‘Entourage:’ A Slow Start for Life in the Fast Lane

Maybe the producers of “Entourage” want to pretend that last season – when the boys experienced tedious pangs of adulthood – was all a bad dream, inasmuch as the summer run beginning June 27 mostly ignores where the show left off. As a result, the series gets back to basics, though thus far (as in the two episodes previewed) there’s no indication of a strong guiding arc to propel the story along, which has been the one thing that elevated the show beyond its flashy trappings in the past.

Although Eric (Kevin Connolly) proposed to longtime-g.f. Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui) to close out the last season, their pending nuptials are scarcely mentioned as the new round begins. Instead, Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) runs a car-service business, Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) continues to seek work, and Vince Entourage10_22 (Adrian Grenier) wrestles with a demanding director (Nick Cassavetes, as himself, natch) who wants him to do his own dangerous stunts.

As usual, most of the best lines still go to Ari (Jeremy Piven), as Vince’s agent, who is now running a vast, post-merger, very-WME-like agency and desperately seeking new business to keep the behemoth fed. This does hint at potential friction with his till-now-patient wife (Perrey Reeves), who previously has put up with her hubby missing PTA meetings as long as he’s home when it counts.

Beyond Cassavetes, there are the customary cameos and inside-baseball references, including a screw-you message delivered via Variety ad, and God knows, we’re always grateful for those.

Still, “Entourage” has historically been at its best when the show is about something – making “Aquaman,” Vince nearly ruining his career with “Medellin,” then trying to rebuild it – not just surfing the fast-lane life that Vince and his pals enjoy thanks to his stardom and their bros-forever code.

In Hollywood, of course, the program remains almost mandatory viewing, if only to see who’s willing to skewer their own image that week. (Hint: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones should not quit his day job.) The issue is whether you actually watch or simply listen as you flip through the Sunday paper. Based on an initial sampling of this season, determining one’s posture on the couch remains an open question.

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