Brian Burns, a producer and writer of Entourage, remembers a dinner at Mastro’s, the Beverly Hills steakhouse, where he is pretty sure he was the one who came up with the idea of a woman agent to replace Ari (such is the chaos of writers’ meetings). “I thought … then it would be interesting if they had sex.”
In the early days of powerful women agents, while it was almost de rigueur for men to have sex with their stars and starlets, it was just about unknown, then as now, for it to happen the other way around. The great Sue Mengers married her love, director Jean-Claude Tramont, but she is an exception to everything. In general, the early agents were nurturing mommies not allowed to swing their sexuality around.
In their first meeting, Amanda is sexy, smart, and a bit scolding. The boys haven’t done their homework! She has given them long, hard scripts to read, and they haven’t finished. But that’s okay, she says, reaching for her love project—The Glimpses of the Moon, by Edith Wharton. You can feel the excitement dissipate: a period chick flick. What could be worse? Didn’t she understand they liked edgy? Pablo Escobar? Hello???
Then, as soon as she gets stuck in a corner, she pivots, whips out some Laker floor seats for Vince’s birthday, and morphs into a boy. She’s modern, multidimensional: a girl who’s a boy who’s a girl. It’s why women like her as much as men do.
It’s at the end of the second episode that she makes her move: “I hate sexual tension, Vince. It always leads to confusion.” Should we take her at her word? Or is she managing her client? It’s a man’s move to defuse the tension and go for the conquest. Says Gugino: “I think what Amanda realizes is that [the tension] is what’s making Vince incapable of being an honest client. And sure, she’d like to have sex with him, too. It was her way of problem-solving in a pragmatic way, and she was going to embrace it and enjoy it and then move on.”
In other words, she was going to lose her client if she didn’t sleep with him, and she definitely was going to lose her client by sleeping with him. Might as well have fun.
All of the women agents I spoke with knew she would lose him from that moment, and they all loved her anyway—for being in every way Ari’s equal, for generally making the right moves (though I think everyone wished she hadn’t first pitched an Edith Wharton movie), but most of all for “not giving a shit.” It was very liberating for these women watching from Hollywood, because they’ve earned the right to not give a shit, and because as women, they so rarely can.
The point about Amanda is this, says one female superagent, “Imagine if they wrote a woman like Ari. You would absolutely hate her! And yet we have come to find Ari lovable, and Amanda his perfect foil.”
So our aggression is allowed through sex. On TV.
But everything goes wrong once the bubble baths begin. Amanda buys Vince a Cartier love bracelet that looks alarmingly to his buddies like handcuffs; the entourage goes nuts and busts his balls that she wants to keep him in town and that’s why she is subverting his love project; Ari weasels his way back in.
So here we have it, from the entourage’s POV: The powerful woman can destroy your love project, befuddle your mind, insinuate you into chick flicks, put handcuffs on you, make you miss your deadlines, and blow your cocaine epic. Stick with the guys.
And then, as a final parting gift from the guy writers of Entourage, Vince finds out he’s wrong. Ari was wrong. Amanda the chick is right. And she never wanted to keep him in town. “What do we do now?” he says to Amanda. “Now, Vince, we say good-bye.” And she dumps him, for all of us. And there she is, our heroine. Dumping a movie star. Moving on. As if.
In real life, no one is dumping movie stars. Movie stars date movie stars. The recent Hedge-Fund Fantasy seems to be on the wane, too, since those guys jet in from wherever their bat caves are actually located and crave stars and starlets, too (or women straight from the pole at Crazy Girls).
So what about the amazing women? The ones who haven’t settled down with the Seths and the Steves? The ones who grew up buying the Katharine Hepburn–Spencer Tracy paradigm of two sexy equals and the whole shebang. Whose boyfriends won’t go to Cannes with them because they don’t have enough to do there? Who grew up thinking that they would be attractive to this whole class of men that turned out not to exist—at least not in Hollywood (a subset of constant speculation: Where do they exist? New York? London? Paris? Dubai?). So many Katharines. So few Spencers.