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 Husband:

The Judges’ Save had to be used this week. Pretty much guaranteed. Had it waited until next week, they would have been forced to use it just to prove that it wasn’t a worthless threat. Not only that, then they would have had to save somebody from Disco Week, which will in my foresight probably be kryptonite to at least half of the contestants. (All 3.5 of them.)

Here, it was to save a rather talented performer, one who has continued to surprise, going for a very bad song selection. And as a result, I must now reintroduce the Children Of Saint Clare Kibosh on both the Bryan Adams songs used this week. Sorry “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” from Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. It’s just too easy of a choice, and even delivering a rather heartfelt and unique rendition of it, as Anoop did this week, could still get your ass in the bottom three. And, of course, the craptacular “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?” from Don Juan DeMarco also gets the COSC Kibosh, as it’s a piece of shit that was somehow nominated for an Oscar, and even somebody like Chris Daughtry back in s5 (you know, the guy who proved that ending up in fourth place can still make you a megastar) couldn’t do a good job no matter how hard they tried.

Thank you for not sending me back to that dueling piano bar where I work!

Thank you for not sending me back to that dueling piano bar where I work!

(I pointed out to my wife that the song from Don Juan DeMarco was so bad, it lost the Best Original Song Oscar to Pocahontas’ “Colors of the Wind,” but I had forgotten that, in the same year, Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got A Friend” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Dead Man Walking” were also in contention, and either would have been superior choices for the award. But why Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Eddie Vedder’s better Dead Man Walking song, “The Face of Love,” wasn’t nominated in Springsteen’s place is a reason I really hate the Oscar category some of the time. It’s all political, bitches.)

This COSC Kibosh, however, does not completely eliminate Bryan Adams from the competition. I still think “Heaven” and “Summer of ‘69” could be worthy additions to the Idol repertoire (or has “Heaven” already been done once?), as they are better and less sappy songs.

As for the rest of the folks, Kris Allen made the smartest decision to go with “Falling Slowly” from Once, a glorious song well-suited to his talents. (I’ll let my wife talk about the ‘net’s reaction to choosing this song.) But, honestly, you know who could have done it better? I hate to say it, but Danny Gokey. He would have nailed it. But, as usual, Gokey is a lazy song selector, and no matter how well he may croon a Lionel Ritchie schmaltz fest, his laziness will always bother me. And yes, I do think it matters, because that means if he wins Idol and makes the 19 Entertainment record, he won’t have any discerning tastes and will end up with a piece of shit album. This stuff matters, people.

His mind's made up.

His mind's made up.

I actually have to give Lil Rounds some credit for reaching into the Bette Midler handbag and pulling out the gorgeous “The Rose,” because it told me that she was finally thinking outside the box. Maybe she wasn’t as lazy of a song selector as, say, Lakisha back in s6. But she couldn’t figure out how to transfer it to her own skills despite a half-assed attempt at “churching” it up. And her post-critique attitude was completely uncalled for, as she has seemed to completely misunderstood the difference between musician and artist that Simon brought up last week. Lil, he wasn’t telling you to pick a different kind of song; he was telling you to be your own performer no matter what the song, instead of a well-voiced karaoke performer. Don’t get mad at him because you fucked up. You can pick any song in the world, but if you’re not making an individual impression and creating your own persona, you’re nothing.

As for this week’s decision to split up the judges’ panel into two groups of two, and yet still managed to run over into Fringe, I think it was an okay idea executed poorly. But me? I have a solution. It’s called A COUNTDOWN CLOCK! Give each judge a gigantic red sign that counts down from, say, 25 seconds to zero, and when it hits that big “0,” shut your mouth. Secondly, tell Paula and Simon to stop interrupting each other, because not only is it a waste of time, it’s disrespectful to the contestants. Both are equally guilty of this crime. Third, tell the judges to ignore the audience. No matter how loud they may get, we can still hear every word the judges say on the microphones, because they are DIRECTIONAL MICROPHONES. The sound of their voice is what’s being picked up the highest, because it’s right in front of their fucking mouths. If the crowd stars booing, don’t hesitate, don’t talk back and don’t worry. They’re just people who waited in line for six hours in the crappy Los Angeles sun and have zero clue what they’re talking about.

Except for the Observer. He knows what’s up.

