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Entourage Fodder

Entourage: Welcome To The Jungle


A strange thing happened on the way from the first half of Season 3 and Season 4, 'Entourage' grew up. The premiere episode of Season 4, "Welcome to the Jungle" is the debut of a new style while still embracing what made this show great in the first place. Gone are the fancy digs (for now) and for the first time the boys are fighting for their artistic lives (except Turtle, of course), and are laying everything on the line.

Of course growing up isn't so bad, in fact it was necessary for the show's longterm survival. I for one am very happy with the new direction and of the excellent writing as well. This episode is stunning in it's production value, writing, acting and story. Doug Ellin described this (around a two million dollar budget) episode as looking like an almost $50 million dollar film. Wow!!!

And before I forget, did anyone else notice the new opening credits? Debi Mazar is gone (yay!) and Mrs. Ari, Perrey Reeves was added after Jerry Ferrara and before Jeremy Piven. That's a huge leap for her (of course she wasn't in the ep), I wonder if it resulted in a huge leap in pay as well? Poor Rex Lee wasn't added though, which I suppose means he's got to toil for another couple of seasons before he's added. Not to fear all you Lloyd fans as we get to see into Lloyd's private life later on in the season.

Okay, enough said, let's get into the episode recap and review.

The show opens with a slow fade in revealing the set of 'Medellin' in Colombia, which in itself is a radical new departure for the show and we see Vincent Chase, Eric Murphy and Billy Walsh being interviewed for a behind-the-scenes on set documentary by a British film crew (in an homage to "Hearts of Darkness"), and after soundbites from each of them the opening credits come on. When we return we get an "artistic" quote from Billy Walsh and then a VO setting up the "film", again all new for the show (but it feels like a rip off of another HBO show, 'Extras'). But what I didn't expect was the timeline given by the narrator as he says they arrived in Colombia to shoot 'Medellin' on September 3rd, 2006. Hmmm, this brings up an interesting scenario . . . does this mean that EVERYTHING we have seen on the show up to this point has been in the past? Was it played out to us as a recollection or someone telling a story or writing their memoirs? When the show finally ends will it be like the "Newhart Show" or "Dallas" when it was revealed that it was all a dream?? Interesting thoughts . . .

Anyway, we see everyone arrive, Walsh giving a threatening speech, the documentary crew interviewing E about his role as producer and the first table reading where E and Walsh get into it over more extras. Just then Turtle's cellphone goes off which ignites Walsh's rage (doesn't take much) and then Turtle says he doesn't see a problem with that (typically clueless).

Walsh wants a new ending for the film, E freaks out and Ari chimes in with color commentary (very funny throughout) and E wants to postpone shooting a week but then Walsh convinces E that he'll write a new ending and E reluctantly agrees to go ahead. Next we finally get to see Drama as he tells us that his TV show 'Five Towns' has already been on a full year and is on hiatus (that's why he's down there) which is very weird and convenient. Anyway, he is sitting in on the table reading angling for a part in the film and as everyone else acts pretty well, he of course overacts, poor Johnny Drama.

This where the very beautiful and sexy Sofia Vergara comes in as local girl Leila, auditioning for a cameo in the film and EVERYONE goes gaga over her (as they should), and Turtle makes a rude comment. Walsh has enough of Drama and Turtle and kicks them out of the auditions and of course she gets the part because Walsh immediately falls for her.

Flash forward 8 weeks and we see various scenes of Walsh freaking out on the first day of production and the big thing is we get to see Vince in "fat" makeup actually acting for the first time on the show (as it happens, not after the fact) and he does it in Spanish! Adrian Grenier actually does a pretty good job and I can see him in this role for real. Also for the first time there is violence on the show as we get to see someone get shot, cut to the dailies and we see Vince firing a gun and killing people. After they watch them, Walsh is freaking out again as he thinks the movie looks terrible, just then the DP walks up and Walsh attacks him. E tells us he wouldn't let Walsh fire the DP but the DP quits anyway (he drives off the set with a neck brace on and him doing the cha ching sign with his hands) and Walsh decides to shoot the film himself. There is intercutting interviews with the show and Walsh's power trip mentality escalates as does his infatuation for Leila.

