Ari Gold
external image entourage_ari.jpg

Kimberly Carrigan


Biography

Ari Gold is one of the main characters in the HBO television series Entourage, played by Jeremy Piven. He graduated from Harvard before going to the University of Michigan for business. He now lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, Mrs. Ari, and two children. He is the agent and friend to movie star and main character of the show, Vincent Chase. He is known for his crude remarks about women and and witty one liners, often putting other people down. His relationship with his homosexual assistant, Lloyd, can only be characterized as demeaning. Ari is hard working and intimidating and shows no remorse when put in the position of firing people. Despite this, Ari is proven to be a loyal friend and husband. Ari Gold is abrasive but caring about his true relationships, even though he may have a hard time showing it.

Earlier on in his career Ari Gold worked at an agency co-run by Terrence McQuewick, a boss who didn’t have his best interest at heart. After realizing that Terrence seemed to be plotting to steal Vince as his client, Ari felt threatened by this move and attempted to separate himself from Terrence’s agency. This did not come easily, however, because of Terrence’s greed and arrogance. In one episode Terrence even goes as far as telling Ari that he would rather spend all of the money he’s made to guarantee that Ari will never see one penny of their formerly agreed settlement. After much hard work and determination after leaving the agency with a few other former workers of Terrence’s, Ari finally was able to set up his own small agency. Using his fervent work ethic, connections, and some of his wife’s trust fund, Ari’s company started to grow into one of the industry’s leading agencies.

Trait and Skill Approach - The Big Five

One view in the trait and skill approach to personality says every human’s traits could be captured by five specific dimensions: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. Everyone’s unique personality is different due to the different measures of each of these five traits. All of your combined levels of each five dimensions make you who you are, according to this approach to personality.
Extroversion is one of the easiest characteristics to figure out about a person. The last thing that Ari Gold is is an introvert or shy. Ari Gold would rank very high on the extroversion scale, seeing as dealing with people is how he makes his living. He is dominant in most of his relationships with people and is extremely talkative and social. Ari is immensely energetic and enthusiastic when things go his way, and when they don’t people will hear about it. According to the text book, people who rank high on this scale “tend to be successful as politicians or other high-visibility leaders” (271). Being Vincent Chase’s agent and dealing with other very high profile people, Ari Gold is well known. There is absolutely no doubt that Ari would score very high in this dimension.
Another trait in the big five dimensions of personality is agreeableness. Though extremely extroverted and social, Ari is not very agreeable. He is characterized as being ruthless and relentless in order to get what he wants. However this differs and depends on who he is interacting with. At first glance, Ari does not seem to be friendly at all with anyone outside of his family and close friends unless he has a motive. He is very untrusting as well, and viewers are able to see this through how few friends Ari has and trusts. He’s well known as cold to strangers and extremely unkind to the people he dislikes.
Conscientiousness is the third dimension in the five traits. Ari seems to sway back and forth between encompassing this trait and being careless. Most of the time Ari is known as somebody who is dependable and determined. You can tell when watching Ari’s life inside the office and out that he is a very organized and methodical person. Rarely but a couple of times throughout the series when put in different situations Ari will let lose and let his impulsive side out, as seen in an episode where he visits Vincent Chase at a high schooler’s party and shotguns beer with the hosts. You can see that though Ari is out of his element he is going with it and letting out his spontaneous side. At the end of the clip you can see Ari retreating back to his old self.
However, when something considerable happens that interrupts the peace and tidiness of Ari’s life, he cannot handle it and panics, as shown by his many freak outs when things do not go his way.
This leads to neuroticism; Ari would be considered extremely neurotic to anybody who watches this show. This may be because of his high pressured job as he is dealing with many high profile celebrity’s careers all the time. Even while at home with his wife and family, Ari is constantly anxious and worrying about things. It is evident that Ari needs things to be done a certain way or else he cannot deal with it. This is apparent in the first season when he makes a comment about going through assistants quickly because none of them are able to please him enough. Ari would be characterized possibly as emotionally unstable, especially when he has to deal with things that are new to him or he doesn't understand how to go about it.
Ari Gold having a breakdown
The last element of the Big Five is openness. In the beginning of the show Ari seems like nothing but a self-centered shallow agent. At one point in the show Ari is seen hanging up fake painting in his office to appear to be more worldly and cultured. He is not somebody who appreciates traditional art, though he does appreciate movies and television. Once the seasons progress you see Ari starting to become more open to some new experiences. Lloyd, who is Ari's homosexual assistant, is known for taking the brunt of many of Ari's homophobic and rude jokes. Ari is not used to being around people who are different than him which is apparent in many of his comments; but when needed by Lloyd at one point in the show Ari goes willingly to a gay bar to help him out. Even though this is not necessarily him being open to experiences, he is putting his personal opinions aside and is open enough to go somewhere to help out his friend. His comments about Lloyd being gay also start diminish as Ari begins to become more open to the notion that he has a gay assistant. Overall, in the beginning of the show Ari would be seen as extremely low on the openness dimension; as the seasons progress though he develops more as a character and begins to be a little bit more open to experiences.

