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'Entourage': Schwimming with sharks

August 2, 2009 | 11:00 pm

690441_ENT_604_4_6_CB_1186 “I got all the money in the world and all the free time and no one to play with,” complained Vince. “You guys suck.”

Ah, Vince, we should all be so unlucky. Director Frank Darabont’s “Malta” got sidelined by a monsoon, pushing back the now A-list star’s Ferrari biopic back 12 weeks. Which gives our boy Vinny three whole months to hone his driving skills and do a lot of girls nothing. So he tosses out a couple far-flung names of the cool and the exotic variety to pass the time. Paris. Pyramids (which are apparently in Morocco, according to Drama’s global positioning system). The Middle East. Too bad none of the boys can come out to play. Turtle’s got a back-to-school shopping date with Jamie-Lynn, who is apparently intent on dressing up her boyfriend to look like a cross between Chuck Bass and Bagger Vance. E’s got his own business to attend to. Even Vince’s underachieving big brother has a busy schedule. “You know nothing turns me on more than a tan chick in a burqa, but I got work,” stated Drama sadly. So Vince, without any real friends to hang out with, turns to the next best thing: Facebook.

Which is a lot better than the alternate reality E’s crafted for himself. His work. Or whatever you call it when you come into an office and do nothing all day. He looked all but swallowed up by the desk he’s sitting in; some little guy playing at the big kids’ table (bringing to mind Drama’s toast: “Here, here! To little people who dream of doing big things”). He watered his plants. Did push-ups. Stared dreamily out the window. Checked out some cheesilicious audition reels. The Murphy Group has been hit with a big wallop of inactivity, and Eric realizes he’s putting up a front to prove to himself that he can make it on his own – only, he doesn’t really know how to make it on his own. Ashley reminds him that he doesn’t have to, because he can share in Vince’s success. (Ashley actually offers up some solid advice, despite the fact that she still looks all of 12.) E decides he’s running a sham and shutters the Murphy Group. But not before taking Ashley on a tour of the casting couch (though I’d prefer to know it happened without having to see the nearly-naked E shots as evidence, thank you.).

Also utilizing the casting couch: Drama.

Our “Five Towns” resident finally got to show his acting range with a love interest. Well, spritz the Binaca and cue the tonsil hockey montage, ’cause what followed was Drama very convincingly acting the part of vacuum cleaner opposite a bevy of models. And look! Timothy Busfield as his less-than-thrilled director! Too bad none of the candidates (despite multiple takes) made Drama, um, rise to the occasion. After Drama made a show of saying that none of these beauties passed muster, director Busfield made his own power play, implying that perhaps a love interest wasn’t needed. Which sent Drama into a panic and to the feet of Ed Burns, who has since moved on to feature films and couldn’t care less about the show he birthed. “It’s one scene in one episode in one middling NBC drama,” Burns sniffed. Ouch. Still, Drama couldn’t stomach the idea of falling in love with just another pretty little face, so he went begging to Turtle to loan him Jamie-Lynn for a day’s shoot. “I know where your tongue has been, Drama,” said Turtle. “ Don’t tell me to act like I’m not horrified.” But Turtle came through for his friend at the end, enlisting his famous girlfriend to step in for Drama’s on-screen interest, and prompting a show of guy-love and bro-hugs all around.

The same couldn’t be said with the Miller Gold family. An increasingly sloppy Andrew Klein insisted things have ended between him and Lizzie Grant, but that doesn’t mean that he’s over his ambitious protégé. Lizzie, who clearly viewed Andrew as just another rung on the ladder to success, took the breakup like a pro, while Andrew is left sobbing in his car when a delightfully slimy David Schwimmer takes a shine to the junior agent. The jury’s still out for me on Lizzie Grant; clearly, sleeping around seems to be a calculated move on her part, and you can’t deny Lizzie’s unwavering gumption and clear intelligence, even though she’s using her sex along with her smarts to make an impression (plus, I’ve been a fan of Autumn Reeser ever since “The O.C.”). I liked the power play between her and Ari; she showed some serious cojones by coming into his office (“I didn’t think TV people made it this far west”), and Ari played the power game right back by pretending he didn’t know her. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with her “perception” if the sleeping around continues. Loved how Schwimmer, in what may be a deliberate attempt to wash away any remaining Ross residue, portrayed himself as a prickly, fruit-eating jerk, coming on to Lizzie in the meeting and throwing a fit after Klein stole his mojo at Shutters on the Beach. “I’m really pissed!” Schwimmer fumed. “I couldn’t eat dessert knowing I wasn’t going to **** that girl today.” Ha!

So Andrew’s been reduced to a sniveling puddle, prone to weeping alone in his Caddy and failing to come home at night, and prompting Mrs. Ari, now invested in Andrew’s wife Marlo, to ask Ari outright if Andrew is having an affair. Ari blatantly denied it, marking the first time in 15 years(!) that he had lied to his wife. And of course, it all comes back to slap him in the face. Ari, in an effort to get Andrew back together, encouraged him to man up and stop living a lie. Andrew, in turn, announced that he’s left Marlo and the kids. Marlo relayed the story to Mrs. Ari, leaving Ari in the doghouse. And for all the ranting and raving at Lloyd to lose some more weight, part of me feels Ari’s to blame for this mess. First of all, couldn’t Ari have told his wife the truth? And secondly, Andrew, for all of his lecherous ways, has been getting the job done. He indirectly courted Schwimmer back to TV, and apparently was close to signing Aaron Sorkin as well (so he says). Had Ari kept his relationship with Andrew strictly business, he would have nothing to worry about. It’s only because Ari wanted to pursue a personal relationship with Andrew that he put his own relationship with his wife on the line and caused himself this world of trouble.

What do you think? Was it unwise for Ari to make his business personal? Do you want to see more of Lizzie? Do you buy Schwimmer as a jerk? Who’s a better fit for Drama: Natalie Portman or Rachel McAdams?

— Allyssa Lee

Photo credit: Claudette Barius/HBO

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