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.
Maybe 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.
There 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.