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Arts and Entertainment

The Comeback's Entourage

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We weren't impressed by "The Comeback" when it debuted earlier this summer. The constant humiliation of the lead character, Valerie Cherish, was mean-spirited and unfunny, and we found the show so unwatchable that we couldn't be bothered to parse out the LA-esque bits. But friends kept insisting that it was worth our time so we kept tuning in.

We must admit that we've been wrong. We don't know whether the writing team had time to improve their scripts later in the season or if it's just organic character development kicking in, but we actually enjoyed the show last night and thought last week's episode about Palm Springs was even better. We've always loved the actress who played Valerie's friend, Donna, the brassy cancer survivor. We also love Valerie's "un-tourage" of Mickey, her hair dresser.

We also enjoyed this week's EP "Valerie Hangs with the Cool Kids" which featured more of Valerie's step daughter, Francesca, and her friend Kalla, who exemplified the current SoCal "Skeletwin" teen lifestyle to perfection as they smoked, instant messaged at the dinner table and modeled eyewear popularized by the Olsen twins. We actually laughed when Valerie declared "I'm cool, but I'm not a criminal" after an underage Kalla asked her to hook the kid up with an actor on Valerie's show.

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Now that the "The Come Back" gives more attention to the people in Valerie's life, it makes more sense for the show to follow the second season of "Entourage," which is aging pretty well.

We weren't too thrilled with the "Aquaman" arc at the beginning, but last week's EP, set at Comic-con, perfectly skewered the desperate state of the entertainment business these days with jabs at fanboy site editors like Harry Knowles, the shadowy hierarchies at celebrity autograph conventions and not-so-secret on-set romances. Who knew Mandy Moore had such spunk? Don't get the wrong idea by that last admission; we still think that she's annoying.

This week's EP "The Bat Mitzvah" was almost as good. We wish there'd been more time to satirize the outrageously extravagant bar/bat mitzvah circuit amongst westside teens, but "Entourage" will eventually get to it in later seasons, we hope (though we grant the producers points for actually shooting at the Beverly Hills Hilton, whose on-site kosher kitchen still makes it the go-to place for the largest kosher events in town, we figured Ari woulda wanted someplace flashier like the Four Seasons, which has installed a kosher kitchen to catch up; what what do we know, the last bat mitzvah we attended was at the old "Fantasy Island" party palace in Triunfo Canyon).

As usual, we loved Jeremy Piven's performance playing Ari the Agent frantically trying to keep his client away from his senior partner, played by a predatory Malcolm McDowell in full "Cat People" mode.

We're also digging Perry Reeves as Mrs. Ari and we're happy to see her have more to work with as she went toe-to-toe with Melinda "Hey that's Julie the OC" Clarke. It's been Reeves's summer--she also appeared in "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." She's a comeback too after getting out from under the shadow of ex-boyfriend, David Duchovny. Only true Duchovny obsessives would connect the scene of the Eric buying a suit at Georgio Armani Boutique on Rodeo after getting encouragement from Sloan's daughter to the knowledge that Perry Reeves met Duchovny while he was buying a suit, too, and call it a shout out. But we're not that obsessive...anymore.

Sorry, where were we. Oh, finally, we think setting Eric up with the daughter of Ari's partner is inspired and very very true to life in the entertainment biz. How does that old Hollywood quip involving David O. Selznick go again?

"In Hollywood, it's not only that "the sun also rises" but 'the son-in-law also rises."

The romance-with-the-daughter-of-a-player is ripe for comedic exploration as Eric will soon discover that acquiring this girlfriend will do wonders for his career and may include lots of in-jokes about Robert Simonds and Tobey Maguire.