Archive for August, 2009
Boy oh boy are you in for a treat. One of my most loyal and trusted readers Jeff “After watching LeBron I get so hyped up that I want to do Math” Hoffman (pictured right with the freakiest ginger kid I’ve ever seen) has finally decided to grace us with a guest post. Give yourself plenty of time for this one, its a doozy. But very worth the read. So without further ado:
My dad thinks that Michael Showalter is ugly but Michael Ian Black is cool because he used to watch Ed
-A Guest Post By Jeff Hoffman
I have decided to use Ethan’s blog to expound upon my strange dislike for Entourage, a show that I have loyally watched for the past four years. But before I discuss Entourage, I want to talk about the Killers. Don’t worry, we’ll get to our main point eventually.
Earlier this summer, I stumbled upon the Killers’s performance of a song from the MTV Europe Music Awards. My friend and I watched the footage with our proverbial mouths agape. “Are We Human or Are We Dancer?” Mr. Flowers asked the audience over a wash of synths, stupefying both philosophers and grammar enthusiasts alike. I am sure that you, dear reader, are familiar with this song, but this performance was my first exposure to Flowers’s deep thought provocations.
Last weekend I was in Chicago and on Sunday I decided to go to the last day of Lollapalooza, mainly to see Passion Pit, Snoop, Dan Deacon, and to a lesser extent, Vampire Weekend. The fact that the Killers were headlining that night was inconsequential since I had lost interest in the band after they became MTV staples (as is my music elitist way). I would be coming down from a long day of (partially artificial) excitement, and figured it would be a fun show. And boy what a show it was. By kicking off with that “Human/Dancer” song, the audience was Flowers’s for the taking, and take us he did. While I was unfamiliar with most of the songs from the last two albums, the end of the set ended up being a round of knockout punches. “Mr. Brightside,” “All These Things That I’ve Done,” “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine,” and finally, “When You Were Young.” I couldn’t help but dance, despite my white jewishness and the extremely conscious knowledge of my uncanny ability to be an awful dancer (see below). It was only then, once I had entered the Dancer realm, that I noticed a couple of things. First, despite the guitarist being quite good, his instrument was obscured by the operatic quality of Flower’s voice (who more melodically yells than sings) and the inorganic sounds of the synthesizers. There seemed to be some sort of sheen on all of these songs, as if they were being produced for a record in front of us, rather than just played. Second, the band appeared to be playing in front of plastic palm trees, emulating their native Las Vegas. Third, during this last part of the concert, the video screens behind the band displayed deserts and wide-open skyscapes, quite the opposite of the city skyline that was actually behind them as the concert was in the middle of downtown Chicago. All of these things that I noticed are points to my central thesis presented here. It all seemed inorganic. Artificial. Like the bright lights and synthesizers were urging us to dance, because it is something that we should do rather than want to do. As is inherent in the human condition. We were Human. And only because we were Human we could be Dancer.
At 10:00 central time on a Sunday, as the last notes of “Young” filtered through the air, the fireworks and video screens petered out and I turned to the friend on my left, the same guy who I had watched the MTV performance with, and said “Wow. I feel like I just watched Entourage.” Not in a good way or a bad way. Nevertheless, I immediately realized why I needed to stop watching.
That was my long-winded introduction to my hate letter to Entourage. I have had a week now to think about Brandon Flowers’s Human/Dancer quandary, and have come to the conclusion that it is not a question at all, but rather a weak attempt at being prolific. Reaching beyond his grasp. The words are not what matters, but rather their sound and how they react to the music. The Killers are all style, no substance. Nobody watches Entourage for the storylines. They watch for the glitz, the glamour, the pretty girls and the strangely magical effortless quality that Vince has to lay any girl that he wants. Every guy wants to be in the Entourage group of guys, but few realize that Vince’s world is an idealized, unattainable paradise of pot smoking and bad acting. And these guys barely even smoke anymore. (ED NOTE: I google imaged “turtle smoking” and this is what I got. I love google.”) What the fuck? That was my lone connection to them. But I digress. Now allow for some further digression.
Earlier tonight I watched Mad Men on AMC, possibly the best-written and acted show on television today. I care about these characters. I wonder where the series is going. Who will win in this new rivalry between Pete and Ken? I think Pete is going to do something very bad to Ken. It appears that Sal (pictured right) is going to have a season exploring his sexuality. Will he come out to the office? His wife? Will Don ask him what was going on in the hotel? No, probably, and definitely not, as Don knows a man’s business is his business. Don Draper is pretty much a married Vince. He gets any girl he wants and he doesn’t even have to try. Tonight he barely lifted a finger and that engaged stewardess wanted all up in him. That neither of these guys have yet to contract some weird STD is completely crazy. It is important to note that this question would not come up in a conversation about Mad Men but could potentially come up in ANY conversation about Entourage. But why do I care so much more about what happens to Don than what happens to Vince. Maybe it is because Vince obviously couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag while Don has been acting his whole life.
