Silicon Valley: Server Space
May 11, 2015 9:36 AM - Season 2, Episode 5 - Subscribe

After six new hires, Pied Piper is ready to move out of Erlich's house and into a real office (a space with exposed brick beneath a modeling agency)...until Gavin Belson blacklists them from all web-based servers and Richard is forced to choose between offices and servers.

Richard's night sweating is teetering on the precipice of bed-wetting when he gets the news that no company is willing to upset Gavin Belson and Hooli to host Pied Piper on its servers. Even though Richard knows that moving out of Erlich's house will help ease his stress level, he is forced to give the money he would have spent on office space to Gilfoyle to build their own servers at Erlich's incubator. Gilfoyle begins building in Erlich's garage, and discovers that Jared has been sleeping there since he quit working at Hooli. Jared moves into Richard's bedroom and Richard discovers Jared sleep-talks in German...loudly. Though Richard is beyond disappointed to be staying and sharing a room with Jared, Erlich has had trouble recruiting new worthwhile incubees (he is not thrilled with a Christian dog-sharing app pitch) and seems secretly relieved to have them stay, even if his devotion to (quickly learning about) Japanese business culture and his parting gift of a kimono to Richard would suggest otherwise.

The team's movements of moving-out and moving-in have alerted a Noah, a neighbor who is not thrilled with renters or businesses in his family-friendly neighborhood. Noah threatens to alert the authorities to the activities of an illegal business in their un-zoned neighborhood, but is silenced to a detente when Richard discovers Noah keeps illegal ferrets in his backyard.

Meanwhile, back at Hooli, Bannerchek—the deserving co-head-dreamer at Hooli [XYZ]—quits after demonstrating his inability to continue working on such important projects as a non-invasive, yet neurally-controlled, robotic monkey arms (what the monkey chooses to do with his new arm is not important!) alongside Bighead/Baghead. Gavin Belson promotes Baghead to sole head dreamer at Hooli [XYZ], despite the latter accomplishing nothing more than a dangerously malfunctioning potato gun. Unknown to both of them, Hooli's Nucleus project is more than 15 weeks behind schedule, and Gavin has just announced a sneak preview of the service will stream an upcoming UFC fight.
posted by joan cusack the second (16 comments total)
 
I didn't realize that ferrets were illegal in California. They seem like a most Californian of pets, so I assumed Erlich was BSing when he was turning down those hapless Christian pet-lovers. I will give props to the writers for having that one pay off.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:54 AM on May 11, 2015


This is one of those episodes where the sum of its parts was greater than the bits themselves. I really hate the ineffectual doctor (this is the second time we've seen him, right?). The monkey joke went on way too long (and that's not really my kind of humour anyway), and so on. But I loved the depiction of Erlich and his need to have the guys stay at the house. And I loved Gilfoyle being smart and assertive and helpful (for a change). Maybe I'm just a sap, but I enjoy it when the main characters are the best versions of themselves.

As a total aside I was reading the AV Club review and in the comments, somebody mentioned that the actor who portrays Richard is the same one who does Gambit and Nightcrawler in the Prof. X fires the X-Men shorts. I remember watching those a while ago, but didn't clue in they were the same person. Now I want a Silicon Valley/MCU crossover.
posted by sardonyx at 11:20 AM on May 11, 2015


I appreciate that they actually gave a plausible-sounding reason why building their own servers made technical sense, raising it a level beyond just dealing with having been blacklisted everywhere else.
posted by jimw at 2:16 PM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I really hate the ineffectual doctor (this is the second time we've seen him, right?)

I think it's the third time. It was only funny the first time. I reckon he's going to be a recurring part.

I'm also intrigued by Jared's command of German in his sleep; I wonder if it's going somewhere or just a one off.
posted by dhruva at 8:40 PM on May 11, 2015


Yep, ferrets are illegal in California. I remember wandering through a pet store in Louisiana and seeing this mass of fur curled up in a hammock in a cage. I asked an employee what it was, so he reached his hand in and gently nudged the mass. It unfurled into three ferrets, which was both awesome and terrifying.

I also dislike the doctor. But Jared anxiously making Richard more anxious was pretty funny.

Erlich's cocky-but-accurate rants are one of my favorite things on the show. I love how he just laid into the Ferret Neighbor.

I will say that the humor at the expense of the disabled neighbor seemed a little trite. They're way better writers than to have to resort to that. It's not Family Guy. That said, I thought the monkey was hilarious.
posted by radioamy at 10:20 PM on May 11, 2015


I guess the doctor bothers me less because I watched and loved Andy Daly on Review, and his role on Silicon Valley just seems like an extension of that same world in which that character has been asked to review being a highly-paid doctor. I'm pretty sure he'd give the experience five stars for how great he felt knowing he'd touched so many lives.
posted by joan cusack the second at 10:52 PM on May 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


sardonyx: “The monkey joke went on way too long (and that's not really my kind of humour anyway), and so on.”
It's not really my kind of humor either, but I laughed nonetheless.

