This week's episode of "Entourage" buried the love (Eric's girl triangle, Ari and Mrs. Ari's relations, etc.) and brought out the hate: Vince's heartfelt but professionally foolish invective against the studio's colorizing of "Queens Boulevard," Ari's full-on assault on Terence's agency, and Drama's exploding temper at any and all who cross him.
With so many sizzling storylines, the Decoder had plenty to dissect: What's the downlow with the big agent pow-wow? Is there a real-life Billy Walsh who had a conflict with Lions Gate? And does Drama really have to get so worked up about a $4.50 cup of latte?
ART: Ari gets ambushed by Barbara Miller into a meeting with the heads of all the major talent agencies, comparing it to "The Godfather"'s famous five-family sitdown and rattling off several agency names. Are they really the cream of the agency biz or just an alphabet soup – and what's with the poor guy from "APA" whom Ari spits on?
LIFE: Ari does name what are commonly known as the "Big Five" talent shops in Hollywood: Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Endeavor, United Talent Agency (UTA), International Creative Management (ICM), and the William Morris Agency. In fact, the real Ari – Ari Emanuel – used to work for ICM but left to start Endeavor.
The Agency for The Performing Arts (APA) is not one of the "Big Five," and its client list is somewhat more eclectic, shall we say, rather than high-wattage. Among the music-centered agency's clients are Lenny Kravitz, Air Supply, and Jennifer Beals.
And no, it didn't escape our notice that Ari calls Terence out for his rather questionable choice of anti-Semitic diction during lunch – "Master Plan" and "rat" being frequently used words and images in Nazi propaganda. In an interesting instance of life imitating art imitating life, Endeavor's Ari Emanuel actually called for his Hollywood colleagues to stop working with a certain actor-director who spouted anti-Semitic venom of his own.
ART: Director Billy Walsh (Ross Coivo) goes ape over Lions Gate's colorizing of "Queens Boulevard," and tries to get an injunction against the distributor to stop the film from being released, and gets Vince to back him up at a big press conference in front of the influential Hollywood Foreign Press (the group that puts on the Golden Globes). Is this the first time Lions Gate would have had issues with a shaggy-haired auteur?
LIFE: Most certainly not. The famously independent-minded/difficult (and shaggy-haired) Vincent Gallo, who wrote and directed 1998's "Buffalo 66," has been in public disputes with the studio, one of Hollywood' most commercially successful indies. Gallo, who also made the critically throttled "Brown Bunny," claims he was owed money by Lions Gate after "Buffalo 66." (Lions Gate disagreed.)
On the other hand, a recent article about the studio in Fortune magazine suggests that Lions Gate must be doing something right. An "A-list actor" cited in the story says, "Everyone here wants to work for them. Everyone here wants to be their best friend. How often do you hear that about independent studios who pay crap?"
ART: With all the money the boys throw around, it's a little odd that Drama should get so worked up over a $4.50 cup of coffee. Did Drama's favorite coffee shop really ditch their frequent-buyer cards?
LIFE: Not to worry, coffee fiends: Dialog Coffee & Bakery, the West Hollywood café where the scene was shot, has not discontinued its frequent-buyer cards. If you buy nine cups, the tenth is on Dialog! What's more, they also have a frequent-sandwich-buyer card. And, like many coffeehouses in Hollywood, Dialog caters to creative types with free Wi-fi and other accoutrements.
What Drama's incident does refer to, however, is what happened recently at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf chain of coffeehouses, popular in LA precisely for its un-Starbucks-ness. The company created a huge stir when it discontinued its "Pink cards," a frequent-buyer program, due, as the snippy barista in the episode says, to fraud.
Starting this week, we'll open up the Decoder to your questions, so if you're wondering about something in this or any other episode, leave a question in the comments section and we'll pick one to answer next week!