Silicon Valley: Proof of Concept
May 19, 2014 8:24 AM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Richard is distracted while trying to finish his demonstration; Jared worries that Monica is trying to replace him; Dinesh develops a crush; Erlich's past threatens the company's chances.
posted by mathowie (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I liked the build-up of the painful push to a launch day demo, but it was kind of a bummer there was no pay-off at the end, that the demo descended into chaos and that was it (which was funny, but still I wondered where the story was going to go).

The most unfortunate moment was having their booth neighbor be a woman with a startup/app that can't code and lures guys into writing code for her. For a show that has almost zero female cast and makes a lot of jokes based on the gender imbalance in the industry, it was still kind of lame to show that like it's a thing that happens. I would guess anyone running a thing that didn't know how to code it would not get invited to display at Disrupt.

Now I'm hoping the fight on stage isn't going to be a convenient way to get around that the app wasn't done in time.
posted by mathowie at 9:01 AM on May 19, 2014 [9 favorites]

This show started out a bit tepid, but holy crap it has been delivering in the last few episodes. The demo fight was hilarious.
posted by mullingitover at 10:55 AM on May 19, 2014

I wonder how the "I'm not obsessed with her" storyline plays against the whole "socially awkward is not an excuse for being creepy" meme (which I'll admit I don't totally understand).

Richard is socially awkward. Was he being creepy? The girl suddenly forgives him when she decides that he's gay, but does that make his actions ok?
posted by sparklemotion at 11:20 AM on May 19, 2014

Definitely impressed with the show. And I don't know if I'm enjoying it because I know technology, or if it's genuinely a good show. It's like I'm in on the joke somehow... Which makes it fun. I hope the show get's a decent audience.
posted by namewithhe1d at 1:17 PM on May 19, 2014

Once again Jared is the underdog. If he explained how he made it back from the island I missed it, and did he say he'd been away for four days? He's skinny enough already, and I doubt the robot workers need sustenance.

The presentations and the repeated cliches was familiar. I was really interested in hearing Richard's because I expected it to be something unique in comparison. So yeah, I was disappointed when it ended on the fight as well. It felt like a copout.
posted by tracicle at 1:40 PM on May 19, 2014

The copious product placement by a certain Austrian energy drink manufacturer. I'm usually oblivious, but this was blatant enough to grab even my (usually distracted) attention.

I was so convinced that the girl with 2GB of RAM in a beat up 15" Macbook was going to win something, that would have been even more cynically funny than the 2% women in the tech industry line but for the next three days 15%!!! line.
posted by geminus at 6:49 PM on May 19, 2014

Richard's baptism into the life of a compulsive window minimizer.
posted by michaelh at 7:28 AM on May 20, 2014

I'm not too bothered by the one 'lady who can't code' thing, given that this show has multiple examples of male characters who are also not technically inclined and serve as leeches on the system. I mean, maybe you can make an argument that Erlich has some kind of "visionary" mojo that is of a benefit to the apps in his incubator, but Bighead is earning in the upper six figures to do nothing at all.

Given that she's also pretty bad at the stereotypical "girl" thing (social media), I think that she's being presented less as a problem with women in tech and more as another example of how conferences like Disrupt claim to be showcasing the best of the best but always end up bringing in a bunch of SoLoMo type cruft.

So, I see her being female as just a side effect of the characters we actually care about (Gilfoyle and Dinesh) being straight. And it's to the credit of both of those characters that they weren't really interested in her when they realized how useless she was.
posted by sparklemotion at 6:42 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't think I knew Gilfoyle's first name was Bertram until I saw his nametag in this episode.
posted by activitystory at 6:46 AM on May 21, 2014 [5 favorites]

At least we had Dinesh to save the episode. He's becoming my favorite.

My wife and I were convinced Dinesh's eyebrows could have their own show. They seem to be able to move in all directions and it makes his face incredibly expressive despite the character being stone-faced half the time.

