Entourage Decoder: "Vegas Baby, Vegas"

8/7/2006 2:50 PM PDT
In this week's episode of "Entourage," Vinny and the Chasers decide to ditch LA and hit the Strip – in Vegas. Far from the madding crowd of agents, publicists, and directors, the guys bring Ari along to have a little fun – but end up creating a fair amount of drama along the way at the blackjack table (with half a mil on the line) and in a tussle with Seth Green's posse. And Drama, for his part, ends up having an uneasy encounter with his favorite masseuse.

So the Decoder takes a little hiatus of its own from Hollywood and susses out the Vegas scene and E's obsession, amongst other topics.

ART: The hotel that the boys invade is as much a character in the episode as any of the actors. Where are they staying – and how much would you have to pay if you're not there to judge a stripper contest?

LIFE: The Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas (which, incidentally, was once owned by Peter Morton, whose son is Harry Morton, who's Lindsay Lohan's current boyfriend) is suitably sybaritic for the Chase posse. Each of the guys takes a Celebrity Suite, which go for around $600 per night, and give them 1300 sq. ft. to pad around in, with a marble-laid bathroom and goose-down linens.

Now, if they were really high-rolling, the boys would've booked the Penthouse, which is where they have cocktails (not Jagermeister shots) before the stripper contest. That's about $10,000 per night and comes complete with a dining room for 12, a fully stocked bar, and a bowling alley.

Incidentally, the hotel does have a club called Body English, but, just for the record, there's no stripping going on there.

ART: When the boys razz E for being overly jealous about Seth Green's smarmy shout-outs to his girl Sloane, Ari likens him to "Eric Roberts in 'Star 80'." What's that about?

LIFE: Eric Roberts – as in the older brother of Julia – had one of his finest acting turns as Paul Snider, the tortured, obsessive husband of Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratten in 1983's "Star 80," a true story. Snider became deeply despondent over Stratten's relationship with director Peter Bogdanovich and tragically killed both Stratten, who was just 20, and himself. The Eric-Sloane-Seth triangle, suffice to say, is unlikely to have such a shocking outcome.

ART: Johnny has to (over-)compensate for that awkward Brokeback moment with Ken by rolling down to the club and asserting his straight-man-hood by swinging out at Seth Green's weasally pack-rats. Were any "Entourage" animals injured in the making of the fight scene?

LIFE: Well, not exactly, but it might interest readers to know that Kevin Dillon, Johnny's portrayer, had fractured his arm not long before the big fracas scene while shooting a basketball scene with Adrian Grenier. Dillon had steel pins inserted so as to avoid having to wear a hard cast, and, as a result, the eagle-eyed viewer will notice that at almost no point do you see Johnny Drama's bare forearm in the epsisode – even when he's getting a massage bare-chested.

Tim from San Francisco, a Decoder reader, wonders: Does Ari ever let go of his Treo mobile appliance or is it really just an anatomical extension of his hand?

Decoder says: Good question, Tim. The Decoder painstakingly analyzed the footage from Episode 9, and we have unscientifically concluded: Not very often. Out of approximately 12 minutes of screen time in "Vegas Baby, Vegas," Ari releases his grip on the device for barely two minutes – and then only when he's playing blackjack. (Of course, it's right there in front of him the whole time anyway.)