Silicon Valley: Season 2 created by Mike Judge, John Altschuler, and Dave Krinsky (HBO, 3 Arts Entertainment, Judgemental Films Inc.)
Starring Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Josh Brener, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Amanda Crew, Zach Woods, and Matt Ross.
*Spoilers for previous seasons… You’ve been warned!*
30 Minutes of Funny
When we collectively think comedy, the 30-minute sitcom immediately emerges from the simmering sea of consciousness. Thumb through the channels on any given night and you’ll find comedy, whether new programming or syndication. No matter the show, the average viewer can board and depart the comedy train at any point.
The average episode of comedy blends three plots—1 major and 2 supporting—into something funny and enjoyable.
Certain narrative structures exist from season to season, but it always feels like you are dropping by on the characters, asking them to make us laugh.
Silicon Valley, while one of the funniest shows on television, digs its teeth into story. And the details of such narrative provide a better show.
One Step Forward. Two Steps Back
Season 2 sees Pied Piper CEO, Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) struggle through the process of preparing a revolutionary compression algorithm for launch. At all times, it feels as if Hendricks and his team takes one step forward and two steps back.
The thrill of winning Tech Disrupt in the previous season finale has been replaced with more stress. Hooli (Silicon Valley’s Google analog) CEO Gavin Belson (Matt Ross) becomes increasingly hostile as he fights to win the war of compression. As a last-ditch effort, Belson sues Pied Piper claiming Hendricks developed the key components of the product at Hooli.
Even though the lawsuit is frivolous, the looming threat scares many venture capitalists away from Pied Piper.
The conflicts and resolutions of the season surround the inability to get the business off the ground with such a lawsuit in the background.
Characters and Plot
As the season unfolds, the minor details that exist as a point of comedy become major plot devices later, establishing the showrunners as wizards of comedic narrative.
Erlich Bachman (T.J. Miller) faces much character growth this season as his protégé Richard becomes more powerful and Bachman’s “mentorship” becomes less needed.
Likewise, the unending feud between Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) and Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) presents fertile ground for comedy, especially when they partner to perform a SWOT analysis around whether or not to let an unpleasant partner die in a fiery car crash.
While Silicon Valley is really funny, I remain impressed with how detailed a story we get to see. The cutthroat nature of business ripples from the dark core of this comedy and much of this season surrounds the question of Richard’s capability and mental fortitude to wear a black hat.
If you want a smart and engaging comedy. Watch Silicon Valley.
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5