SILICON VALLEY Recap: Season One Finale, “Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency”

by     Posted 200 days ago

silicon valley recap

What a fantastic inaugural season for Mike Judge‘s Silicon Valley.  The show fired on all cylinders through its run, and is probably the funniest comedy HBO has produced in years.  A lot of HBO’s recent comedies have been dark or subversive — Girls, Hello Ladies, even Looking (which was excellent, and never really a comedy).  Silicon Valley is very smart, very sharp, but never dark.  The season was tight, reflexive, funny, weird, and deeply satirical.  Hit the jump for more adjectives.

“Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency” ended things in a way that would have been perfect for a series finale, had HBO not already renewed it.  Pied Piper was victorious, but in an unexpected way.  It was the right choice to have them prevail, as expected, because the way it happened could not have been predicted.  Richard, who started everything, brought it home to finish it.  His speech wasn’t suddenly eloquent or inspired, but the work spoke for itself.  It kept Richard from having to fundamentally change for or because of the triumph, but instead, rewarded for his perseverance and talent.

silicon valley recap finale thomas middleditch tj miller martin starr kumail nanjianiMaybe I’m jaded from a Game of Thrones and Mad Men world, but it was really awesome to actually see David beat a Goliath.  Things are far from over though, as Monica basically outlined next season’s struggles in his litany of “and here’s what’s next!” to Richard (which made him fear vomit — the perfect response).  Silicon Valley isn’t primarily interested in that struggle, though.  All season, it’s built up its weird little world perfectly, both in characterization and with its head-shaking at the tech industry.  Pied Piper is the vehicle by which we are able to experience this madcap world.  Its failure wouldn’t have assisted in that.

Perhaps the greatest, and most sophomoric aspect of “Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency” though was that it was an incredibly detailed, mathematical and theoretical discussion of how a person could jerk-off 800 penises in ten minutes, that ignited Richard’s compression genius.  It’s pretty clear that the message is that Silicon Valley is a giant wank fest.  But it also tore down the illusion of inspiration coming from any lofty ideal.  Richard is a genius at coding, and he created an incredible system — that shouldn’t be diminished.  But the fact that the impetus came from dick jokes is a great one, and a great example of the show’s occasionally crass satire.

silicon valley recap finale thomas middleditchThere were plenty of other incisive moments in “Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency” (that title pun, as well), including the legalities at the beginning which led to Pied Piper’s immediate inclusion among the finalists, and Dinesh and Gilfoyle’s quandary over whether or not they should ditch Richard and try to get hired at Kwerpy.  Of course, the Kwerpy guy was hoping they would hire him, because the company was going belly-up.  The grass is not greener, it seems.  Even Hooli, despite all of their other great functionality, could not reach Pied Piper’s Weisman Score (a fictional metric created within the show).  The question of whether or not Richard should have taken the money or not is still possibly debatable, but one thing we know for sure: he’s probably made the world a better place.  ::vomit::

Episode Rating: A

Season Rating: A

Musings and Miscellanea:

– Poor Dan, you can’t go up against Erlich, The Hammer of God!

– “I fucked a wife and took a hit for this” – Erlich.

– Glad Jared finally got some sleep!  His data collection techniques were hilarious, but particularly so when he was confronted by the police officer.  “I got the Adderall from an underaged kid I brought into my home.” Ha!

– “I’m going to disrupt this bathroom” – Gilfolyle.

–”We need to act like an animal in the wild.  Act erratically and lash out at everything around us” –  Erlich.

– Richard: “You go on dates with failures?”  Monica: “All of the time.”

– As cute as they both are, I don’t really buy any chemistry between those two, especially since there was no time to develop it in any way.  Maybe that’s something for next season.

– Erlich creating a false media rumor storm around Gavin Belson was incredible.

– That really was the nerdiest victory ever.

– “Release me, Richard, release the Kraken!” – Erlich.




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  • Redjester

    You guys and gals at Collider should really consider opening up the comment section to these shows an hour before the show is to air (you could even have a countdown) and just add in your reviews later on in the night. Why give up all the potential pre-show and mid-show traffic to your competition? It’s nonsensical. Besides, by the time you guys do post, most of the post-show excitement/shock is already worn off as well.

    Anyway, love the site as is. Just a suggestion.

  • randommale7

    Hey Allison, there’s little hilarious show called Veep…it’s also on HBO and is fantastic…just saying…

  • utazdevl

    The “How Many Dicks Could Erlich Jack Off” discussion was hysterical. The fact that it went on for 2 hours and included 2 dry erase boards filled with feasibility equations (including diagrams) made it one of the funniest things I have ever seen on TV (and a little too real).

  • Tritium3H

    Hmm…it definitely took me awhile to warm up to this show. I don’t think I laughed at all during the first few episodes. However, it definitely has gotten better (and funnier) as the season progressed…which I think is mainly due to the writers and the characters hitting their stride. This latest episode is my favorite, and I genuinely laughed my ass off a number of times.

