What happens when you deliver an intellectually driven comedy that doesn’t hinge on damnation of nerd/geek culture (ala Big Bang Theory?) Who would think a dramatization of a tech startup in the valley could be some of the best television programming available. Now, if I told you Mike Judge is at the helm, could you fathom the existence of such a mythical beast?
Enter Silicon Valley, now in its fourth season on HBO, masterfully navigates through the story of Richard Hendrichs and his ground breaking compression algorithm (software that makes big files very small and easily transferable.) Along with a group of techies living in an incubator..errr house…owned by Urlich Bachman(T.J. Miller), we are treated to a weekly dose of the ups and downs of Pied Piper. IF you haven’t been watching this show religiously as I have, do yourself a favor and binge the ever living Swamp Thing out of this show or at the very least watch the finale of season one, Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency, and prepare yourself for one of the most eye opening mathematical calculations since the theory of relativity! If you do decide to start the entire season you’ll be treated to a rare appearance of Kid Rock, whom I honestly didn’t believe was recognized as sentient life outside of Southeast Michigan.
So here we are, episode 3 of season 4. To bring you up to speed, Pied Piper has pivoted (a term you’ll get used to hearing) to a video chat company, PiperChat. Richard has stepped down as CEO, leaving the lovable Dinesh to lead the latest application of the revolutionary compression engine. With a rather small oversight, Dinesh put the company into dire straits but is bailed out by a personally motivated acquisition by Gavin Bellison, CEO of Hooli (which serves as a Goole-esque all things tech behemoth.)
Intellectual Property, begins with Richard chasing his new peer-to-peer internet, Urlich scrambling the PiperChat team to build a demo for the “Shazaam of Food”(this may be a personal favorite side story arch) and Gavin Bellison being ousted from Hooli. Where Silicon Valley excels is in the use of its supporting cast and in season 4, the writing team of John Altschuler and Mike Judge, brilliantly weave old story lines back into the fold in the form of the floundering Monica Hall (a junior partner at the VC firm Raviga and partially responsible for Pied Piper’s round one investment.) Hall leads Richard and Jared, essentially Richard’s best friend and puppy dog like assistant, to the personal archive of the now deceased founder of Raviga, Peter Gregory. In Peter’s notebooks, a vision for the exact peer-to-peer internet Richard is chasing is laid out, fanning the flames of innovation for the latest pivot of the Pied Piper tale. To top it all off, the lovable idiot, Nelson Bighetti, Big Head, has once again stubble into a position he is ill-equipped for – guest college professor of Computer Science at Stanford. How the Silicon Valley writing team continues to develop these characters, even the feeble Jian Yang, is deserving nothing short of a stand up from your Laz-e-boy-slow-clap.
Silicon Valley is set your DVR, subscribe to HBO just for type of show. It’s the kind of entertainment you may not know you need in your life but once started, you’ll only come up for brief gasps of non-Mountain Dew polluted air. To further the experience, the soundtrack for the show is simply perfect, including my personal favorite song from the current season Fun House from Pregnant Boy ft. OG Swaggerdick – check it out on Spotify.
Silicon Valley airs Sundays at 9PM EST on HBO.