Until this week’s episode, I loved Entourage, the story of three childhood friends from Queens who follow a fourth, the good-looking and endearing actor Vincent Chase, around Los Angeles as his star ascends with the help of his agent, Ari Gold. Played by Jeremy Piven, Ari is one part bully, one part oracle, one part snake, and one part zayde, and the character I most love to hate since Alexis Carrington. So far, the most Jewish thing about Ari has been that he’s part of Hollywood’s top brass.
Then came his daughter’s bat mitzvah. On the big day, Ari managed to threaten to kill two people and made reference to the cost of the event—”tonight we eat like kings, $500 a head.” During the candlelighting ceremony, Ari spied a rival agent chatting up Vince, and over his wife’s protest, called Vince up to bless the challah, usurping Grandpa Maury. We even got to watch (and cringe at) guests gettin’ down to the sounds of the onetime rap star DJ Quik.
It’s not entirely surprising that Ari’s ruthlessness didn’t stop for religion. But Entourage also gave us old men with whitefish salad stuck in their teeth, and Sarah, Ari’s unassuming daughter, wearing a tiara—like a princess, not a scholar. Some television shows have offered the bar mitzvah as an opportunity for poignancy, others have provided inspiring satire, but this show simply gave us a snide send-up. Regrettably, Sarah’s bat mitzvah affirmed misconceptions that the American Jew can neither dance with soul nor observe with it.