Everyone remembers the first.
The first time I watched Entourage was in my buddy Ryan’s basement. Well, his parent’s basement. It was December 2004 and I was on the first winter break after the first semester of my freshman year of college. Our close group of high school buddies were reunited for the first time since everyone went to college, playing poker and casually throwing back beers someone snagged from some parent’s fridge. The topic of conversation was how awesome being in college is, trading tales of hook-ups and epic parties from back at school. I vaguely remember someone playing O.A.R. on a burnt CD in the background.
The boys were together again. It felt good.
Around midnight, our friend Mike – the walking pop culture junkie/IMDB of the group – asked a question a lot of Bros were asking each other back in 2004:
“Have any of you guys seen Entourage yet?”
Out of the five of us, he was the only one.
“Wow, you guys have to watch it. It’s epic.”
When he explained the plot, we all thought it seemed pretty dumb – A squad of four friends move to Hollywood because one of them turned into a big movie star. Loosely based on Mark Walhberg’s life.
“It’s like us, if one of us was a huge movie star. Plus tons of hot chicks.”
Ryan’s parents had HBO and the ability to watch premium cable On Demand was pretty new at the time. We moved to the couch. Someone pressed play around midnight.
Cue Janes Addiction. Yeah, yeah!
For the next eight years, Entourage became appointment television for me. The first episode felt like our lives in that very moment – The gang preparing for a trip to their high school reunion back in Queens, busting each other’s balls about dumb high school things they’ve long ago stopped caring about. Like our lives at college, their lives in L.A. are too freaking sweet at the moment to care about the past. It’s all about living in the moment.
There was a profound silence amongst the four of us when the episode ended. Then Mike spoke up.
“See! This is, like… us.”
We were hooked. Watching that episode felt like the TV show equivalent of the Kool-Aid guy running through a wall.
After the episode ended, we sat around bullshitting each other about who was who in the group. Stan was Vinny — A handsome genius, he can effortless accomplish pretty much anything, especially when it comes to wooing women. Mike was Eric, the level-headed and career-minded one. Ryan was Drama, the guy who says random shit at the most random time possible. I was Turtle, the goofy man-around-town with a Spocoli-stoner vibe. I’m generally an easy target to make fun of, too.
“Anyone want to watch another one?”
No one had to get up early for class or work, so we devoured the entire first season in a sitting, recapping each episode and screaming Ari Gold one-liners at each other. It was the first I ever binge-watched a TV show.
We finished the first season sometime after 5AM. We passed out exhausted and slept until 1pm the next day, but it was nothing short of an epic night.
“Someone better get rich and famous after college so this can be our life.”
I’d like to believe that every group of Bros who has ever binge-watched Entourage did that exact same thing — delegate who is who from Entourage IRL, then apply the show to one’s own life.
That’s because Entourage is lifestyle porn for Bros. It’s shallow, vain, and vacuous, but fetishizes a certain type of life that a certain type of male can relate to – toward careers, towards relationships, towards success, towards chasing your dreams, and – most importantly – towards each other. It’s about always winning.
It’s a fantasy.
Not everyone gets Entourage, but those that do really get it. Pop culture has largely evolved beyond the show’s cheesy brand of high-five locker room humor. One-liners are dead. But Bros of all ages still idolize Entourage’s effortlessness at showcasing the brotherhood that exists between all Bros, no matter what age.
At it’s core, Entourage has never been about Vinny Chase and the gang. Rather, it’s about how eerily similar their chemistry is to the chemistry a Bro has with his own friends in real life. Their antics onscreen mirror the way a Bro brags to his friends about his own shenanigans. Entourage doesn’t exist to make deep, bold statements about the shallow depravity of Hollywood life. But it does use a fantasy life in an L.A. fantasyland as a backdrop for showcasing a certain type of friendship. The lame story arcs and lack of self awareness just refocus the lens on what’s important: Each other, through thick and thin.
At the end of the day, you’re left thinking these four fuck-ups would be acting the exact same way at a shore house in Manasquan or Ocean City this summer if Vinny never moved to Hollywood.
I think the reason why I started writing for BroBible back in 2009 was because I just got it — A website for Bros, by Bros, sharing the stories of Bros. Just like Entourage, but an online publisher version of that same mentality and audience equity. As a website, we’ve evolved quit a bit since then, but Entourage has always remained deeply instilled in our DNA as a publisher. It’s part of the brand-spark that turned into a blazing fire. When Brantford Winstonworth’s declared “Coach, Entourage is on in 45 minutes,” in The Ultimate Lax Bro all those years ago, we could all laugh at exactly what he meant because we would have said the same stupid thing in 2009 ourselves.
You just get it.
Now it’s 2015 and the Entourage movie is out. It’s a pivotal pop culture moment for Bro culture, if only just to look back at what you’ve been doing for the last ten years and the friends who have been along for the ride. It’s been negatively called a “time capsule” to last decade by some, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with revisiting the past every now and then. Nothing is more fun than a reflective look in the rearview mirror or catching up with old buddies. Memories are nice. That’s why the bachelor parties and weddings get more and more special the older you get — As AG said perfectly this week, “Any weekend spent with your Bros is a weekend well spent.”
The night I binge-watched the first season of Entourage was over 11 years ago. I’ve had my 10-year high school reunion since then. Only two of us still live in our hometown. Mike is married and has a kid. Ryan is about to get married. Stan is now a stud fighter pilot who, the last time I saw him, said he couldn’t go to Ryan’s bachelor party because he was going to Vegas to “only sleep with 9s or hotter.” I’m… still OGing it out at BroBible in New York City. Seems very much like doing something that Turtle would do be into.
We won’t all go see the Entourage movie together, but rather with a new squad of Bros from our present lives. But when we’re finally all together again at some wedding sometime in the not so distant future, we’ll be able to geek out about Ari yelling, “I can go all night, boom!”
I guess it all works out in the end.