Jeremy Piven Deserves His Own Entourage

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News that ITV2 has shunned series seven of Entourage (currently airing on Sunday nights in the US), and so far no one else has picked it up, is as bewildering as it is miserable. The show about four lads from Queens who move to Hollywood so that their laidback leader, Vincent Chase, can become a film star was one of very few reasons not to ignore ITV’s second channel.

Of course, we'll miss the quartet's hetero man banter, and the way Vinnie (Adrian Grenier) makes our hearts throb. But it's tightly wound agent provocateur, Ari Gold and the overlooked (in the UK at any rate) actor who plays him, Jeremy Piven, who we can't stand to be without. The character’s ascerbic tirades, exquisitely rolled out reprisals and Almighty complex have cemented him as one of television's most loveable, compelling brutes.

As much as the writing, it's Piven's performance that makes Ari pop. He channels Gold with his whole body. You can see the skin tighten over his skull as he simultaneously fire fights a client mishap and a domestic. When he’s wooing a potential account or manipulating a rival, he caresses his own face like it’s Italian granite and swirls his hands as if trying to wind up the deal through mime. Transaction complete, he jumps in ecstasy and volley-punches the air. And when Ari tries to convince his wife that him ditching their date for a meeting is proof of his dedication to their union, his eyebrows pogo off his forehead. Somehow she buys it, and so do we.

Piven’s Gold, based on real life agent Ari Emanuel, is an uncompromising egotist who knows he’s king of Hollywood, and possibly the universe. It’s this self-proclaimed truth that keeps him upright. Ari is able to dance nimbly between the peaks and the stresses of his job, pinging off inspired insults with no more effort than it takes to sneeze. In some episodes he only gets a few minutes on screen yet we come away quoting Gold, vibing off his vitriol.

Ari’s best lines (they lose their edge when half the sentence is asterisked out so we won’t recite them) are expletive-rich mini masterpieces. His most impressive rants are directed at his gay Asian punching bag (his assistant Lloyd, who was eventually upgraded to junior agent). Ari chides him for his sexuality and his race but Lloyd, and the audience, recognise that his eruptions are steeped in affection, and so they’re funny rather than offensive. Ari’s blowouts at his enemies, meanwhile, are concentrated odium. But they’re hilarious because he’s attacking people who deserve it and can take the hit.

Knowing that we’ll be deprived of Ari’s next batch of venomous swipes is infuriating. And so we ask – demand – that ITV buy back the property that made us fall for the divine agent. Give us back our golden boy.

Meanwhile, if you're desperate for an injection of Ari, we’ve rounded up some of his finest moments (beware of bad language):

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