Still not bought yourself that Entourage boxset? Despite maintaining a relatively low profile over here, not many shows have spawned more loyal and passionate fans. As the final season kicks off this week, we asked one of them, novelist Gavin James Bower, to explain what all the fuss is about:
When the final season of Entourage kicked off on Sunday, airing on Monday in the UK, it hit me: the greatest TV show for a generation, the coolest party you’ve never been invited to – until Entourage, of course – is over.
A few years back Charlie Brooker waxed lyrical on The Wire, but if he can bang on about a glorified Cops rip-off then I can give you five reasons why Entourage is, in fact, the best thing to hit our TV screens in twenty years. Boom!
The credibility. Entourage is based on the rollercoaster ride of rapper-turned-actor Mark Wahlberg and his real-life entourage: Eric ‘E.’ Weinstein, best friend to pretty boy Adrian Grenier (named Vince in homage to man’s man Vince Vaughn); Marky Mark’s former gofer Donnie Carroll, nick-named ‘Donkey’ and renamed Turtle for the show; and last but not least Johnny ‘Drama’ Alves, Wahlberg’s cousin who was hired by his big brother to keep him out of trouble when he moved to LA (played by Matt Dillon’s younger brother Kevin). Throw in superagent Ari Gold – inspired by Wahlberg’s own agent Ari Emanuel, then immortalised by the finest actor on TV right now Jeremy Piven – and you’ve got yourself a hit.
The cameos. There’s an episode at the end of season six, where Matt Damon, LeBron James and Bono gang up on Vince to get him to cough up for the kids. Damon’s call to Vince in the credits, tracking his as yet undelivered cheque, is cameo gold.
The girls. I’ve no idea how it took me so long to get to this, but I’m not gonna lie: I’ve never seen another show that portrays female opportunism at its most carnal, depicts fearless She-E-Os wielding bigger cocks than the guys – or boasts an opening scene in the pilot that would have you believe Perfect 10 models roam the streets of LA in packs, hunting for movie stars using their breasts for spears. When Sasha Grey turns up as Vinnie’s girlfriend in season seven, it's like creator Doug Ellin is literally stealing your fantasy and sticking it in your favourite show.
The fact it’s not Sex & the City. Let’s face it: SATC, if not emasculating men completely, certainly posited an uber-sensitive, fashion-following male ideal where there was none previously. Meanwhile, the boys in Entourage dress like you did when you were a teenager and still get laid. So as you glance over at your collection and spot that sparkly boxset your girlfriend wedged in between Seven Samurai and Raging Bull, ask yourself this: what else is there for the TV-loving male after Entourage?
The fact it's a one-off. All good things come to an end, but Entourage lifted the lid on Hollywood and that won’t happen again – not in our lifetime anyway. More than that, though, Entourage gave men an excuse to be what men wanted to be, creating a fictional world that, for seven glorious years, felt real. It did that without apologising, explaining or even giving a shit. And now it’s over.
Let’s hug it out, bitches.
Entourage Season 7 is available now on DVD and Blu-ray from HBO Home Entertainment and the season 8 continues on Mondays on Sky Atlantic. Gavin James Bower is a writer and journalist. His second novel, Made in Britain, is published in September. Follow him on twitter @gavinjamesbower