moral quandary over whether or not he should have become a studio head.

No one likes you right now.

No one likes you right now.

Yes, some of the episodes didn’t add up, and the stalker mini-story fit into what Ebert would call the Idiot Plot where everything could have easily been solved had everybody not been a complete idiot. I don’t think I hate the golf episode as much as, say, my sister does, but the fact that I barely remember it doesn’t speak volumes for its quality either. It’s a pain in the ass to have Vinnie become a non-character on his own goddamn show, though, and Entourage always works better when he’s struggling for work, but it’s not like I hated anything he was doing.

But admit it, you really liked the episode where Zac Efron and Frank Darabont make some surprising (fake) revelations about themselves, the Aaron-Sorkin-visiting-Gary-Cole-in-jail episode was a better episode than it had any right to be, and Matt Damon outright stole the season finale.

With the show’s evolution comes the fact that we can’t simply see the same stories over and over again, and while showrunner Doug Ellin (who I didn’t realize played the asshole TV director until about an hour ago) doesn’t always know how to structure an episode as well as, say, James L. Brooks could, and he still has a bit of an emotional disconnect from his characters at the oddest times, he’s realized this fact. The stories may not be working at a 100% success fate, but in this day and age, I’ll settle for 75%. Besides, do you remember the first season, where nothing happened? That’s how you should weigh all seasons of Entourage, because it’s not the plot that matters, but the characters. Disagree if you wish, but I always look forward to another summer and another season.

But goddamn it, I wish they would have showed us at least one scene from Martin Scorsese’s Gatsby. We can all agree on that.


The Wife:

“Wooo!” proves that even the less magnificent episodes of How I Met Your Mother are still much more creative than many other comedies on TV. As you’re all well aware by now, I like an HIMYM episode that I can really emotionally connect to, and this one definitely fell short on that for me. However, that’s not to say that it wasn’t valuable to the series as a whole, even though it seemed to explore more tangential topics than usual. Even without the emotional punch that I usually get from HIMYM, this episode was very funny. I can always count on HIMYM for that, at the very least. That said, let’s review:

Robin tells Lily that she wants to spend more girl time with her because she too often feels like the third wheel when she hangs out with Lily and Marshall as a couple. Furthermore, Marshall always “talkblocks” her, meaning that she feels she has to censor her conversations with Lily when Marshall’s around. However, despite all Robin’s attempts at being vague, Marshall always seems to know exactly what she’s talking about. (“So you slept with the deputy mayor under the desk in the mayor’s office?” “You still have that yeast infection, huh?”) Lily invites Robin out to a birthday party for one of the teachers at her school so that they can spend more time together without Marshall. When they arrive at the bar, they discover that Jillian (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) and her friends are the exact opposite of what Lily thought they would be. They’re not the nice, intelligent, respectable women she knows from school. They’re girls who go “woooo!” about pretty much anything of moderate excitement. Lily is creeped out by this phenomenon, and is especially uncomfortable with the notion that all of these grown women express friendship by referring to one another as prostitutes. (They do not care much for her when she actually uses the term “prostitute” to show her camaraderie with them.)

Im not a prostitute, Im a madam. I made that Heidi Fleiss movie.

I'm not a prostitute, I'm a madam. I made that Heidi Fleiss movie.

When Barney hears that Robin and Lily are out with a bunch of Wooo! Girls, he runs to their aide at the bar. It’s nice to know that Barney is able to run to the aide of Wooo! Girls everywhere, for without them:

“Tiny cowboy hats would be worn only by tiny cowboys.”

Meanwhile, Barney heads up the search committee to find an architect for GNB’s new downtown headquarters. The frontrunner for the job is a Swedish Architecture Collective known as Sven (which, in the initial print ads, I thought might have been Neil Patrick Harris himself), but Barney is immediately distrustful of anything that comes from France, so he convinces Ted to put together a presentation for GNB in the hopes that he gets the job instead.

Marshall: Sweden’s not in France. You know that, right?
Barney: Oh, no. It’s France.

