Image Credit: Claudette Barius/HBO; Jeff Cravitz/FilmMagic.comIf you scoured the globe, I’m not sure that you’d find a more avid fan of Entourage than yours truly. To me, it’s the rare series that’s highly praised and, in an odd way, underrated. (By now, of course, it’s also become fashionable to knock it.) The praise, which usually comes thick and fast (just like the show), is for all the right reasons. So, on occasion, is the criticism (like the spitballs hurled at the fact that the entire last season was organized so that the fate of nations seemed to be hanging on whether E would ever win Sloan back). So why would I say that Entourage is underrated? Because as a series that leads with its glib comic edge (in contrast to, say, the voluptuous high drama of The Sopranos or Mad Men), it is often thought of, even by its fans, as a light, cool, tasty, yet slightly disreputable pleasure: a perfect fluffy-naughty dessert. Entourage is the definition of “clever” — a word that can mean funny and whip-smart but that also carries an undercurrent of facile. The show is a celebration of the bad behavior of overgrown boys, something that doesn’t, to put it mildly, tend to get a lot of respect these days, even from those of us who enjoy it. Besides, the episodes are so damn short, who could possibly take them seriously?
To me, though, when Entourage is really zinging, what it evokes, more than anything, is the Hollywood comedies of the studio-system era – those movies, like His Girl Friday or Sullivan’s Travels, that were so lightning-fast and bedazzling in their repartee that they left you breathless. Okay, maybe Turtle is no Cary Grant (though Jerry Ferrara’s line readings have a wicked Neanderthal perfection), but what I’m saying is that if you look past the aura of the show, its infotainment gossip-raunch mystique, perhaps nothing in contemporary scripted comedy over the last 30 years has come as close to that spirit and speed, that tossed-off manic insouciance, as Entourage has. When the killer-sharp lines are flying back and forth like arrows in Ari’s office, I always imagine that Ben Hecht and Preston Sturges are watching up there in screwball-comedy heaven, and smiling. (I will, of course, be mocked for saying this, but I stand by it.) READ FULL STORY