And yes, the song choices were mostly kind of balls across the board. I know that Idol only has a short list of what songs can actually be selected, but these are a few songs, for example, that would have been better. And these are just the songs that won Oscars. This isn’t even counting the many worthy nominations in the category in years past. (Shit, like 1999’s “When She Loved Me” from Toy Story II or Aimee Mann’s “Save Me” from Magnolia, which both lost to [shudder] Phil Collins.)

(Thanks be to Wikipedia for this list.)

  • “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (Lil could have turned into a jazz queen with this)
  • “Flashdance…What a Feeling” (you know, the good song from that movie)
  • “I’m Easy” (even Megan Joy could have done well with this had she been around)
  • “Into The West” (I actually would have loved to see Gokey go against type and do this Annie Lennox song. It would have been made of actual emotion and not just whatever it is that he gives us every week)
  • “Streets Of Philadelphia” (Giraud would have done this justice)
  • “Take My Breath Away” (Allison did a good job with Aerosmith, but imagine if she pulled off this Berlin song with her trademark roughness. It would have brought down the house.)

Okay, I know I’m going to hell for this, but I would have loved to have seen Anoop just completely fuck with everybody’s mind if he dressed up like Aladdin, full wardrobe, and did “One Jump Ahead” with full choreography and blocking, and the Ricky Minor band could have done the ensemble work, like have the trumpeters yell “Scoundrel!” and “Take that!”

The Wife:

But how could Anoop get an Aladdin outfit when he was too busy doing the ONE THING I ASKED HIM NOT TO DO and donning an honest-to-God letterman’s jacket? Okay, it was the bastard love child of a letterman’s jacket and a blazer, but still, that was the one collegiate look I asked him not to do, and he ignored me. And you know what it did? It got him in the bottom three. (Look, I realize it was mostly the song that did that, but I’m going to pretend it was also the jacket. Because it was a shitty song, but he sang it well. Thus, I think America voted nay on the over-the-top jacket.)

Everything I do, I do it so you won't wear this damn jacket again!

Everything I do, I do it so you won't wear this damn jacket again!

I’m running out of things to say about this show, fashion-wise, as the contest is a sausage fest and the guys have definitely got their signature looks figured out. Lil still desperately needs Tim Gunn’s help, going from another strange black vest concoction on performance night to a lime green shirtdress made out of the worst polyester in the world on elimination night. She got longer extensions this week, which made me realize that she’s a lot prettier with shorter hair and that she probably should have kept it short for the whole competition. I’m afraid someone told her that she wasn’t getting America’s votes because she didn’t look feminine enough, or something, but that advice has lead her down a long, dark path of hair extensions cast-off from Tyra’s modelettes. Let me remind her that Fantasia had a super butch haircut back in Season 3 . . . and that lady won.

I wasn’t fond of Allison’s performance garb, especially the twice-tucked corner of her black shirtdress, but it was way cuter than the rainbow-sherbert concoction she decided to wear for eliminations. Allison, honey, I know you’re 16, but you are on national television. You are not going bowling with your friends; you have to look like the rock star we know you are. Please don’t disappoint me again.

And on a couple of non-fashion related notes, I wish Adam Lambert hadn’t chosen “Born to Be Wild,” but what he did to it totally reminds me of his performances at The Zodiac Show. Like this one:

(Yes, I have been stalking him on YouTube!)

But I am super-duper glad Kris Allen chose “Falling Slowly” from Once, the most amazing little Oscar-winning musical movie ever! I am a Kara defender, but I wanted to punch ladyface in the teeth when she dubbed the song “obscure.” As my husband mentioned above (and I just did, too), it won an Oscar very recently. People may not have seen Once, but they have encountered the song. And I cannot be happier that the Internet exploded yesterday with searches for the movie, the song and the lyrics — all because of Kris Allen. So, perhaps Kara was right, and its obscure for Idol‘s audience. But it won’t remain obscure much longer.

I couldn’t find the scene from the film in which that song appears on the YouTube, but here’s Fox Searchlight’s official music video thing of the song and clips from the film:

And here’s another song from the film, that I totally love called “When Your Mind’s Made Up:”

Featuring one song from Once on Idol’s approved song list almost made up for two shitty Bryan Adams songs, and I can only be thankful that Idol and Kris Allen brought more people to this lovely little indie film.