Sunday night brings the return of ‘Entourage‘ to HBO (10:30 p.m.), and with it has come the now-predictable slew of “’Entourage stinks!’” critical analysis. In a piece for New York’s Vulture blog entitled “Tracing the Epiphany That ‘Entourage’ Is Not a Very Good Show,” Adam Sternbergh writes that the HBO warhorse is “a not particularly funny, conflict-allergic show about a bunch of adolescent dudes with endless money and no problems and a foul-mouthed agent who, of late, has been improbably nice to his wife.” And to put it in context, that quote is supposed to be a compliment.
Needless to say, for some, the bloom is off the rose as ‘Entourage’ enters season seven. But with HBO already planning on a season eight, plus talk of an ‘Entourage’ movie, clearly the interest among its fans and – most important – the decision makers at the network has not waned. Which begs the question: What is it about ‘Entourage’ that has us hooked this late in the game? Here are four possible reasons why we still care.
1. Because ‘Entourage‘ is about friends being friends.
If ‘Sex and the City‘ has taught us anything, it’s that audiences love watching friends interact. Even before ‘Sex and the City,’ there was a whole show about this phenomenon – we think it was called ‘Friends.’ And at its heart, ‘Entourage’ is about friendship. Sure Vince (Adrien Griener), Eric (Kevin Connolly), Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) haven’t really evolved as characters since sometime during season two, but neither did Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha, and that worked out just fine.
2. Because ‘Entourage’ is the ultimate wish fulfillment fantasy.
We were tempted to say male wish fulfillment fantasy, if only because ‘Entourage’ so often traffics in scantily clad models, incredibly out-of-league girlfriends – see: Eric’s relationship with Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui) and Turtle’s relationship with Jamie Lynn-Sigler (Ferrara’s real life relationship with the former ‘Sopranos‘ star notwithstanding) – and the type of bromantic outings that would feel right at home in ‘The Hangover.’ But while there is a male edge associated with ‘Entourage,’ its ultimate theme is universal to both genders. To wit: This is a show about friends hanging out and living the good life with the help of a bottomless bank account. In today’s world – with a terrible economy, multiple wars and, now, an environmental disaster – who wouldn’t want to spend some time in a place like that?
Catch Ari Gold on ‘Entourage’:
3. Because ‘Entourage’ features Ari Gold, the definition of unbridled id.
The boys and their toys aside, let’s not forget the biggest star on the entire show: Jeremy Piven’s Ari Gold. While some might argue that Piven’s performance has degenerated into a cliché – something no doubt perpetuated by the fact that public opinion of the Emmy winner has dropped to Tony Heyward levels in recent years – it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t deliver what is requested. That being: His Ari does and says things that we only wish we could on a daily basis. Ari has become one giant audience release – and you’d be surprised how few characters there are like him on television.
4. Because ‘Entourage’ is simple.
In the end it’s hard to imagine anyone would argue the bonafides of ‘Entourage’ against the likes of other television comedies currently airing (think: ‘30 Rock,’ ‘Parks and Recreation,‘ ‘The Office,’ ‘The Big Bang Theory‘). But if ‘Entourage’ has one thing going for it that almost no other show on television does, it’s simplicity. Every week you can count on ‘Entourage’ to be enjoyable – and mostly thoughtless – entertainment. Think of it as a cold beer on a warm summer night. Why do we still care about ‘Entourage’? Here’s a better question: Why wouldn’t we?
Relive The Best Moments of Season 6: