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Monday, April 7, 2014

Silicon Valley, Episode One: Reminds Us of Betas

Posted By on Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 9:30 AM

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Television is always the last creative outlet to portray something happening in real life. To wit, families other than white ones living together on a sitcom, families with women who are single parents, families with gays being parents, or families with extraterrestrials who eat cats. Eventually TV catches up with reality.

HBO has decided that it's time someone shined a satiric light on Silicon Valley, though to be fair, Amazon had already created a similar show called Betas. Betas was good for one episode -- funny and sharp -- but then it quickly got mired in plot and lost its sense of humor. Actually, the same could be said for this first episode of Silicon Valley, which comes out of the gate with some good zingers but then speeds up to make-way for a plot. The good news is, it's a good plot. Milktoast programmer Richard (Thomas Middleditch) unknowingly invents an algorithm that the entire tech world wants while trying instead to create some silly little app. Big money comes calling and he has to make some decisions about who, if anyone, to sell to. He has a posse of geek friends.

The Silicon Valley "inside jokes" are rife and hella funny. The show opens with Kid Rock performing on stage, pyrotechnics exploding and his high-tops pounding up and down on the stage like, well, an amalgamation of hip-hop, metal, and the GOP. After a particularly bombastic finale he stops and waits for his applause, but the camera pans out over the crowd and we realize he's in some douchebag billionaire's backyard, hired to play a party. The clapping is scattered, the guests mostly inside. Conversations from web developers are all about how they are "changing the world" and not being "evil," and lowly minion programmers poke fun at the richies. "Isn't he buying an island in the Pacific?" says one. "No," answers the other, "he's building one."

Being a Bay Area curmudgeon, my favorite parts were where they made fun of fold-up bike people and gourmet appetizers like "liquid shrimp."

Already billed as "Entourage with computer geeks," we shall see if the rest of America also wants to laugh at these people as much as we do.

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About The Author

Katy St. Clair

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