‘Entourage’: How Ari Gold and Eric Murphy Went From Hating Each Other to ‘Let’s Hug It Out’

HBO’s hit series, Entourage, had many comical interactions between its main characters during its run, but one of the most entertaining ones was the relationship dynamic between Vincent Chase’s agent Ari Gold, and his manager, Eric Murphy. At the show’s beginning, the two have a contentious relationship full of creative differences, intense arguments, and savage name-calling, as Ari believes Eric is unfit for the job due to his lack of experience.

Over time, as Eric gains more experience and displays his good instincts, their relationship develops into a more collaborative and respectful one. Ari begins to see the value of Eric’s role in Vince’s life and trusts Eric to handle larger responsibilities. 

Ari Gold initially despises Eric Murphy and his lack of experience

In season 1, Ari and Eric’s relationship is at its lowest point. Having only recently moved out to Los Angeles after managing a Sbarro’s back in New York City, Eric has no knowledge of the movie business, and it shows. Ari has no patience for Eric’s resistance to his ideas and hates the influence that Eric has over Vince’s career. They frequently call each other names, swear at one another, and frequently engage in antagonistic phone calls.

However, there are subtle moments in season 1 where Ari shows that he relies on Eric to keep Vince focused. In episode 2, after a negative review about Vince’s breakout role in Head On begins to circulate, Ari asks Eric to take his mind off it and keep him happy. He even attempts to make amends with Eric at the conclusion of their meeting, asking Eric to “hug it out, b—-!”

Despite several moments of peace, the two maintain an ambivalent relationship throughout the first half of the series. Eric threatens to fight him on several occasions, and Ari continues to undermine Eric’s abilities and value as Vince’s manager.

Ari and Eric begin to respect each other as Vince’s career flourishes

When Vince’s career is at its breaking point in season 5, things take a turn for the worst. Virtually at rock bottom, Vince is back in NYC with the boys and waiting for a new role to present itself. Eric hears that the lead role in Gus Van Sant’s new movie is now available, and begins to make moves in an effort to get Vince hired. However, he’s unsuccessful and Vince decides to fire him. 

Little do either of them know, Eric’s efforts have gotten the attention of Martin Scorsese, who decides to cast Vince in his remake of The Great Gatsby. This earns the respect of Ari, and marks a turning point in their relationship. From season 6 onward, their interactions become more friendly, and they even engage in playful banter during their phone calls. 

In seasons 7 and 8, Ari begins to rely on Eric to manage Vince’s public image and day-to-day affairs as he becomes more consumed in his own business dealings and his crumbling family life. Their relationship comes full circle when Eric is the one that informs Ari (who is distracted by a potential scandal) about a film opportunity for Vince that could be worth over $100 million.

Eric’s instincts earn Ari’s respect, while Ari’s wisdom demands Eric’s

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As business people, Ari and Eric couldn’t be more different; Ari is impulsive and ill-mannered, while Eric is intuitive and kind. However, Eric’s ability to find good scripts and make strong decisions from his gut earns Ari’s respect, while Ari’s expansive knowledge of the movie business and sharp business acumen impress Eric. Together, the bring Vince from obscurity to superstardom.