HBO Silicon Valley Episode #1

Finally, a show about us! Well, not exactly. It’s us if you’re under 30, or maybe under 34, and as Lakshmi Stein says in the Prologue, 30 is the new 50.

So, the first episode of HBO’s Silicon Valley introduces Richard, Big Head, Erlich as a Seth Rogen who can code, Gavin as Sergey Brin, Peter Gregory as Peter Thiel, and as my friend Michelle Miller of The Underwriting would say, one perfect 7. Richard lives in Erlich’s house, mirroring Zuckerberg’s house in 2004 as imagined in The Social Network.

Between bits about Bit Soup, modern alphabetish soup featuring only 0s and 1s, NipAlert, an app that tells you when a girl with erect nipples is nearby, and someone calling Thiel/Gregory a fascist at TEDx (for dissing college), some brogrammers at Gavin’s googlesque Hooli realize that Richard’s own app, Pied Piper, is wrapped around a breakthrough in compression. Within a few hours, Richard, who earlier in the day was bemoaning his prospects for finding $1100/month for rent, finds himself with multiple offers valuing his website at $10M. In a doctor’s office where he seeks understanding and relief for the understandable anxiety attack that has him vomiting into the nearest trash can, the doctor pitches him an app that promises to inform the user whether he—not many shes around in this show, yet—is having a heart attack or an anxiety attack.

Everyone in this Silicon Valley tells you that they’re making the world a better place through [put your techno mumbo jumbo here], echoing a line from mid-90s Intel, when we used to say that our mission was making the world safe for microprocessors.

In the final scene, Richard and his stoned, lonely cohort, in a scene reminiscent of Knocked Up—alas, there is no Katherine Heigl yet—tries to find words to lead them, but all he can summon are the branded tag lines of the brands that rule our lives.

All of which is to say, the show is funny, has more than a hint of verisimilitude, and should draw a big local audience. Can’t say whether they’ve knocked it out of the park. But I’ll be watching and reviewing it. Come along for the ride.


Author of Moby Dx: A Novel of Silicon Valley

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Posted in Review, TV

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