Entourage's finale last night attempted to escape the series' narrative downward trajectory, but whatever bright spots there were in the episode weren't enough to nudge it toward the show's former glory days. In its prime, the best thing about Entourage was that nothing really happened; it was just a show about hanging out, if everyone you hung out with were really rich and totally unencumbered by any form of self-awareness. That attitude might be tolerable for more than a few seasons if it were buoyed by any kind of narrative direction or storytelling of consequence. But it never was, save for last year's ham-handed arc about how Nick Cassavetes's bullying can result in drug abuse, a short haircut, and dating porn stars. Every moment of possible dramatic or comedic conflict was neutralized by the show's inertia and repetitiveness.
"The End" hit on every single Entourage trope. Will Sloane and E get back together? Yes, of course. Will a beautiful woman fall in love with Vince, even though he is kind of a dope? Certainly, for the 50th or 60th time. Will Turtle and Drama try to do the right thing by being busybodies? Indeed they will. And will Ari still get the show's best scenes? Yes, 'twere always so. As is the show's M.O., nothing about this episode or season took on any kind of primacy or urgency — not Sloane's pregnancy, not Vince's engagement, not Ari's impending divorce. One of the most dominating arcs this year was a frivolous tale about CBS being in love with an animated series starring Drama and Andrew "Dice" Clay, a notion that strained credulity nearly as much as the finale scene in which Ari pumped Il Volo over the office loudspeakers and all of his hypnotized employees stumbled out into the hallway looking like they were listening to a countdown to the Rapture.
So, after eight seasons, there was no way to expect anything from the finale other than the same old song sung even louder than usual: Ostentatious consumption is glorious! Women are beautiful but crazy, and if you can make them wear a bathing suit and heels and bend their asses to the camera for minutes on end for no real reason, so much the better! Just remember, though: Nothing is as important as one's bros.
Looking back, were there really eight whole seasons of story for this show? And is the movie tease from the very end of the episode, about Ari's return to Hollywood king-making, really that enticing?