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Soars To New Heights & Sinks To New Lows
on August 27, 2008
I press "Play." The HBO static kicks in. Yet, the "Superhero" theme by Jane's Addiction is nowhere to be found. Before we begin, ENTOURAGE's 4th season presents a mini-documentary (like THE OFFICE) detailing the trials and tribulations of getting a dream project made. This change of pace promises great things to come; the premiere episode of ENTOURAGE's fourth season will undoubtedly go down as one of its greatest.
As the show continues, it continues its solid streak for a while. Although the remaining 11 episodes are shot in the traditional style we've seen this show use for years, things become even more desparate and challenging for Eric, Vince, and Ari than ever before. Their domestic lives and careers are really put through the ringer this time.
Eric continues to try to expand his career, but struggles to get what he wants most: Respect. Vince actually matures more than the rest of the cast this season. His optimism is no longer a boyish laziness; he actually steps up to plate when the line is drawn in the sand. Ari Gold has plenty of issues on his own. If you thought his financial woes in seasons' past made him a bitter man, wait until you see how his domestic life tests his aggressive masculinity.
You may have noticed I haven't mentioned Turtle or Johnny Drama yet. Well frankly, ENTOURAGE really drops the ball with them this season. While the gang's rapport is still very funny, I'm frustrated that neither of these two characters have shown any growth since the show began in 2004. Seriously, does Turtle really only think about sex, weed, and assorted materials? Gimme a break! Drama's insecurities are becoming pathetic, but at least Kevin Dillon's brilliant performance still sells it. Never once did I think that Drama wouldn't behave the way he does.
I don't want to give away any cameos, but be assured that they all pay off. Remember Scarlett Johannson's pointless bit from the Season One finale? Don't worry, you won't find any of that useless "Hey-Look-It's-Him/Her" garbage.
Special mention also has to go to Rhys Coiro's turn as crazed auteur Billy Walsh. While I can't believe a man like that is inspired by a real person, he's given just the right amount of screentime (and madness) to be effective, but not overstay his welcome. Also, Perrey Reeves and Rex Lee (as Mrs. Ari and Lloyd, respectively) get to kind of "star" in their own individual episode. While neither really contributes anything significant to Season Four's overall story, they were a nice change of pace.
I guess that last sentence summarizes my overall reaction to Season Four. I found these 12 episodes to be very entertaining, and with plenty of neat ideas thrown in to keep things from getting stale. But when I look at the season from beginning to end, the middle patch really doesn't have much to with the bookends. For example, there's a nice small angle involving Anna Faris. While it works the way it plays out, there were so many lateral moves the writers could've done with it. But in the end, very little has changed.
That's the problem with Season Four - Nothing's Really Changed.
The creators had one of their best plots when Ari Gold wasn't in Vince's good graces. That's why that particular season was so excellent. The writers and creators took a chance. But in Season Four, the chances are merely temporary. For four years, I've watched these characters take small steps into uncharted waters, only to return to shore. It's time to shake things up again before ENTOURAGE starts getting stale. That day hasn't come yet, but be assured that this series is still a very slick, entertaining comedy.
SEASON ONE --> 7.0 / 10
SEASON TWO --> 8.0 / 10
SEASON THREE > 8.0 / 10 (Part 1)
SEASON THREE > 9.0 / 10 (Part 2)
SEASON FOUR -> 8.5 / 10