The only thing that really bothered me about the premise in the show is that I'm not sure you could get the kind of data link you'd need to make it work strung to a residential area. Even in Silicon Valley.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:34 PM on May 12, 2015


Actually, we're getting gigabit links from Comcast and ATT. So, bandwidth-wise you'd be ok

What wouldn't be ok is lack of SLA. A lot (if not most) of the benefit of hosting in a datacenter is the guarantee (which financial penalties if not met) that all of the infrastructure will be up all day every day, plus or minus a few minutes a year.

Hosting your shit in your garage is like setting your investor's money on fire.
posted by sideshow at 9:56 PM on May 12, 2015


We also saw the doctor at Techcrunch Disrupt pitching his app/heart attack warning tool, so this is his 4th appearance by my count!
posted by TwoWordReview at 10:04 PM on May 12, 2015


sideshow: “Actually, we're getting gigabit links from Comcast and ATT. So, bandwidth-wise you'd be ok”
Y'all get gigabit upstream? Jealous.
sideshow: “What wouldn't be ok is lack of SLA.”
Yeah, that's what I was getting at.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:26 PM on May 12, 2015


I'm betting the writers are banking on server downtime becoming a problem, like say right before the launch.

I guess my doctor count was low. That's fine, I'm just not interested in seeing him again.

It's funny, a lot of the humour on this show isn't really my kind of humour (I never would have believed I'd ever recommend a show whose first season culminated in a massive dick joke to anybody, but I have and I will do so in the future), but for whatever reason, Silicon Valley mostly works for me. Admittedly, I have some degree of interest in and familiarity with the tech sector, which is why I started watching it in the first place, but it's more than that. I'd say it was the characters, but again, I'm not really a fan of most of them as individuals. But somehow they work as a unit, and as I said originally, for me the show morphs into something that is definitely greater than the sum of its parts, which is a really nice change from lots of TV and movies, many of which somehow seem to be less than what they could be when you add up all their individual elements.
posted by sardonyx at 8:55 AM on May 13, 2015


It is sort of interesting to watch a show where very few of the characters are likeable. Other than maybe Richard and Monica, they're all jerks.
posted by radioamy at 9:29 AM on May 13, 2015


I appreciate that they actually gave a plausible-sounding reason why building their own servers made technical sense, raising it a level beyond just dealing with having been blacklisted everywhere else.

I think this really ties in to why Gilfoyle was actually helpful in this episode. He was given a task with purpose that he agreed with. It's why Dinesh should have been more willing to carry boxes out to the truck, he wanted to move. It's not a big deal, the scene is funny either way, the the characters benefit a lot when the audience can see their motivation clearly.

This was one of my favourite epieosdes this season so far. I didn't care for the neighbor; he just seemed jammed into his first scene very oddly that immediately I though, "They're not actually moving and that guy will be pissed about it and eventually the episode will answer to him." Which is what happened.

Also didn't care for the amount of time spent on the monkey jokes. That scene was way too long.
posted by dogwalker at 12:15 PM on May 13, 2015


sardonyx: Silicon Valley mostly works for me

Me too. I suspect that it's largely because this is the first time ever that I've come across ANYONE named Dinesh (my name) on TV. Even if he's Pakistani.
posted by dhruva at 7:11 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


The neighbor character was pure Mike Judge.

This show is not over-the-top-Mike-Judge so I sometimes forget that it's a Mike Judge show. The nuance of this humor can be finely crafted... like, for instance, the fact that Jared and Richard and Bighead are all pretty similar skinny neurotic nerds, to the point that you'd mix them up on first watch. But they're so well-played and well-written that the differences become obvious. Then a cartoon-like character such as the neighbor appears, and I remember that this is a Mike Judge show.

I'm not saying I don't like Mike Judge. I actually like how he restrains himself to just a little bit of the cartoon-like in each episode.
posted by aabbbiee at 6:48 AM on May 15, 2015


I didn't realize that ferrets were illegal in California. They seem like a most Californian of pets, so I assumed Erlich was BSing when he was turning down those hapless Christian pet-lovers. I will give props to the writers for having that one pay off.

Oh my yes. Grew up in California and was shocked to learn when I moved to the East Coast that pet ferrets aren't illegal everywhere. I don't consider myself a superstitious person, but I think that for Californians, "ferrets eat babies" is our version of Korean fan death.
posted by psoas at 1:49 PM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


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