UPDATED ON 15th APRIL
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“What about garbage?”
If you’ve already started ‘Silicon Valley’, then you know how it can be simultaneously hilarious, sharp, accurate, and bleak. If you disagree with this assessment, you’ve clearly not seen enough of the show or have not understood it. In either case, my deepest sympathies are with you.
In case you haven’t started watching it yet, or haven’t heard of it, this is the premise of the show: the series chronicles the (mis)adventures of a ‘the next big thing’ company, the fictional Pied Piper, a company that provides ‘A Middle-Out Compression Solution Making Data Storage Problems Smaller’. This complicated mumbo-jumbo means that they make files smaller, to save space, and do a really good job of it. Centred primarily around Richard Hendricks, your typical coder/computer guy/computer engineer/ nerd/ socially awkward lanky white boy and the genius who builds technology that could potentially be worth billions.
Silicon Valley offers a satirical, and often self-aware, look at the high-stakes gambling game that takes place between technology companies, venture capital firms, and the few power players who control technology monopolies and squash threats to their empires with ruthless ease. Over the course of three seasons, the protagonists, who include the aforementioned genius white boy, a stereotypical South Asian, a ‘still stuck in the 2000’s Emo and grunge scene’ programmer with a ponytail and an arrogant overweight ‘veteran’ of the game. There is also a business-savvy member of the team, who fulfils the ‘doormat’ role, and, perhaps, fulfils it too much.The protagonists are surrounded by a small satellite of stereotypical (again) characters, most notably Jian Yang, a Chinese app developer who speaks butchered English (the title of this article is his response to being told to repeat the words “I never burn trash”), and Monica Hall, who is there to provide the ‘12% of tech people are women’ quota, as the show itself makes very clear. The antagonists are no less, exaggerating the blind ego and stupidity of tech titans and investors to almost unbelievable levels.
Needless to say, this show is fantastic.
As part of its brutal satire of the nerd elite, and of the tech industry as a whole, it delivers a solid story, with bleak results but with hope, unexpected yet expected plot twists, and a smooth, unfiltered, uncensored, sharp, and ceaselessly ‘savage’ brand of humour. While some (or most) of the tech lingo that is used may fly over one’s head, there isn’t much that is difficult to follow. The writers and creators have gone to tremendous lengths to ensure that they depict as accurate an image of the real valley as possible; their pursuit of accuracy is so extreme that the show has a consultant that sold a company to Google for a hundred million dollars and was once the CEO of Twitter.
In order to avoid giving away details or putting down spoilers, I will conclude with the following, which, if I am being honest, does no justice to the show itself, as does the roughly 500-word ramble that I listed before it. Nevertheless, here goes: Silicon Valley is an accurate, hilarious, dark and smart take on the real hub of the global tech world, that is not afraid of being brutal in its opinion and depiction of the chaos that produces our alien ware and ‘smart’ devices. It delivers fantastic comedy (partly through its unashamed stereotyping) and a gripping story, that will emotionally involve you to the extent that you will be screaming when you see the protagonists make obvious mistakes, and a series of unfortunate events follow.
Take my word for it, and go invest, in ‘Silicon Valley’.