Entourage - Season 1 (2004)
You know how there are shows that are good - as in objectively well made - that you think you'll like on paper but don't? 'Weeds' is one of those for me. 'Entourage' is another. I don't dislike them, truth be told, but I never really found myself looking forward to an episode of either of the two comedies.
'Entourage' is a 30 minute HBO comedy series about the life of an up and coming Hollywood star, Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), and his entourage, which comprises his brother Johnny "Drama" (Kevin Dillon), manager / best friend Eric (Kevin Connolly), and friend "Turtle" (Jerry Ferrara). His agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) also plays a significant role in events. The show is basically about their interactions and the stuff they get up to, like attending parties, hooking up with other celebrities, and sleeping around. But it also deals heavily with the Hollywood business aspect of their lives, with Vince launching a new movie, dealing with the critical consensus and box office, appearing on talk shows, chasing after promising scripts, and dealing with difficult directors and producers. Other sub-stories involve Vince's entourage - Drama is trying to find acting work while living in his younger brother's shadow, Eric deals with managing Vince's career and his ex and current girlfriends, and Ari does his best to keep Vince happy as his agent.
There's a lot of swearing, drugs, sex and nudity on the show as befits its presence on HBO and its subject matter - lifestyles of filthy rich celebrities. Which is my main problem with the show - I generally abhor this sort of thing, and while its all very fascinating to watch (the show is reputedly based loosely on the experiences of Mark Wahlberg, one of the producers), I find it hard to actually like anyone on the show. I don't really give a damn about any of the characters! I guess I didn't really expect the show to revel so much in its hedonism, but revel it does; these aspects of the show quickly grow tiring. The writing is funny however, with entertaining scenarios and situations being dreamed up by the writers on a regular basis. The performances are terrific across the board as well, particularly Jeremy Piven, who steals the show whenever he appears on screen. There are also plenty of fun cameos to look out for.
Despite my apathy towards it, I guess 'Entourage' still appealed to me more than 'Weeds' did, probably because I enjoy movies so much that the behind the scenes wheelings and dealings depicted here piqued my interest, and it's fun to see the Hollywood battle between art and commerce being played out on screen. I watched one season of 'Weeds 'and thought about watching the second at the time, but don't really feel the desire to do so anymore; I can say with some confidence that I will be watching more of Entourage, though I'm not certain for how long I will continue to find it compelling.