Saturday, June 24, 2006

Last Sunday's television on Saturday!

I think Deep Fat is following these a little better than I am, but I have a couple of generalish observations on the HBO shows I watched last night.

Entourage elicits from me a big yawn. When its writers summon the aesthetic balls to complicate Vincent Chase even a little bit, then I will give it my full attention. Vince's affable sense of entitlement can be charming, but does he have no other qualities? Is he never vain, striving, egomaniacal? Even a comedy has to work as drama, you know...

And it's also important that comedy work as comedy. Which is why I ask: What the fuck is with Dane Cook? I watched an entire episode of Dane Cook's Tourgasm in a kind of disbelief. It is a marvel of obviousness and obliviousness, right down to the Real World-style confessional booth. Its confrontations feel staged and its comedy, well, it isn't funny.

Because he lacks self-awareness to a bizarre degree, it's especially weird to see Cook wax Freudian, which he does surprisingly often. One of the other comedians is late to breakfast or something, and Cook opines that "When someone is late, it is about power...It is that person showing power over you." That's true "even if it is subconscious," he informs us, and actually he probably has a point about that...

In another scene, speaking to the camera, Cook confesses that growing up he "never felt like [he] could be part of the pack." "Now here I am with these guys," he continues, "saying, 'Let's all be the lead dogs here.'" Yes, it's a level playing field for the comics on Dane Cook's Tourgasm, produced and directed by Dane Cook!

This or that comic gets onstage and tells jokes about fortune cookies, public restrooms, fruit baskets. Fruit baskets! They seem to be describing experiences I have had, but somehow I don't recognize a thing in them.

6 comments:

JM said...

Dane Cook is like the bad boy of rock that your parents would have liked. He is useless to highest degree.

On Entourage I have to admit I like it. It's not Deadwood by any means but it is entertaining and not all good TV (or life) is focused on or needs to include drama (Beside Johnny Drama). Sometimes life is simpler than it seems and much more so than TV makes it to be. Again this is still zone out TV but at least it is not a phony, rigged reality show like..like American Idol.

Rob said...

Hey I like Entourage, too, it's good lifestyle porn and a better-than-average sitcom. The most fully realized characters, Ari & E, do have interesting layers. (Turtle & Drama are probably fine the way they are.) Really I'd just like to see Vince, who everything orbits around, be given a little more depth.

JM said...

I think that depth your are looking for might not be in Vince or most of the folks (Most I said, not all) in LA/Hollywood.

Macky Olé said...

When you think about it, Ari and Eric really are the two primary characters on the show, and I think Entourage is more geared towards telling their stories. It's easy to assume the show is about Vince because it's his entourage, but Ari and Eric do most of the legwork to keep the show moving and provide most of the real drama.

Honestly, I'm not sure that Adrian Grenier can really handle dramatic acting. He's probably the least talented actor of the five of them.

Rob said...

I agree that Ari & Eric are the more important/interesting characters; the show revolves around Vince but it isn't really ABOUT Vince. So I'm not saying that Adrian Grenier needs to give tortured Shakespearean solilquies, I'm just saying that celebrity changes people and Vince should not be immune. Contra JM, I do think everyone in Hollywood contends with massive ego, obsessive narcissism etc., and a well-written character would confront these things.

How would Vince react to those pressures? Realistically, there are several different possibilities, some that we'd be sympathetic to and some not. No matter what, the conflict would make great fodder for comedy--either because Vince becomes a vain, self-centered manchild or because he has to struggle NOT to become one.

But you know, maybe now that Vince is officially the biggest movie star in the world on the show, it'll start to get into that stuff...

JM said...

Maybe but sometimes that type of success can lead to isolation as opposed to manifesting itself in other ways.