Marshall and Barney grow immediately excited about the possibility of Ted joining the GNB family in some capacity. They are especially delighted with the idea of Ted joining them on conference calls, which to Marshall and Barney means going up to the GNB roof to drink beer and throw empties at pigeons. (Marshall: I do not do that.) Marshall remarks that he feels like he’s on Mad Men, to which Barney replies that he wants to go slap a secretary on the ass.

Marshall: They would totally do that on that show.
Barney: That’s a show?

Unfortunately, Barney tells Ted that he did not get the bid for the GNB job, which adds yet another crushing blow to Ted Mosby’s ego, already significantly bruised by one Dr. Stella Zimmerman. Just as he gets the news, the gang sees Robin drive by, standing out the moon roof of a limo in a cowboy hat, screaming “Wooo!” into the night air. Lily confronts Robin about her wooing in a series of adorable little rhymes, and Robin explains that being a Wooo! Girl is simply something Lily can’t join her in doing. This, of course, does not deter Lily from trying. She later shows up at the rodeo bar, Giddy-Ups, in a fireman’s hat, because it was fire safety day at school.

You have to admit that if youre going to make a wooo sound, wearing a firemens hat is more convincing. At least those trucks have sirens.

You have to admit that if you're going to make a wooo sound, wearing a firemen's hat is more convincing. At least those trucks have sirens.

Marshall asks Barney why Ted didn’t get the job, and he blames it on another member of the search committee, Bilson. When Marshall sees said coworker the next day, he talks up Ted’s skills in the hopes that GNB will want to use him for future projects. Bilson tells Marshall that he’s well aware of that fact, and that’s why he voted for Ted. Marshall immediately calls Barney into a conference call, and forces Barney to tell him the truth. Barney was totally going to vote for Ted, until Sven materializes in the room in matching unitards and present a GNB headquarters shaped like a dinosaur that breathes fire. Barney’s office would be located in the dinosaur’s brain. And there would also be a strip club. This is exactly why Barney votes for Sven. Marshall is enraged that Barney would vote for a novelty building over Ted’s well-thought contribution to the Manhattan skyline and he locks Barney on the roof and calls down an army of pigeons to exact their revenge for all of the empties Barney has thrown at them. Pigeons hold grudges, man. (I love that Marshall is secretly the Bird Whisperer.)

At Giddy-Ups, Robin explains to Lily that she doesn’t like Wooo! Girls any more than she likes Lily. In fact, she prefers Lily because Wooo! Girls are all really sad people, and that each of their “wooos” really says something about the sadness inside them. Ted also becomes a Wooo! Girl, his call being the call of a man whose love life and work life have just gone in the crapper. Robin bonds with the Wooo! Girls because, like them, she’s a little bit lost being single and unemployed. She assures Lily that she will always be her best friend, but that sometimes, she just needs to commiserate with other sad people. Barney shows up at the bar not just to heed the call of Wooo! Girls, but to tell Ted that he’s fired Sven and that Ted gets the GNB job. Barney is about to tell Ted that he had voted against him, but Marshall decides to stick with the Bilson lie, as there’s no need to put a damper on a good evening for Ted.

Ultimately, I appreciate the sweetness of this episode and how funny Barney’s discombobulation after being tied to the mechanical bull was, as well as all things Sven. Maybe my sister-in-law is right, though. Robin really needs a boyfriend. I can’t stand the tought of her as a Wooo! Girl.

The Husband:

Show creators and episode writers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas probably got the idea for Sven’s design of GNB from this here linked article, one that details a plan to create a Godzilla-shaped building in Tokyo. It made the Internet rounds a couple years ago, and was incredibly hilarious to boot.

My coworker, after having caught up on all of HIMYM in a mere few weeks, claimed that this episode was his favorite in a very long time, as are other people online. These same people were not as big on last week’s “Not a Father’s Day,” which I thought was just incredible. It really comes down to what you look for first on this show, laughs or emotional content. Like my wife, I go with the latter every time.

In my opinion, the “Wooo!” phenomenon is a bit too easy of a target for a show that consistently surprises me, one that gets me to think about things I never would have thought to think about. (Wow, that’s a fun sentence.) Still, it’s nice to see Jamie-Lynn Sigler on two separate shows in only two days – she’s banging Turtle on Entourage currently – and I hope that she doesn’t decide to make any more albums or TV movies about Heidi Fleiss.