Silicon Valley: Bad Money
April 27, 2015 8:41 AM - Season 2, Episode 3 - Subscribe

On the heels of the Hooli lawsuit, Richard reveals Gavin Belson's buy-out offer to a less-than-enthusiastic rest of the Pied Piper Team. A new, ROI-obsessed investor may be just what Richard needs to remain independent.

ROI = Radio On the Internet, since Russ Hanneman's own return on investment has been less than 1% since he started ROI. Russ offers Pied Piper $5 million, stating he will be totally hands-off, though he drops by Erlich's house unannounced to observe like a fly on the wall, while making fun of the way Richard talks, making several loud phone calls inviting others over, and interrupting Richard to explain what he is doing wrong. Monica and Laurie are less than thrilled about being co-investors with Russ Hanneman, and Erlich can't get him to even acknowledge his existence. Also, Hanneman loves Gilfoyle, thinks businesses are not about making money, and purchased many, many inscrutable "I AM PIED PIPER" billboards (15 along Gavin Belson's route from home to Hooli).

Meanwhile, back at Hooli, Gavin is furious Richard didn't take his deal, and is advised that the best way to make his thin lawsuit thicker, he needs to promote Bighead, who is still being paid at Hooli to hang out on the roof.
posted by joan cusack the second (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I missed Bighead -- I was worried that they had written him out.

I'm more than a little annoyed at Laurie for being angry at Monica over this turn of events. What did Laurie think was going to happen?

Was it necessary to go down the Actual Nazi route with Gavin Belson? We the audience, and our protagonists, already know he's a terrible person -- does it serve anything but schadenfreude to have him making huge PR blunders too?
posted by sparklemotion at 9:01 AM on April 27, 2015

Was Belson's holocaust comment a reference to something like that actually happening in real life? That scene felt vaguely familiar to me but I don't know why, and I (sadly) wouldn't put it past some real life billionaire to make a comment like that.
posted by noneuclidean at 9:56 AM on April 27, 2015

Was Belson's holocaust comment a reference to something like that actually happening in real life?

It looks like that was a reference to something real-life VC Thomas Perkins said last year.
posted by joan cusack the second at 10:07 AM on April 27, 2015 [4 favorites]

Oh wow...I was going to comment that the "stop being mean to billionaires" meme has been around for a while, but I figured that the Holocaust comparison was surely an exaggeration by the show's writers.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:10 AM on April 27, 2015

Aha, I knew it seemed familiar. And here's a post about it on the blue: Occupy-Godwin-Street
posted by noneuclidean at 10:39 AM on April 27, 2015

I had to rewatch the "smile with top and bottom teeth at the same time" scene more than once. And the Google autocomplete for Russ Hanneman was...something.
posted by tracicle at 12:46 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

I was killing myself laughing during the McLaren scene. Mind you I have some experience interacting with McLaren-driving Silicon Valley business gods (or at least one in particular) which likely coloured my reaction to the bit. It was just too perfect.

The smile bit was also just way too funny. I swear it's the little moments that keep me watching this show.
posted by sardonyx at 12:58 PM on April 27, 2015

The best part is that Belson sees the billboards as the last straw. They're all just fakers, aren't they.

I did think it was interesting for Gilfoyle, Dinesh, and Erlich to learn that, even though it's only been a matter of months, there's no going back to their old arrangements now. The only way through is forward.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:05 PM on April 27, 2015

Russ Hanneman is Mickey Mouse.

I am really puzzling over what you mean by that. I came here to say that Russ is pretty clearly John MacAfee, although he's the one character they actually have to tone down from the original.
posted by scalefree at 2:11 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Russ Hanneman is Mickey Mouse.

Russ Hanneman is played by Chris Diamantopoulos, who was the voice of Mickey Mouse in the linked recent TV series.

John McAfee is an excellent comparison -- I was thinking more Richard Branson, but he doesn't seem to have that personally odious streak that McAfee does.
posted by sparklemotion at 2:18 PM on April 27, 2015

Plus there's the dig that he did one thing years ago that made all his money and then he got weird.
posted by scalefree at 3:02 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

The billboard thing hit me close to home. Oh, dot com era, how I kind miss you and kinda want to stab myself in the eyes when I remember you.
posted by Justinian at 4:17 PM on April 27, 2015

The comments on Sepinwall's review of the season suggested Mark Cuban. I'm vaguely delighted (as someone very far from the tech industry can be) that there are so many candidates upon whom Hanneman could modeled. I can't wait to find out why Hanneman won't acknowledge Erlich.
posted by gladly at 6:57 PM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

Yeah, the radio on the internet aspect of Hanneman is clearly modeled on Cuban's initial success with
posted by jimw at 7:00 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hanneman continually shutting down Erlich was great.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:35 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Gilfoyle negging Russ was even better.
posted by scalefree at 12:20 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

They made a point that Hanneman's money wasn't a traditional investment in exchange for ownership stake but rather structured as a loan, though with the option to collect repayment as equity. [Side question: is this realistic at all? What does he get out of structuring it this way?]

So I'm not sure why Laurie can't just buy out the loan, paying it off immediately, to avoid having to be co-investors with Hanneman.

(I guess I'm hoping that's where they're going with this, since I'm not really keen on the kind of comedy/shenanigans the Hanneman character is pointing toward?)
posted by nobody at 4:36 AM on April 28, 2015

What's the opposite of jumping the shark? I do believe that this is - by far - the best episode, as a whole, since day one of season one. I have enjoyed the show about 70-85% of the time but always found the remainder to be lacklustre and boring and witless; but they really hit their stride here.
posted by peacay at 4:06 AM on April 29, 2015

I am also curious to find out if there is more to the Russ-Erlich dynamic. I can't tell if there is some backstory? Or maybe Russ just wants to make it clear that he doesn't think Erlich is useful or worthy of respect.

I also had no idea that there were so many real-life people that Russ could be based on. He just cracks me up.
posted by radioamy at 8:13 PM on April 29, 2015

Go back and look at Erlich in season 1 when it comes to Steve Jobs- he's incredulous when Richard points out that Jobs was a hype man while Woz did the actual work, he dresses as Jobs for the Pied Piper corporate photo, and he gets the TechCrunch Disrupt tech crew to run his presentation in the style of Jobs' keynotes (until he gets tackled). Erlich is exactly the kind of hype-swallowing, billionaire-worshipping, wanna-be suckup who would do his best to glom onto Russ Hanneman simply because Hanneman is rich and flashy.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:53 PM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Erlich is basically Tom Haverford in a different context.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:54 PM on April 29, 2015

Ah, thanks for the context, Pope Guilty. So many nuances to this show.
posted by radioamy at 10:27 AM on April 30, 2015

I guess I'm hoping that's where they're going with this, since I'm not really keen on the kind of comedy/shenanigans the Hanneman character is pointing toward?

Hanneman was really funny in this episode, but he's the kind of character that would get tiresome if he keeps showing up as often as he did here. My hope is that they find a way to write him into the background (Laurie takes a bigger stake, Richard successfully pushes back against his shennanigans, Erlich pulls some shit that pisses him off), but bring him back up front from time to time to make things zany. He seems like he is from a different universe as everyone else in the show, which is disorienting in a good way in occasional doses, and disorienting in a bad way all the time.
posted by breakin' the law at 8:13 AM on May 1, 2015

I think Erlich is genuinely confused. He sees himself and Russ as kindred spirits and does not understand why Russ doesn’t recognise that and give him the respect he deserves. Russ does see the resemblance and rejects it vehemently.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:39 PM on August 13, 2021

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