Can the professional marriage between Vince and Ari be saved? This burning question scorches its way with white-hot comic intensity through the second half of Entourage
's ridiculously entertaining third season (Sundays, 10 pm/ET, HBO).
When last we saw our Hollywood lads, back in August, movie star Vince Chase (Adrian Grenier) had just broken up with — as in, fired — his volatile agent, Ari Gold (Emmy winner Jeremy Piven). The fallout is like something from a turbocharged romantic comedy, with money and movie deals acting as aphrodisiacs in a ruthless mating dance.
"I can't just be friends," insists a desperate Ari, engaged in a literal tug-of-war for Vince's loyalty and affections with his foxy new agent, Amanda (the sizzling Carla Gugino), who has certain seductive assets Ari can't quite match. There's no business as low as showbiz, and Entourage revels in it.
The show is ostensibly the story of Vince's career and how his glittery, name-dropping fast-lane lifestyle — courtside Lakers seats, private jets to Cabo — affects his loyal crew of Queens homeboys. Lately, though, Ari has stolen the spotlight, and in these new episodes, it's hard to focus on anyone else. Because Ari, post-Vince, is showing alarming signs of humanity. He acts with unexpected chivalry toward his long-abused gay assistant Lloyd (the sublime Rex Lee), and is accused at work of being, of all things, "soft and weak and nice." To his therapist, he declares, "I don't want to evolve." But come Yom Kippur, in the crackling fifth episode, he's too busy trying to close a deal to atone. That's the Ari we've come to know and love to loathe.
Are Ari and Vince destined for a happy Hollywood ending? What fun would that be? Only time will tell.
The Death Cult
Jim Jones preached a social gospel of racial and economic equality, but his utopia was clouded by sexual aberration and poisoned by paranoia. Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple (April 9, PBS; check listings), a chilling American Experience documentary, uses eyewitness testimony and footage from inside the ill-fated Guyana commune to explore the 1978 mass murder-suicide that stands as a frightening testament to the dark side of blind faith.
How can you tell that Notes From the Underbelly (Thursdays, 10:01 pm/ET, ABC) has been on the shelf all season? Because in a running gag, everyone is still obsessed with Lost. (Those were the days.) Nearly everything feels stale in this sitcom, which maps the anxieties of a yuppie couple (goofy Peter Cambor and winsome Jennifer Westfeldt) during their first pregnancy. As they fret over money, work and friends, it's all too labored. This will be lucky to make it to the baby shower.