Words by Calvin Stovall
There’s never been a series this good for this long…
It’s not up for debate. ‘Entourage” is the most universal dude show of all time. It’s hood (loosely based on co-producer Mark Wahlberg’s journey from the neighborhood to Hollywood); It’s pop (full of A-list cameos and delightfully tacky product placements); And it’s hot, thanks to HBO’s risqué programming guidelines.
But how was it able to stay strong for an eight season, 96-episode run?
Because movie star Vinny Chase and his boys aren’t really the stars.
Sure, they’re brilliant characters, bold enough to click with at least one member of every clique. But the true star of ”Entourage” is the convertible black 1966 Lincoln Continental that they cruise through the opening credits. From episode 1 (premiered July 18, 2004) to 96 (aired September 11, 2011), it’s all about the ride.
No 30 minute-show can match the high of watching day one homies hop out of those suicide doors and into a fantasy where loyalty reigns and everything always works out for the boys from the block. The magical ride will continue this summer when the highly anticipated “Entourage” movie drops, so what better time to cue up the HBOGo and relive 96 highs from one of the sickest rides in TV history?
Turtle and Drama pressure E to quit sulking about his girlfriend and join their last-minute mission to Las Vegas. E channels Jon Favreau in “Swingers” (“What are you talking about Vegas? I’m not goin’ to Vegas”) until they convince him his girl was seen getting cozy with a slimmed-down Vince Vaughn. “That puffy motherfucker?” asks E. “No bro, he didn’t look puffy at all,” prods Drama. “Yeah, it was kinda like “Swingers” Vince Vaughn, not “Old School” Vince Vaughn,” adds Turtle as E’s fights off an emotional breakdown.
2. “The Review”
How does Vinny deal with the stress of a bad review? He takes the boys shopping for a new luxury whip. “Fuck the fuckin’ Mercedes, Vince, what are you a soccer mom?” declares Turtle on the way to the dealership. Ignoring stern orders from his financial advisor to cut spending, Vinny cops a Rolls Royce Phantom. They roll some herbs (Vinny hates new car smell) to break the new ride in and end up bagging a Jeep full of hotties at the first stop light.
3. “Talk Show”
Vinny lets Drama crash his “Late Night With Jimmy Kimmel” interview, establishing his selflessness and showing his only motives are pussy and the respect of his boys. Drama shocks everyone by knocking the interview out of the park and proving he has more juice in Tinsel town than his boys give him credit for.
4. “Date Night”
Turtle’s desperation hits an all-time high when he invites one of Vinny’s over-eager fans on a group date. It’s hard to blame him, considering the exquisite nudes she mailed Vince. But she jeopardizes Vinny’s chances with Pop star virgin Justine Chapin when she flashes him in front of the entire group.
5. “The Script And The Sherpa”
There’s a weed drought in LA and the boys trek to a marijuana farm run by a Sherpa (played by Val Kilmer) to score. As they toke up, E almost gets shot when his ringer spooks the Sherpa.
6. “Busey And The Beach”
Vinny’s agent Ari is relaxing at his son’s birthday party when he gets a call that former assistant Josh Weinstein is trying to steal Vinny. Ari crashes Davies’ beach house party and embarrasses the young hot shot like only he could. “I don’t steal other people’s motherfucking clients. But in your case, I’m going to make an exception. I’m going to take everyone: Your b-level sitcom stars, your reality TV writers; When I’m done with you, you’re gonna be repping side-show freaks. You need Jo-Jo the dog-faced bitch boy? Call Josh Weinfuck, the lightweight pen-stealing fuckface!”
7. “The Scene”
Wildcard director Billy Walsh introduces himself as one of “Entourage’s” best recurring characters. His caricature of a mad auteur starts by insulting Ari and dubbing E “a suit.” Walsh really tests the boys’ patience when he adds a homoerotic scene to their new “Queens Boulevard” script at the last minute, leading to a tense showdown that tests Vinny’s dedication to his craft.
8. “New York”
After a strong audition for a part in “CSI: Minneapolis,” Drama self-sabotages by demanding a guy in the back to stop texting during his reading. “C’mon man, a little respect. I’m acting here,” barks Drama. Another producer (played by Entourage creator Doug Ellin) pleads with Drama to focus. “Fuck that man, tell this guy to focus!” Deep sigh. “All right John, thanks for coming in. Bye.” Drama’s “did I just blow it?” face will become a staple of the next 7 seasons.