Two weeks later, the whole crew is sitting around while Walsh talks to Leila, explaining her characters motivation (she has a funny line after all of that when she says "But I'm only selling bananas."), effectively halting production and E wonders why. Walsh tells him he's waiting for the right light and then bars anyone but himself from seeing dallies. The boys sneak a peak anyway (wait, don't they own it?) and think it looks "sick." Leila is interviewed and says she doesn't understand why the director eats all his meals with her, very funny stuff.

Two days later he finally shoots, which is of course a scene with Leila in slow motion (very beautiful) and everyone finally realizes that Walsh is obsessed with her. E keeps asking Walsh about the new ending and Walsh keeps stalling because he hasn't written anything. Ari chimes in with more color commentary on why you shouldn't have sex with your actors and a very funny scene with Drama telling a story about how he had sex with his director on 'Melrose Place' and then got fired of course. E is harassing Walsh about the new ending while Walsh thinks Vince is having sex with Leila, this leads to a walk and talk (like we always see) with the boys talking about sex and E pleading with Vince not to have sex with her which of course he denies (mark my words, Vince did and is having sex with her.)

We finally get to see another scene where Vince and Leila are about to kiss (she got more scenes!) and Walsh calls cut for the 15th time as he can't bear to watch them kiss. He asks E to direct Vince because he isn't speaking to him and this is where Vince takes control. Vince takes him aside and swears up down and all around that he IS NOT having sex with her (he is though, watch). Walsh feels better but still thinks someone is having sex with her.

The end of the shooting days is rapidly approaching and Walsh wants real life Oscar winning writer Stephen Gaghan to do rewrites on the script. E knows this will cost a bundle and so he calls Ari to ask if he can get more money out of Nicky Rubenstein the financier. Adam Goldberg has a great cameo when it's revealed that he's in rehab because he was arrested for possession of cocaine and had his assets frozen. Very funny story and "amateur" video of him getting arrested. Extremely clever and hilarious story.

E tries to make Walsh's wishes come true but loses it when he finds out that he's interrogating the entire crew one by one trying to find out who is having sex with Leila. E threatens to fire him and finish the movie himself and for the first time Billy responds to E and reveals his insecure side. E who is an expert at coddling talks him down and refocuses his attention on the film. And he gets Gaghan to fly to Colombia and write a new ending. Gaghan has a nice cameo talking about his excitement to do the film. Walsh is excited too and the night before he arrives he writes the new ending himself, so Stephen Gaghan is not needed and gets paid $275K to do nothing, must be nice . . . Oh, yeah, Gaghan himself says it's nice too.

Finally, we come to the last scene to be shot for the movie which has all the big explosions and they have to get it right as they can only do it once. Walsh is freaking out again, E calms him down, he yells action and all hell breaks loose. Vince and E are watching it on the monitor and are in awe and just then Drama appears in the scene yelling in Spanish at the camera. So damn funny. It's a wrap and as they all congratulate themselves the doc crew asks Walsh if he thinks he made a good film and he responds; "I'll tell you this, it's either gonna be genius or it's gonna f*ckin suck. Until I see the first cut I have no idea and you know what? Neither does anybody else", with a smirk on his face. The boys just look at each other in bewilderment and the episode ends (which is not new, by the way.) Whew!!!!

So my thoughts?? I think the episode was very clever and hilarious even though Drama and Turtle don't do much of anything.

Anyway, on to what I liked about the episode . . .

1. The format. Breaking with tradition, the story is almost completely told documentary style as we get to see the entire filming in less than 30 minutes. By the way, the show's runtime clocked in at around 28 minutes plus, which has gotta be a first.

2. E actually doing something well. He handles most of the situations with the grace of a much more experienced producer and did it with a level head (mostly.) Does this mean little E has finally arrived?

