Silicon Valley (HBO)


#1

After Game of Thrones tonight, the new show from Mike Judge called Silicon Valley started. Here's a trailer if you haven't seen it:

It had some pretty funny (and awkward) moments that I enjoyed quite a bit. Looking forward to seeing where it goes after all of the setup in this initial episode.

Anyone else check it out?


#2

I thoroughly enjoyed, even though I haven’t spent much time in the Valley this century. I thought it did a great job capturing the “change the world”, but damn why can’t I get rich also, feel of the place. I wonder how folks who haven’t lived there or aren’t techies will react.


#3

I have it recorded but not watched it yet. Is it more than “Enterouge with nerds”?


#4

Yes, by a lot.


#5

This was fantastic.


#6

Really dug it. Curious how it plays when you’re not surrounded by people like that (i.e. outside the bar area, or if you don’t already read Valleywag). I haven’t been to a start-up party, but the beginning (Kid Rock interaction, the way people are divided up) is pretty much how a few E3 parties unfolded. Plus all the buzzwords. And the packs of five. Etc.


#7

HBO has put the first full episode on YouTube:


#8

Watched it. Loved it. Will watch it again.


#9

Ditto.
But I spent 10 years working in that area, with those people, in that culture so I feel like I was an easy sell.
I look forward to seeing where it goes, there is so much tech bro jackassery to mine still.


#10

Elon Musk, apparently enjoying some alcoholic beverages and critiques the show at the premiere party in

“The truth? It’s stranger than the fiction,” Musk declared, as the large group debated the verisimilitude of the show and also tech versus Hollywood in general. “Most startups are a soap opera, but not that kind of soap opera.”

Musk did not much like the show and continued talking about the issue of truth versus fiction, in what was an instant television review of “Silicon Valley.”

The verdict of the digital Roger Ebert? Thumbs very much down.

“None of those characters were software engineers. Software engineers are more helpful, thoughtful, and smarter. They’re weird, but not in the same way,” he insisted. “I was just having a meeting with my information security team, and they’re great but they’re pretty fucking weird — one used to be a dude, one’s super small, one’s hyper-smart — that’s actually what it is.”

Musk continued his lively assessment, as waiters passed trays of sweetbread, truffled potatoes, Brussels sprouts and bacon and waffles around them, making larger points about the tech landscape and offering a kind of on-the-fly script notes session for those gathered.

“I really feel like Mike Judge has never been to Burning Man, which is Silicon Valley,” opined Musk. “If you haven’t been, you just don’t get it. You could take the craziest L.A. party and multiply it by a thousand, and it doesn’t even get fucking close to what’s in Silicon Valley. The show didn’t have any of that.”

Musk looked around the circle and asked who had been to colorful annual desert festival that is a favorite of tech’s elite. Not a one answered in the affirmative.

Then, Musk made the observation that the geeks are without the same social aspirations as those in the entertainment industry, an aspect which he thought the show completely missed.

“The parties in Silicon Valley are amazing because people don’t care about how they’re perceived socially, which I don’t think Mike [Judge] got. Hollywood is a place where people always care about what the public will think of them … and the show felt more like that,” he said. “I’ve lived in Hollywood 12 years, and I’ve never been to a fucking good party.”

Musk reached for a bacon waffle and proclaimed that he would take Judge to Burning Man this year.


#11

It might be because I live here, but it seemed like it was a bit too over the top for me. I’ll keep up with it, though. I’m curious to see where they’re going with the main thread.


#12

A writer at the now mercifully Yglesias-free [I]Slate[/I] didn’t like it.

Silicon Valley writer Clay Tarver has said, “When I first read the pilot, I thought maybe it was too harsh.” If Silicon Valley is harsh, then Brooklyn Nine-Nine is Serpico. Harsh would be tech billionaire Peter Thiel plotting to build a private offshore nation on the one hand while building government surveillance tools with his company Palantir on the other. Harsh would be Zynga ex-CEO Mark Pincus doing “every horrible thing in the book just to get revenues” (his words), then extorting stock options from his own employees. Harsh would be Sony installing viral rootkits on their customers’ desktops to prevent them from ripping CDs. Harsh is anything having to do with Something Awful or 4chan. There is an abundance of ripe and ready targets, none of which the show sees fit to mention.

The recurrent themes—that people want money and will sell one another out in stupid ways while deceiving themselves into thinking they’re good people—are nothing new and hardly specific to the setting. Since satire only gains its viciousness from knowing particularity, the show fires one-size-fits-all blanks. The show briefly teases on Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto but ignores the far wider target of Ayn Rand–style techno-libertarianism, possibly because Judge himself is a pro-gun libertarian who didn’t sing a cappella at Sarah Lawrence.


#13

Well, it was definitely exaggerated, but that’s sort of the whole idea. Office Space wasn’t a perfect representation of that situation either, but it was an excellent parody.


#14

Nice shout out to the Mass Effect 3 endings. LOL


#15

I was about to mention that.


#16

Sunday night has ton of great shows, Game of Thrones, Good Wife, Walking Dead and now Turn, along with the venerable 60 Minutes. But the last three weeks my favorite has been Silicon Valley. A friend of mine is professor of Entrepreneurship and very active in the Angel, VC community and he also loved it. But I am not hearing much buzz from my friends in Silicon Valley so I wonder if will really catch on.


#17

It’s already been renewed for a second season. Last night’s episode was hilarious.


#18

I think my favorite scene was the elevator pitch from the clerk at the liquor barn. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had clerks at Fry’s give me elevator pitches and any other place reasonably techy. But never at a liquor store before…


#19

I’ve only watched the first two episodes. So far I like it, but it’s kind of a curious show and it’s still really finding it’s feet. I can only give you the name of two characters (Big head, Patrick Gregory). I think the dude from the Office’s last name is “Dunn”, but I’m not sure.

And see, I got one of those names half-wrong.


#20

Sadly, the actor that plays Peter Gregory, Christopher Evan Welch, died shortly after he filmed his role for the first season.