There was a time when the juvenile antics of star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) and his three pals from Queens, N.Y., satisfied as a fun, behind-the-scenes peek into Hollywood.
That ended about six seasons ago. As HBO's "Entourage" (9:30 p.m. July 24, HBO; ** stars out of 4) enters its eighth and final season, everyone says the boys are finally growing up. You wouldn't guess it from the three episodes sent for review.
Sure, Vince is out of rehab, telling a busty addict flirting with him as he leaves that "sober is sexy." He's got an idea for a movie about trapped miners (but not those guys in Chile) that manager Eric (Kevin Connolly), stepbrother Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), buddy Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and anyone else who hears his pitch know is a loser.
But they don't tell Vince because they fear he may fall off the wagon. Instead, they throw him a party with fake booze, a bus full of hot chicks recruited from all kinds of Fill-in-the-blank Anonymous meetings and balloons.
You're right, it isn't funny.
Created by Doug Ellin and loosely based on the early career of Mark Wahlberg, who executive produces, the show still feels like it's coasting off the success of those super-charged early seasons. Throughout the series, no setback or perceived tragedy has threatened the charmed lives of these guys.
So I don't expect that rehab, or E's broken engagement, or Turtle's "forced retirement" or Drama's sparring with Andrew Dice Clay about their new show, "Johnny's Bananas" (now that's a show I'd like to see), is going to change the boys in the long run.
Even hyper (and mean) agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) only seems to have changed. I'm not convinced that Ari is devastated to be separated from his wife as much as I am that he's pining for the old days, when he could be an ass to her and everyone else without any consequences.
We shall see if the boys become men by the end of this eight-episode season. But I doubt it; they're talking movies now.