The plight of guest star Andrew Dice Clay (playing himself) sums up the eighth and final season of HBO’s Entourage (at least through episode three of eight total) – from filling Madison Square Garden to “doing standup in a f*cking bowling alley.”
The climb back up from rock bottom just keeps getting harder. It’s the season of Sisyphus.
Vince is fresh out of rehab and struggling to re-establish his career by writing a screenplay - a made-for-Lifetime type of television movie about a Labrador retriever rescuing miners in Romania. It’s a punishing descent for someone who once worked with James Cameron on Aquaman only a few years before. Drama partners with Andrew Dice Clay in Johnny’s Bananas, a new animated series. All’s well until Clay starts lobbying for Simpsons-like pay raises. Turtle’s tequila business and love life are also on shaky ground.
Ari, distracted by the separation from his wife of twenty years (Mrs. Ari), isn’t tending to agency business. He’s too busy vengefully meddling in the lives of perceived rivals for his wife’s affections. After a disagreement over a pre-nup, Eric’s relationship with Sloan has fallen apart just a few weeks shy of their wedding and she wants his stuff out of the apartment stat!
Sons of Anarchy’s Kim Coates returns as Carl Ertz! I adored Coates as the slick Ertz in earlier seasons. He gives a gem of a performance.
This is the season of has-beens and downward spirals. The posse spends a lot of time giving each other pep talks and the crazy fun of Entourage – when it is fun - feels a little hollow now. The glitter and glamour are wearing thin. Vince, ever the sweet optimist, is still the core, the sun around which everyone revolves. He’s the caretaker, the co-dependent, with disastrous, even shocking consequences at the end of the third episode.
And I mean – seriously shocking. So much so, I felt like calling HBO and begging for more episodes.
The lights are going dark on Entourage and the writers’ effort to introduce moral clarity doesn’t really ring true. It’s just…a tad morose.
Still, my affection for the show runs deep. At one time Entourage was appointment viewing for our entire family. We loved it and we still want to see the characters through to the end.
Entourage at its best explored the wild side of the entertainment biz: womanizing, jet-setting to Cannes, pot smoking (etc. etc.) and joyous, spontaneous tripping up Highway 101 to Auberge Du Soleil – a Rat Pack, only with cell phones. The show reached its zenith when Vince starred in the Pablo Escobar biopic, Medellin, a film within a film. (Here’s the “official” website.)
Now it’s the eighth and final season. Sniff! It’s the nature of halcyon days to be fleeting, I suppose. Vince’s house burns down after Turtle throws a joint out the window and sets the place afire. (The ever-cheerful Vince takes it all in stride.) Foreshadowing like that usually means big changes are ahead. (At the conclusion of season three Weeds, the neighborhood went up in smoke, expelling the characters from the hypnotic, comfortable suburb of Agrestic.)
Oh, and did I mention that shocker at the end of the third episode? Yeah. It’s starting to get very, very interesting.
The eighth season of Entourage launches Sunday, July 24 at 10:30p on HBO.