1 Aug 2009

Has Entourage Jumped The Shark?

I would consider myself a pretty loyal viewer of tv shows. Once I decide I like something I stick with it through any hard times through a mixture of potential for recovery and appreciation of previous effort.

I stayed with Sopranos after chaotic season six (that was easy though). Buffy after the equally rqually random season six. Northern Exposure throughout its car wreck season six.....hold on a minute do you see a pattern. Season 6 syndrome anybody?

Just entering its own season 6 is Entourage. This unusually un-HBO HBO hit was magnificient for its first four seasons. Despite the questionable acting ability of many of its participants, its tales of an upcoming Hollywood star and his entourage pulled in great cameos, made Jeremy Piven a legend and dished out big big laughs. It has been like the alter-ego of Sex In The City minus the self-therapy and introspection.

But after three episodes of season six I think I am ready to say Entourage has 'jumped the shark'. For a full breakdown of 'jumping the shark' check out an informative wiki page here and enjoy the original clip at the bottom of the post (fonzie + water-skiing + leather jacket + stock shark footage = shark jumping hilarity). But basically 'jumping the shark' refers to a tv show passing it peak and/or looking slightly ridiculous.

So why do I think E, Vince, Turtle and Drama have got their speedos on. Its not that each episode is samey. Thats part of its charm. E & Vince head off to deal with career issues, Drama & Turtle clown around. Ari shouts, Lloyd follows. And for four and half seasons that worked perfectly. What also helped were nice story themes and arcs going from Queens Boulevard to Aquaman and the desparate chase for Medellin.

But for me in season five thing started going wrong. Season four finished with the guys broke after Medllin flops at Cannes. Season five has each one wandering through each episode towards episode ending which rather than gift wrapped were drowned in cement. For example Turtle did nothing for most of season five leading me to start a short campaign to Save Turtle. The writers heard me and did give him someone to do. Too ittle to late. For a season that was meant to be about an actin career in crisis it felt a too much like a show in crisis.

What really killed me was that after a season five (which had all the hallmarks of confusion that cursed the season sixes mentioned above) it nearly had a brave, exciting and original ending. The Entourage was split between competing careers paths, hopes and directions. With only one minute remaining it looked like season six was going to the anti-entourage...but they blew it in way that smelled of creative cowardice and test screening scores.

Now three episodes into season six and yes, there are giggles and girls. Booze and boobs. But it feels like rehashed season two episodes. Drama is now a little tiring. Turtle is superfluous. Vince could not be anymore dull, E is E and Ari shouts, Lloyd follows.

I will keep watching it. Happy Days kept going for a 100 more episodes after fonzie jumped the shark. Not sure if Entourage can do that but out of loyalty I will see where the boys go. But if I miss an episode not sure how upset I will be?

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