Entourage Decoder: "Sorry, Ari"

8/28/2006 8:15 PM PDT

Entourage Decoder: "Sorry, Ari"

And just like that, Vince and the guys walked off into the sunset for another season, leaving Ari shuffling in their wake, wondering just exactly he would do without his biggest client. But unlike the end of season two, when everything was looking blindingly bright for the princes of Queens, the future doesn't seem so promising. After all, Vince doesn't have a gig, Turtle's back to being just a driver, E's only client isn't working, and Johnny, well, nothing is ever certain with Johnny.

So, on that muted note, the Decoder takes its last swipe through Tinseltown terrain, checking out just how good a bribe Ari is offering Bob, what Rex means when he talks about the "Gay Mafia," and even investigates a case of life irritated by art imitating life.

ART: Ari offers Bob Ryan his BMW as an inducement to take the Ramones project away from Warner Bros. Ever the huckster (was he not totally convincing as a car salesman?), Ari talked up the oak paneling and the iPod dock. So how much exactly is he giving Bob?

LIFE: The BMW 750i is no jalopy -- Ari's model, a four-door sedan, in black, fully loaded, has an MSRP of about $91,000, and Leonardo DiCpario, among other Hollywood types, has been spotted tooling around town in one. Of course, it seems like an odd thing to bribe Bob with, especially because Bob has a milky-white Bentley in his driveway, which, depending on the year and the condition, would still be worth something along the lines of $60,000. Plus, Bob doesn't even drive that often.

And by the way, that golf simulator that the boys are playing with -- which looks a lot like a Par T Golf Simulator, one of the finest on the market -- goes for a cool $37,000 at retail. And that only includes 5 full courses; there are up to 70 available from the company. It's got a 12-foot screen and projector that can be used to show movies, and its own computer to store all the information. So what happened to the roof, guys?

ART: Lloyd gets some inside info via what he calls "The Gay Assistant Corps," which he says has replaced "The Gay Mafia." What exactly is he talking about?

LIFE: Any talk of the Gay Mafia in Hollywood must inevitably lead to former superagent Michael Ovitz, who claimed in a 2002 Vanity Fair article that an organized group of gay men in the industry were trying to keep him from working, when his fledgling agency (AMG) flopped. The term "Gay Mafia" came into currency after a Spy magazine article in 1995 used the term.

One episode of "Will & Grace" revolved around the Gay Mafia, with openly gay entertainer Elton John as its "boss." One of the creators of "Will & Grace," was referred to by Details magazine as a "gay godfather-on-the make." And Robin Williams once memorably referred to the Gay Mafia in his "Live on Broadway" special, referring to it as the "Mauve Hand."

Several Hollywood assistants with whom the Decoder is acquainted are in fact gay, but none of them would admit -- at least publicly -- to a Gay Assistant Corps network. Not that there would be anything wrong with that.

ART: Bob Ryan clicks off from his fateful phone call with Ari sounding like a man defeated by showbiz. Is that what his real fate was?

LIFE: Well, if you believe that ol' man Bob was an analog of uber-producer/famous ladies' man Robert Evans, it couldn't be further than the truth. In fact. the real Robert Evans was reportedly infuriated by his supposed portrayal back in episode 10 as a doddering has-been, especially because the producers used his real house as the set. But the show's creator, Doug Ellin, expressly denies that Evans was the model: "Bob Evans is still out there working successfully, lining up films. Martin's character has not been doing that for a long time," Ellin told the New York Times.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Piven, the real-life Ari Gold, had a much better day yesterday than Ari did: He picked up the Emmy for best supporting actor in a comedy series last night, just minutes before "Entourage" aired. And regardless of the respective fates of Ari, Vince, and the gang, "Entourage" fans have little to worry about. The cast is close to wrapping 8 episodes that will air sometime in early 2007, and they will go back to work to produce 12 or 13 more than are scheduled to unspool next summer. And HBO has already ordered 15 or 16 more eps for the summer of 2008.

How could Ellin possibly cram more Hollywood inside-baseball into his show? Maybe, he suggests, he'll have to give it a little rest: "We could have Vince take a year off and they could go live in the Hamptons." Wherever they are, the Decoder will find them.