Last night's episode of "Entourage" – the penultimate of the season! – was all about getting in: Ari and Eric (sans Bob) getting into the right studio to make the Ramones deal, Vinny and Turtle getting into the store to nab the limited-edition Nikes, and Drama getting in touch ... with his confidence to prep for the big monologue.
As ever, there was plenty in the show to get the Decoder very curious, like those $20,000 Nikes, the mysterious Fukijama, the new slew of studio chiefs and the title of Ed Burns' pilot.
ART: Everything's going wrong for poor Turtle until Vince drops $20,000 on a pair of sneakers designed specifically for his boy by a shadowy (and legendary) kick-customizer called Fukijama. Who in their right minds would pay that much money for a pair of sneakers, and who's Fukijama (from Glendale) anyway?
LIFE: Well, in the opinion of several professional sneaker fetishists in the industry contacted by TMZ, $20k is definitely a little steep – even for a one-off customized pair of shoes. (They made a slight allowance for the fact that they had to be done in, oh, about 3 hours.) Even for some of the really Holy Grail pieces of footwear – like early Air Jordans or rare customizations – sneakers top out at about $4,000 or $5,000.
The actual designer of the Air Force Ones in the episode is a guy named Mark Smith, and Undefeated, the La Brea-Santa Monica-located store in the show, actually did collaborate with Nike and Entourage to produce a special edition shoe. In fact, they were going to have a giveaway to get fans of the shoe and the store to line up on the sidewalk, but it didn't end up happening. (And yes, that is former Nicole Richie boyfriend DJ AM (real name Adam Goldstein) who gets the sneakers first, and, yes, he does own a club called LAX.)
It also turns out that there really is a semi-reclusive, much-in-demand "wearable art craftsman" in LA whose alter ego is an Asian guy from the Valley: His name is Peter Kim, and he goes by the nom-de-sewing-machine Methamphibian. Methamphibian's custom designs are coveted all over the world, from LA to Seoul to Barcelona.
ART: In his climactic (we had to say it) monologue, Johnny Drama mentions "his five towns," and the pilot that Edward Burns is shooting is called "The Five Towns." Is Ed Burns really doing a pilot called "The Five Towns"? – and what five towns does that refer to?
LIFE: No, Burns isn't doing a drama pilot called "The Five Towns," but it would be appropriate enough – the actor-director went to high school in Hewlett, one of the "five towns," which is a group of hamlets and villages located on the south shore of Long Island, not far from New York City. Rob Weiss, one of the writers of "Entourage," also hails from the Five Towns.
ART: Ari and Eric and Bob take their show on the road (or at least around the perimeter of Los Angeles) to sell the Ramones project. They meet with the Paramount studio head named "Brad," then with "Jacqueline" at Universal, who gives them the deal they're looking for (until, of course, Bob backchannels a pact with Ari's nemesis Alan Grey of Warner Bros.)
LIFE: The head of Paramount Pictures is, in fact, named Brad – as in Brad Grey, who brought "The Sopranos" to TV – but he's just slightly less tall than the giant man who greets Ari, E, and Bob in the episode. Jacquelyn, the Universal honcho, may be an analog of Stacey Snider, who was the CEO of Universal Pictures until earlier this year, when she left to head up Dreamworks SKG in its new incarnation...at Paramount Pictures.