By Jack Kenny: When we hear HBO, most people automatically think of the plethora of movies they have rights to. However when I hear HBO I think of the handful of cinematic television shows that they have created over the past decade. Shows like The Wire, Game of Thrones and True Blood. All of these shows are very well done and have been quiet successful, however none of these shows compares too or does what HBO’s Entourage does. Entourage tells the tale of young movie star Vincent Chase and three of his closest friends as they adapt to Vinny’s new fame in Hollywood. The series draws on the people who work inside the industry and attempts to display the highs and lows of show biz. The irony here is that this show is in fact a big hollywood production itself. A lot of the content in this show illustrates what it was like to actually film the show, while creating a completely fictional storyline behind it. In this series Vinny Chase is cast in a bunch of movies such as Aquaman and Medellin (story about Pablo Escobar). In this series we can take a fictional yet realistic look about what interactions between directors and actors, actors with other actors, and how life is backstage. While watching Entourage I couldn’t help but to think that these behaviors and lifestyles that Vinny and his circle have, is very similar to the actual actors playing these roles. It is very interesting to me that a TV show would dive into how the life of hollywood functions while at the same time being a high budget hollywood series.
What also makes this show so intriguing is constant use of celebrity guests. Every single episode there is at least one actual star that plays the role of him or herself. This is a very good way to keep viewers tuned in. I’ve seen every episode of all 8 seasons and at the start of every episode I would wonder what star would appear and in what way. Athletes like Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Real actors like Jessica Alba and Matt Damon. And Music artist like Eminem and Pharrell have all played some role in the series despite the fact that they were small roles. This pattern has become somewhat of a symbol for the show. In a sense it legitimizes the story and makes Vincent Chase feel like a real celebrity. By bringing on celebrities who play themselves, the lifestyles that are portrayed also seem even more realistic.
In some ironic cases Entourage would incorporate real stars as the role of someone else. For example, rapper Kid Cudi played the role of an assistant to a powerful talent agent Ari Gold. Another example is how actor William Fichtner played the role of a high powered executive and not the role of himself the actor. In some way this gets confusing because Entourage uses famous well known actors that play themselves and well known actors that play other characters. And in the cases where the bring out celebrities for guest appearances that aren’t actors, the acting performances can be sub par. However the sheer satisfaction of seeing your favorite sports star interact with the lovable characters in the show, outweighs the bad acting performances.
Entourage is considered a comedy but in a lot of ways feels more like a drama than a comedy. It has its humorous moments here and there but its not what I would consider “laugh out loud humor”, like family guy or any other generic sitcom. Every episode has a specific conflict that one of the characters has to overcome. However most of the conflicts these characters encounter are not very relatable (due to the fact that most of us aren’t famous or are close with anyone famous). Problems like Vinny didn’t get to star in the movie he wanted and has to settle to be in the star of another one. Or the fact that Ari Gold has too many clients and doesn’t have enough time for Vinnys brother who is aspiring to rebuild his acting career. These conflicts are enough to keep the show interesting but not appalling enough to make us feel bad for them. In a lot of ways what makes this show most appealing is the depicted lifestyle that all of these characters have because of fame. Every night is a different party with a drugs and beautiful women. The creators of the show do a great job glorifying being famous in Hollywood. It’s easy to imagine that your favorite star lives a similar life to Vincent Chase.