Silicon Valley is a comedy series on HBO from creator Mike Judge (Office Space) about a software startup company called Pied Piper. The series stars Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Zach Woods, Amanda Crew and Matt Ross. Season three debuts 2017.
Partially inspired by co-creator Mike Judge’s experiences as a Silicon Valley engineer in the 1980s, this comedy series follows the misadventures of introverted computer programmer Richard and his brainy friends as they attempt to strike it rich in a high-tech gold rush. They live together in a Bay Area startup incubator loosely run by self-satisfied dot-com millionaire Erlich, who lets them stay in his house rent-free in exchange for a stake in the projects they invent there. But when Richard develops a powerful search algorithm at his day job, he finds himself caught in the middle of a bidding war between his boss — whose firm offers Richard an eight-figure buyout — and a deep-pocketed venture capitalist.
In season 2, Mike Judge and his team of writers put Pied Piper through hell. You can read about that HERE. I found myself wondering if our guys would ever catch a break because they were just continuously hammered time and time again. Just when you thought they were on the up, something tragic and or awful would strike and throw a wrench into their gears. I wanted our guys to just be happy for once – to succeed. But that’s now what Silicon Valley is about and that’s not how this show operates, because as it turns out – watching these guys constantly try and dig their way out of the shit, is what makes the show so damn funny and compelling.
As season 3 kicks off, Pied Piper has a new CEO played by Stephen Tobolowsky and he’s taking the company in directions that Pied Piper never even considered. The way they crafted these scenes, the meetings, the sales pitch slideshows and how at one point the new team that is helping to run Pied Piper, takes one of Richards’ faux examples of a bad idea and winds up using it as their brand new direction to take the company in — priceless. The convoluted ways in which these kinds of companies run their marketing campaigns, to how they operate in general on a daily basis have never been so accurately and tragically represented as faithfully as they are on Silicon Valley. I laughed my ass off every time the new CEO pointed to his little ‘Conjoined Triangles of Success’ chart on the wall because I’ve dealt with similar moments several times working in an office setting…. Hilarious.
The first half of this season deals with Richard (Thomas Middleditch) trying to get a handle on HIS company even though he isn’t the CEO, as he tries to avert disaster after the new leadership pushes them in unexpected directions. There’s a fantastic episode where the guys come up with a plan to work on their true business model while putting on a façade for the new power to appease them only for everything to blow up in their faces in hysterical fashion, thus leading to the second half of season three which really shifts gears for the series. I loved the depth that they gave TJ Miller’s Bachman this season, because he’s always hilarious but they really added a new layer to him and actually made me care about his well-being after reality hits him hard in more ways than one this season. Josh Brener’s Big Head comes back in a nice way this season too and I really like how he returned to the fold after kind of being pushed aside in previous seasons.
Martin Starr and Kumail Nanjiani’s chemistry was an interesting one this season. Was Gilfoyle (Starr) always so racist to Dinesh (Nanjani)? I felt like the terrorist jokes were a little much because the Gilfoyle character, as dry and brilliant as he is, it feels like the racist jokes were a little low and below him… I could’ve done without so many of them – they became a bit predictable as the season progressed. I would’ve loved more moments like poking fun at Dinesh’s gold chain… Now that — that was funny shit. My favorite pair this season was actually Richard and Jared (Zach Woods). The way that Jared devotes himself to the company, whether it’s the ugly Pied Piper jacket he makes, or when he asks Richard if it would make him feel better to “strike him” – I feel Woods was delivering his best work to date on this show. Loved the season two callback to when Russ Hanneman walked up to Jared and said, “This guy… This guy fucks”.
Overall, I think that Mike Judge and his crew found a better balance when it came to putting Pied Piper through the ringer in season 3. As much shit as they have flung at them, and there is a ton, there’s also a nice and healthy balance that was struck. I’m really satisfied in the direction the guys are going to be taking now that the re-set button has more or less been punched in the finale. I’m not nearly as worried about them anymore – I always felt nervous and uncomfortable, because at any moment the shit inevitably hits the fan, but at least Pied Piper is in a better place now… I think… Or is it? I guess that uneasy feeling will never leave me and I’m just going to have to be OK with that.