Psychoanalytic Approach

According to Sigmund Freud, childhood experiences and unconscious thoughts affect and determine adult behavior. In Freud's stages of psychosexual development, Ari could be characterized as still being in the anal stage. According to the text book, people who remain fixated at the anal stage of development "may be overly concerned with neatness, parsimony, order, and organization" (71). They also may be amused by bathroom humor or jokes that have to do with this. Being fixated in the anal stage is also associated with people who later on have obsessive-compulsive disorder. As explained before, Ari is extremely neat and organized and needs to be able to have control over everything in life.
As stated by Freud, there are many defense mechanisms that people utilize to protect them from threatening circumstances or anxiety. Ari Gold uses some of these to cope with the problems he faces. Displacement is a huge defense mechanism that Ari employs. Though the problems that Ari deals with don't directly affect the people he comes in contact with, Ari continuously displaces his anxiety onto other people and treats them how he's feeling. In the clip above of Ari being stressed out and having a mental breakdown in front of his assistant Lloyd, Ari is displacing his anger onto other people. Another defense mechanism used by Ari is sublimination. This mechanism is the reason why Ari is so good at what he does; he transforms his stresses and the pressures he receives into positive outcomes by making his clients happy, though he may go about it in a way that isn't positive. Another defense mechanism that is not in the text book is intellectualization, defense against threats by thinking about situations in a detached, impersonal, and cold way. It is very obvious that Ari is an expert at doing this in the first seasons of the series. However once being fired by Vincent Chase who is his favorite client and somebody who is a close friend, Ari finds it hard to look at the situation so clinically and detached. This is where denial and reaction formation comes in; In one example, after realizing that Vincent Chase was replacing Ari as his agent Ari tried to live life normally and make himself feel as if he was too good and better off. He denied that he needed Vince and even went as far as to badmouth him and his new agent, which is an example of reaction formation. He took the exact opposite route of what he was really feeling and denied all feelings of any affection he had. It was not until he had a visit with his therapist that she made it clear to him that he actually does have feelings and he was able to deal with them normally and not suppress them.

Discussion

There are many ways to analyze somebody's personality, and through researching him it is evident that Ari Gold is a dynamic and complex character. Ari's personality develops throughout the seasons, changing his character from what seems to be a selfish money-hungry agent into a character with depth that people come to love and understand. Within the Big Five personality traits, Ari's specific levels of each dimension make him into the unique person he is. He is crude and intimidating but will do anything for his family and the people he loves. While he may use defense mechanisms in order to hide his true feelings and not get close with people, Ari is proven to be a lovable character that many people grow to like and want to continue watching in future seasons of Entourage.


References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ari_Gold_(Entourage)
http://entourageonhbo.wetpaint.com/page/Ari+Gold
http://www.hbo.com/entourage/cast-and-crew/index.html#/entourage/cast-and-crew/ari/index.html