Also what's with the guy with the long red hair being some kind of PUA all of a sudden? The guy has like zero sex appeal and it was treated like kind of a joke so far, and all of a sudden he's Mr Sleepswithguyswives.
posted by Hoopo at 11:41 AM on May 21, 2014

Do we know that he's slept with anyone besides these two wives? Because they both married the same guy, who is also not conventionally-attractive, so maybe both of those women have a type and Erlich matches it?

And Erlich also seems to be an any-port-in-a-storm kind of guy, so I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that with all of the ladies that he tries his stunts on, he gets some hits, now and then.

I'm also pretty sure that TJ Miller is not a ginger. Could be my monitor though.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:16 PM on May 21, 2014

wow does he ever look better in those image search results. I guess it must me the mop/facial hair combo.
posted by Hoopo at 12:27 PM on May 21, 2014

Yes, he had to go out of his way to conceive that look to pass for a sufficiently nerdy stereotype for the show. He's friends with the main actor and I think had top billing this episode. Mike Judge originally turned him down due to his appearance before a little beard and hair tailoring. Dude is a great extemporaneous comic.
posted by aydeejones at 2:09 PM on May 21, 2014

I don't think T. J. Miller is deliberately doing all his lines in Jason Lee's voice from "My Name is Earl", but it does kind of have me wanting to watch My Name is Erlich.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:44 PM on May 21, 2014 [4 favorites]

I love this show!

(I have no insights, opinions, or deep ponderings, but holy crap it makes me laugh!)
posted by The Deej at 7:23 PM on May 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

The most unfortunate moment was having their booth neighbor be a woman with a startup/app that can't code and lures guys into writing code for her. For a show that has almost zero female cast and makes a lot of jokes based on the gender imbalance in the industry, it was still kind of lame to show that like it's a thing that happens. I would guess anyone running a thing that didn't know how to code it would not get invited to display at Disrupt.

While i agree this was a huge groan inducing point for me, it's worth noting that she directly mentions she wasn't a dev on that project and was simply running the booth. What the code was for is ???(impressing Dinesh? that could be it's own can of ugh) but yea, they did bring that up. She wasn't involved in coding for the project that got into disrupt...

And that said, i think the way they handled the lady characters, and moreso the way the nerdy guys interacted with them in both the previous "carver" episode and this one was hilarious. The last episode was excellent in that sense, and this one was still pretty good with the exception of the "fake geek girl" thing they seem to have dug into in a really weird way.
posted by emptythought at 1:13 AM on May 24, 2014

This was the most regular sitcomish episode so far for me, especially the part about Richard not focusing on what is at this point his main goal in life because of some gossip about a girl. Felt kind of stretched.
posted by signal at 7:43 PM on June 1, 2014

To me, the "tech realism" in this show is similar to Breaking Bad's "chemistry realism": sufficiently close to reality that one can have long discussions and debates about it and how the little holes make sense in the other universe, or how those holes are so small and profound and explain the genius of the characters -- Walter White's non-racemic methylamine synthesis* vs. a universally awesome lossless compression algorithm.

a volunteer PhD chemistry expert on the show pointed out twice that this was basically impossible: once to the producers very early on (they didn't care that half of the product would be Vick's nasal inhaler, they just wanted to know that a barrel of the precursor would make enough product to raise a stink with the competition), and then through Walter himself (when explaining his indispensability to Gus in a pivotal scene). The implication to me is that Walter White was a genius who could've solved major problems of our time related to energy efficiency and less wasteful chemistry, but the show's creators just trusted that their science made some sense, and the expert got to poke a little fun at it while re-asserting Walter's mystique.

posted by aydeejones at 2:19 AM on June 2, 2014

And yeah, the fight at the end seemed out of pace and out of place with the show's humor in general. I laugh out loud quite often, uproariously especially with the Gilfoyle / Dinesh dynamic, but this was just kind of like "meh," and perhaps part of it was that I wanted it to move on to the next episode, where I found my pulse pounding (Breaking Bad style) watching a Nerdy Comedy Show.
posted by aydeejones at 2:23 AM on June 2, 2014

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