'Entourage' Season Eight Premiere

As the eighth and final season of Entourage begins, Vince (Adrian Grenier) Vince is emerging from rehab with his sunny disposition and seemingly bulletproof reputation intact.


Airtime: Sundays, 10:30 pm ET
Cast: Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Rex Lee, Perrey Reeves, Jeremy Piven
Subtitle: Season Eight Premiere
Network: HBO
Air date: 2011-07-24

Entourage premiered in 2004, a few months after Sex and the City ended. At the time, it seemed merely a male knockoff of HBO's long-running hit: both shows followed four young, single friends in a big city. In each, the main character had achieved a degree of fame in a highly competitive field. And in each, the friends had an inordinate amount of free time to sit around and talk about sex and dating, and their relationships with each other would trump any connections to outsiders.

After a couple of seasons, however, Entourage started to look more like Power and the City. More than anything else, this is a show about the Hollywood entertainment machine and the byzantine machinations that sustain it. Sex is just another variable in an equation where the goal is influence.

As the eighth and final season begins, Vince (Adrian Grenier) Vince is emerging from rehab with his sunny disposition and seemingly bulletproof reputation intact. He doesn’t seem the least bit tempted by drugs. In fact, he doesn’t seem to have changed much at all following the dark place where Season Seven ended. His very public meltdown seemed to be Entourage's effort to confront, at last, the seamier side of the business, and maybe even to comment on the celebrity-obsessed culture that leads so many young stars to implode.

For much of the series' run, we've watched every slight and challenge roll off Vince’s back. He has appeared remarkably un-bothered by events we imagine would bother real-life celebrities, like whether or not his superhero movie was a box office hit. And as his nonchalance has seemed unrealistic, it has also not been the show's focus. If Vince is the center of the universe for his friends, he has rarely been the anchor for the show.

That honor has gone to his agent, Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven). The very definition of type-A, Ari has consistently cared about gaining influence. Ari’s interesting combination of insecurity and arrogance has been one of the major reasons to watch the show over the years. And so it was a shift when, last season, Vince appeared to be buckling under the weight of multi-million dollar investments and the scrutiny that comes with these. When he was busted with drugs, his future looked murky at best.

That the new season begins with Vince having left that murk behind reinforces a consistent criticism of Entourage, that it's a lark and nobody every changes. Here again, Vince and the entourage seem unaffected: Eric (Kevin Connolly) runs his own agency now, but still seems like Vince’s second fiddle. Drama (Kevin Dillon) has a new show, but remains less successful than his brother. And Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), who at the end of last season was on the verge of becoming an effective businessman, again sees his flirtation with real work pulled out from under him.

Again, as most of the guys have circled back around to where they have always been, it's Ari who is exploring new territory is Ari. At the end of Season Seven, he and his wife (Perrey Reeves) separated after the release of audiotapes that put his sexist and misanthropic rants on full display. While Ari's excoriations of people at work have often made for compelling viewing, we believed was completely devoted to Mrs. Ari and their kids. Against all expectations, he has never cheated on her, even as he is metaphorically screwing over everyone else in Hollywood. The best reason to stick with Season Eight is to see how he deals with the fact that being faithful may not have been enough to keep his family intact amid all his other sins.

Ari's misfortunes and an event at the end of this season's third episode hint that Entourage may yet drift back to Season Seven's darker and potentially more cathartic territory, a conclusion for the series that tells us something new about the industry, perhaps. Another possibility is that the show's makers are preparing for a future movie. They should pay close attention to the Sex and the City model. The first Sex movie was highly anticipated and eagerly received by a rabid fan base who wanted closure on some key loose ends. The movie delivered exactly that, only to be undermined by the completely unnecessary and truly awful sequel.

Entourage has never inspired the kind of fan fervor or speculation that Carrie’s spastic relationship with Mr. Big did. An Entourage movie sounds less like a way to fulfill fans' desires than make money. Given the business the show is about, this sounds not only crass and cynical, but also foolish: what have we been watching all these years? Let's hope instead for a great finale on TV.


To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

The World of Captain Beefheart: An Interview with Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx

Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx (photo © Michael DelSol courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media)

Guitarist and band leader Gary Lucas and veteran vocalist Nona Hendryx pay tribute to one of rock's originals in this interview with PopMatters.

From the opening bars of "Suction Prints", we knew we had entered The World of Captain Beefheart and that was exactly where we wanted to be. There it was, that unmistakable fast 'n bulbous sound, the sudden shifts of meter and tempo, the slithery and stinging slide guitar in tandem with propulsive bass, the polyrhythmic drumming giving the music a swing unlike any other rock band.

Keep reading... Show less

From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.

As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.

Keep reading... Show less

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow shines on her impressive interpretation of Fontella Bass' classic track "Rescue Me".

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow pays tribute to the classic Chicago label Chess Records on her new album Playing Chess, which was produced by Steve Greenberg, Mike Mangini, and the legendary Betty Wright. Unlike many covers records, LeGrow and her team of musicians aimed to make new artistic statements with these songs as they stripped down the arrangements to feature leaner and modern interpretations. The clean and unfussy sound allows LeGrow's superb voice to have more room to roam. Meanwhile, these classic tunes take on new life when shown through LeGrow's lens.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.