‘Entourage’ 7.01 Recap: Better Title Might Be ‘Crash and Burn’

So, ‘Entourage’ is back for its seventh season on HBO this week. Sigh. This is a series that I used to love, but that is clearly long past its prime. One of my favorite TV bloggers (sadly discontinued) once described the show as like being in an old relationship where the spark has faded. You still like the person and don’t mind spending time in his or her company, but the passion just isn’t there anymore. I couldn’t say it better. The season premiere, called ‘Stunted’, really doesn’t do anything to rekindle the excitement that’s been missing since the ‘Aquaman’ storyline in Seasons 2 and 3. (Spoilers and profanity after the break.)

As we pick up, Vince is back to being a big star, but his Ferrari project is on hold. In the meantime, he’s making an action movie with a nutjob director (Nick Cassavetes, playing an unhinged version of himself) who’s pressuring him to do his own stunts for authenticity. Specifically, he wants Vince to drive a car over a dangerous jump and do a hard braking turn before slamming into a burning building. Vince is obviously scared shitless by the prospect of this, but is even more afraid of looking like a pussy in front of his macho director. Off set, he begs both E. and Ari to get him out of it. When they can’t, he concedes to the peer pressure and agrees to do it.

Quite frankly, this whole storyline is bullshit. There’s no way the studio would ever let their star get put in this position. As much as Cassavetes says that he’s going behind the studio’s back, it just wouldn’t happen. And there’s not even any reason for it in the first place. These days, the actor’s face would just be CGI’ed onto the stunt driver’s body. Problem solved.

Anyway, in other developments, Turtle is running a successful limousine service. He’s clearly so successful because he’s only hired hot women to be drivers. Unfortunately, one of those drivers is being a real pain in his ass. She’s distracted all the time, doesn’t know her way around anywhere, refuses to use GPS, and even loses her car in a parking garage. Everyone tells Turtle to fire her, but he can’t bring himself to do it. Then we find out why, when he stupidly tries to make a move on her. She rejects him and quits. Dumbass. (Turtle, not the girl.)

Drama is unemployed and can’t get a job. His contract with NBC is about to run out, and his buddy at the network is lying to him about a remake of ‘The Fall Guy’ they’ve promised him, but are going to cast Dean Cain for instead.

With his buyout of Terrance last season, Ari is now head of the biggest talent agency in the world. As a result, his attentions are constantly divided. He moves further and further away from being an agent, but will make time for Vince. On the homefront, his wife is pissed that he keeps missing the parent-teacher conferences she has to reschedule for him.

E. is now engaged to Sloan, who we don’t even see in this episode. And… yawn. There’s nothing going on here worth recapping.

As the episode ends, Vince does the jump. Veteran Hollywood military advisor Dale Dye pops up in a cameo as the stunt coordinator. Cassavetes is right there in the car with Vince, filming him from the passenger seat. (More bullshit. At the angle he’s shooting from, no one could tell whether Vince was in a real car or not anyway.) The stunt goes badly and Vince crashes into the burning building.

Promos for the premiere hinted that Vince might be seriously injured, and that could be the big storyline for the season. Nope. He walks away, shaken up but unbruised. So does Cassavetes. Whoop-de-doo.

There’s nothing terrible about this episode, but nothing particularly interesting about it either. And I really don’t understand why HBO would choose to air the premiere before the holiday, when there won’t be another new episode for two weeks. What’s the point of that? Not that I’m dying with anticipation for the next episode anyway.

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