From the animated opening credits that depict a San Francisco overrun with logos—which a Bay Area resident would tell you is not so different from what has really happened to that city—to the banal, khakis-and-polos-based wardrobe of the leads, “Silicon Valley” is steeped in its target’s culture.
Two weeks ago, “Silicon Valley” aired a scene that I haven’t been able to get out of my head since.
In last week’s episode, for example, “Meinertzhagen’s Haversack,” the protagonists embark on an elaborate plan to circumvent Jack’s authority.But in the final scene, Richard trips over a hose and scatters his top-secret, to-be-shredded plans in plain view of the entire office.Jack responds, with the sweetest tones of dulcet encouragement: “Richard, I don’t think you understand what the product is. “Veep”’s delivery is joke-driven and cutting, an array of sharp zingers and takedowns deployed one after another, usually from one character to another.“Silicon Valley” is sharp, but its critiques are by and large embedded in the structure of the show.
(Richard gets to stay on as head of tech.)Within the span of just one episode (“Two In A Box”), Jack neatly dismantles Richard’s vision—going so far, in a “Monty Python”-esque farcical move, to “pivot” the company from user-facing machine-learning cloud-computing algorithm to B2B, security-focused, literal “metal fucking box.” Richard watches the sales team’s soft-focus promotional video for said metal box—“a rhetorical example of a bad idea”—with waves of disbelief washing over his face, and then in a fit of rage, leaps out of the conference room and into his car, to find Jack wherever he is. Jack has paid 0,000 for his mare to be covered by this thoroughbred stallion, and as he watches over the two horses sealing the deal, Richard emerges on the scene. It was not obvious, at first, that this was what “Silicon Valley” was going to be.
With the backdrop of urgent neighing and gushing fluid, both distracting and carnal, Richard tells Jack that he believes this is a product that can both help the world make a billion dollars. Unlike “Veep,” the show’s sister comedy on HBO, “Silicon Valley” is not purely satire.