There is something that is very alluring about Hollywood – the American film industry. The HBO comedy-drama series ‘Entourage’ is the only series that exposes the industry in the most brutal yet honest way, thereby allowing the audience more than just a voyeuristic view of the industry.
Just like any other industry Hollywood is no different. It is driven by people who are often driven by success, are hungry for more and at the same time are ruthless and motivated by greed. The good part about ‘Entourage’ is that it doesn’t shy away from showing the big Hollywood executives and stars as human beings with flaws and the insecurities, just like any other individual, and it doesn’t try to push it under the (red) carpet of all the glitz and glamour.
While doing all this, the series also manage to feed on that very idea which probably has excited us all, at least once in our lives – The great Hollywood dream.
Adrien Grenier’s Vincent Chase becomes an overnight star and quickly finds himself hobnobbing with some of the biggest names in the industry. His ‘entourage’ includes his elder brother, Johnny ‘Drama’ Chase (Kevin Dillon), who is not so popular, yet still an established actor in the industry, his best friend, Eric Murphy (Kevin Conolly) who also becomes Vincent’s manager and Turtle (Jerry Ferrera), who behaves more like a rich teenager, living a charmed life with no purpose, until at least the first few seasons.
But while Vincent Chase is the protagonist of the show, the real star is his agent, Ari Gold, which will arguably be actor Jeremy Piven’s greatest performance and will probably remain so till the time he decides to retire from acting. The extremely foul-mouthed, impulsive, short tempered individual driven purely by numbers, Gold could go to any lengths to make money and rise up the proverbial ladder, that he even puts his marriage at risk.
But just like his surname, he has a heart of gold (no pun intended). He is a fiercely loyal person, who would never leave his friends when they need him the most and is probably the only one in the entire industry who is actually the most honest individual.
Despite the fact he lies to his wife, he is not a good liar, and that explains the aggression, the temper and the backhanded sarcasm, when things are not going his way. He doesn’t mind sticking his nose in other people’s businesses, if he thinks it involves him, his family or his friends and isn’t afraid either of calling out mediocrity, without really caring about “hurting emotions”, simply because he demands to work with the best.
In more ways than one, Gold epitomises the theme of the show and the industry at the same time. He is a sort of both, the spokesperson for the industry and its practical, seize-the-moment spirit, and is also its harshest critic who is not afraid to call out the industry for its capitalistic ambitions, rampant sexism and its typical hypocritical approach to political correctness which can at tome show little or no regard for emotions. Gold’s backhanded jibe at Liam Neeson – “Hey Schindler, leave no jew behind!”- after the latter angrily drives away is a testament to Gold’s maybe-unlikeable-but-transparent personality.
Throughout the eight seasons, there are episodes which will feel dragged, but that’s probably because some of the other episodes are just so good in painting the Hollywood dream in front of our eyes, that the other episodes and the reality of them, feels boring and uninteresting. In other words, viewers don’t really care much about Chase’ best friend having job troubles, or Turtle going through an existential angst, simply because we have all been through that.
What we don’t know is how does an actor react when their film flops, or when they are thrown out of a movie because the director didn’t like them, or what happens, as is the case with Vincent Chase, what happens when after being at the top of the industry, it completely shuts you away.