Friday, 18 February 2011

Entourage 7.4 'Tequila Sunrise'

“It’s gonna be a long day for Uncle Jesse!” – Drama

I always find it difficult to delve too deeply into the philosophical and sociological themes within TV comedy, mainly because very few actually have those sorts of themes, at least on the same level as the likes Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy and The Walking Dead do.

Entourage may mix in drama (no pun intended) with the comedy in a way that Californication does so deftly but really there isn’t much going on underneath the surface of Entourage. That isn’t a negative in my book, as I’ve always been a huge fan of the show; it just means that my coverage of Entourage is probably going to stray more into recap territory rather than analytical review, something that is currently somewhat of a contentious issue amongst internet critics.

‘Tequila Sunrise’ had a lot going for it and seemed to have more direction than some of the episodes that have preceded it this year. The episode was largely Vince-lite as the ‘entourage’ themselves took centre stage and each of their ongoing storylines developed nicely.

The ongoing theme for the show this year has been E’s sense of feeling like he’s losing Vince, both as a friend and as a client, as well as feeling left out of the group activities he used to be so heavily involved in. This was evidenced in the final scene as the gang (sans-Turtle who was down in Mexico, more on that later) headed off to Vegas leaving E behind as he had to meet the wedding planner in the morning.

E does seem genuinely happy with Sloan and being able to go home to a loving fiancé rather than spending the night drinking and having promiscuous sex – he’s always been the most ‘mature’ of the group – but with Lavin getting his claws further into Vince, E seems torn on whether to be the doting fiancé he promised to be at the end of season six or slip back into his old ways for the good of Vince. At the moment he’s choosing the former but as the season progresses I dare say we’re going to see him revert to the latter.

By the episode’s end, E and Lavin had kissed and made up but I have my suspicions about Lavin’s intentions as he appeared to be trying to get E to drink his hostile takeover Kool-Aid.

The main storyline of this episode was Drama’s attempts to woo the “Uncle Jesse” of the opening quote John Stamos (he played that character on Olsen twin sitcom Full House back in the day) into appearing in his sitcom as the ‘better-looking brother’. Drama decided to host a meeting at Vince’s, which immediately backfired as Stamos instantly seemed more interested in Vince, even referring to Drama as “Jimmy”.

That was until Stamos spotted Vince’s ‘cum-stained’ table tennis set-up and ended up challenging Drama to a game. Drama’s competitive streak reared its ugly head almost immediately and he thrashed Stamos who then left in a huff as he had considered himself somewhat of a ping-pong aficionado prior to his match with Drama.

Drama soon received a call from Yagoda informing him to go and kiss Stamos’ ass to save the sitcom, which led to a very funny showdown between Drama and Stamos as they had a rematch which Drama claimed he threw when Stamos annihilated him.

Turtle meanwhile had been lured to Mexico by Alex, who was clearly playing on Turtle’s lust for her to get him out there. I certainly don’t trust Alex but it turned out she wasn’t getting Turtle caught up in anything shady, she merely wanted to get him involved with Avion Tequila, actually she wanted to get Vince involved in the Tequila, but saw an opportunity to do that through Turtle.

Turtle’s storyline is a little tiresome if I’m brutally honest and Dania Ramirez, as she was on Heroes, is actually quite annoying as Alex but it is nice to see Turtle given something meaningful to do on the show rather than just being Vince’s fluffer. This storyline does play into Turtle’s overall psychology of wanting to be independent of Vince, so it must have been a cruel blow to Turtle’s ego for him to learn they didn’t want him for his entrepreneurial skills but rather his connection to Vince.

While all this was going for the gang, Ari was busy pushing forward with his plan to bring an NFL franchise to L.A. His successful meeting to drum up financial backers was then soured when he discovered, through a nice reappearance by Gary Cole as Andrew Klein, that disgruntled former employee Lizzie (Autumn Reeser) was making moves on a number of his clients.

They’re building up this Lizzie issue into something important so I don’t think I’d be far wrong to speculate that she may end up throwing a spanner in the works for Ari on the NFL deal somehow.

‘Tequila Sunrise’ was a solid episode, heavy on the laughs but still moving along several of the season’s long-running arcs at a nice pace. Entourage may be slightly more style than substance but it continues to attract a plethora of stars willing to send themselves up spectacularly and it clearly has a twisted affection for the town it often lampoons.

It may not require too much critical thought when writing a review but sometimes it’s nice to just switch off your brain for half an hour and enjoy a show that does glossy very, very well.

A Hail of Bullets:

- William Fichtner seems to be getting less and less to do as producer Yagoda, he’s a bizarre booking really for such an inconsequential part; surely a star of his stature could be given more to do. I love Fichtner, but this role just smacks of collecting a pay cheque; I am waiting for him to screw Drama over though, which is inevitably coming.

- Scotty Lavin continues to be a brash, vulgar highlight on a show quite often littered with them and he is brilliantly played by a super-sleazy Scot Caan. Caan seems to be everywhere at the moment thanks to the UK getting this season of Entourage and Hawaii Five-0 at the same time, but I’m glad to see him finally achieving some decent success and, if his Golden Globe nomination is anything to go by, critical acclaim. I’ve always liked Caan’s work and hope to see him stay on top now.

- During Klein’s brief appearance at rehab there were two nice cameos by Tom Sizemore and John Heard, both going unnamed and with barely a line between them they still elicited a hearty laugh from me.

- Stamos’ line at the end to E about marriage was a nice nod to his own marital woes. Stamos was of course married to Rebecca Romijn for a time, hence why she adopted the extremely annoying celebrity double barrel hyphened surname (see Courtney Cox Arquette)

- It really is amazing to think that L.A. doesn’t have an NFL team, of course there are the Oakland Raiders, but for such an important city in America, both historically and contemporarily, I do find it staggering. Thus as preposterous as it is that Ari, super-agent agent he may be, who isn’t a big ‘sports guy’ can be realistically in with a chance of making this happen, it isn’t so far-fetched that this would be something the people of L.A. would embrace quite readily.

Entourage continues Thursday @ 10.15pm on Sky Atlantic


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