In Praise Of Ari (The Fictional One)

NY Times television critic Virginia Heffernan has fallen madly, irrationally, lock-the-door-and-tell-your-assistant- to-hold-your-calls- while-you-take-me-right-here- on-the-glasstop-desk in love with Entourage's agent-at-arms, Ari Gold (or Jeremy Piven, but aren't the lines of entertainment and reality always so tantalizing blurred on that show?), spilling out 1,100 words of white-hot ardor in today's paper:

Many of Ari's showdowns take place on cell- or speakerphones while the men are in motion, a device that allows Mr. Piven to bring the full force of Shakespearean monologue antics and scenery chewing to what might otherwise be television's monotone pseudo-naturalism.

But no one wants standard television acting from Mr. Piven. For him the writers produce Pacino-caliber rants, armored personnel carriers of uninterruptible braggadocio that Mr. Piven floors for several sentences until, in response to a question, he jerks the wheel hard to the left.

Make sure and click through to the article, which has a supplemental slideshow presenting Heffernan's margin-doodles of lovingly inked hearts encircling the words "Mrs. Virginia Heffernan Gold-Piven" and "Hug ME out, bitch" rendered in schoolgirl-crush calligraphy. Don't get us wrong, we love us some Ari, but for moments like this, which raise the show from Hollywood jackass lifestyle porn to must-see programming:

To the assistant of an elusive executive, he offers dictation: "I want you to pass this message along to Dana. Tell her that I still have the pictures from Cancún. Tell her that I'm going to start a Web site. I'm going to take a full-page ad out in The L.A. Times advertising it. Tell her it will be called I'mahollywoodexecutivewhore.com and that no password or fee will be required. Tell her I want a call back."