by Andrew Brooker (@Brooker411)
In a few days, HBO’s latest TV show to get the Sex and the City treatment finally hits our screens. Having been in theatres in the States for a few days, it’s been met with a complete spectrum of reviews. Some love it, some hate it and some are just kind of shrugging their way through conversations about it. I’ll let you know how I feel when I finally get around to seeing it. So now seemed as good a time as any to get a quick binge of the show out of the way to get it fresh in my mind before seeing the movie that seems to have taken forever to get made.
So I thought I’d turn my encampment on the couch for eight seasons of Entourage into a public service. Whether you’ve never seen the show before or need a lightning fast refresher on the lives of Vincent Chase and his entourage, I present to you my Beginners guide to Entourage.
The Main Character, and his *ahem* Entourage
Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier)
New York boy who’s uprooted himself to move to Los Angeles and make it big as a movie star. We meet Vince on the day of the premiere of his first starring role and it’s all gravy from here on in. We spend the next eight seasons living his life’s ups and downs with him. Is one bad moustache away from looking like a 70’s porn star.
Johnny “Drama” Chase (Kevin Dillon)
Vincent’s older brother. He’s been in Hollywood for years and has been struggling through since day one. Hitting the bigtime is all he wants and it always seems just an inch away from his fingertips. Can be best described as an angry lovechild of an 80’s action movie cop’s sidekick and Victor Meldrew.
Eric “E” Murphy (Kevin Connolly)
Vince’s best friend and manager. The last of the boys to head out to La La Land and pretty much the only one with his head screwed on right. He spends most of his time trying his hardest to steer his friend’s career in the right direction.
“Turtle” (Jerry Ferrara)
Another childhood friend and Vince’s Driver. The very definition of a cling-on, Turtle is a man-child spending his time leveraging his friendship with Vince to get girls into his bed. Usually unsuccessfully. A full-time stoner, you’d be forgiven for thinking Turtle learned all he know about life from Kevin Smith movies.
Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven)
Vince’s brutal, cutthroat agent. Moves heaven and earth for Vince’s career, not always with the results or appreciation he wants. Fills close to 100 episodes with abuse, at everyone. Racist, homophobic, completely inappropriate, but somehow is the best part of the show. Guaranteed to make you laugh, then make you feel like a complete tosser for laughing!
The Supporting Cast
Melissa “Mrs Ari” Gold (Perrey Reeves)
Ari’s long-suffering wife. The one person in the world that Ari is afraid of. Known only as “Mrs Ari” until the last few episodes of the show.
Lloyd Lee (Rex Lee)
Ari’s work wife. His PA and later a fellow agent who’s a target for a fantastic amount of abuse from Ari. One of the few people that can stand toe-to-toe with the super-agent and not collapse under the pressure.
Shauna Roberts (Debi Mazar)
Vince’s foul-mouthed publicist. A fearsome woman that can get almost anything she wants by swearing at someone. If I get to choose one superpower, that would be it!
Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro)
Eccentric filmmaker. Works with Vince on several projects across the years. Him and Eric never see eye-to-eye but work well together. The man is a complete psycho!
We meet Vince and the boys on the morning of the premiere of “Head On”, Vince’s first starring role. Average reviews and bad decisions plague the Entourage in this first season. Against advice, Vince turns down a sure thing for his next project and instead fights to get himself on an indie flick with Sundance winning director Billy Walsh. Finishing up with a flight home to New York to film “Queen’s Boulevard”.
Key Episode: “The Script and the Sherpa” (Ep. 5) – In the middle of a desperate weed shortage, the boys are handed the Queens Boulevard script and ponder their future with the only source of pot in the town, a local Sherpa (Played brilliantly by Val Kilmer)
Fresh back from New York, Vince is offered a huge studio movie in the form of Aquaman. Costume worries, director woes, studio interference and crazy fallout from Queen’s Boulevard all create tension amongst the make-shift family as they steam-roll towards a deal for the biggest film of the young star’s life. Dodgy press and a relationship with Mandy Moore almost sinks the project before it begins.
Key Episode: Sundance Kids (Ep. 7) – The boys convince James Cameron to come to the Sundance screening of Queen’s Boulevard to try and prove Vince’s worth as an actor while Drama and Turtle have the most unfortunate of accidents in their first ever threesome.
Aquaman is a monster hit. Vince has scored the highest grossing movie of all time and can have the pick of any project he wants. The boys decide to go after the film they’ve been chasing for two years, “Medellin”, the Pablo Escobar story. The project hits the skids quickly when Warner Brothers want to film Aquaman 2 and doesn’t want their star playing a murdering drug kingpin.
Vince drops from Aquaman, loses Medellin and finds himself unemployed and fires Ari. Taking matters into his own hands, the boys sell everything they own and buy the rights to the Columbian epic themselves. Hiring Billy Walsh to direct and with Eric producing, the Entourage heads south to film.
