Aug 6, 2017
Watch Mike Judge’s ‘Silicon Valley’ Premiere Here, And Then We Will Tell You What You Just Saw
Did you watch that? The entire premiere of Mike Judge’s “Silicon Valley,” right here at HappyNiceTime? Well go back and watch it, because you will singlehandedly septuple our average “time on site.” OK, cool thanks.
Now we are in Mike Judge’s “Silicon Valley” on HBO, and everything is not awesome. Kid Rock is playing for about 15 unenthused people. This is what it looks like when Google acquires your company for over $200 million — and what it looks like is sadness, that sixteenth birthday party where you were sure every time the phone rang it was all your guests calling to cancel. And it was. The masters of the universe may have $40 billion in one room, but it hasn’t led to anything like “fun.” People mill about, talking only to the people they came with. There’s no concentration of bodies — each guest has about a half-acre of personal space. Nobody here can make a connection, or even feel pleasure in insane luxury. Wylie Dufresne — nerdy sweet Top Chef fave, obsessed with liquifying things and eggs — has catered some sort of liquid shrimp. It tastes, they imagine, like come tastes. It probably needed more pineapple juice.
It will be a while before we can put faces to names, but right off we have our anti-Entourage:
Ehrlich is the guy who’s already hit paydirt selling one company, and has put all his buddies in a ranch house to “incubate” their startups. He’ll get a 10-percent stake in whatever gold they can mine from the streets of Silicon Valley. Ehrlich is the only one of the five who doesn’t seem to be riddled with Asperger’s — he can schmooze, look people in the eye, hit on bitches. He’s also arrogant and a dick — not far from the awful redhaired pickup artist in “Mixology,” if you’ve been watching that with a mix of horror and mild interest, like I have.
Richard is the guy who is about to either own the universe or kill himself, depending on what course he chooses for his compression algorithm that will revolutionize the Internet.
Guilfoyle is a LaVeyan Satanist; he’s the guy from “Party Down.” And then there are two others, whom presumably we’ll get to know better in future.
You don’t have to watch TED talks or read Pando to understand the rhythms and personal exchanges of “Silicon Valley,” though we’re sure some pretty clever jokes flew right over our little liberal arts noggins. Just think of all your Aspie friends and loved ones, and replace half of them with Aziz Ansari from “Parks and Recreation,” bragging about whatever guys like that brag about — in this case, at this particular party, it is “But seriously a few days ago, when we were sitting down with Barack Obama” and “Yes, we’re disrupting digital media.” When the show wants those of us who don’t read Whisper to know what is going on, it will tell us, with words, “look that is Eric Schmidt from Google, here at this party.” Thank you, show.
We meander through the boys looking up girls on dating sites; one is looking for a relationship she hopes “will become sexual in nature.” She, like they, is on The Spectrum. We meander through a bit of exposition about it taking $2800 or $4500 in rent to live in Silicon Valley — with five roommates. They decide to go to a TED talk by Peter Gregory, where he will bite off words about the scam that is college and offer a cool $100k to people who are willing to drop out; Silicon Valley is the cradle of civilization because of dropouts, he says. “You are a dangerous man, spewing ignorance,” says a fat man from the audience before storming out. Peter Gregory is unperturbed. The boys try to pitch him Richard’s “Pied Piper” app for searching music copyrights before his assistant blows them off — sure, yeah, we’ll look it up — before he zips off in a car that can squeeze between two parked cars, with extra feet on either size. Fucking billionaires.
Richard works at Hooli, a stand-in for every terrible start-up for men with arrested development who want to go back and remake themselves as cool kids. But here there are cool kids — the brogrammers who really believe they’re macho, and can intimidate and mock the socially inelegant Richard. One of the brogrammers is
Jonah from Veep, as offputting a presence here as in the West Wing. Poor Jonah from Veep. Good lord, that was not Jonah from Veep at all. It was Zach Woods from The office. And he is also offputting.
The testosterrific smirks leave the brogrammers’ faces as they realize Richard’s application — despite being consumer-facing toward a pretty small segment of “consumers” — is fucking revolutionary. They look like they will throw up with envy as a group gathers round to marvel.
Pied Piper is gonna be big y’all.
Gavin Belson, owner of Hooli (and Harry Dean Stanton’s terrifying son Alby in “Big Love”), calls Richard in for an immediate meeting regarding his compression algorithm. As Richard and Ehrlich (as 10 percent stakeholder) wait to meet with him, they have some chit-chat with company vice presidents who get 10 minutes with Belson a month — but those 10 minutes are “amazing.” Meanwhile, Belson is meeting with his spiritual advisor, who is pretty sure that the path to spiritual enlightenment is being the world’s biggest asshole. “I’m sorry these gentlemen kept you waiting,” Belson says, because of course he does.
And just like that, Peter Gregory is on the phone, and Belson’s offer of $600,000 for the work increases to $3 million. Peter Gregory counters with $300k for 10 percent of Richard’s future company, and the expertise and connections to help him run it. Then it’s $200k for five percent, and Richard is vomiting and then going to the Atherton Urgent Care to meet with the world’s worst Urgent Care doctor, who gives him the helpful advice that when he tries to kill himself for either taking the money or not taking the money, don’t hold the gun up to your temple; that just takes out your optic nerves and half your face, and then you’ve got to live with all that, on top of whatever terrible decision you made about the money.
Also, how about an investment for his app that tells you whether you’re in cardiac arrest, or just a panic attack?
Here is Monica, who’s tracked Richard to the Urgent Care with the GPS in his cell phone on which Gregory has invested — and which Congress doesn’t know the half of. Who will fall in love with Monica? Who won’t fall in love with Monica! She’s capable, an excellent businesswoman, female … maybe the only woman in the hyper-sex-segregated Silicon Valley!
And back at the hacker hostel, Ehrlich slurps a bowl of ramen in possibly the grossest eating scene since that time I cured my son of chewing with his mouth open by showing George W. Bush eating lunch at the G8.
But disgusting as he is, he offers a friendship and support for Richard we didn’t see coming. Would Ehrlich be okay with turning down a cool million in cash for himself for Richard’s algorithm?
“No Richard, I’m not okay with it. I’m excited about it.”
They’ll think different. They’ll just do it. Shit, they can’t come up with any kind of cliche that isn’t already taken. They decide instead: let’s make it happen.