The Existential Entourage — “Talk Show”

Reviews of the HBO series Entourage which make me want to kill myself.

Time for the third episode, which is when most serials either reveal a super compelling side character that the developers underestimated and didn’t include in the pilot, or is otherwise a lame duck as the season gears up for something larger in the back half. I’ll let you decide which we’re in for, dear reader, but allow me to spoil that we finally encounter E’s ex-girlfriend Kristen here. Is she’s Entourage’s Omar Little? We’ll have to wait and see.

“Talk Show” was written by frequent Larry David and Sacha Baron Cohen collaborator Larry Charles, interestingly. While responsible for genuinely well-made comedy on Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, one can’t overlook the overall through line of misanthropy running through those projects, as well as the less prestigious Borat, Brüno, and Religulous (and anything to do with Dilbert) that puts Entourage squarely in Charles’ wheelhouse, absence of jokes notwithstanding.

After watching a boxing match, which — even to a fan of MMA — suddenly seems like a hedonistic, Caligulan affair when the Entourage does it, the gang networks at a bar and Vince agrees to appear on Jimmy Kimmel’s titular talk show. On the way to the bar, Turtle and Drama’s antics upset a woman, who becomes Enraged. She spots Vince, however, and instantly upgrades her disposition to Seductress. She and Vince enter the bar together. A scene passes. Vince is sitting beside a different female extra, who flirts with and kisses him. The show’s editors might have spotted this continuity error, but they were women, and someone looked away for a second and they were promptly replaced.

In the scene that passed, Turtle and Drama learned that you could receive free things by mentioning products in public. Just to note: HBO, Entourage Blu-rays are of the highest quality; I am especially a fan of the way the fifteen second sample of the show’s theme song which comprises the disc’s menu music loops eternally in my dim room, lit only by the television, as the blood pours from the gashes down my wrists and I am free.

You know you secretly love it, mom.

To be fair to my introduction, we are introduced to major character Shauna, Vince’s publicist. A maternal figure to the Entourage, she is immediately sexually harassed by Vince, who kisses her neck and calls her sexy when she’s mad. In a [citation needed] quote from Wikipedia, she was apparently only added to the main credits later at HBO’s insistence. Debi Mazar’s name took the place of the marquee reading “NO GIRLS ALOUD.”

Sympathetic milquetoast gremlin E gets harangued by his vapid, know-it-all ex, Kristen, as she comes to collect her things. “You look great,” he says like an average frustrated chump. “Thanks, I’m probably in the best shape of my life. You look like shit,” she replies. She is a psychology major, because that’s not a real thing, blonde because that’s not a real hair color, and they have sex because that is the only way women can meaningfully interact with men.

The boys head off to the talk show, where Vince eases his concerns about having once had sex with his fellow guest Sarah Foster by having sex with her again and E takes another chance to flirt with Perfect, Unassuming Woman Emily. Vince’s failure to plan for the Kimmel interview, the sole source of suspense in the episode, is paid off by having him genially wing it to the adulation of the audience and admit on air to having had sex with Foster with no social repercussions. Vince brings out his brother, with whom he takes part in a blatant act of self-servicing product placement, and it is wonderful.

The episode concludes with everyone agreeing that it is great.