On Silicon Valley: Season Three

I realise this sounds ridiculous to say this about a 30-minute episode of a comedy episode from the creator of Beavis & Butthead, but watching Silicon Valley can be a grueling experience. I’m now conditioned to the formula — whenever things go well for Richard and Pied Piper, I quickly realise it’ll never last. Of course, this is true of almost every story — there must be an obstacle for the hero to overcome. But Richard’s struggle is near constant. He gets a brief reprieve, perhaps at the end of a season, before everything goes wrong again. Sometimes I watch the show and think, ‘That poor man deserves a break’. Then, when he gets one, my next thought is ‘This won’t last long’

I do wonder how SV will end. Some shows have the capacity to run indefinitely, and some don’t. In Silicon Valley’s world, PP won’t be a moderate company. It’ll either be a huge success or completely flame out (I’ll put my money on flame-out). If its a blazing success, then the team become rich. Mad rich. PP’s team aren’t hugely motivated by money, but if they’re all sitting on billions, will we identify with them as well? Would we care as mich about their personal stakes if those stakes are far less material? There are plenty of shows featuring wealthy characters who we still identify with. But their finances aren’t part of the show, they’re background, part of the character’s lifestyle. By being about the founding members of a startup in an area where, to the outsider, money is seemingly everywhere.

Why am I even thinking about the end of a show that’s only three seasons old?

As of this season, Jared became my favourite character. SV has always been very quotable, but now most of my favourite quotes have come from him. His ‘joke’ about Danesh’s chain that caused Richard to trip up was the comic highlight of the season.

Three was the best season yet. Season two had a number of plot points that seemed to serve no purpose except to fill airtime (like server problems, for example). As I think back on season three, I can only think of Richard’s brief relationship as a similar example. Every main character had interesting, organic plot points. While it’s sad that the show had to move away from Peter Gregory in light of [Christopher Evan Welch’s] death, at least there’s now some space for Laurie to be more of a unique character and less like a female version of him. The sizeable gap left by the disappearance of Russ Hahneman was effortlessly filled.

I remember the first time I heard Peter Thiel speak, and I couldn’t understand why his voice sounded so familiar. Then I realised he was at least part of the inspiration for Peter Gregory. There was a downside to that realisation. As new characters arrived in the show, I’d get distracted, wondering if they were based on a real person. I spent parts of season three wondering if ‘Action’ Jack Barker had a real life counterpart. Then I read that Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey was known for leaving in the middle of a workday to attend yoga and sewing classes. Much like Barker would disappear to, say, watch a terrifying horse penis at work. Outside of that, I don’t know if there are any other similarities. I should probably have researched that before writing about it. Too late now.


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