Entourage

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THE REAL SLIM SHADY Kevin Dillon chills as Johnny Drama.
THE REAL SLIM SHADY Kevin Dillon chills as Johnny Drama.

Time Out says

When Entourage arrived in 2004, its outsider take on insider Hollywood was refreshing enough to induce minor paranoia: Those celebrity-as-themselves cameos won’t be funny forever, said a little voice inside many fans’ heads. The premise is gonna run out of gas after a season and a half...right?

Those fears are officially put to rest by the first episodes of the third season. The latest adventures of rising star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) and his Queens homeboys certify Entourage as the least cynical comedy on television. The current glut of vapid celebrity magazines appear to fetishize stardom, but they really just pander to schadenfreude by depicting Hollywood as a professional wrestling league: The editors transform stars from noble faces into hateful heels and back again out of sheer boredom. Entourage’s picture of Hollywood isn’t much brighter, but its celebration of friendship gives it a giddiness that’s awfully rare these days. In the Sunday 18 episode, Vince and his pals catch their boy’s make-or-break Aquaman at a multiplex in the Valley, paving the way for an homage to Almost Famous (featuring a sweet performance by Freaks and Geeks’ Samm Levine) that’s so unapologetic in the nerd wish-fulfillment department, you’d have to be dead not to smile.

Of course, one of the secrets of Entourage’s success is talent for following such scenarios with darker analogues, and next week’s episode introduces The Wire’s Domenick Lombardozzi as the gang’s heretofore unseen fifth Beatle, freshly released from prison. The tension that he creates in Vince’s posse reemphasizes how fully the characters have been developed, and proves that if the creative well is going to run dry, it won’t be anytime soon.—Andrew Johnston

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