California tech comedy a hit
I'm pretty sure no one was predicting that the acclaimed creator of the animated comedies "Beavis and Butthead" and "King of the Hill" would follow up on his prior accomplishments with a live action sitcom about the Silicon Valley tech industry, but thats exactly what Mike Judge has done.
Set in the famous Californian tech utopia that is home to companies including Google, Apple, HP, Facebook and more, HBO's latest comedy series "Silicon Valley" stands as a refreshing take on a grossly underutilized setting.
The humor of "Silicon Valley" is often subdued and awkward. This isn't a show that makes fun of unrealistically eccentric nerds a la "The Big Bang Theory," but rather one that invites you to laugh at a gang of brilliant young men with dazzlingly poor social skills, in matters of both personal and professional interest. It will show you what it looks like for a nerd to suddenly come into a ridiculous amount of money that they are neither prepared to receive nor know what to do with.
Enter the world of Tom Middleditch (Richard Hendrix), a young programmer who hopes his music service website "Pied Piper" will take off. Little does he know that his website makes use of a file compression algorithm that could very well change the world. A bidding war takes off and Richard must make that incredibly difficult decision that many startups dream/dread of: selling out for a few million dollars or staying with their company in the hopes of hitting upon a billion-dollar idea.
The great performance of the series' side-characters sell the premise with uber hipster Erlich (TJ Miller) perhaps destined to be the shows breakout star. Comedian Kumail Nanjiani also has a supporting role as Richard's friend Dinesh.
"Silicon Valley" is pretty funny as a whole. From the moment we see Kid Rock on stage for a small unenthusiastic crowd of young programmers, to seeing a doctor try to con Richard into investing in an idea of his, the humor flows constantly and in ways that are totally unexpected by the audience.
The series will undoubtedly be compared to "Betas," another Silicon Valley themed comedy series, which debuted on Amazon last fall and is unlikely to be renewed. While "Betas" used the Silicon Valley theme and setup loosely to support what is ultimately a very generic comedy program, "Silicon Valley" uses its premise to its full potential, highlighting the best (and worst) that this strange land of entrepreneurial success has to offer.
All in all, this solid series premiere shows huge potential for "Silicon Valley." The unlikeliest premise of a group of awkward nerds might just prove to hold one of the best comedy programs of this television season.
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