Why You Should Be Watching Silicon Valley
On Sunday 24th April 2016, two HBO TV show seasons premiered. One is Game of Thrones and of course you've all heard about that. But there was another that very few people have actually heard of - Silicon Valley. Little do you know, dear reader, that you should actually be more excited for the latter.
Yes, I won't take away from the mythical masterpiece that graces our screen in a 10-week fit of ultra-violence and copious nudity to whisk us past the scenes of tiresome dialogue. It's a fun show. But if you are a nerd (a fair assumption given you are reading this website), then you owe it to yourself to watch this hilariously scathing attack on the technology startup culture.
All too often I have the following conversation with acquaintances:
"Have you watched Silicon Valley?"
"What the hell is that, Jason?"
"It's a comedy about tech start-ups, and..."
"That sounds terrible..."
There seems to be a valley between America and Britain when it comes to watching this show, and I want to help close it once and for all. Let's break this down into five reasons you should be watching it.
1. It's a razor-sharp, comical commentary about tech bubble lunacy
This one should come as no surprise with a name like Silicon Valley. The show pulls no punches in viciously attacking the technology industry with an almost synchronised timeliness to real-life breaking headlines. Uber's CEO went out of his way to congratulate the show on being so close to the real thing.
Whether it's the flagrant use of good-sounding buzzwords that don't really mean much (one man's mission is "disrupting digital media" for example), a particularly Google-esque giant company holding board meetings on cycle desks, or the waves of boisterous brogrammers, the unspoken insanity of this glorified boys club is on full show and viciously stuffed into a bodybag.
2. The cast is awesome
Every TV show lives and dies because of its characters - that's a given. You could have the most beautiful story on the planet, but if you have someone dull to tell it, nobody will listen. Silicon Valley delivers with an amazing cast of characters that you can't help but immediately latch onto.
The lead Thomas Middleditch, who plays the CEO of imaginary company Pied Piper, may only have a couple of small roles in films like The Wolf of Wall Street (the guy who gets fired and Jonah eats his goldfish), but he is the epitome of every awkward, geeky, anxiety-ridden man who never really grew up but yet finds himself out of his depth.
Add the delightfully awkward Zach Woods as Jared Dunn, Kumail Nanjiani and Martin Starr as the conflicted pair Dinesh and Gilfoyle, and T.J. Miller (of recent Deadpool fame) as the hilariously brash incubator owner - that alone gives you a stella group of people. But the chemistry that these people show on screen is the real achievement here, giving us truly believable character bonds.
3. It's seriously funny
From meticulously calculating the amount of time it would take to jerk off every guy at the Tech Crunch Disrupt conference to figuring out the pros and cons of letting a stunt driver fall to his death, the humour is dark to say the least. But every single gag is unforgettable.
Seriously, whether you're a tech nerd or novice, there is a level of humour for everyone here. With cameos from the likes of Stanford Robotics Dog robot and a certain scene of interaction with the porn industry, the diverse variety of laughs will keep you hooked.
4. There's a secretly good underdog drama beneath it all
The real connecting factor for me has been the trials and tribulations of one poor bloke, who refuses to be part of the insane status quo unfolding around him. All Pied Piper's Richard Hendrix wants to do is create something for himself and make his own impact on the planet.
Instead, he's dragged from pillar to post through a series of unfortunate events, while refusing to sacrifice his good spirit and honest character. It's a real underdog story that you can't help but rally for.
5. Mike Judge is at the helm
Granted, you may not know him for his live-action work. Mike's more popular for introducing a nation to the trip nature of Beavis and Butthead, and making America sympathetic for a conservative family in King of The Hill.
But trust me, he brings his A-Game to the writing of Silicon Valley. Super sharp and unbelievably funny at times, the resonant satire takes on a farcical dimension as we watch Richard go through a journey of self-discovery through developing Pied Piper.
It's the funniest and most relevant comedy I've seen in a long time - one you really need to see.