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Entourage Fodder

Entourage: Pie


Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Not too long ago Vince was an A-List star who could no wrong and now it all comes down to a piece of pie.

The 9th episode this season of Entourage was split right down the middle into two distinct storylines. In one, we finally get to see Vince act again but this time we see him working his way up and the other shows Ari confronting his past. The constant of these two stories is that decisions made today will have a profound impact on the future, not just in the character development but in the direction of the show itself. Fans might not like this episode or dismiss it as filler because there isn't much humor and there were absolutely zero hot girls, but I think this may be the most pivotal episode all year.

First off, Vincent Chase.

Dana Gordon made good on her promise to give Vince the second lead in the rednecks script, "Smokejumpers." Vince is nervous as the star of the film, Jason Patric flexes his overzealousness making it difficult for Vince to fit in. You get the sense that Vince is in real panic mode as he doesn't sleep the night before or eat on the first day of production. He doesn't even look at the cute girl doing his makeup.

When the guys arrive on set they are treated to a huge pyrotechnics display of "Apocalypse Now" proportions. Deep in the forest (where are they btw?) Vince sees firsthand that the German director Verner (probably Werner) doesn't believe in rehearsals and only first-takes. Stellan Skarsgård plays Verner in an obvious homage to real life "tough as nails" director, Werner Herzog. He is introduced flying in a helicopter ala Francis Ford Coppola directing huge explosions in the forest. All we needed was to hear classical music and see some running villagers and it could have been a sequel. The special effects and explosions far surpass what we saw on the "Medellin" set and props have to be given to Doug Ellin and Co. for making it look so real. There is no way they blew up that much forest anywhere in the United States. Maybe they shot it in the Philippines?

Upon meeting egocentric and method actor Jason Patric, Vince seems way out of his element. Patric digs so deep into the role of tough guy actor I forgot it was him. But he also plays it with enough self-parody that I thought this is what Johnny Drama would be like if he only had more self-confidence. After Patric complains that the fireman pack is not heavy enough they're off to shoot the first scene. The scene is extremely melodramatic and looks pretty good when suddenly Patric steals Vince's line on camera. Vince is surprised but this is just the beginning of the bullying that must make him feel like Turtle.

Vince is conflicted about whether he should say anything or not and unfortunately he's got E, Drama and Turtle around him feeding him bad advice more than usual. Vince decides to confront him but when he visits him in his trailer he is immediately dominated by Jason Patric. Reality check here. This is Jason "frakking" Patric for God's sake. But I digress . . . Jason makes Vince his glove man for his boxing (don't ask) and Vince leaves with his tail between his legs. Vinnie's insecurity is now running rampant.

On set, Turtle and Drama take matters into their own hands by playing pranks on Jason by first stealing his on-set seat back and stashing it in his trailer and then Drama laying a deuce in his trailer without flushing. We also get to see how much Verner is scared of him as well. It's pretty funny to see Jason Patric being such a bully and everyone quaking around him. Next up is another scene where Jason steals all of Vince's best lines. Vince is visibly shaken and decides to man up and go talk to the director about the situation.

Stellan Skarsgård plays Verner like a cross between Coppola and Michael Bay with a little Eli Cross, the fictional director of "The Stuntman" thrown in for good measure. And he nails it. Verner placates Vince by telling him not to worry and feeds him a bunch of bullsh*t which Vince buys hook, line, and sinker. He also reveals that Jason Patric was his choice and implies that Vince was not.

At the end of the first day of shooting the whole cast and crew are having dinner in a lodge and Drama seemingly kisses up to Jason but really he puts a barbecue sauce hand print on his back. Drama is an expert at pranks! Turtle is getting Vince some banana cream pie and Jason swoops in and takes it which empowers Vince to confront him. He does and we have a testosterone stand off that Vince flat out loses. We all know that Vinnie is a lover, not a fighter. Jason also mentions that Verner gave Vince's lines to him and realizing that he's become so unimportant, Vince is crushed. Who's lying, Jason or Verner?

In the other main storyline, Ari is contacted by his old agent friend Andrew Klein who wants a loan. He is played by Mike Brady and Bill Lumbergh himself, Gary Cole in a three episode arc this season. It's already been announced that Cole will become a regular cast member next season but of course in the Entourage universe that means he'll probably show up half the time.

Ari doesn't want to revisit his past at all but agrees to meet with Andrew on the insistence of Lloyd. Seems they started in the business together and wound up taking two very different career paths. When they meet Ari is standoffish and suspicious. They discuss old times and Andrew drops the bomb that he needs a big loan.

Ari has Lloyd look at Andrew's books and he discovers that the writer's strike crippled his TV writer's business. He confides in Lloyd that Andrew kept him in the business and believed in him when no else did and his Jewish guilt kicks in. Ari decides that he'll buy his friend's business and absorb him into Miller-Gold. He convinces Andrew to agree and they reminisce while they celebrate. Ari calls his business partner Babs with the good news and she freaks and puts a stop to it. She can do that because she's the one with all the money. While Andrew seems like a nice enough guy (for now) this sets up all kinds of trouble not only this season but next one as well. You have to believe it will turn out very bad for Ari.

Some thoughts . . .

So where exactly are they shooting "Smokejumpers" anyway? I'm thinking the Appalachian mountains in West Virginia because of the hillbilly music played at the lodge. Where else?

Drama is continuing his nagging ways but is pretty funny when we learn he did a Menendez movie and had sex with Andrew Shue's girlfriend during his "Melrose Place" days.

E virtually had no impact on the set as Vince's "manager." He just blended in as one of the guys, why isn't he asserting himself?

