Series finale review: 'Entourage' - 'The End': Everything's gonna be all right
A review of the "Entourage" series finale coming up just as soon as I hang up on the cable guy...
Wow. I am genuinely impressed.
Not by anything to do with any of the actual storylines in the finale, which were the usual trite, predictable, lazy kind of "Entourage" resolutions. No, I'm impressed they were able to get Led Zeppelin, notoriously stingy for letting any movie or TV production not affiliated with Cameron Crowe to license any of their songs, to give them the rights to "Going to California" for the final montage. Either Jimmy Page is a huge Turtle fan, or HBO decided to spend a small fortune to make this finale seem far more impressive than it could ever hope to be on its own, given the people involved in making it.
As for "The End" itself, if anybody expected the show to suddenly discover hidden depths - and for Doug Ellin to start putting any kind of effort into the storylines - then they just weren't paying attention for all these years. I thought last week's, "Oh, by the way, Turtle, I bought all your tequila shares as a secret gift for you, so you're now a millionaire!" resolution would be hard to top, and then we got that early scene of Vince announcing to Turtle and Drama that he and the reporter - whom, last we saw, was still fairly skeptical about dating Vince and didn't consider him in any way her type - had a 24-hour date (which we didn't see, of course, because that would require both effort and an attempt at writing one of those "realistic female characters" the guys were bragging about back at press tour) that somehow so turned her around that she and Vince are getting married, immediately, in Paris. And Turtle and Drama briefly assume their friend has either lost his mind or gone back on drugs, but within 30 seconds they're on board. Yup, that's our "Entourage," boys and girls.
In a way, I'm almost glad we didn't get to see any of this life-changing date, because based on how the reconciliations between Ari and Mrs. Ari (now known as Melissa) and between E and Sloan were depicted, the date would have involved Vince doing nothing interesting at all and the reporter randomly changing her mind and throwing committing the rest of her life to him.
Well, no. I should be fair. In the Ari storyline, there was at least a tiny bit of effort made, in that Ari decides to quit the agency - which, of course, he can do because Mrs. Ari has enough money for five lifetimes and therefore it's another decision with no real consequences - to show her just how much he cares about her and the kids. But Ari's conversion-by-opera didn't seem particularly believable, and the show didn't even bother to make us buy it for more than a couple of minutes, given that the finale actually ends on Alan Dale's character returning to tempt Ari back into the lifestyle - and presumably set up this movie that Ellin, Mark Wahlberg and company are so pumped to make.
Forget about whether anyone actually wants to see an "Entourage" movie at this point. (All the reaction I've seen to this season has been vehemently negative, but the internet isn't always a representative sample, and I can easily see people who loved the show in season 2 still digging the bros all these years later.) What on earth would an "Entourage" movie be about at this point? All the guys are now wildly successful (other than maybe Drama, and even he has that animated show and his TV-movie coming up). Vince is getting married and settling down. E and Sloan are back together and going to have a kid. Turtle is a freaking millionaire. (And has he given up on the restaurant idea altogether now that he's rolling in the dough, courtesy of Vince bailing him out of his own stupidity?) Even if Ari comes back to Hollywood, upsetting Mrs. Ari in the process, where's the story there? For all that we rail on the show for continually setting up huge potential problems for the guys that get resolved in the least interesting manner possible, at least there was a structure in place that allowed for those false crises to be set up. The boys are all at the top of the mountain now; what could they possibly have to be worried about in a movie?
On last week's podcast, Fienberg and I discussed whether "Entourage" had ever actually been good, and we both agreed that season 2 and parts of season 3 at least came close to seeming like a genuine piece of comedic entertainment. But boy did the show coast for a long, long, long time, all the way up until this limp, unenthusiastic finale. (Someone on Twitter compared it to bad fan fiction, which seems about right - though I guess the fan fiction version would have ended in a way that allows the guys to just keep on partying and partying, which marriage, babies, etc. tend to get in the way of.)
What did everybody else think? If you stuck it out all the way to the end of the series, are you glad? And would you actually pay money to see the further adventures of Eric Murphy and Turtle on the big screen?