Entourage creator Doug Ellin went all out on Ari Gold to a writer who posted an essay stating that the HBO comedy series will be reissued to reflect modern sensibilities (à la Roald Dahl and Agatha Christie’s books).
There’s only one thing: the essay was satire, which Ellin apparently didn’t recognize.
The piece was written by Max Davison at McSweeney’s (which should have been the first clue) posing as an HBO executive announcing Entourage will be the network’s first series to undergo “sensitivity testing,” noting: “(Since 2011) we’ve since undergone massive shifts in our views on women, race, and Ed Hardy…. We’re removing just a handful of problematic elements that used to be were more socially acceptable Entourage‘s time. These include sexism, homophobia, misogyny, anti-Semitism, questionable sexual politics, Asian hate, toxic masculinity, the casting couch, racial slurs, ethnic slurs, sexist jokes, workplace foul language, mockery of sex workers, James Woods and Armie Hammer cameos , the fact that every woman was willingly attracted to Turtle or Johnny Drama, and the way white men got away with it all and succeeded despite having no discernible skills or work ethic… This is a well-intentioned and nuanced update, much like Steven Spielberg mounted the guns ET.”
Specific examples of changes in the eight-season comedy series included lines like “Let’s hug each other, bitch” that are ADRs for saying “I appreciate your male friendship and acknowledge your vulnerability, bro.”
Ellin shot back on Twitter on Thursday night: “You really are a product of your time, you revisionist hacker. Talentless no one like you speaks on twitter and then your zombie friends in lousy papers that no one reads anymore reprint your crap. Tell President Obama and the nytimes how insulting we were. Those who try to rewrite history are abusive. And dangerous. And Spielberg already regrets touching ET. Anyway, fuck you. Oh, we’ve got a Peabody and a bafta too, loser.’
To which Davison explained: “Doug, I wrote this piece. It’s satire. It takes sensitivity measurements to the extreme of editing shows from 15 years ago. The ET joke was very deliberate. I always wondered what it would be like if Ari Gold yelled obscenities at me. Now I know.”
To be fair, what makes the piece work is that it’s not hard to imagine a censorship ideologue proposing such changes, making it a clever critique of similar efforts that have sparked much debate. Spielberg recently admitted that he has changed ET was a mistake and criticized the changes in Dahl’s books: “It’s sacred to me. It’s our history; it is our cultural heritage. I don’t believe in censorship like that.”
Ellin admitted his mistake, with the writer-producer confessing, “I’m not a very strong reader”, noting that he “may have had an edible”.
Earlier, Ellin accused HBO Max of hiding Entourage because I wasn’t awake enough. “(Entourage was) hidden in, like, architectural ‘wish-fulfillment shows’ (on HBO Max),’ Ellin said in 2021 promoting his retrospective Entourage podcasting, Victory the podcast. “Which was weird. We were nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe almost every year, so not putting us first and putting other shows on the must-see comedy list was pretty bizarre to me.
Ellin has also commented that he resented how attitudes towards his show have changed in recent years. “I really hate it because I don’t think Entourage was this vulgar boy party that people like to paint it like now,” he said. “When we came out, The New York Times said we were the smartest show on television. And then, all of a sudden, this wave of righteous PC culture – and again, you’re talking to a liberal who wants equality for all and wants everyone to be kinder and gentler… Most people know (Entourage) was a very realistic representation of what Hollywood was like at the time and people will write about it as if something (Jeremy Piven’s bully cop Ari Gold) said this is how I express myself.”