3. Vince actually acting. Even though Adrian Grenier saunters through much of the episode as he usually does, he does flash moments of brilliance, both in his Vince and Pablo acting. I love the fat suit and make up. Bravo! Much has been said of Adrian's acting but I think it was good. Any thoughts?

4. The location. It was great to see the boys in their usual garb walking and talking around the hustle and bustle of a film set and in a different location then the streets of LA. Although it was shot in the valley at the same set as the "¡Three Amigos!",

5. Drama being Drama. Johnny Drama is ALWAYS angling to be in his baby bro's films and is always around to dispense invaluable advice. Best Drama line? "Hey you want me to try that with an accent Billy?"

6. Sofia Vergara. After making a career of flashy sexpots, she plays her role wonderfully understated here. And her English is vastly improved since the last time I've seen her. Check her out in 'Chasing Papi.' Hot, hot, hot.

7. Rhys Coiro as Billy Walsh. We are used to seeing him as an abrasive, self-absorbed, loud mouth but as a director on a set his personality is actually quite appropriate. I'm not saying that's how you should direct but it just seems to fit better. Love it when he attacks the DP. I also love how he is interviewing the whole crew and is questioning that old, overweight Colombian guy, that is so priceless. He does a great job with an expanded role and we will get to see him much more in future episodes (he'll be around the entire season.) Yay!! Best Walsh line?? "I'm a filmmaker suit, not a f*uckin weatherman."

8. Ari Gold's color commentary. Nice touch with Ari stressing out back in LA commenting on the troubled production. The Pivster pulls this off with style. Best Ari line?? "They got Steve f*ucking Gaghan?!"

9. Adam Goldbreg's cameo. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is the best role he's ever done, hands down. He's caught on tape being arrested for cocaine possession and sits in rehab all hyper and chain smoking. What a classic scene!!! Best Nicky line? "You're probably asking yourself, why am I bringing cocaine to Colombia . . ."

Now to the things I didn't like . . .

1. No Lloyd. I mean he could've been interviewed to talk about Ari flippin out, right??

2. No Mrs. Ari. Same as above. What a way to finally have your name in the opening credits AND THEN not appear on the show. Now that's funny.

3. Not enough Johnny Drama. C'mon that's my complaint every week. While it's understandable that he's down there to angle for a part in the film, what's not forgivable is that his show aired for a year and we didn't get to see or hear about any of it!! What about all that buildup? We didn't even get to see him elated about the show getting picked up and what about Rush Hour 3???

4. Turtle doing less than usual. Although I did enjoy his jabs at Drama. We all know he is the ultimate freeloader but c'mon now, he didn't do anything but stand around with his cell phone ringing. Talk about a selfish comment when he said, ". . . and it's Sunday, I need to get my football picks in." The writers need to do something with him ASAP.

5. Vince not doing enough. Vince is one of the producers and owner of this film and he rarely gets involved?? Besides the acting, he needed to be a little more aggressive I thought. Even his interviews were bland. Although that is really not in Vince's or Adrian's character . . .

6. The weird timeline.
See my comments above. That just plain sucks and makes no sense.

Now on to the watercooler moments of the week . . .

1. The opening Walsh quote.
"Medellin is not a movie. It's life. It's how it is. And I defy anyone to define where life stops and the film starts . . . . Or vice versa." It's perfect and EXACTLY what a self described "auteur" filmmaker might say.

2. The nod to Bob Ryan. Martin Landau appeared early on in Season 3 as a Robert Evans-like old school producer who always said, "Is That Something You Might Be Interested In?" The fact he wrote a book called exactly that is so damn clever and funny that I spit up my drink when I saw it.

3. On screen titles. Whenever a new character appears in a documentary his name and what he does appear for a moment. They were all very good and professional but when they first showed Turtle his said; Turtle. Assistant to Vincent Chase. I thought that was just plain hilarious!

4. Walsh wanting a new ending. It was so funny that Vince, E and Walsh are walking down the street talking about a new ending and there is so much commotion, Walsh is carrying a machete and Vince is wearing a shirt that says, YOU ARE HERE. Nice touches all around.

