Silicon Valley: The Cap Table   First Watch 
May 22, 2015 11:02 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Richard hires Jared to design a business plan. Big Head is asked to work for Gavin Belson, where he discovers that Hooli has stolen the Pied Piper algorithm and calls it Nucleus. Meanwhile Richard struggles to get his money from Gregory.

From Paste Magazine (Robert Ham):
Let’s take a moment to again praise the casting of this show. Poor Zach Woods seems destined to spend his career playing weedy, kowtowing middle management types what with his, as he says in tonight’s episode, “ghost-like features.” (“My uncle used to say, ‘You look like someone starved a virgin to death.’”) That’s not even mentioning his distinctively flat, almost affectless vocal delivery. He’s used as perfectly as can be here, scrambling to keep Pied Piper on track and help shepherd a business plan into being.

On a similar tip, give it up for Martin Starr. I mean this in the best way possible as I’m a huge fan of his work, but the man has a slim acting range. But he uses it so much to his advantage, delivering lines like “While you were busy minoring in gender studies and singing a cappella at Sarah Lawrence, I was gaining root access to NSA servers. I was one click away from starting a second Iranian revolution,” with such a tasty tang of sarcasm and brio."
The A.V. Club draws comparisons between this show and Entourage in their review (by Les Chappell) of this second episode:
When Silicon Valley premiered last week, many publications—including this one—drew parallels between it and its fellow HBO comedy Entourage. It’s not an unfair comparison to make, as both are shows about a group of friends trying to make it big in a cutthroat industry, constantly surrounded by money and people who are made a bit crazy because of that money. (More problematically, there’s the fact that both shows fail the Bechdel test and have a minimal at best female presence.) Certainly HBO would like this to be another Entourage in terms of longevity—and the strong ratings for the premiere are the first step in that direction—but for those who remember how Entourage became an awful show and then an existential death march toward a movie that may or may not exist and may or may not be a microcosm of existence, there’s hope that the show is aiming for higher things.

Encouragingly, there’s at least one way Silicon Valley moves past those comparisons early on. Entourage became a parody of itself by the end with how well things kept working out for its main characters, but in its second episode Silicon Valley is quick to dismiss any such suggestions that Richard Hendrix will enjoy as charmed a life as Vincent Chase. Within the span of “The Cap Table” he finds himself paying for a stripper he didn’t order, humiliated in front of his prime investor, forced to fire his best friend, betrayed by said best friend, realizing the company he’s placed all hope in doesn’t technically exist, and his brilliant idea is being dissected by his former employer. If the pilot built up his hopes “The Cap Table” is all about shattering them, or at least forcing him to figure out what those hopes are built on.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
"I made a sexist, useless thing." I liked that part.
posted by bleep at 12:48 AM on May 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I really liked that character's sort of dour realization - it went a long way to redeeming him as a character. (The Nip App thing was both funny and awful - funful - in that it was 100% believable.)

Show continues to impress - someone mentioned that Betas is better, so I'll probably take a look at that, but so far it's a blast. Also: trying to spot all the company logos is really fun in the opening title sequence. (Twitter, Blogger, Facebook, Yahoo!, I don't know what the cat on the deflated balloon is ...)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:19 AM on May 23, 2015


I think it's Napster.
posted by bleep at 10:54 AM on May 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


The opening title sequence is also fun because the animations show the rise and fall of some of the featured companies: myspace goes from a big blue sign to a smaller one in a subdued gray, the Napster hot air balloon takes off and then collapses completely.

I like that Apple's new circular spaceship campus is seen being built toward the end of the sequence.
posted by jamaro at 8:53 PM on May 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, and my favorite: the Netscape sign completely falls off its building and is replaced by the Chrome logo.
posted by jamaro at 8:54 PM on May 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Some of us are doing first watch a year or so later.

Wanted to point out Richard has a printout of Lena on his wall in this episode. Lena is, historically, a benchmark image against which to test compression algorithms. Warning, it's a crop of a playboy photo. (Unsurprisingly unwelcoming for women looking to join CS.)
posted by about_time at 1:01 PM on July 11, 2016


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