This weekend HBO aired two finales, the 8th season conclusion of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and the series finale of Entourage. For Curb, a lackluster season filled with ups and downs, concluded with a brilliant thirty minutes of Larry at his finest, while Entourage came to end with a mediocre episode that resolved the series in a rushed, lackluster, way.
Curb, concluded with Larry at his best: at war with Michael J. Fox over what shaking is/isn’t Parkinson’s related, getting essentially tossed out of NYC by Mayor Bloomberg, and teaching a potentially gay seven year old about Hitler and swastikas. This season has differed from most of the series in that it had no through-line to a big resolution (i.e the restaurant, the Producers, the Seinfeld finale) Instead, it featured Larry getting himself driven from two cities, first LA and then NYC, in almost exactly the same manner, accompanied by a slew of references that carried from city to city. In many ways, ending the series with Larry calling a Parisian driver a “pig parker” made the whole season end on a high note. For the first time in years there didn’t seem to be any reason to think this will be the last “Curb” season, and for that reason alone, I almost feel like it could have been.
Entourage, on the other hand, came to an abrupt and disappointing end. If you simply read a paragraph recap of the episode, you might be fine with the predictable comedy series ending: Ari quits his job to be with his wife “Melissa”, E and a pregnant Sloan get back together with the aide of the rest of the group, and Vinnie does something impulsive – running off to get married, in typical all-or-nothing Vinny fashion. I’m sure the marriage won’t last, but the fact that he did it was right up his alley. While I had no issue with the episodes major plot points, I still found it to be a terrible conclusion to the series. Guest appearances were thrown together and seemed completely disjointed, not to mention low budget (Mike Ditka?) and backup characters were forced into other scenes (Lloyd and Ari’s goodbye, Scott Caan’s at the airport, Terrence’s phone calls with E and Vinnie, and Ari’s post credits job offer).
The way I see it there were two major faults with the Entourage series finale. The first is that they simply waited too long in this final season to really begin to wrap things up, and as a result, had to cram everything together at the very last minute. This show could have benefited from having been an hour- doing one, not two, episodes about how the guys all stick together- and worked Turtle and Drama’s resolutions into the finale.
The other is allowing a potential film keep them from really doing a great resolution episode. 24 made the same mistake last year, effectively ruining the series by leaving it open to a film that will probably never be made. The movie that may never happen…but by assuming it will, they simply produced a typical season finale that didn’t really feel like the end of a series. At the end of the day it’s just a TV show, and one that has never been all that well written to begin with… but a little more planning and it could have been great. It’s a shame, because overall the season was pretty good, and the characters and fans deserved more.