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''Entourage,'' ''The Comeback''

By RD Heldenfels Published: September 6, 2005

As I said in a column that ran Saturday in the Beacon Journal, I very much like HBO's ''Entourage'' and don't care for ''The Comeback'' on the same network. The comedies' season-ending episodes on Sunday didn't change my mind. But it was curious to see each show's central character wind up in the same place.

Both were about to make stands on principle, quitting major projects in the process. Both decided that success and fame were more important.

On ''Entourage,'' Vincent (Adrian Grenier) was ready to quit the big-screen version of ''Aquaman'' rather than work with Mandy Moore after their relationship ended. But we could read his mind as he walked through director James Cameron's office, an office decorated with posters from Cameron's many hits. And Vincent's situation became even more clear as he saw how excited Cameron was about ''Aquaman.'' Here was a guy who could turn Vincent into a very, very big star; after all, Cameron's ''Titanic'' did so for Leonardo DiCaprio, and a recurring note on ''Entourage'' has been that Vincent is still in line behind DiCaprio for the best roles. So, when it was time for Vincent to quit, he didn't do it. He may have principles, but he also has a career.

On ''The Comeback,'' Valerie (Lisa Kudrow) has fought to get back in the spotlight years after the end of her hit sitcom. And her wish seemed to be shattered when she saw the first episode of a reality show about her comeback, since -- like so many real reality shows -- it highlighted conflict and yuck, with both present in a single scene. Valerie was accordingly ready to quit the show, and to do so during an appearance on ''The Tonight Show.'' Then, from Jay Leno's reaction and the crowd's applause, she realized that she had what she really wanted -- fame -- even if it did not come quite the way she had hoped. At the end, she found that the reality show has been picked up for a second season, and that autograph hounds awaited her outside the studio. And all thoughts of quitting were long gone.

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