Key Episode: The Resurrection (Ep. 18) – The neurotic Johnny Drama is extra wired as the premiere of his new network show is about to air. Avoiding reviews and news about what may be his last chance, Drama goes off the rails until the ratings roll in.
A disastrous on-location shoot with a crazy director leave “Medellin” in a fog of bad rumours and awful press. Not helped when Billy refuses to show anyone a single frame of the film. An equally disastrous post-production leaves the film in a state of disarray. Against all advice, Walsh submits the film to the Cannes film festival and gets in.
Now a Cannes recognised production team, the boys join forces again for another big project, Silo.
Everything quickly goes out the window when everyone’s fears are realised as “Medellin” tanks at the Cannes screening. Booed from the theatre, Vince and the boys are left ponder their future.
Key Episode: The Cannes Kids (Ep. 12) Heading to Cannes to screen “Medellin”, Ari and the boys try to get a bidding war going between studios to have the film bought before the premiere screening. All looks great until their chickens come home to roost and the movie turns out to be an atrocious waste of film.
The brutal backlash from Cannes has left Vince hiding out in Mexico avoiding the flak. Eric signs a couple of writers to his management company and sells their script, “Smokejumpers”, to Warner Bros. Vince’s woes with the studio are morbidly fixed when the head of the studio that hates him so much dies after arguing with Ari. With Dana Gordon now at the helm, Warner’s brings Vince in and, just for a while, gets his career back on track.
Disagreements between star and director force the shutting down of the massive film. The lads head back to New York to get away from Hollywood for a bit. Eric pushes for Vince to meet some people in the Big Apple and ends up losing his position as Vinny’s manager when things fall apart. In a last ditch attempt, E gets Vincent a role in Martin Scorsese’s latest feature, “The Great Gatsby”.
Key Episode: Gotta Look Up To Get Down (Ep. 7) – After Alan Grey dies on the golf course, Ari is offered the role of Studio head. Conflicted, the agent wheels and deals his way through the halls of power and pulls a bait and switch. Getting Dana Gordon on the board instead and getting Vinny his desperately needed co-starring role.
Vince is on a comeback and is preparing to fly to Italy to film an Enzo Ferrari biopic. The lives of the Entourage all start to change. Eric gets a job offer from a big management company; Johnny screws up not only his long-running series job but a second job on the same day; Turtle takes a punt at running a limo company; Lloyd quits Ari’s reign and takes up residence as an agent elsewhere; while Ari gets the opportunity to buy his former agency and become the biggest entertainment entity in Hollywood.
Key Episode: Scared Straight (Ep. 11) – Ari’s former employer, Terrence McQuewick quietly offers the hotshot super-agent the opportunity to buy TCA. Suspicious, Ari hires his Private Investigator to get the dirt on Terrence, his divorce and his company and use it to leverage his former boss into a low-ball deal for the company.
The seventh season sees the show take a dark turn. After a car accident on set, Vince finds himself popping painkillers like skittles and going completely off the rails. Getting in to a relationship with real-life porn star Sasha Grey and finding progressively harder drugs to put into himself.
Ari chases a dream of bringing an NFL team to Los Angeles but his mouth is getting him into trouble and he loses out to his nemesis Amanda Daniels and her new ally, Ari’s former employee Lizzy Grant.
Insane director Billy Walsh makes a return to the boy’s lives with plans to re-invigorate Drama’s career, not necessarily to Johnny Drama’s approval. Turtle turns his hand at becoming a tequila distributor.
Key Episode: Lose Yourself (Ep. 10) – Vince’s season comes to a Charlie Sheen-esque end in the season finale. Far too many drugs, far too much booze and finally meeting a woman with a strong personality sends the movie star spiralling. Ending in a fight at an Eminem album party, a hospital visit, an arrest and a quick ship off to rehab. It was bound to happen sometime.
Fresh out of Rehab, Vince tries to get his life back on track in this final season. Opting less for acting and instead dragging Billy back into the industry that melted him down and getting him to direct Drama in a TV movie the former leading man has written while hidden away from the world.
Ari and Dana finally burn off some of that sexual tension that’s built up across the last seven seasons before Ari regrets the last 10 episodes and tries to patch things up with Mrs. Ari. Love stays in the air for the entourage as Vince chases and proposes to a Vanity Fair writer who ripped him a new hole and Eric gets desperate in his attempts to get Sloane back in his life. The curtain drops on the season, and the show, with Vince off to get married, with the boys in tow!
Key Episode: Home Sweet Home (Ep. 1) – Vince comes home from rehab shiny and sober and looking for a fresh start. A screenplay and fresh humility in hand, Vinny puts grand plans into motion to get his life right. The boys plan a party to celebrate but try very hard to keep it drug and alcohol free. Turtle’s effort to hide his pot smoking ends in the house being burned down!
There you have it. That should give you all you need to know to go in and not think you’re missing anything when Entourage finally releases in the UK. Of course, it’s a very short show. If you get on to it now, you can probably still get it done before release day.