    Erlich (T.J. Miller) is the stand-out, and just kills every scene he is in. Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) has a great deadpan delivery. The characters of Jared and Dinesh have their moments. However, IMHO, Thomas Middleditch (Richard) is about as funny as a wet paper bag. He plays a quirky geek well, and I am sure he is fine actor…but I don’t think he has that natural comedic gift, whether it is delivery, mannerisms and/or timing. For me, whenever he is the focus of a scene, the show comes to a screeching halt, comedy-wise. That is not to say his story arc is not interesting. He just isn’t funny (again, obviously my humble opinion).

    Oh, and Amanda Crew is very easy on the eyes.

  • Tritium3H

    Hmm…it definitely took me awhile to warm up to this show. I don’t think I laughed at all during the first few episodes. However, it definitely has gotten better (and funnier) as the season progressed…which I think is mainly due to the writers and the characters hitting their stride. This latest episode is my favorite, and I genuinely laughed my ass off a number of times.

    Erlich (T.J. Miller) is the stand-out, and just kills every scene he is in. Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) has a great deadpan delivery. The characters of Jared and Dinesh have their moments. However, IMHO, Thomas Middleditch (Richard) is about as funny as a wet paper bag. He plays a quirky geek well, and I am sure he is fine actor…but I don’t think he has that natural comedic gift, whether it is delivery, mannerisms and/or timing. For me, whenever he is the focus of a scene, the show comes to a screeching halt, comedy-wise. That is not to say his story arc is not interesting. He just isn’t funny (again, obviously my humble opinion).

    Oh, and Amanda Crew is very easy on the eyes.

    • Grech

      Thomas Middleditch Is a hilarious person in real life, with EXCELLENT comic timing and sensibilities. Listen to any podcast with him on.

      I think the job for him as the lead is to play this insecure fumbling mess,. so its rare for himt o be armed with a great punchline or some stellar deadpan.

      Its also important for him as the conduit for the audience to be much more grounded and inhibited than the rest of the crazy cast.

    • http://www.JustPressPlay.net Lex Walker

      If you need proof of Middleditch’s comic sensibility, try his appearances on the Pete Holmes show…specifically the Street Fighter bits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gtu2Yb0nk4 and the outtakes

  • vitextreeradar

    i took a chance on this show after seeing it briefly mentioned in an article about the amc 80s show about the early days of personal computers. i marathoned half the season in one shot and laughed out loud so many times. it reminded me of how to make in america in a weird way. i hope this show continues.

    • LEM

      Did “How to make it in America” remind you of how to make it in America?

  • Royale With Cheese

    This was the funniest episode in scripted television history.

  • King of Burgers

    Can we spare a word for Peter Gregory, AKA the late Christopher Evan Welch? While I do think it’s funny that he’s so legendary that the show manages to keep making wild excuses for his absence rather than write him out completely (and I wonder if this will continue into the second season and beyond), his time on the show was far too brief and he will be greatly missed. CICADAS.

    • derek

      I had no idea. Thanks for informing us. So sad.

    • beautyindecay

      He was brilliant.

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  • Anthony

    I think the show is ok. I think it could be better. It hasn’t gotten better for me. I am still watching cause there is still something about it thats a little appealing. Even though its portrayal of Silicon Valley is probably completely obscured, it gives me a fantasy of what it could possibly be if the cost of living wasn’t through the roof. Talk about corporate bondage, if it exist anywhere, it would be there. I like how they are utilizing the most overly marketed word “The Cloud” as their main technology motive. I think that is why I keep watching. Cause I am hopeing the writers are going t come up with something better then some overly marketed cloud technology which is nothing more then a server. Cloud sounds more friendlier to the consumer then saying Server. Hints why IBM is going down. I don’t think their IBM 2.0 SERVER SOLUTIONS quite fancied the customers. Perhaps jargon isn’t the best marketing tool. Anyhow, I guess data compression is a good direction cause I can’t see any holes in the increase in innovation in that direction since BIG DATA is our main problem in the IT world. God I hope they do something on Net Neutrality. Perhaps make the big corporate company have a lobbyist or something. Anyhow, I guess in a nutshell I wish it was a little more serious on some technological issues that maybe the typical consumer can understand. In a nutshell, it almost feels like a IT version of The big Bang Theory.

    • http://www.JustPressPlay.net Lex Walker

      Isn’t The Big Bang Theory just the physics version of The IT Crowd?

      • Anthony

        Yea, but the Writers of Big Bang Theory beat them to the punch. Now its just a knock off.

      • http://www.JustPressPlay.net Lex Walker

        How did Big Bang Theory beat IT Crowd to the punch? IT Crowd started a year before Big Bang Theory.

      • Anthony

        I’ve never heard of IT Crowd so maybe I was wrong on that. Or maybe IT Crowd just doesn’t have as much hype as Big Bang Theory. I don’t know.

      • http://www.JustPressPlay.net Lex Walker

        It’s a British show, it lasted for 4 seasons. Definitely check it out, it’s pretty damned funny.

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