5. Drama running lines. Everyone else does well, but he gives the classic bad Drama performance. Amazing!

6. Vince in make up. It was disconcerting to see Vince in the fat suit and make up. He looked like Tony Clifton (Andy Kaufman's alter ego) but ultimately he was Pablo Escobar, I think . . .

7. Walsh seeing Vince in make up.
First he is amazed and compliments the make up guy and then when asks for a slight change and gets rebuked he threatens the guy. He's so bipolar it's awesome.

8. Drama telling his Tony Danza story.
He's sitting there with a one inch electric fan (like that'll help) and then as he's telling his story the camera crew tells him they are running out of film. Drama still gets zero respect, even from the British!!!

9. Vince shouting "Goooooooaaaaaaal!" as people get killed. Nuff said.

10. The dallies. The scene where Vince walks through tons of dead people and shoots someone is a cross between 'Scarface' and 'The Godfather'. Billy hated it, I thought it looked awesome! Which leads to . . .

11. Billy thinks the movie looks bad.
He freaks out and almost cries and then sees the DP and physically attacks him and as he's choking him he yells; "It looks like someone c*me on the f*cking lens!" He's so awesome!

12. Billy's obsession with Leila.
Halting production for two days so he can talk with her. Eating all his meals with her. Announcing to the whole cast and crew how there will be "no sex' on his set because he thinks Vince is doing her. Not speaking to Vince becuase he's hurt that Vince might be having sex with her. He can't write because all he does is sulk because she told him they can be "friends." Her being hired as a local village girl and being promoted to the love interest. And the best one is him interrogating the whole cast and crew one by one because he's trying to find out who is doing her!

13. Drama asking if he can have sex with Leila.
Technically he's not part of the cast and crew so that means he can have sex with her and Billy won't be offended, right?? Drama is living in "Dramaworld." His later claim that he is the one doing her but "only got a h*andjob" is so funny that I was still laughing when Turtle laughed in the next scene! Turtle's laugh sounded so real didn't it??

14. Stephen Gaghan's cameo. He gets paid $275k, flies out to Colombia only to turn right back around and go home because Walsh already wrote a new ending. The look on E's face when Vince and Walsh just stood there was priceless. "Nobody's ever paid me not to work before."

15. Adma Goldberg's cameo. The whole sequence is an instant classic. Again, 'nuff said.

16. E getting through to Walsh. It was a nice moment when E and Billy finally made a connection and as I said before, E is used to coddling people, just look at Vince. Him acting all tough with Billy definitely had an impact and for the first time Billy respected him, although that will probably change.

17. Drama appearing in the film. All his angling paid off, if there was ever any doubt. Vince loves to make him sweat but ultimately puts him in everything he does (even commercials). But Drama as a Colombian soldier leading the assault on Pablo's hideout?? That was so damn funny and absolutely one of the best cameos he's ever done. And speaking bad Spanish as well was the perfect touch.

Best Lines??

Walsh: "What attracted me to this project? Well, that's easy. It was the blood."

Walsh: "I'm telling you all right now that if another cellphone rings while professional artists are trying to work, the person responsible for that distraction will be dragged into town and sold as a drug mule."

Turtle: "it was just a production meeting, it's not like I blew a shot."

Ari: "Shoot yourself in the head with a large caliber bullet."

Ari: "You don't get on the set, get ready to shoot and then ask for rewrites. Studios do this crap all the time and they wonder why they end up with a sh*t movie."

Walsh: "I hate the word movie. I don't make movies, I make FILMS!"

Drama: "And even though I'm on hiatus, I can't be in the movie, contractually I'm not available. Plus Billy really didn't offer me anything."

Turtle about Leila: "Any shot she'll have a nude scene in the film Bill?"
Drama hits him in the head.

Walsh: "Why is that door red?"
Art dept guy: "I thought it popped."
Walsh: "How am I gonna see blood splatter on a red door f*ckwad? Change it."

Walsh to make up guy: "Beautiful job, beautiful job. The nose needs to be more thick."
Make up guy: "No, that's a very accurate rendering Billy, look he looks just like Pablo Billy."
Walsh: "Thicken it or I'll find someone who can."

