It’s no secret that Entourage’s luster is a bit tarnished at this point, yet many of us continue to faithfully tune in to see what Vinnie Chase (Adrian Grenier) and his goons are up to. Now, they’re finally throwing in the towel with 8 final episodes, but just what is it about this show that kept us on the hook for those less-than-spectacular years? (Hint: It’s not Vince.)
For some reason, seeing Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) try so hard and fail even harder time and time again is wildly entertaining, but the resolve with which he continues to pound the glitter-covered pavement in Hollywood and spew his unwarranted wisdom is what makes it so hilarious. Drama needs an acting gig, so what does he do? He tries to use SAG insurance to get calf implants after admiring Lamar Odom’s trunks. Drama is desperate to be in the new Brett Ratner flick, so what does he do? He fights tooth and nail for a role as the French bus driver. Drama finally gets a shot in Vince’s passion project, so what does he do? He insists the lead actress (Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara) performed a sexual favor for him, angers her and the director in the process and loses the part. Also, the fact that Dillon is the real-life, less-successful brother to Matt Dillon doesn’t hurt.
Eric (Kevin Connolly) was supposed to be the good guy, the underdog, the one we’re all rooting for. But somehow as the series went on, it was less fun to watch him succeed and more entertaining to watch him crash and burn – especially when the purveyor of pain is none other than Ari Gold. Those morning phone calls between Ari and E are something we look forward to, and yes, we don’t want E to really lose because that means Vince loses, but damn it’s wonderful to watch him squirm.
We all love Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), but truth be told, in real life dudes like Turtle don’t always have the kind of luck he has. Sure, he struggles with it for the first few seasons, but then suddenly he owns a mega-successful business, is dating Jamie Lynn Sigler and fending off hot college coeds. He’s a regular Joe living the dream alongside his movie star compadre. You thought Kevin James was a lucky bastard on King of Queens? Turtle crushes that victory into tiny smithereens.
Sure, Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) makes comments about sexual conduct you might have thought weren’t humanly possible. Sure, he’s so graphic sometimes his speeches would probably be more at home on Skinemax than HBO. Sure, he’s the most insensitive, offensive person to ever garner even a shred of our sympathy on national television. But no matter how uncomfortable he makes you, there is always something entirely appealing about his terrible, terrible personality. There’s something about Piven’s most famous character that makes you cheer him on and wish you had the cahones to say the despicable things he says. That mystical, inexplicable force is just one small piece of the puzzle that forces us to keep watching even when the story begins to suffer.
The most universal draw for the HBO series is probably the feeling of being on the inside of the Hollywood machine. We see the backhanded deals that go on behind the scenes of giant blockbuster movies. We watch Jeffrey Tambor beg and plead with Ari to get five seconds of his attention. We see Vince party with Jessica Alba. We watch Johnny Drama lose miserably against Tom Brady and Mark Wahlberg in a charity golf tournament. We see Matt Damon hounding Vin for a check for his charity. Despite its many misgivings, Entourage does give us a pseudo-look into the world we all secretly want to be a part of.