Once upon a time (2004), Entourage was a refreshing burst of sex and levity (and sexy levity) in an HBO line-up dominated by the brilliant but brutal likes of The Wire and The Sopranos. There was something fresh, fun, and vital to the adventures of rising star Vince and his comfort blanket crew of Drama, E, and Turtle -- they'd just been given the key to Hollywood's kingdom, and they filled the void left behind by Sex and the City with gentle movie industry parody and lots of naked starlets, which is a pretty good way to fill a void, if you ask me.
But here we are six years later, and Entourage -- the longest-running show in HBO's history -- simply isn't needed anymore. These days, the network's programming is dominated by comedy, and in recent seasons, series creator Doug Ellin has found it difficult to make his increasingly aimless show stand above even the embarrassing likes of How to Make it in America and True Blood. (Sorry, True Blood fans. But not that sorry) By the time Drama and Turtle were traversing L.A. on a hellbent quest to bed women dressed like Beanie Babies (or "Furries"), the show hadn't jumped the shark so much as it had flown over the shark on Kanye West's private jet, and that was a few years ago. The show about Hollywood became much like Hollywood itself, content with lazy self-aggrandizement and Bob Saget cameos. So with The Hollywood Reporter recently revealing that Entourage is going to bow out after a half-season next summer, it certainly feels as if the stalwart is being euthanized rather than canceled.
But even then Ellin might not be ready to say goodbye to Vince and the boys. Details are scant at the moment, but Gossipcop reports that Ellin intends to bring Entourage to the silver screen following its final season, and I unexpectedly find myself thinking that this might actually be a good idea. Despite a recent string of solid episodes, Entourage has pretty much exhausted audience goodwill, and unlike the Sex and the City films -- described by J. Robert Oppenheimer as "The worst things humanity has ever produced" -- are likely unable to further damage their core brand.
Moreover, beyond Turtle's recent maturation, the show has been so persistently uninterested in developing its characters that a movie that provided them a finite window in which to blossom might tap into what made Entourage such a hit in the first place. If the film endeavored to be more than more of the same, and managed to transcend the numbing solipsism of its recent years by attaching new writers for whom Vinny Chase and company are an opportunity rather than a burden, it might just work.
But Doug Ellin has somehow jaded his audience to both the joys of Hollywood mockery and naked young actresses, so if he wants to make an Entourage film feel like something worth paying $12 for, he might actually have to focus on character and conflict (but hopefully not Drama).
Should Entourage be made into a movie? Offer your thoughts in the comments.