The Character of Eric Murphy

(Yeah, I guess that one-post-a-week-thing just went out the window, didn’t it?…)

‘Entourage’ isn’t a guilty pleasure show – lets’ get that out of the way right now. Although it’s thought of as a fairly ‘average’ TV production, ‘Entourage’ is actually perfect in it’s own magical way. It doesn’t strive to present a deeper meaning or somewhat significantly affect the viewer, but it does aim, and succeeds, to entertain and relax. And after all, what else should a show about four guys in LA really do?

At the core of ‘Entourage’ stand its five main characters: Vincent Chase, Eric Murphy, Johnny ‘Drama’ Chase, Turtle, and Ari Gold. The production, often called ”Sex and the City’ for men’, is truly a character story. The plot generally moves forward only through the current events resolving around the film star Vinnie Chase. Every character does get their own arcs and stories, but the events circle around the characters rather than the characters circling around the events.

A truly mesmerizing character is Eric Murphy, Vincent’s oldest friend and current manager. Eric is subtly developed throughout the show; nothing is shoved into the viewer’s face – just as it is with any other character in ‘Entourage’.

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A millionaire.

Former ‘pizza boy’ Eric Murphy manages to become a millionaire before the show reaches its end. The Irishman’s success is rooted in one simple quality: he simply likes it. Eric is passionate about his work: he loves solving problems, he loves getting gigs for Vince, he loves the success. The character feels useless when he has nothing on his hands and thus creates his own personal universe where he is able to achieve anything. Eric buys himself an office just so that he can get some structure in his life and have an actual space to ‘work’ and feel productive.

Productiveness is one of Eric’s main driving forces: it’s not so much about getting Charlie a stand-up job, but rather about making something of his day and doing something with his life. He simply likes doing stuff; he has the opportunity sit around all day like Turtle, but chooses not to. Even though many don’t appreciate his efforts, it’s Eric’s own value of himself that matters to him. Through doing something, regardless whether that’s successful or not, Eric feels at ease with himself. The success comes simply from the smart decisions he continuously manages to make. Well, that and a large does of luck.

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A good friend.

Eric is, as Vince himself says in the season finale, ‘a loyal guy’. He loves the crew. Even though he may appear a bit mean and short-tempered at times, Eric really is willing to do anything for Vince. Job or no job, money or no money, what matters to him is that his friend succeeds. Only with that will come his own personal success – both emotionally and literally.

Eric cares. He isn’t afraid. He walks into rooms as if he owns them. Eric will never stand anyone, even studio execs, to talk behind Vinnie’s back because, once again, all that truly matters to him is his friends. Yes, he may feel a lot better mentally when he is productive, but what truly motivates Eric 24/7 is his friendship with Vince. Only when the actor is happy and successful will Eric feel completely at peace. The Irishman may get to manage George Clooney, Johnny Depp, or Leonardo DiCaprio and he may become even richer, but if Vinnie is working on a TV sitcom while that is happening, Eric will be miserable.

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An LA resident.

The character serves as a perfect contrast to the other entourage members, while simultaneously embodying their main qualities. Yes, he is the logical one, yes, he may not like sitting around all day, yes, he may be a bit judgmental towards some things, but pass Eric a joint and he will take it. Invite him over for a beer, he’ll do it. One night stand? Sure, sometimes. Clubbing? Always. Eric is ‘the different one’ and yet perfectly presents the cores of the ‘Entourage’ gang lifestyle.

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A specific boyfriend.

Relationship-wise, Sloan says it all: ‘You want a girlfriend, Eric, but you want it your way’. Simply said, Eric is a very logical and structured person. He controls his work-life and even has a significant control over the progress of his friendships. It would make sense, then, that Eric needs a very structured and personally suiting relationship. Truth be told, Eric Murphy is not the best boyfriend: he often chooses career before love, doesn’t know what he wants, wants things his own way, and, for god’s sake, he slept with Sloan’s stepmom.

One could wonder why Ashley, Emily, or, most importantly, Sloan loved him. Honestly, Eric behaved horribly to Sloan, especially towards the end of the show. He called her a slut, slept with Melinda, and stalked her. So why did they end up together? It’s not only the baby, although that had a big part to play. Sloan stayed with Eric all this time because he is a genuinely good guy. He cares. He’s generally loyal. Of course, he has made a few mistakes, who hasn’t, but in comparison to everyone else in LA, Eric is a good boyfriend. Even good people make mistakes and Sloan made the right choice to forgive him for his.

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An imperfect human being.

Like any other human being, Eric is not perfect. He is very selfish sometimes. He can’t control his temper (remember that fight with Billy Walsh…). Eric is often naive, especially when it comes to relationships, as well as easily manipulated. Also, Eric may be a very logical person, but he often reacts very rashly and doesn’t think about what he is doing. These negative qualities make the person Eric Murphy real and imperfect; after all, we are all quite naive and selfish sometimes. Furthermore, they make the character Eric Murphy interesting to watch: no one wants to see Mr. perfect; a troubled, complex, and layered human being is much more fascinating to observe. Plus, these negative qualities create a lot of conflict: inside Eric, inside the viewer, and throughout the plot of the show.

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So, who is he?

In conclusion, what can we gather about Eric Murphy? Yes, he works hard and wants to make something of himself. E is kind, smart, caring, and loves Vince. He screws up relationships, but his good nature saves them. He is not perfect. Eric Murphy is indeed a greatly created and developed character. Through the course of eight short seasons and one feature film, the creators of ‘Entourage’ have managed to build an interesting and believable character.

But scratch everything. You know what’s truly fascinating about Eric Murphy? He is real; both in the sense of the character and the person. Yes, the character is build and developed beautifully and absolutely believably. But the person itself is just so authentic. E doesn’t give any f***s. He does whatever he feels is right and stays true to himself. Eric Murphy is a genuine human being; that is exactly what makes him so interesting and enticing. And exactly why he is one hell of a character.


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As always, thank you so much for reading,

Mickey Angelov