Is it telling that Turtle once again gave Vince a nugget of wisdom when he helped him remember his lines? It does seem that Turtle is coming into his own this season and it's about time.

I'm not sure if Vince can recover from this film both as an actor and a person. Forget him being a movie star as he looked very out of place. And he couldn't even remember his lines.

Jason Patric did a great self-parody of himself as stories of him in real life on the sets of "Rush" and "Narc" are legendary. Nicely done. I loved the trailer scene with his macho domination of Vince in full force. I also thought it was funny that he kept stealing the lines while he was "directing" the scenes from in front of the camera.

Is it me or is it strange that the writer's feel the need to bring up something like this from Ari's past that up to this point we have never heard of? Do we really need to see this type of story for Ari? But we did find out that Ari almost left the business to become a lawyer in Chicago. I almost thought Andrew was going to say Ari was going to be a theatre actor in Chicago like the Pivster in real life. Ari also had the chance to sign a young Brad Pitt but declined!

Lot's of Hollywood in-jokes about film sets will probably be lost on the general population. It was pretty funny though, especially the speech Verner gives about his seat back.

Didn't the hill scene look like "War of the Worlds" meets "Backdraft"? Given what we've seen, will it be a hit?

Even though Verner is a backstabber and more than a little crazy it was refreshing to see Vince act in a movie without Billy Walsh directing. Maybe he should have done the Benji movie instead . . .

What happened with supermodel Natasha? Drama's TV show? Is there any fallout from his appearance on "The View"? What about the "Murphy Group"?

Anybody have any good quotable lines this episode? The best one I found is when Drama said of Verner: He's German, don't trust him and that was pretty lame. He did throw in a funny zinger about "Sleepers" though.

Overall, I give this episode 3.8 Strippers out of 5, because the whole story came to a head over banana cream pie. But seriously, this was almost a straight dramatic episode which nearly became an E! True Hollywood Story. I think in the scheme of things it will prove to be a very important episode even though it wasn't funny. And for a comedy show that's very risky.

-- Janaki Cedanna

Next Week: Seth Green Day - E's new client Charlie gets his pilot script picked up, but the studio wants to cast E's arch-nemesis, Seth Green. Vince confronts Verner, the exacting director of "Smokejumpers," who tells Vince to work on his bad habits. To help impress Babs, Ari and Lloyd give Andrew a Hollywood makeover.

Posted by Janaki Cedanna on November 2, 2008 10:47 PM
Permalink |

The title of this week's episode of Entourage refers to the Banana Cream Pie that Jason Patric stole from Vincent Chase's (Adrian Grenier) sidekick Turtle (Jerry Ferrara). But, ultimately, it refers to a lot more......

Vincent Chase lived in a Hollywood that handed him everything when he first made it big. He had his piece of the pie and then some. One might even say he had his cake and ate it too.

Along with his Entourage (Kevin Connolly's Eric Murphy, Kevin Dillon's Kevin Dillon, and the aforementioned Turtle), he had Hollywood on a silver platter.

But, alas, no more.

In an industry that used to spoonfeed this hot celeb with a silver spoon, Vince has found himself the recipient of sloppy seconds. And, worse yet, the hand that feeds him has basically told him he is unworthy of his own portion, let alone extras.

It was made more than apparent that Jason Patric, not Vincent Chase, is the star of "Smokejumpers". From the trailer, to the "stolen lines", plus the director's fear of losing Patric, it was made abundantly clear to Vince that he was second banana on this film.

Can we trust the director that Vince will shine in the 3rd act, during his "big scene"? Maybe. It would definitely seem that he has a vision, and is marginally less crazy that Billy Walsh (note marginally).

And, I really do feel that Vince is learning valuable lessons this season that will serve him well in years and seasons to come. I think doing this movie will put him back on track and, who knows, a Best Supporting Actor role may be on the table for this once headliner. How sweet would that be?

Right now, Vince needs to concentrate on eating his Humble Pie, and getting back on every directors' menu in Hollywood. Then, he will get his just desserts again!!

(ps- I agree about E. What the heck? Why didn't Eric say anything? So not like him. Kevin Connolly's character has been very subdued this season. And, yeah, why isn't Drama off making his tv show? At least Turtle is doing stuff for Vince - aka- personal assistant. Oh, and I definitely think this film will be a hit. All movies about firefighters are hits-even the bad ones)

-- Posted by: lainiek at November 3, 2008 6:31 AM

Very nice insight, lainiek!
I assumed that the banana cream pie was symbolic and that it represented how much Vince has fallen.

I'm not sure the Ari storyline is the right direction to go in as it seems very forced. What do you think?

I'm glad we're seeing eye-to-eye again!

-- Posted by: Janaki at November 3, 2008 11:57 AM

was that funny jason patric was brillant

-- Posted by: Anonymous at November 3, 2008 10:23 PM

I think the Ari storyline represents his overall disatisfaction with his career at this point in his life. Ari seems to want more- he's just not sure what he wants or how to get it. He considered the studio head job, but did some real soul searching enough to know that wasn't for him. But, I think he really wants out from under Barbara's thumb. Although they are partners in the agency, somehow he keeps defering to her (for all those women who complain that Entourage is too chauvonistic, I counter with the fact that the strongest and smartest characters on this show are women - Barbara, Dana Gordon, Amanda Daniels, Mrs Ari). He keeps trying to find a way to make it fresh and break out somehow from the mold he is in. We have to trust Doug Ellin to see this through. As we know, Gary Cole will be back next season, so this is just the tip of the storyline.

-- Posted by: lainiek at November 4, 2008 6:31 AM

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