One of the many reasons I enjoy HBO's pals-on-the-loose-in-Hollywood comedy Entourage is that I watch it and think, 'I've been there.' Not in an existential way, mind you -- I don't know what it's like to be rich, floppy-haired, or up to my eyeballs in punani like Adrian Grenier's hotshot actor protagonist Vincent Chase. I don't even know what it's like to have bangs. I mean I've been there in a literal sense because Entourage, which just returned for its fifth season, looks more like the Los Angeles I know and love than any other show I can think of.
Yes, I've stomped some of the same grounds as Vince, Turtle, Eric, and Drama, broken bread at some of those same eateries, driven-while-texting down some of those same boulevards. There's just one problem. Entourage isn't gay enough. Not by a long shot.
So with your indulgence, I'd like to use this column to pitch a new series called Gaytourage. We make the four leads gay, but keep the names the same. In fact, in one episode we could learn that Turtle actually got the name Turtle at a Trevor Project Pool Party where he drunkenly announced he was a grower but not a shower.
The storylines would be similar to Entourage as well but totally queered out. Instead of dating Mandy Moore, say, Vincent could have his heartbroken by "Mandy" singer, Barry Manilow. It's a stretch, I know, but imagine the scene where a just-dumped Vince gets limo-d back from Palm Springs while listening "Ready to Take a Chance Again" on his iPhone. That's some serious tear-jerking right there.
What I'd most like to gay-up though are the locations. For starters, we'd move Vincent's big movie premier from the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood to the more photogenic Orpheum Theater downtown, where his movie could open the Outfest GLBT Film Festival. Maybe Vince could come to blows with Perez Hilton in front of the step-and-repeat over an item Perez posted about Vince using Eric's name to score Cialis. Sometimes the ideas come so fast I can barely type fast enough.
Coffee klatch central for the boys of Entourage is the trendy and organic Urth Caffe on Melrose Ave. This place is pretty gay-friendly, actually -- I once interviewed Anne Heche there, for crying out loud. Still, I'd rather have my Gaytourage boys hobnobbing with the struggling writer types and determined 12-steppers who frequent Caff? Marco just a few blocks away. Even big stars like Vince like free wireless.
On Entourage, power dinners are often convened at the swanky sushi joint Koi on La Cienega Boulevard. The Gaytourage gang would do their fine their dining just up the street at Mark's Restaurant, which features cabaret nights for show queens, half-priced entree Mondays, and waiters so hot I think they have their own pin-up calendar. The food's really good, too, and I'm not just saying that because they sent me a free meal certificate for my birthday. Maybe on Gaytourage, the boys could make a bet on who can bag the most Mark's waiters in a week. My money's on Drama because he tries harder than Vince. He has to.
For casual grubbing, the Entourage guys are partial to Jerry's Famous Deli, which features a menu so gi-normous one has to wonder if Jerry's may be compensating for something. For Gaytourage, we'd relocate to Eat Well where the guys can protein-load on turkey burgers while using the crayons on the table to brainstorm movie ideas and list the Mark's waiters they've banged so far.
Speaking of sexual healing, Crazy Girls is the Hollywood strip club where the Entouragers go to get their lapdance on. For cheap, sexy thrills, we'd send the Gaytouragers to MJ's in Silver Lake for their Tuesday night sweat soiree, Rim Job, where the go-go boys drip sex, sometimes right into your drink.
Instead of perusing for tabloid stories about themselves at Book Soup, the Gaytourage foursome would support their local indie GLBT bookstore A Different Light, where once upon a time, you could sell back your old porn mags for cash. That sounds like a Drama plotline to me; Drama accidentally unloads Vincent's favorite Honcho Overload and Vince goes ballistic.
Then there's the amusement park episode. On Entourage, the kids went to Six Flags Magic Mountain for the launch of the Vince-inspired Aquaman ride. On Gaytourage, a similar storyline would play out at Gay Days at Disneyland. Maybe Vince could get serviced on the Buzz Lightyear ride by a guy he thinks is Reichen from The Amazing Race but, in a twist right out of nip/tuck, discovers when the lights come up that it's actually a guy who's had plastic surgery to make himself look like Reichen from The Amazing Race. Hilarity ensues.
Just one more idea: The Entourage men have been known to hit the weights at Gold's Gym in Hollywood. Gold's also works perfectly for Gaytourage, particularly if we want Eric to have a doomed relationship with a 'roid-raging porn star who's struggling to give up the life. But if a strip-aerobics plotline seems fresher, we can switch their gym memberships to Crunch [LINK TO www.crunch.com] and start shopping for feather boas.
Whew! I could spit out Gaytourage ideas all day long but in Hollywood, you don't want to give away the store for free. So I'll leave you with that and go wait for the here! channel to call. In the meantime, we can all enjoy happy heteros (and the hilarious Rex Lee as the token gay assistant) on Entourage and let the gay twists play out in our imaginations.