Courtesy of HBO
This week’s episode of Entourage, “The Weho Ho” (huh?), was, yet again, a treat for fans of misdirectional meta-narrative post-dramaticism — our sunny-side-of-life term for the show’s tendency to watch blithely as opportunities for conflict and intrigue float past like so many smokin’ babes on a Los Angeles sidewalk. No wonder this is the one show we can’t stop watching–slash–can’t stop hating ourselves for watching!
Guilt: The central Vince-career thread, augmented this season by the presence of the entertaining Billy Walsh, passed up several opportunities to take an interesting turn. First, Billy discovered that his editor’s girlfriend had leaked the Medellin trailer, letting Eric off the hook (and blowing an opportunity to portray Eric as a player savvy enough to leak the exciting trailer for a bad movie, then line up the next deal — and cut his nemesis Walsh out of it — before anyone figures out how bad it is). Then, when Eric finally decided that he wouldn’t work with Billy again on Lost in the Clouds, Vince decided to go ahead with the movie anyway — and to keep Eric on as his manager, missing a chance to send Eric off to try and make it as a producer on his own.
(There was also a discouraging allusion to Billy’s dog-track habit; we’d been big fans of the way that every time Walsh showed up, he was encountered in a new, affectedly debauched situation — screaming at a half-dressed hipster paramour in a hotel hallway, or, our favorite, intently watching a Spanish-language soccer broadcast on an old television in an otherwise-empty motel room — so it’s disappointing to find the show returning him to the relatively clichéd degenerate settings like strip clubs and dog tracks.)
Pleasure: “A bright red rose in the menacing oil spill of life.” That’s how Lloyd described his boyfriend, who’d just broken up with him, in a subplot with Ari that wavered with surprising skill between comedy and tragedy. It points to the odd fact that the ostentatiously hetero Entourage writers do a much better job writing monologues for a hyperactive gay Asian than they do writing shit-talking bro-down exchanges between the four dudes. It also led to the scene in which Ari tracks down Lloyd’s ex and reveals that Lloyd was actually at work the previous Friday, not philandering like the BF thought. Typically clean Entourage wrap-up, it seemed, except it turns out that Ari was just covering: Lloyd was cheating! It was an unexpected moment of depth involving a peripheral character, followed up by an even more unexpectedly heartfelt moment in which Lloyd explained that he strayed because he’s so plagued by self-doubt that he didn’t know what to do when someone he thought was out of his league showed an interest in him. Great stuff! Should Entourage go all gay, all the time? —Ben Mathis-Lilley
The Guilt/Pleasure Index: