18 November 2008

Smoke Jumping

One of the things I learned during my last trip to LA (well, maybe not learned as much as had confirmed) was that Entourage is more fantasy than reality. Naturally, this isn't a surprise at all, and doesn't even detract from my enjoyment of the show, but it's interesting in that for the vast majority of people, this distinction is never made.

In fact, I know people who are pretty sure that Entourage is a pretty accurate representation of how things out there operate. They're also convinced that batting average is a good measure of a baseball player's value, but that's a different post.

That being said, one of the things that's been bugging me about this season (besides the increasing realization that Edward Norton won't show up) is the trouble the writers have had working Vince's new-found work ethic into the show. They've had him up early reading his lines (hell, he's actually reading his lines) and showing all sorts of Motivation and Determination, but he doesn't wear it well. Part of the fun of the show (especially as it exists more as fantasy than reality) is how little effort or concern Vince shows toward his career, how Eric and Ari fret over his projects, only to have him shrug his shoulders and have everything work out just fine. It's a nice counterpoint to Drama's maximum effort career, but over the last season or so, the show has been giving Vince more ownership of his career and despite that (because of that?) the career seems to be going in the opposite direction.

And, by the way, did Drama's show get canceled or does he just have the easiest shooting schedule ever? How does he have all that time to be on set with Vince?

Anyway, part of me was interested to see if the show could pull off the hard-working Vince and really turn him into an actual actor. That, in addition to Rhys Coiro's Billy Walsh, is one of my favorite storylines. So I was really intrigued by the promo for episode 10, particularly the lip quiver interaction between Adrian Grenier and Stellan Skarsgård that indicated that perhaps our man would be tutored and whipped into shape by ze German.

But then, the full episode airs and...nothing. Vince doesn't see the lip quiver and the animosity continues. Ok, fine. So Vince is going to revert to his carefree ways. Until the next morning when he tells Turtle that, in fact, he's been up all night studying his old movies. Yet, on set he can't seem to pull himself together. Or, as may be the case, the director is making it impossible for him, but I saw the same thing in the performance the director did, so I don't know. I just don't know.

And that's what I find most frustrating. I can't figure out which it is, and I don't get the sense that the writers know for sure themselves. Now there's no movie and the show is back where it started the season. What have they gained? Nothing, it seems.


Jonathan Pacheco said...

Perhaps the point IS that when Vince actually tries, things go wrong. He's always been a good guy and honest (his loyalty to his entourage borders on admirable), but as you said, he was always satisfied with going along for the ride.

Yet, when did this whole storyline of "Vince in trouble" start? Well, I'd say way back in another season, when Vince and Eric decided to go in on "Medellin" with their own money. Before, the star was having fun making superhero flicks and sleeping around. But the moment he gets passionate about a project, he's now on a path to nowhere. Then he gets really into "Smoke Jumpers," but all he encounters is trouble.

We know that in the end Vince is going to be all right, rich or poor. But intentionally written or not, the Chase Family Curse seems to be a sort of Bizarro Karma. Maybe the Vincent Chase of the first few seasons merely stumbled upon the secret to his happiness without realizing it.

lucas mcnelly said...


i think you're probably right and that's the theme the show may take. passion=failure, which is a bit of a tragic path to take (and one, i'd argue, we need to see less of in Hollywood).

One thing I did like about the episode was the revelation that Turtle bankrolled the move to LA. That, along with Drama putting them up, would certainly explain Vince's unwaivering loyalty. He owes them.