When it was originally on: 2004-2011
Original network: HBO
Where you can stream it now: HBO Max (Or HBO Go I guess? That’s a thing, right?)
Had I seen it before: No.
What IMDb says: Film star Vince Chase navigates the vapid terrain of Los Angeles with a close circle of friends and his trusty agent.
Why I picked it: I had HBO slots to fill and Entourage
What I liked: I went into Entourage expecting it to be the male version of Sex and the City. I wasn’t 100% wrong, the first scene is literally the four leads sitting around a table talking about their exes, but there are some key differences that make this more than just “four guys trying to get laid.”
The pilot establishes how three out of these four leads only have access to ritzy Hollywood life because they’re riding Vince’s coattails. Sure, they’re friends from before his acting career, but they’re also here because they can live in a big mansion, hook up with hotter girls, and go to cooler parties, than if they had stayed on the east coast. The pilot wonderfully shows how Turtle and Johnny in particular have no problem exploiting their status as Vince’s entourage, and probably care more about keeping their lifestyle than they do about having Vince’s best interests at heart.
Then there’s Eric, the one person who actually seems to know anything about the movie business. He can read scripts and tell if they’re good or not. He both wants to help Vince, but we also get a tinge of resentment that Vince is able to be so successful despite not even caring enough to read scripts. One of my favorite moments happens when Eric just says “do you know where I’d be if I had your face?” This one line says so much about their relationship and how Eric really feels about the situation.
There’s also something interesting about making Vince kind of dumb, but also self aware of how dumb he is. Vince is more than happy to trust his pal Eric to read his scripts, and maybe even fire his agent. Eric is simultaneously frustrated but empowered by this. And unlike Turtle and Johnny, he actually seems to care about what’s best for Vince, and could take or leave the parties, money, and girls.
I love the idea of watching four friends try to stay friends in spite of all these inherent power imbalances. At what point do Turtle and Johnny’s exploitation of Vince go too far? Do they ever get jealous of Eric for having influence over Vince that they don’t? There’s a lot of great groundwork laid for interesting conflicts.
What I didn’t like: They did a great job of developing Eric as a seperate personality apart from everyone else. On the other hand Turtle and Johnny almost feel like clones of each other. I wish they could’ve done more to give them distinct personalities.
Do I want to watch Ep. 2: I mean, no? It’s not necessarily bad, but it does exist in that weird no-mans-land “not funny enough to be a comedy I love, not tense enough to be a a