The hit show "Entourage" enters its sixth season in 2009 with more stories of male bonding and outrageous fun.
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"We get stuff from all over the place," Ellin says. "The stuff about Vince flying on someone's private jet—when Kevin was starting, he had friends who were bigger stars who would charter a jet to Vegas and invite him along. It's stuff I read in the papers, personal things."
The message "Entourage" sends about fame is that it moves quickly, burns hot and is easily upended, given the speed of the nonstop news cycle. Fame is a club, to which only the very lucky and the very ruthless are offered membership—and ongoing membership is never guaranteed.
"It's the modern mediated experience—we've all been quite well-schooled in how to perform," says Grenier, who has directed a documentary, Teenage Paparazzi, about celebrity-obsessed culture. "Doug Ellin has tapped into the zeitgeist. He's done a genius job of extracting the relevant cultural moment and infusing it into this show."
"I've had the experience—friends who went from being nowhere to being major stars and then they disappear," Ellin says. "Show business is a very up-and-down existence. Most other professions don't really have that."
There's also the absolute tang of testosterone when these boys from Queens are dealing with their personal lives together. They've all had woman problems—but their solution is usually a trip to Vegas. It's not very often these guys sit around and discuss their feelings or needs beyond the basics ("I need to get laid!").
"I don't think we ever saw it as a male version of 'Sex and the City', though others said that," Lombardo says. "Each of these shows explored friendship. And each has at heart a city as a central character. But I think that's where the comparison ends."
But beyond the red carpets, girls, glamour and prestige, "Entourage" is about four buddies who have each other's backs, no matter what.
"Yes, it shows how cutthroat the business can be, it shows a lot of backstabbing—but it also gives a strong message about friendship," Dillon says. "That's what makes the show work: the bond, the friendship. That's the heart and soul of the show."
"Who doesn't understand family and friendship?" Grenier says. "Having the business as the backdrop is just for shits and giggles. We could all be playing locksmiths and be just as compelling."
HBO's Lombardo says, "Obviously, I'm a big fan of Ari Gold and his agency; they get that so spot on that I just giggle. But there's always a moment in each show that moves me and reminds me that friendship transcends everything."
Meanwhile, getting back to the show's First Fan—what are the odds of an unexpected appearance on "Entourage" by President Barack Obama? "You couldn't beat that cameo," Ferrara says, to which Connolly adds, "Not by a long shot. That would be a real coup."
Says HBO's Lombardo, "I'm sure Doug is working on that right now." Not really, says Ellin: "I think there could be some downside for Obama with that."
Marshall Fine is a journalist and film critic whose movie reviews can be found at www.marshallfine.com.