In “Proof of Concept,” Silicon Valley has set up the future of Pied Piper (and their terrible, forgettable logo) regarding the TechCrunch Disrupt competition, but it also had a lot to say about women and sexuality. As it has done all season, Silicon Valley brought together great character moments with biting satire aimed at the tech world. And who wouldn’t have wanted to be in the writers’ room when they were coming up with those fake apps? Hit the jump, “I’m going to go network — don’t approach me.”
Monica threw out some stats in “Proof of Concept” that helped explain some of the gender ratio questions lingering around since the first episode. “Typically, 2% of those in the tech world are women. [At the conference], it’s 15%.” Women were largely a distraction to the Pied Piper men in the episode, which Monica herself was both a part of, and warned them about.
First, there was Erlich’s past dalliance with one of the judge’s wives, and his later dalliance with the judge’s new wife. Richard was confronted about and by Sherry Caldwell, who he is supposedly obsessed with (and he didn’t do much to help his cause), while Dinesh discovered an interesting facet to his sexuality thanks to Charlotte and her lack of Java programming knowledge. Monica also did more than in any other episode, helping to guide the Pied Piper guys through their time at Disrupt, which disrupted Jared’s relationship with them — particularly with Richard.
It’s interesting to consider what Silicon Valley is saying with all of this. The 2% quote backs up the general lack of women represented — if they aren’t there, they aren’t there. But when they are there, they’re portrayed as distractions at best (this was a theme in the Tara episode), or even feared (many times they are in a position of power). Because I love Silicon Valley, I choose to take the view that women appear on the show as they are experienced by these men in this particularly environment. In that light, it’s more of a commentary on how women are perceived and valued (or not valued) in this uber male geek world. After all, Silicon Valley has taught us that it’s a master of satire. Why would this aspect be any different?
“Proof of Concept” brought up several instances of the guys fawning over things like, “it was a crazy party, there must have been, like, 12 girls there” (as Big Head recounts to an amazed and jealous Richard). But the more interesting subplot was Dinesh’s discovery that he is sexually attracted to code. Dinesh and Gilfoyle’s weird competitions and sexual innuendo have been a theme throughout the season, culminating (so it seemed) with the Tara episode. But in “Proof of Concept” it took another weird turn, and while Gilfoyle was the one who wrote the beautiful code, the stranger point was that Dinesh, beyond the teasing, actually was turned on by it.
Though Sherry overhearing Jared’s pleas to Monica about her severing his connection with Richard was an easy joke, which allowed some very nice emotional moments that ultimately set Jared and Richard straight, the other thing is that all of the men do have very close relationships with one another beyond regular friendship. It’s what makes their bonds so ripe for humor as well as sweet character moments.
In the end though, it was Erlich who of course stole the show. His sex life seems to have (potentially) ruined Pied Piper’s chances, even when it seemed like it was a slam-dunk (not only because of the strength of their product, but because Erlich’s presentation was going to blow the other guys out of the water). In Pied Piper, the guys have been saving and supporting Richard through much of this experience. And thanks to Erlich, it seems like it’s up to Richard to dig them out and save things, by being forced to stand up and be the leader this entire season has been prepping him to do. As long as he doesn’t have any cilantro.
Episode Rating: A
Musings and Miscellanea:
— “Wide diaper” as an insult of Pied Piper.
— Jared was back from that island for a day, and still didn’t get any toilet paper?! I like that they carried that joke over and even expanded on it a bit, about him being there for 4 days. He did look thinner and more waxen than usual.
— “Have you ever cared too much?” – Erlich.
— Jared was so polite to the mini drone, of course, but Gilfolyle just swatted it away.
— “You’re into my code, you’re code gay” – Gilfoyle.
— So many great fake apps … Human Heater, the human microwave, Spendr (Tindr for spinsters who want to get laid), and of course, Richard’s doctor and his Heart Attack or Panic Attack? app.
— The “making the world a better place” montage, with the bonus of “mobile, social, and local — mo so lo!” was fantastic and sickening.
— “You know, Gandhi, MLK, me as an inquisitive child” – Erlich.
— “And he knows” – Gilfoyle.