Because I like subjecting myself to terrible things for your amusement, I spent a bunch of yesterday watching the first dozen episodes of Entourage in an attempt to figure out what the deal is, or was, and because we’ve been talking about female fantasies a lot lately, so I figured I’d drop in on a male one.
The thing that mostly strikes me is how mundane and repetitive so much of the lifestyle nonsense is — and by extension how much of the main characters’ lives are. Sex and the City works, I think, because the show has stuff happening all the time. All four of the main characters have different jobs that they care a lot about and that fuel numerous plots, whether Carrie’s interviewing a subject, Charlotte’s getting involved with new artists and patrons through the gallery, or Samantha and Miranda are dealing with clients. They sometimes have activities, whether Samantha’s getting herself in trouble trying to get involved with a charity function or Carrie’s doing fundraisers for the NYPD. And they have large and variegated social circles we drop into from time to time. The world is big, and we’re just dropping in on some of it. By contrast, the guys from Entourage do essentially the same things over and over again, looping the eternal mobius strip between the Coffee Bean, Ari’s office, Vince’s house, and various identical-looking parties. This is their whole world, airless and airbrushed.
Secondly, Eric’s the actual hero of the show, right? He’s as close as there is to a sympathetic character among the main four. Unlike Ari, who knows all, E has actual things to learn. Unlike Vince and Johnny, his career isn’t time-limited. Unlike Turtle, he has actual sense. That’s not saying much. When I joked about starting watching the show, Ta-Nehisi warned me that I’d regret it: “What an awful, condescending reflection of male identity.” And maybe E resonates with me because his ambition makes him feel more like a Sex and the City character who has places to go and people to see, than he does like Turtle hustling store credits so he can buy cashmere pajamas.Entourage looks more like a vacation than a fantasy to me: fun for a couple of weeks, but ultimately pretty deadly if you have to do it year after year.