The fact that none of the guys on Entourage can act (unless Kevin Dillon so immerses himself in this role that he is secretly the best actor on TV…he did get an Emmy nomination after all) is a much smaller problem when compared to the reason why I cannot invest in the show. It is the most predictable show on TV. Were any of you surprised that Vince would bounce back after his one episode run of hitting rock bottom (last season)? Were any of you surprised that Mrs. Ari took Ari back in Sunday’s episode? Of course not. This show is simply a vehicle for a bunch of people to have a good time while pulling a fast one on their audience. Remember an earlier episode this season where Johnny Drama got to try out different models for his love interest and how excited he was? KEVIN DILLON ACTUALLY GOT TO DO THIS!!!! He just shot a scene kissing 10+ models! He is living the life of his character. Either the Entourage creative team is made up of the smartest guys in the room, writing scripts so subversive and satirical of Hollywood that no one even realizes that they are subversive or satirical or they are just idiots. I would lean towards the latter. Remember when Jamie Lynn Siegler guest starred on Drama’s show and the way it would potentially jump-start her floundering career? How is that different than Ms. Siegler’s new role on Entourage??? She is actually dating the guy who plays Turtle for fucks sake! Shouldn’t it have been a wake up call for the producers when they were casting E’s love interest Ashley and realized that they had to find an actress who was actually worse at acting than the guy who plays E? I get the feeling that this casting call was eerily similar to Drama’s in the show (Next!). I get a headache every time E and Ashley share a scene. Also, that girl’s eyebrows really bother me for some reason. All right, I am rambling here. Let me wrap up.
Entourage is a bad show. It is neither well written nor well acted. The characters are not compelling in the slightest and their storylines are not interesting because a five year old could tell you how they’ll turn out. Hmmmmm…you think that E will end up with Sloan again only to realize that he was more happy lusting after her than actually being with her? That his new boss is interested in him only because he is Vince’s manager, who is the BIGGEST STAR IN HOLLYWOOD? That Drama will get fired from his show, but will refuse to act out his death? That Jaime Lynn will break up with Turtle because he’s too loyal to the guys? That the series finale will end with Vince telling the guys that he has AIDS while they are smoking opium and drinking martinis under the Hollywood sign while they discuss the various ways that they own the city? Well maybe not that last one but we should keep score for the rest. Either way, as long as I see that N for nudity before the show begins, I will be watching. Not because I am Human, but because I am Dancer.
SUPER PS. On a final note, I only find it kind of ironic that the band that the Killers were playing against at Lolla was Jane’s Addiction, performers of “Superman,” Entourage’s theme song. I only consciously realized this fact as I was writing this essay, although my subconscious could have kicked to motivate my statement at the end of the concert. I realize that I did not touch on Ari here and how that role has basically ruined Jeremy Piven’s acting career, but I value Piven’s overacting as much as I value that god-awful smirk that Adrian Grenier has on his face. If you haven’t realized that for the past 2 seasons Ari’s storylines have been trivial and inconsequential, then please pass me the Kool Aid. Only one thing could save this series for me. Coming Summer 2010, Lloyd’s of Hollywood. I would much rather follow that guy and his friends around than Vince anymore. Just leave out the gay sex please, HBO, I’m not really into that. (Ed. Note-Jeff’s favorite character on Mad Men is Salvatore Romano).
What a post right! I agree whole-heartedly with Jeff’s Entourage observations. And even though he said it all, and you all are probably sick of hearing about Entourage, because I dont want to take up ANOTHER post talking about it, I want to say just 4 things for myself.
1. Entourage is the only show I know that AVOIDS drama and change. Remember last season when Ari got offered the job as head of the studio? Why didnt he take it? It totally could have changed the dynamic of the show and developed new plots in interesting ways. And dont tell me its because it would have diminished the connection between Ari and Vince, because the last time Ari actually had a plot line where he tried to help Vince’s career was when he got him the rights to Medellin.
Remember when Vince fired E last season? How long did that last? 5 minutes? Why didnt they let the suspense drag on from that season finale to this season’s premiere at least? Or at least create some tension? I know audiences like for everything to be hunky-dory all the time, but audiences really do like suspense. Trust me.
