Question: As someone who values your opinion enough to start watching shows because of it (I will be eternally grateful for your harping on Friday Night Lights), I am curious what you think of Entourage now that it's completed its fourth season. When this show debuted, I loved it. It was both edgy and comical, giving us enough insight into the entertainment industry to root for (and believe) Vinnie's success in Hollywood while still allowing him and his boys to maintain their outsider perspective. But now the show is so formulaic, it bores me to tears. Just once I'd like to see Vince actually get upset because he seems to have stumbled in pursuit of what we are supposed to believe is his dream. Just once I'd like to see Eric tell Vince what he really thinks instead of just pandering to him as he would any other client (isn't that what the "lifelong friend" dynamic is there for?). Just once I'd like to see Ari have a conversation with Lloyd that is not derogatory or filled with gay sexual imagery. And just once I'd like to see an episode that does not feature Turtle and Drama on a ludicrous quest for sex, drugs or high-tech media equipment. From what I can tell, there has been zero character development since the first season. Perhaps this is what the creators are going for: an endless youth in a Hollywood setting. But if it's simply a matter of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," then I am deeply disappointed with HBO. Either way, I don't think I'm interested in Season 5.
Answer: I knew something had changed in my relationship with Entourage when I actively began rooting against Vince this season, a feeling that only intensified after his insane buddy/director Billy delivered a script that had no relation to the book the studio bought for Vince because he was so passionate about it. Is Vince passionate about anything except entitlement? (I didn't exactly celebrate when Kanye West gave his crew a private-jet lift to Europe after they stiffed Sydney Pollack.) You'd think he might crack a frown after the ridiculous-looking "Medellin" was (thankfully) booed at Cannes. Did I actually hear him say, "It's only money"? You make some very good points here, nailing the fact that the show hasn't grown but has actually regressed from season to season. For me, the turning point may have been when Vince walked away from the Aquaman franchise. Was that supposed to be a heroic show of integrity? It just looked clueless and impossibly unreal to me. Maybe the "Medellin" setback will actually have some impact, but I kind of doubt it. I still find the show reasonably amusing, in part because I don't resent a formula when the formula delivers reliable laughs (and I did think the Drama storyline advanced when he finally got a steady new TV gig). And heaven forbid that Ari ever stops harassing Lloyd. What fun would that be? But has Entourage been coasting? Yes, and badly.