Sunday, May 6, 2007

Entourage

Everybody likes HBO's Entourage. It's a big hit here at Vassar, and just about everybody that's seen it regards it as a "good" show. But here's the thing: nobody knows why.

I too also really had no idea why I liked it, until last night, at the end of a very long day, when I heard Mims' hit "This is Why I'm Hot." One of the most famous lines is his lyric, "I don't even need to rap//I could sell a mill saying nothing on the track." That's when I realized that people like Entourage because it is the television equivalent of a cocky rapper.

Think about it. From the very first show, the show took it as granted that Vince was pretty much a massive star. Sure, he might not have busted out yet with the highest grossing film of all-time, Aquaman, but he was already successful and famous. But in reality, nobody knew who Adrian Grenier (the guy that plays Vince) was. He certainly didn't have enough cash to support a whole entourage with such a lavish lifestyle, and he certainly didn't have enough money to live in such a sweet crib. But the show pretended that he did anyways, and everybody bought it.

The same thing goes for Mims before he busted out with, "This is Why I'm Hot," which hit #1 on the iTunes most downloaded list and was once famously played 40+ times one night at one of our basketball parties. Before he recorded the song, Mims wasn't shit. Maybe he was big with his homies because he had signed on with a record label, but he certainly wasn't big enough to justify rapping that he could sell a mill without saying anything on the track. Claiming that you are big before you really are is probably the most intriguing rapping paradigm because while it's possible that they will one day make it big, they were not big when they first said it. You're betting that you will become successful. If you succeed, you'll be even more revered because you somehow knew that you would. But if you fail, you'll lose all credibility whatsoever because now are you not only not popular, but none of your songs even make sense.

Entourage went the same direction with their TV show, claiming that they were really big and just exploring the problems that an entourage would endure once they had reached that point. And here's the kicker, which explains why both of them do it: people love to hear that other people are making it. As much as America loves the underdog, what we really love to see is people having success, basking in it, and just generally living it up. We don't really care about the irony of Mims saying that he was hot before he really was, what we care about is the fact that he is hot now, he knows it, and he's loving every minute of it. Vince and his entourage are attractive for the same reasons.

This is not to say that you and I gullible for falling for the ploy, America. In fact, you could aruge that our tastes are simply now more refined. All entertainers have at least a touch of cockiness to them. Perhaps it's just that in our never-ending search for legitimacy and transparency, we're starting to like the ones who admit it.