“It’s time for me to make something of myself.”
Those words, spoken by Turtle in last night’s episode, went a long way towards bolstering what appears to be the underlying theme of the sixth season of Entourage: Branching out, maturing, making your own mark.
Jerry Ferrara did a lot of heavy lifting last night, as Turtle was put under the proverbial microscope right off the bat by his mother who believed her son had turned into something of a loser freeloader during his time on the coast. And let’s face it, in so many words, that’s pretty much what Turtle has been. That perception was reinforced by the fact that for his 30th birthday, he was given not one but two ridiculously expensive cars by Vince and Jamie. While their intentions were noble, Turtle was clearly growing sick of handouts. Even his buddy Curtis let him hear about it. Yeah, apparently he’s tight enough with 50 to call him by his Christian name. I’m not surprised.
With the image gnawing at his conscience, Turtle resurrected his “Lim-hos” car service idea from last season, but couldn’t get anything off the ground through conventional Hollywood bojangling. This led to the night’s best scene, wherein Ari dispensed a hefty dose of reality to Turtle. He let the would be entrepreneur that he would have to be proficient in things like insurance, stockholders, profit margin, stuff like that. I think I enjoyed the scene so much because Turtle and Ari almost never have a scene together and both actors are so talented that I suspect this won’t be there last. Ari’s line of the night was almost certainly proposing that Turtle offer up his extensive hat collection as collateral for a loan.
The big payoff to Turtle’s arc was finding out that Vince’s erstwhile driver was going back to UCLA business school. I often find myself apologizing for Entourage, particularly for its quick resolutions and sometimes questionable deus ex machinas. But last night was an excellent example of a realistic solution. He could have easily just started his business with Ronnie or through Ari’s connections, but he did what real people do when they’ve hit a wall and need to start a new path. Ok, it’s not totally realistic that Drama would pay for the whole thing, but it was his birthday, after all.
The other major development was Eric and Charlie’s pilot on the CW was not off to a good start. Actually, the show was fine, but Charlie got dumped by the studio. E took it pretty rough, especially considering the move was telegraphed by his new squeeze, Ashley (We’ll get to her later). Ari played sage advisor for the second time, telling E to raise holy hell at the network to get Charlie to stay on, including calling racism on the showrunners. E followed the instructions to the letter and promptly got Charlie, Vince and himself off the show altogether.
Ari took some pleasure in the fact that E is still naive to follow his obviously bogus advice but later divulged that he was genuinely proud of how far E had come. Overall it was a good night for Ari. In the scenes with both Turtle and E, the great Jeremy Piven reminded us why it’s okay to laugh at Ari’s brash, homophobic and racist taunts. Way down, he’s a family man who really does care about his close friends and wants them to succeed. I don’t think it was accident that he was shown playing with his son the second time he talked to Eric after the disaster with the studio.
Last night wasn’t all cake and frosting though. You’ve surely noticed that I haven’t yet mentioned the ill-conceived race sequence with the boys in Ferraris it’s just the kind of thing that people who bash the show point to. It was pure fluff, glorifying Hollywood excess with no means of furthering the plot. Ari’s car chase with Adam Davies last season was at least thematically relevant. I could do with a lot less of that nonsense.
Also, Ashley. I was really troubled at the end of the night when E said he really liked her. I had a genuine Arrested Development moment and wanted to look at E and say, “Her?” with more than a hint of incredulity. I thought we were being set up for E to tell her off royally, between her dissing the pilot, messing up the kitchen and bumming around until three in the afternoon. If she becomes his long-term flam, I’m going to be pretty despondent.
Drama hasn’t yet had much to do this year, but I expect that some quality material for him is on the horizon. It’s not a total waste though, because he is regularly getting the best lines on the show. Last night was a toss-up between these two gems:
Referring to Turtle’s mom: “She gave you a Weight Watcher’s membership for your 13th birthday”
When E had gone MIA: “Maybe he’s so small nobody can find him.”
Great stuff. I love seeing the show continuing to stretch its legs, and this Turtle back to school arc has the potential for some high comedy. And the hefty stack of scripts on Ari’s desk tells me there is some Vince intrigue forthcoming…Later, beautiful people.