What Can I Say About The Entourage Finale?

As I sit down to write this post, I’m struck by an overwhelming sense of grief brought about by both the fact that Entourage concluded it’s 7 year run this evening and how it did so. Even as many of the show’s diehard fans have turned on it over the last season and a half, I have continued to vehemently defend creator Doug Ellin and the decisions he’s made. But tonight, as the curtains were drawn on HBO’s second longest running series, I was left shaking my head. “The End” provided neither a satisfactory conclusion to this season’s story arcs nor an adequate conclusion to the series as a whole.

Last summer, when the news broke that HBO planned to conclude Entourage with an abbreviated season, I openly lamented the network’s decision. At that point, my issue wasn’t that Entourage was ending but rather that it wasn’t ending on Ellin’s terms. Ratings for the show had eroded, but they were still better than many of the network’s other comedies, so why shouldn’t Ellin get to end the show the way he saw fit? Eventually, Ellin and HBO met in the middle and decided that the final season would be 8 episodes. That number, while shorter than the show’s last few seasons, was equivalent to the show’s first. Everything was going to come full circle… or something like that.

For the most part, I enjoyed this final season. I appreciated the serial nature of the each main character’s story; I laughed at almost everything involving Andrew Dice Clay, and I thought that the show paced itself well through the first 6 episodes. Unfortunately, things started to go off the rails a bit last week and became completely unhinged tonight. Much of what happened on this season of Entourage was reactionary. Last year, when Ellin and company took the show down a more dramatic lane and insinuated that sometimes things don’t work out quite like you planned, fans and critics alike complained that the show had lost its way. So, this season, Vince’s addiction story was resolved quickly and every subsequent issue that the boys faced was less “life or death” and more “par for the course.”

Several of those “par for the course” problems were disposed with last week in a halfhearted way by executive producer Ally Musika. Drama, who spent most of this season trying to get his new show Johnny’s Bananas off the ground, learned that not only was CBS giving him a raise but they also planned to make the the TV movie he and Vince has worked so hard to get off the ground. Turtle spent most of the episode wallowing in self-pity because Avion went public and he missed out on a 4 million dollar payday, only to discover that Vince never sold their shares of the company. Turtle finally had the capital necessary to open the restaurant he’s been dreaming about for the last few episodes. Both conclusions felt rushed, but the latter was particularly unearned. Then there was Vince, whose central conflict this season was convincing radiant magazine writer Sophia to love him. She caved. They went on a date. Fade to black.

Cut to this evening’s finale, which opened with Vince announcing that he and Sophia were getting married and the boys learning that Sloane was pregnant with E’s baby. Sophia proved to be a rather thankless role for Alice Eve,but the radical changes made to her character in the finale were infuriating. After rejecting Vince’s advances for 3 straight episodes, she not only slept with him on their first date but also agreed to marry him. What?!? Then again, this episode also saw Sloane forgive Eric for his past transgressions. I *think* I was rooting for Eric and Sloane at one point, but this season convinced me that the should actively avoid one another. Needless to say, their reconciliation drew audible sighs from me.

That just left Ari and his divorce drama. This season has been kind to Jeremy Piven, allowing him to flex different acting muscles and show that there’s more to Ari than the screaming maniac we all love. Still, when Ari broke things off with Dana last week, it became clear that Ari and Mrs. Ari were going to work through their problems. Unlike Eric and Sloane, I don’t think I was ever rooting for Ari and Mrs. Ari. She nagged him about work. He neglected her. They’ve been too different since day 1, and that only became more evident this season when he had Dana to bounce off of. Ari quitting his job and running away to Italy was both out of character and utterly ridiculous. My anger was somewhat sated by the epilogue, which alluded to Ari taking over as CEO of Time Warner, but even that felt more like a teaser for the theoretical Entourage film than closure to series.

Ultimately, that was the problem with “The End” as a series finale. Everything that occurred over the course of the 30 minute episode felt like a prologue to a movie that may or may not be lensed within the next calender year. Will Ari take control of Time Warner and doom his marriage in the process? Are Vince and Sophia really headed down the aisle? Can Eric and Sloane work through their issues? What type of premiere numbers did Johnny’s Bananas pull? How successful will Don Peppe’s be for Turtle, and does it matter now that he’s a millionaire? These and other questions answered in Entourage: The Movie… I hope.


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