It’s a boy's world

Entourage ’s Hollywood playpen
By JON GARELICK  |  June 6, 2006

ENTOURAGE:: Jeremy Piven’s Ari Gold has just about stolen it but that’s not a bad thing.

American humor is immigrant humor. It doesn’t matter where you were born — in America, everyone is trying to pass, assimilate, fit in, and there’s nothing worse than exposed roots. Unless you’re a bohemian or a renegade. What was the fear of that first great comic renegade, Huck Finn? The fear that the Widow Douglas was going to “sivilize” him. The Marx Brothers represented various stages of assimilation: Chico is an accomplished concert pianist but he’s also the paisan with an accent and a funny hat. Groucho is the master of the new language, cutting it up. Zeppo is the fully assimilated society type, and everyone hates him — a white-boy phony. And Harpo is fresh off the boat. He has no language at all and can’t believe his good fortune in the new world: everything is food and sex.

On the HBO series Entourage (Sundays at 10), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) is Harpo, the least assimilated of the three pals who hang on young movie star Vince (Adrien Grenier). He speaks, all right, but he’s unapologetically old country (Queens) in his dress (ghetto track rig all the way), appetites, and attitudes. When one of the other boys (and they are boys, make no mistake) laments that the only reason a woman he’s interested in would be willing to sleep with him is because of his relationship to Vince, Turtle, pure id, is incredulous: “What’s wrong with that?”

The third season finds the Entourage entourage continuing their pursuit of sex and toys — Vince’s big house, the fancy cars, the girls. Vince has worked his “authentic” NYC street cred and dark ethnic good looks to trade up to a James Cameron vehicle, Aquaman. (Cameron is one of many Hollywood types who make cameos as themselves.) Vince is the one character who seems able to straddle both worlds — a fully socialized, sensitive guy, unashamed of his roots, vulnerable to love (Mandy Moore as herself last season). But the blockbuster-action-movie role could make him just another white boy.

Vince’s older brother Johnny (Kevin Dillon) justifies his paycheck by serving as the household cook. He’s almost as appetitive as Turtle, but he’s the one with qualms about girls who dig him only because he’s Vince’s brother. An actor whose last serious gig was on the TV series Viking Quest, he’s now having trouble getting a job even on Vince’s coattails. (In real life, Kevin Dillon is brother to Matt.) He nonetheless shows signs of bourgeois sophistication: the meals he whips up are surprisingly well presented, and when a visitor grabs a pan and offers to cook breakfast, a hurt Johnny complains, “Hey, that’s my Le Creuset!”

Eric (“E,” Kevin Connolly) is the Zeppo, Vince’s putative manager, a fair-haired suit trying to pretend that he’s not a suit, that he isn’t as dependent on Vince’s success as everyone else. And, of course, he takes the most shit from his pals.

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