Though “Seinfeld” ended more than 13 years ago, its influence is still felt throughout the TV comedy world – so much so that we often find ourselves playing a game of “Six Degrees of ‘Seinfeld’ ” while watching present-day sitcoms.
Such was the case with Sunday night’s “Entourage” on HBO, where we felt we perceived several “Seinfeld” references and connections, real or imagined.
Of course, portions of the episode were decidedly un-“Seinfeld”-like, such as the tragic suicide of the drug-addled producer, Carl Ertz (Kim Coates), at the episode’s end. The death was neatly foreshadowed near the beginning of the episode when Vince (Adrian Grenier) was talking to Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) about going over to Ertz’s house to meet with him, and Vince said, “The guy’s trying. What’s the worst that could happen?” Answer: Ertz shooting himself in the head while binging on cocaine.
His very uncomedic death spells trouble for Vincent Chase, whose publicist, Shauna (Debi Mazar), will likely emerge next week to do damage control. As we viewers know, Vince was just trying to help a fellow addict. But his presence at the producer’s demise will certainly become tabloid fodder as the gossip press concludes that Vince was doing drugs with the deceased.
The suicide was the most significant plot development in the episode – the third of the eight-episode final season of “Entourage.” Less important – except for the way it might impact his marriage – was Ari’s late-night booty call to former flame Dana Gordon (Constance Zimmer). It was a taste of the single life for the newly separated Ari (Jeremy Piven).
But what about all this “Seinfeld” business? Here’s what we mean by that:
The Dice Man’s lament: When Andrew Dice Clay complained that the guy who does Homer Simpson’s voice on “The Simpsons” (Dan Castellaneta) makes far more than he and Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) are earning on their fledgling animated series, it reminded us of the time George (Jason Alexander) aired a similar complaint about Ted Danson’s high salary on “Cheers.”
Johnny Drama’s “Seinfeld” lament: “Seinfeld” even got mentioned – by Johnny Drama – who griped that a cop show he did in the 1990s – “Concrete Heat” – died a fast death “because they put us up against [expletive deleted] ‘Seinfeld’!”
“The Little Jerry”: That was Miguel Sandoval – who once played a cock-fighting bodega owner on the “Seinfeld” episode titled “The Little Jerry” – who brought Turtle the bad news that his girlfriend was breaking up with him, and he was being dropped as the Avion vodka brand’s L.A. promoter.
How else is “Entourage” like “Seinfeld”? Well, we could elaborate on our theory that Vince is Jerry, E (Kevin Connolly) is Elaine, Turtle is George Costanza, and Drama is Kramer, but we’ll save that for a future post.
“Entourage” airs Sunday nights at 10:30/9:30c on HBO.
Click here to watch Sunday’s episode of “Entourage”: