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Entourage Fodder

Is HBO's Entourage The Next Big Show?


HBO is going all out in promoting the second half of the 3rd season of "Entourage", premiering Sunday April 8th immediately following the return of "The Sopranos". Boy, the marketing gurus at HBO have been working overtime on this one as the "second half" of the 3rd season only consists of 8 episodes and not so coincidentally they're only 8 final episodes of "The Sopranos". Hmmm, very interesting.

With the loss of "The Sopranos", "Deadwood", "Extras" and "Rome" and the disappointing results of "Curb Your Enthusiasm", "The Wire" and "Big Love" coupled with the disappointing "Lucky Louie", "Entourage" is now the flagship show of the network that prides itself on quality and cutting edge programming. "It's Not TV, It's HBO" has been their slogan for many years and I'm sure the suits are scrambling. HBO has always been one of my absolute favorite networks but Showtime is rapidly closing in!

Now, if running a half-hour comedy show like "Entourage" right after each episode of "The Sopranos" smacks of desperation hold on a minute while I explain. This is a very smart move. The final episodes of "The Sopranos" are going to be a massive mega hit for HBO and why not put it's best (and only) hope immediately following? Logistically, it's a brilliant move. NBC did it for years with "Cheers", "Frasier", "Seinfeld", "Friends", etc with great success.

But I would be remiss if I didn't say that "Entourage" is a brilliantly conceived and executed show. Premiering in 2004 and loosely based on co-creator Mark Wahlberg's real life Hollywood experiences (and friends), "Entourage" had only 8 episodes in it's first season followed by 14 in season 2 in which it really found it's stride. The third season of the show saw some major changes such as switching to a widescreen format, that's right, seasons 1 & 2 were shot in full screen (now that's a rarity)! But, after the first 12 episodes the show went on hiatus for over 6 months. The show was supposed to return in January but was held back to cash in and ride on the coattails of "The Sopranos". Historically, shows that disappear for that long usually fail but HBO has been playing reruns incessantly and as a result the show has built an audience. In fact, part 1 of season 3 is being released on April 3rd to prime the fans for the premiere of part 2 on the 8th.

Pretty smart. Actually, downright brilliant.

I for one believe that this show is ready to explode into the national consciousness as evidenced in the recent announcments such as AG Adriano Goldschmied releasing an "Entourage" clothing line, Kevin Connolly directing films, new additions Carla Gugino as Vince's new agent and Lisa Rinna as an ex-girlfriend of Drama's, who are joining the cast for the second half of the 3rd season. Yep, all the stars (pun intended) are aligning for this show, now if only all the stars (especially Jeremy Piven) stay focused and committed you can expect to see this show for a very long time.

Here are a few things that I believe explain the allure of this show.

First off, the show is brilliant in the way it intertwines fictional characters into real life situations and places. Guest stars playing themselves and treating Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) as an actual actor is a very novel gimmick. I mean the situations these characters find themselves in are not only realistic in their fiction but have actually influenced reality. Not bad huh? And I'm not the only one that really wishes James Cameron would make "Aquaman".

Secondly, the cast is pitch perfect in their portrayals of New York wannabe's. Some claim claim that they are all one-dimensional caricatures but I say put them all together and you have a fully dimensional man! We have E, short for Eric Murphy (Kevin Connolly) who is the level-headed romantic, Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) who is the fun-loving slacker, Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) as the macho and easily angered half-brother of Vince and Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) as the talented, generous and womanizing actor. Of course Jeremy Piven is so absolutely perfect as the smarmy agent Ari Gold that his character has cemented a place in the lexicon of pop culture. "Let's hug it out, Bitch!" has already worked it's way into the catchphrase hall of fame.

Third, it's extremely funny. The foundation of any successful show lies in it's writing and co-creator Doug Ellin, Larry Charles (yes, that Larry Charles) and others know how to write real life comedy. Four guys walking down the street talking about women and basically nothing else that is flat out funny? Enough said.

Lastly, a huge part of this show's attraction for me is that it really gives us a peek into the amazing world of Hollywood in a very real and substantial way. I mean the convergence of just the right amount of bravado, glitz and real people, to me is irresistible.

So is "Entourage" the next big show? Will it finally become the legitimate break-out hit it was meant to be?

The LA Times, New York Observer, Newsday and even HBO themselves all proclaim that "Entourage" is the next big thing. Will the public agree? To quote Johnny Drama, "Man, I really hope so, bro".

-- Janaki Cedanna

Posted by Janaki Cedanna on March 31, 2007 10:37 PM
Permalink |

I actually thought it was already a big show... maybe just because it's one of my favorites.

Seriously though, it seems to be popping up more in magazines, getting more press. HBO should definitely be grabbing on as tight as they can!

p.s. "Extras" is also ending very soon!

-- Posted by: Rachel at April 2, 2007 7:33 PM

Hey Rachel,

I always knew it was a "big" show from day one, it was just a matter of time before the rest of the population caught on . . .

Yeah, the show is getting lots of press and it's definitely positioned, so we'll see.

p.s. Ricky ended "Extras" just like he ended "The Office" after two years. He will be ending it officially with a Christmas special or two to tie up any loose ends, word is Madonna will pop up as a guest star. Should be interesting!

Thanks for the comment!

-- Posted by: Janaki Cedanna at April 3, 2007 2:11 AM

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