2. Why hasnt Johnny Drama have a plot line until the 6th episode of this season! A plot that btw, doesnt make sense. Why would Johnny think that Jamie would fuck that network exec on one afternoon when she had been dating Turtle for months and obviously could do so much better any day of her life!
3. Where is this season/this show going? Season 2 (my favorite) was the best because the show had a goal: Get Vince in Aquaman. All the drama, including Vince’s love with Mandy dealt with that. The project became so hyped and even the fun episodes like the Sundance one had plot elements that dealt with Aquaman. Now, what am I waiting for? Turtle to graduate? There is no direction on this show, and it is killing it.
4. The show is stale. I love seeing hot girls, but I barely saw the face of that college girl! Talk about objectifying women. Her point in this episode was to have a vagina that Vince could fuck so the writers wouldnt have to think of any story to give him.
And in terms of celebrity cameos, havent we seen Mark Wahlberg before? Oh yea, last season…on a golf course!
The truth is that we’ve already written more words about Entourage than the show deserves. It sucks. And heres two sad scoops for you to take home:
1. There is no irony for this show. The creator Doug Ellin takes the characters seriously. He thinks of them as real people based on him and his friends. My friend heard Doug speak about how Entourage is really a story about four friends who have undying loyalty for each other yada yada yada. So if they take this shitty show seriously, then imagine what type of shit we’d be getting if they DIDNT!
2. The truth is, none of us would be complaining about this show if it was on the CW. Since its on HBO, we expect better. So does HBO. HBO knows that creatively, the show sucks. The president of the company recently held a forum for HBO employees and some asked him why Entourage was so bad this season. The president said he knew it was bad, but the ratings were high, so there was nothing they cant complain.
So heres what we can do. Lets all shut up about a stupid fucking show thats just entertainment anyway and start spending time trying to stop European sex trafficking. Did you see TAKEN! That shit is real! And fucked up!
In regular voice: You know what that means? JOKES!
I cant wait to see Joe Mantegna and Bill Macy nail their performances as Papa and Mama Frank respectfully.
Even RICKY JAY’S MAGIC couldnt help the Frank family disappear!
Maybe Tarantino will have a directing cameo where the Franks get their revenge by going ape-shit all over the Nazis!
Maybe Jeremy Piven will sign on to this movie and then quit because his part doesnt involve him yelling into a phone. And he has mercury poisoning.
Sample Mamet Anne Frank dialogue:
Otto (sees Anne looking out the window): ANNE! What-
Otto: Why are you-
Anne: Looking out the window?
Otto: Yes. Why are you looking out the window?
Anne: Because I was-
Otto: You were–
Anne: Bored. Thats it. Bored
Otto: Bored you say?
Anne: Thats what I said didnt I?
Otto: You were just so fucking bored.
Anne: Well I’m in a fucking attic doing nothing but fucking brushing my hair all day and night.
Otto: Well I’m sorry that hiding from Nazis didnt make it into your fucking daytimer!!
Anne: FUCK YOU!
Otto: FUCK YOU!
ALSO in the news: Michael Douglas’ son Cameron again. 2 weeks ago he was arrested for attempting to smuggle crystal meth from New York to LA. He was released on bail, but confined to his mother’s Manhattan apartment. He was just arrested though for having his girlfriend smuggle him heroin through…THE BATTERY COMPARTMENT OF AN ELECTRONIC TOOTHBRUSH! Police say they knew something was up when Cameron seemed very nervous and tense about when his toothbrush would arrive.
I dont know if I have anything hilarious to say about this other than its ironic that his dad was in TRAFFIC playing the head of the President’s Office of National Drug Control. In the film, unbeknownst to him, his daughter is a huge coke addict. I guess this is yet another example of life imitating art….
LASTLY, some recommendations:
WATCH- Michael and Michael Have Issues–The first episode started a little weak, but it just keeps getting better and better. The banter between the Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter is perfect, and the story lines of each episode are very clever and funny.
LISTEN (to) the COMEDY DEATH RAY RADIO PODCAST on iTunes. For free. It’s an hour long comedy show with guests like Andy Samberg, Zach Galifinakis, Aziz Ansari, Jon Hamm, Rob Huebel, Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, Weird Al and more. Its basically comedians joking around, doing characters, and making fun of Entourage. Which by the way….ABSOLUTELY SUCKS this season. It insults me.
EAT- Food. If you dont, you’re going to die.