Drama: "Can I finish my story here?"

Vince after watching the dailies: "Did you like it Johnny?"
Drama: "If I don't get a little something in this movie, I'm gonna kill myself."
Turtle: "I guess he likes."

Walsh: "It looks like sh*t, like a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie."
Drama: "Hey, I did a couple of good Hallmark Hall of Fame movies."

Ari: "That's always a good sign right? When the director starts offing people, huh?"

Walsh to Leila: "You're fearful like this is the most feared man in all of Colombia right? But you know that he lusts after you."
Leila: "But I'm only selling bananas."

Walsh: "Ya know, I'm not going to be judged on my work, not by f*ckin novices."

Ari: "When a director falls for an actor on set, all bets are off. When he doesn't get her, bet you have a problem. When someone else gets her, bet the house."

Drama: "I nailed one of my directors on 'Melrose Place'. That was the year they threw me off actually."

Walsh: "Everyone listen up I have something very important to say. Sex kills. Kills creativity. Kills artistry. It kills a film set. There will be no sex here. Not on my film set, I hope that I made myself clear."
E: "The ending?"
Walsh: "Percolating, suit. Percolating."

E: "He hasn't written sh*t. And when were not shooting all he does is sit in the bar and sulk."

Nicky: "There's no more money. So I can only pray that the 30 mil I sunk into this thing isn't going down some Colombian drain cause there's no suicide watch here."

E to Billy: "Get your ass up and walk with me right now or as God as my witness I will send you packing today and I will finish this movie without you."
Walsh: "Who's gonna direct, Turtle?"
Drama: "I've directed a couple of shorts."

Drama: "Well I was the guy with her. I only got a h*andjob. But don't tell Billy, I'm still hoping to get into the last scene."

Turtle: "Ha, ha, Drama? No shot, no shot, but please bust out the polygraph machine."

As you can see Walsh had most of the best lines, yes, he was that damn good!

Janaki gives this episode an extremely solid A.
As I said before, not only was it very creative and clever but it was a major departure for a show like this. From now on? Back to the LA stomping grounds!!

Next week: Billy won't let ANYONE (and is MIA) see the movie and Ari tells Vince and E that no one will hire Vince until they see the movie. Drama is hosting a party for Vince at his new condo and is freaking because he wants it to be perfect. Marv the accountant from the first season makes a comeback to tell Vince he is completely flat broke. Should be interesting!!!!

See ya next week!

-- Janaki Cedanna

Posted by Janaki Cedanna on June 18, 2007 3:25 PM
Permalink |

I don't know if I'm not 'getting it' but I thought Vince's 'acting' in this show was so flat for someone who is meant to be a 'great emerging' actor - perhaps that's the point? That he really IS just a pretty face with a lucky break and the public will soon figure out too? His sauntering is fine through restaurants and LA, in general, but it seems that if he has gone to all this trouble to make this movie, that he'd act up a storm in it. Am I off the mark? Friends tell me it's suppose to be campy - his acting - that is. I wonder.

-- Posted by: BJ at June 25, 2007 12:22 PM

You make a great point. While I agree that Vince just "saunters' around most of the time, I think his acting wasn't THAT bad. It's not supposed to be campy in a funny way, but in a 'Scarface' way. 'Medellin' is their generations 'Scarface'. We aren't supposed to know if 'Medellin' is a good movie or a bad one until much later.
Thanks for reading!

-- Posted by: Janaki Cedanna at June 26, 2007 12:15 AM

so informative, thanks to tell us.

-- Posted by: DedoVioheds at September 29, 2010 7:24 PM

Obedient bye, sentimental friend :)

-- Posted by: IncellaMeague at April 29, 2012 3:50 PM

Obedient bye, considerate alternative other :)

-- Posted by: VorIntarogrot at May 6, 2012 12:07 AM

Lofty bye, sweet soul mate :)

-- Posted by: gizignoli at May 11, 2012 6:29 PM

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