*#.## denotes season and episode number*
Check out and even bigger and better version of the list here: http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2011/09/the-25-best-entourage-episodes
Tree Trippers, 5.05 - Vince is in a career crisis so the gang turns to the original gangster Eric Roberts to take them on a vision quest at Joshua Tree, powered by some A-grade shrooms. A lot to like here, like Lloyd and his bf's gay house party at Ari's house while his family is gone (Pause), ER's unsaturated venom towards Ari ("We could just kill him out here and no one would know"), and Eric's shroom-induced muteness.
20. Bottoms Up, 7.05 - For the line "Vagina is my third favorite hole" alone. Delivered by Johnny Drama, natch.
17. Scared Straight, 6.11 - Gearing up for the terrific season finale, the show wisely acknowledges its characters' ages, captruing E at the moment I can only imagine all single 30 something dudes have, experiencing the fatigue -and health hazards- of fucking around and the desire to settle down. Getting with one of Johnny Drama's conquests would give anybody pause.
16. Sorry, Harvey, 4.04 - The one-sidedness of preceding episode and #19 on this list is rectified with its successor, which is firing on almost all cylinders. E must tell Harvey, a notoriously unhinged and scary producer that he and Vince are backing out of a partnership, but repeatedly chokes after witnessing display after funny display of the man's insanity; Drama's vanity is on high as he ropes Vince into taking out the mayor of Beverly Hills so his condo will be annexed into the zip code. Of course E and Harvey (R.I.P. actor Maury Chaykin) end up where Vince and Drama are and shit goes down, with a cherry on top thanks to the all seeing eye of TMZ. Surprisingly its pinch-hitter Ari who gets saddled with a pretty flat plot involving M. Night Shymalan. That fucking guy.
14. Seth Green Day, 5.10 - Entourage's best guest star pops back in for an encore appearance as Eric's nemesis, this time with Bow Wow in the mix. And in this episode's edition of Ari vs. Babs, Ari battles her to hire an old friend and ends up crashing her luncheon.
11. I Love You Too, 2.09 - this show is at its comedic, satirical best when its mocking or integrating events and practices in Hollywood that are business-as-usual to industry insiders, so of course at some point the gang had to venture to Comic-Con San Diego, and of course Drama is a nerd hero there. The Drama between Vince and Mandy Moore continues to unfold and surprisingly not be annoying, meanwhile Turtle enlists three porn stars to help Vince get a dickhead journalist (Rainn Wilson) off his back. Did I mention said porn stars are at Comic-Con promoting something called "Pussy Patrol?" Yea, *dead*.
10. Sorry, Ari, 3.12 - More satiric greatness as Vince and the gang go agent shopping, only to be disillusioned by the detached corporate-ness of it all. ("Microsoft! Coca-Cola!...Vincent Chase!") Drama may be the failure of the family but he's also the more experienced (he has a fishbowl full of agency business cards) and it's him that talks some sense into Vince to realize that no other agency can duplicate Ari's true loyalty. Alas miscommunication is the death of all relationships. The intelligent look at the Vince-Ari friendship and dynamic is enough to help ignore the fact that the impulse to fire him came out of nowhere and is a tad bit overreactive. Hell of a mid-season cliffhanger though.
8. Neighbors, 2.05 - The craziness of real-life Bob Saget, one of TVs most famous wholesome dads, is a well the show visits often but they can never mimic the genius of his first appearance as Vince's neighbor. The ever oblivious Vince has no idea who he even is but they both have more in common than they know regarding some other neighbors. Get it? More in Carmen.
7. The Script and the Sherpa, 1.05 - There's a weed drought in LA and what's worse, Vince is letting his new, earthy girlfriend voice her opinion on career ish much to Eric's chagrin. The show started out with a certain offbeat quality it never quite maintained for better or worse after the first season but it's on high here when the guys visit a Sherpa for that sherm, played by an unrecognizable Val Kilmer, the first to show that special guest stars could do more than just say hey it's me, and E appeals to a creepy gay producer for Vince's new film (that Kyle XY dude answers the door, E says is your dad home, Kyle XY responds 'oh you must mean my daddy"...uh, yea, offbeat).
6. Give a Little Bit, 6.12 - a surprisingly sweet episode and one that significantly advances the plot...well, characters, after a season that mostly stood still, wrapping things up so nicely that some feared it was actually the series finale. It's everything the show does well: celebrity cameos (Matt Damon takes aim for best Entourage guest) over the top Ari (the paintball sequence is so awesome you can ignore the fact that he'd realistically be facing about a dozen lawsuits), Hollywood high stakes (Drama vs. the audition...again), awesome music direction (an inspired choice of Old Hov's first ever single "In My Lifetime (Remix)"). Oh, and genuine romance. Act like you didn't crack a smile when Eric jumped back off of the plane. Here's hoping they duplicate this x10 for the real finale later this year.
5. Aquamansion, 2.03 - living the dream vicariously through the foursome was never more entertaining than this installment with everyone eagerly getting ready for a pajama party at the Playboy Mansion. Turtle is out to score the freshest pjs, Drama fights to lift his "life-long ban" from the mansion, crossing paths with original Karate Kid Ralph Macchio and nemesis Pauly Shore, and Vince doesn't want to give up his artistic credibility to do a superhero movie...until he sees Marlon Brando's gorgeous mansion on the market. And I still laugh at the sad, defeated walk of shame of Johnny Drama, draped in a silk night robe.
4. The All Out Fall Out, 5.03 - the main mission of any TV show well into its years is to avoid repetition (*cough Dexter*). S5 is all about shaking up the status quo and making our hero(es) poor, down and out and no episode is more dedicated to not half-assing this storyline than this ep which finds the once mighty Vincent Chase relegated to appearing at a spoiled brat's sweet 16 to get out of the red, exposing cracks in his self-acclaimed dignity. Meanwhile the show still manages to stoke the quintessential guy fantasy with Ari in full alpha-male mode complete with brand new Ferrari, bitching out a fellow agent in front of all his peers and coming home to hot wife as a prize, all on his birthday. Bonus points for Kevin Pollak and Fran the Nanny Drescher as the over-bearing parents.
3. Busey and the Beach, 1.06 - the defining episode of the show; the strongest episode of the first season, clearly laying out the formula and tone. Gary Busey provides the cameo that's more than just a 'hey it's that guy' role, working him into the plot in a way the show would later feel comfortable doing with actual A-listers. Our first real look into the wacky rapport between Ari and Mrs. Ari, while also confirming that Ari as a character is indeed here to stay after a rival agent tries to woo Vince, and a nice scene of the guys enjoying the California sunset at the end to remind us what it's all about, a couple of best friends living the life, enjoying it together.
2. One Day in the Valley, 3.02 - pretty much the next best fantasy to the one this show is built around is randomly meeting and hanging out with 'cool' celebs like Vince and his boys. That's what the gang does for two nerds they meet at an Aquaman showing, in an earnest and honest episode that finds Vince, Mr. not-in-it-for-the-fame sweating it out as the numbers for Aquaman's opening weekend roll in.
Thoughts? Did I miss your favorite episode? Give undue shine to one that you hated? Do you live in a cave and have thus never seen this show? Does the list make you want to now? And who's excited and sad at the same time for the final season??