Home > #3, Media grammar > Entourage

Entourage

Entourage, often referred to as the male version of Sex and the City, is an HBO series about a famous actor (Vinny Chase), and his entourage.  His entourage includes Eric Murphy (aka E), the manager; Turtle, the driver; Johnny “Drama” Chase, Vinny’s brother who’s a struggling actor; and arguably Ari Gold, Vinny’s agent.  This series follows the lives of these people and their struggles and is partially based on Mark Wahlberg’s early career.  This show falls under the category of a comedy-drama series, as each episode you see makes you laugh, and also potentially makes your heart sink as you connect with the characters and “feel for them” in their points of despair.

This specific show is a little bit more difficult to pull out subtexts because it is based off of Mark’s life.  Potential subtexts are that you should keep the friends you grow up with close, and no matter what don’t forget who you are (as Vinny and E’s relationship is almost broken due to ego and “stardom”).  Another one is that no matter how bad things get, they will always turn around and you will end up better than you were before things got bad.  I have only seen this show featured briefly in the newspaper (when it is mentioned for Emmy’s and Golden Globe Awards won).  Other than that I have only seen it in print media online.

The main music associated with this show is Jane’s Addictions “Superhero” as it is played for each opening of the show.  Other than this specific song you will only hear it in the background when the actors are listening to it.  For example, when the entourage goes to a club, you will hear “house music,” or if one of them decides to smoke weed, you’ll hear more of a combination between hip-hop and reggae music.  Essentially you will hear “man’s music” in the background (i.e. rock and roll or hip hop), not pop boy band music (or anything along those lines).

The expectations of audiences is essentially universal across all TV shows, they want to see “new.”  Specifically regarding Entourage I believe that audiences expect funny, and at the same time throughout each season a rollercoaster of ups and downs, ultimately ending with an up (or potentially a cliffhanger as they did with this past season).  Essentially, audiences don’t want to be left asking, “Well what’s going to happen?  I have to wait seven more months before I find out if Vinny can still finish his movie and whether or not he goes to jail?”  Although audiences may not like it, cliffhangers are expected because keeps bringing them back episode after episode (and season after season) to continue following the show.

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Categories: #3, Media grammar
  1. tessdoez
    January 15, 2011 at 1:49 am

    The fact that the music used in the show is (all or predominantly?) diagetic contributes to the basic grammar of the show–I’m glad you pointed this out. How does the fact that laugh tracks and non-diagetic music are not used in the show contribute to the audience’s understanding of it? Does the show strike us as more realistic as a result?
    Additionally, your examples of subtext are a bit closer to general themes or morals. Could you think a bit more critically about how the show creates or upholds certain cultural biases? What does the show say about who succeeds in Hollywood, or who can partake in the “American Dream” and how this success is attained?

    • January 18, 2011 at 5:04 am

      The fact that laugh tracks and non-diagetic music are not used in the show allows the audience to connect better with the characters in the show, and see it as more of a reality. Some additional sub-themes that are dominant within the show are that the majority of actors and actresses are seen as “attractive” and only date other actors/actresses (or their friends if they’re close enough with a certain actor/actress. For example, Turtle dated Jaime Lynn Sigler for a couple of seasons).

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