Are you the Dana that our Mom hates? Jonah
rating: 2.5Its getting harder and harder to review this season of Entourage rather than simply just recapping events from each episode; as evidenced by the fact that my review of Whiz Kid last week turned in to more of a rant about the season in general than a review of the episode. But with very little plot progression each week its difficult not to sound like a broken record. Theres been some considerable debate in recent years amongst TV critics on the differences between a review and a recap, and personally I always try and keep my writing in line with the former rather than the latter. Until I started covering the show weekly for What Culture! Entourage was never really a show on my radar for reviews precisely for the reasons listed in those opening two sentences. I used to just watch Entourage, a show that I always have really liked - and still do contrary to how my reviews may have made it appear in recent weeks, with the brain firmly switched off for a bit of glossy, shallow escapism. Now though, having to review the show each week, Im forced to look deeper in to the show and try and find some sort of subtext to pick in to, but the lack of any sort of substance is becoming frustrating. Obviously with the likes of a Sons of Anarchy, a Mad Men or a Breaking Bad, shows that are all just dripping with symbolism and psychological and sociological issues to digest, its easy to write a lengthy review week in, week out. Youre probably wondering then why I elected to cover Entourage on a weekly basis; the reason is that with this being the shows final season it seemed to me that we would be treated to plenty of big moments that were pay-offs to eight years of devotion to the show. Sadly though thats not how things have panned out and thus far season eight has felt more like a regular old season of Entourage, and an average one at that. I went down this road last week though, so if anyone wishes to hear more of my thoughts on the season as a whole then you can find them here http://whatculture.com/tv/tv-review-entourage-8-4-whiz-kid.php For those of you wishing I would just stop moaning and get on with covering this weeks episode then read on. The profanely titled Motherfucker was admittedly marginally better than last weeks season low point, so Im going to try and emphasise the positive for the most part here. First though, an inescapable negative: the episode titles this season have largely been puns that are a kind of beat-you-over-the-head reference to an incident within the episode as well as holding a double meaning to wider events in the show. So with a title such as Motherfucker, the second Melinda Clarke (in the world of Entourage Es ex-Stepmom) sauntered back on to screen, it was obvious what was going to transpire by episodes end a mile away. Hats off to Clarke (still man-eating cougar Julie Cooper from The OC to me) for portraying herself the way she did though. Sure, by now everyone knows that the celebrities playing themselves on Entourage are relishing exaggerating or having fun with their public image, but to portray yourself as a woman who would happily sleep with your ex-husbands ex-potential son-in-law is still a bold move if you ask me. E is normally the most level-headed member of the entourage but this week he ignored the warnings at every turn and found himself being used as a pawn in Melindas vendetta against Terrence, no doubt ruining any chance he might have had to reconcile with Sloan in the process. The title of the episode this week could also have been an allusion to the way Drama must be feeling over the nightmare his animated show has become though. It took another whole episode to get Drama to where he should have been two weeks ago, but we finally now have him joining Dice and walking out on the show. At the beginning of the season Id been hoping that wed get to see the cartoons success before the curtain came down on Entourage but the way things have gone this season it now looks as though the resolution to this storyline will be that we get to see Drama at least have a chance of success by the show eventually getting made. There is a part of me though that still feels as though theres misery around the corner for Johnny with regard to Johnnys Bananas and those feelings were only aroused further in this episode when Phil blew smoke up Johnnys ass about being the man the show would be built around. Was this a ploy to get Dramas ego raging and entice him to threaten to quit knowing the network will call his bluff and get someone else in? I cant see how that would benefit Phil but there could be forces at work there that we arent yet privy to. If that was to go down, then Vinces miner movie could end up being the huge success for Johnny that I always imagined the show would end on, which in a way would be far more poetic and make the time spent on the as yet non-existent movie a lot more palatable. Turtle and his superfluous-as-always storylines meanwhile were pretty much kept on the backburner for the most part this week, other than a few allusions to Don Pepes that were fine in the context of Vinces storyline. Which brings us Vince who, according to Shauna, was out to rehab his image by giving an in-depth interview to journalist Sophia Lear for Vanity Fair. Sophia incidentally is played by the remarkable Alice Eve, undoubtedly one of this countrys finest exports. As enjoyable as it was to see Eve portray a woman that is usually an alien concept on Entourage: intelligent, talented, sophisticated and able to resist the advances of the great Vincent Chase, it was still ridiculously predictable that the journalist assigned to interview Vince would be a beautiful woman. So now with only three episodes to go we have a new storyline set up for Vince as he relentlessly pursues Sophia. It might not be your typical Vince love interest storyline, as his interest in a woman so different to his usual tastes could signify hes finally growing up, but hes still back to chasing a woman, and I had been of the mindset that after rehab, getting his miner movie made would be his big arc this year. Ill reserve judgement on Sophias introduction until I see how the follow up is handled, but if a new love interest for Vince had to be introduced at this late stage, Im glad she gets to be played by the delectable Alice Eve. Finally on to Ari and his still disintegrating personal life, he began Motherfucker excited about taking his slightly less than enthused kids to Disneyland only for a script written by Taylor Lautners friend to put the kibosh on those plans. Aris daughter was easily appeased when she learnt she may get to meet the wolfman with 4% body fat but when Taylor didnt show himself and Dana Gordon did to read said script, things soon took a turn in to awkward again for Ari, especially when his son Jonah delivered the opening quote to a shocked Dana. Jonah is played by show-creator Doug Ellins seven-year-old son Luke, who by my count has delivered more memorable one-liners this season than his oddly less than prolific screen Father. Aris bad day at the office was then punctuated by Mrs. Ari revealing that reconciliation was now well and truly off the table, as she had filed for divorce. At the beginning of the season Id have been quite sad for Ari at this point but the way theyve painted Mrs. Ari this season and those final moments in which Dana called a drunk Ari to offer him an olive branch in their budding romance made me feel that divorce might not be the worst thing that could happen to Mr. Gold right about now. A Hail of Bullets: - Ive been hard on Entourage lately but if they want to win me back round, theres worse things they could be doing than closing the show with a Rolling Stones song; the credits song this week was The Spider and The Fly. - Turtles new favourite website headandbody.com sadly doesnt appear to actually exist (yes, Im actually sad enough to have checked) but if it did then Im sure its creators would be in line to make a shit load of money. - As stated above Im not entirely convinced William Fichtners Phils motives are true when it comes to Drama, but Fichtners reaction to Drama saying hell walk was priceless. Fichtner did more there with a few noises of frustration than some actors on this show do with an entire scene of dialogue. - Another brilliant guest star in recent weeks has been Jamie Kennedy, as Dices hack replacement on the show. Hes not been called by a name yet so its still unclear whether he is Jamie Kennedy or whether hes playing a character, but either way the references to his career, or lack therefore of, certainly imply that Kennedys sending his post-Scream career up spectacularly. Plus, his Dice impression, especially the way he nails the Oh! at the end of sentences is just great. - This season the show has become almost an ensemble with the likes of recurring characters Billy, Dana, Scott and even Shauna back for repeat episodes. Its strange to think that Rex Lee, who is featured in the credits, has had less screen time than nearly all of the aforementioned characters at this point. Entourage continues Sunday @ 10.30pm on HBO in the US and Monday @ 10.45pm on Sky Atlantic in the UK
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