“Silicon Valley” strikes genius

HBO’s absurd tech comedy is undoubtedly a hit.

misflix.com

misflix.com

Christian Davis, Writer

Forget the frozen wastelands of Castle Black and the southern gothic swamps of Louisiana — HBO’s latest focus is Palo Alto, and the scores of programmers and engineers inhabiting it.

PURSUING A DREAM

“Silicon Valley” takes on the idea of what it means to be a part of Northern California’s ever-booming tech industry, where new start-ups are firing up about as often as ones are going bankrupt. Caught in the middle of this capitalistic crossfire is Richard Hendrix, played by Thomas Middleditch. Hendrix, along with a few of the complete whack-job programmers he lives with, leaves a job at prestigious computing company “Hooli,” in order to pursue his own dreams as CEO of his very own software company.

BORDERLINE ABSURD

Much like “The Office’s” cringeworthy moments, “Silicon Valley” is full of plot twists to doom Hendrix’s infant company nearly every episode. This has the potential to get stale across the show’s two seasons, but instead the number of nosedives Hendrix’s company takes is borderline absurd. The show kills his dreams of owning a successful software company nearly every episode, with hilarious deus-ex-machina solutions appearing out of nowhere for the rescue.

Above all, “Silicon Valley” excels in its wide cast of characters. Hendrix lives in a business incubator, a fancy description for what can otherwise be reduced to a house where programmers party, smoke weed and occasionally get some coding done. Hendrix’s team includes Gilfoyle, a Canadian (illegal) immigrant who just so happens to be a LaVeyan Satanist, and Dinesh, a Pakistani programmer who exists in a sort of perpetual cat and mouse with Gilfoyle’s pranks.

DIFFICULT TO COMPARE

Make no mistake, “Silicon Valley” is unashamedly HBO. It is the kind of show that is difficult to compare to anything on network television, as HBO can obviously get away with so much more. Would I suggest to watch it with your parents? Probably not. Then again, my dad is knee-deep in the tech industry, and I watched “Silicon Valley” on his recommendation, which definitely adds a new layer to things.

Beneath the obvious in-show references to Google and Apple shenanigans, my dad can point out the sheer absurdity of working in the corporate tech world. From flowcharts, risk analysis and team building exercises, “Silicon Valley” points out how weird the intersection is between cutting edge technologies and corporate America. For industry insiders like my dad, it hits close to home, but the show gives the rest of us a glimpse into an ordinary day in California’s cutting-edge valley.

This story is part three of a three-part series discussing a selection of HBO’s most popular shows. Part one was published on Oct. 15, 2015 and part two was published on Oct. 22, 2015.

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