Once again, Entourage fans, the Decoder returns for another week of deconstructing the Tinseltown talk in last night's episode and making it somewhat more intelligible for the rest of us.
But, first, a missing attitude alert: Uh, what happened to the sneer and snarl of "Entourage?" In last night's episode, it was all bubble bath and bliss: Vince and Amanda kissed, made up, made out and made googly eyes at one another, and Ari and Mrs. Ari -- normally the most acrid of couples -- ended up just as sweet as honey after Ari's frat brother's visit.
Still, the writers dropped plenty for us to wonder about, including the real story behind "Steve Siegal" (Artie Lange) and whether JT really did cry us a river when he got Punk'd.
ART: Ari's "frat brother" from college (the sadly under-utilized Howard Stern sidekick Artie Lange) comes to stay chez Gold, and though he turns out to be a multi-millionaire having cashed in via Stamps.com, Ari tries to buffet his image with a skeptical Mrs. Ari beforehand, by pointing out that he was "ahead of Conan at the Lampoon." What's he talking about?
LIFE: The Lampoon, of course, is the humor magazine at Harvard that's produced scores of writers for "Saturday Night Live," "The Simpsons," late-night comedy shows of all stripes, including NBC's "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." Conan himself was president of the Lampoon for two years, one of only two people in the history of the magazine to have achieved that post. (Guess this means that Steve/Artie had some serious comedic chops.)
As for the Stamps.com storyline, it's true that the Stamps.com initial public offering netted $65 million in 1999 -- but the stock soon took a swan dive. And there were actually three founders of the company, which enlisted Bob Newhart for its ad campaign way back in 1999.
ART: Drama, in the midst of his own elaborate punk-age on Pauly Shore's "Gotcha!," makes fun of Justin Timberlake's crying a river when he thought his house was getting repossessed on MTV's "Punk'd!" Is this just Drama-tic hot air?
LIFE: No -- in fact, it's one of "Punk'd" most famous segments. If you remember, IRS agents seized JT's property in a faux raid, and Justin was not bringing sexy back when he folded up on his front porch and began to weep. In any case, perhaps JT's having the last laugh now, as Ashton Kutcher's show is in its final season.
NAME DROPPINGS: Vince, Amanda, and E have their awkward lunch in the courtyard at Spago Beverly Hills ... The acting pedagogue that Drama quotes -- Sanford "Sandy" Meisner -- was the legendary teacher of such Oscar-winners as Robert Duvall and Gregory Peck ...The entourage has its lunch sans Vince at Le Petit Four, a popular cafe-restaurant in tony Sunset Plaza. Eagle-eyed Entourage-ists will recognize it as the place where Eric unwittingly canceled a lunch with an agent in last season's finale.