The ‘Entourage’ phenomenon

Silvino Edward Diaz

The favorite gang from HBO’s Sunday night lineup is back for its fifth season.

Only four episodes in, it’s already being hailed as one of the best.

The show’s Queens Quartet of Vince, E, Drama and Turtle illustrates, celebrates and satirizes the lifestyles of Hollywood’s elite.

It’s a comedy about living large, but it’s also, mostly, about friendship.

The guys pick up close to where they left off in Season 4 – in the brutal aftermath of “Medellin,” their bombed Pablo Escobar biopic. Here’s what you should expect this season:

Vince, returning home with Turtle from a “personal” retreat in Mexico, finds himself in “movie jail,” with no one who will hire him, and broke, again. Things are not as promising this time around.

Vince gets some shock treatment from Ari, his accountant Marvin and his publicist Shauna, who all agree that he should begin to put more effort into his image, as well as his financial affairs.

This season will prove to be Vince’s coming of age. Expect his work ethic to get stronger and romance to be in the works this season.

Eric continues his quest for self-assurance by scouting talents around the town and trying to become something more than “Vincent Chase’s unofficial manager.”

A fundamental theme in the series is the notion that Eric is largely responsible for the damage to Vince’s career.

Time and again, we’ve witnessed Eric make decisions that end up jeopardizing Vince and his A-list ascent.

So this season, E will have a lot to prove. But he’s making progress with the script he found, “Nine Brave Souls,” which might hold the key to Eric’s, as well as Vince’s, redemption. E will begin to look and act more like a “suit” this season.

Johnny Drama starts the season paired with Jacqueline, his Cannes love, but as expected, he ends up creeping her out in two episodes.

Drama is the most peculiar character in the series by far, and that will be made clear this season. He’s always agonizing about something, be it his health, his image or his career.

The success of his show “Five Towns” will continue to grow this season, but you can expect the same self-absorbed, somewhat pathetic antics of Johnny Drama.

Vince’s so-called assistant Turtle is more desperate than ever when it comes to his love life, which makes him all the more exciting to watch.

Out of all the performances this season, Jeremy Piven’s portrayal of Ari is unquestionably the most improved.

There is more energy and passion in his rendition of Hollywood’s most animated superagent.

Piven one ups himself from his previous award-winning performances and brings to life one of the juiciest, most electric personas on the small screen today.

This season, he’s driving a Ferrari, tormenting rival Adam Davies and putting Eric in his place.

You can expect a hungrier, slicker Ari, as well as more brilliantly crafted comedic quips for Lloyd, Eric and others who antagonize him.

Another thing to consider is the show’s directing. This season, the show’s directors have expanded the boundaries of their scene photography and design. You’ll find the cameras in motion more often, enhancing the view of settings as well as the appreciation of plot development.

However, the show’s creators have found a winning match with their single-camera setup, which preserves the dialogue’s stage-like chemistry.

In retrospect, whether intentionally or not, “Entourage” has become the male equivalent of “Sex and the City.”

Just as the Carrie Bradshaw’s lifestyle of storming New York City sipping cosmopolitans and setting fashion trends became a national symbol for female empowerment and enjoyment, so has the Vince Chase model resonated with America’s men.

Everyone wants to live like Vince Chase – that’s why “Entourage” is so exciting.