Silicon Valley is Mike Judge’s incisive, hilarious return-to-form [Recap: season 1, episode 1]


#1

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#2

I hate to ask, but are there any decently written female characters?

"Programmer groups of five, according to Gavin Belson: a tall, skinny white guy; a short, skinny Asian guy; a fat guy with a ponytail; some guy with crazy facial hair; and an east Indian guy."

Great. So not only sexist, but the same racist stereotypes as well. Sounds like a blast.


#3

As I look around me at the other cubicle dwellers, I can only reply: just like real life here in the South Bay, revtrader.


#4

And laughed at repeatedly by several watching who saw a lot of truth in it.

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#5

I see a new contender for the "Top 5 Torrented TV Shows" list.

(This is on HBO, right?)


#6

Since the anchor of the show is the idea that they're doing things differently, I hope that the difference includes a better demographic mix on the show. I fear that it won't, though.


#7

I haven't seen the show, but I fear Slate's take on it, might be depressingly on the mark. Essentially, they're take was the that the parts that make Silicon Valley ripe for satire, are skipped, in favor of a paint-by-numbers "edgy" comedy.

How can you not parody a a guy talks about freedom, while selling surveillance equipment, and dreaming of making his own tax haven...err..."country".

Where's
Jesus Christ Silicon Valley when you need him?


#8

It's the first episode of a series. If they were able to pack in everyone's favorite quirk of Silicon Valley in the first episode, there wouldn't be a reason for more episodes. Give it a few weeks before declaring it dead.

If the show is going to be compared to other series, Amazon's show 'Betas' would be the most apt. HBO's show appears to have a bigger budget but I'd say the casting on Betas was better. Of course it's really hard to tell from just one episode. Hopefully some of the leading characters on Silicon Valley will be likable. On Betas the main characters were pretty much dreadful people but the supporting characters were much more fun and relatable. Perhaps that's the truth of life in the Valley.


#11

There was indeed one female character and while not really a principal (at least, not yet) she was instrumental in advising the central character's choice between angels, which then sets the stage (I believe) for the rest of the series. She was intelligent, passionate, articulate, not shown as sexual iconography, but also very attractive. I have my hopes


#19

But I bet if they were to add two women, as central characters, people would start whining about it having too many women.

This is backed up by research.

One token women is quite pathetic, in 2014.


#20

In a several-thousand-word article, would there be room to maybe add a few words about how to watch the damn show? Unless I'm blind, there was no mention of what network (or YouTube channel or torrent tracker or whatever) this is on.

Or is it just assumed that everyone knows that already, because they avidly read TV Guide or TMZ or whatever?


#21

Wasn't exactly hard to find. Yay, Google!


#23

I actually know a few female software engineers in the Valley. And I live in Arizona.


#24

So do I. But they are few and far between.


#25

TV shows don't reflect real life and aren't meant to. They're written by people and are there to tell a story. In most cases, they're written by people that have blind spots for women.

Even if the Valley is steeped in sexism, I think it's perfectly fair to ask that our (constructed, scripted, designed) entertainment rises above. Most movies and tv shows pander overtly or subtly to white men. We techies are supposed to value performance and merit over superficial details like which bits dangle or bounce so I'd like to think that a show about the tech world could do better. Especially after the would-be Maker show was ended by a techie response to overt sexism.

But frankly, we don't even have to do better than real life. There are female techies, even in the Valley. Mike Judge just needed to include a couple to tell their stories as well. It sounds like this show isn't even measuring up to the already very sexist culture of the Valley which is saying something.

Maybe some people find that entertaining. I don't. And I don't see why anyone should have to step into an even more sexist (and racist?) world to get some light entertainment. "Lighten up" sounds like a really dumb suggestion.


#26

And yet there are more and more of them each and every day.

I'm really glad Gene Roddenberry wasn't as comfortable and accepting of the status-quot all those years ago. Aren't you?

There's something to be said for seeing people like you in the media. There's something to be said for NOT seeing people like you in the media. There's also something to be said for seeing people not like you in the media. The more diverse entertainment and media are, the better for everyone. I'm not sure why people are defending a lack of diversity, rather than demanding more diversity.

At this point, in 2014, it's just laziness. Why do you think we have so few women represented in a lot of TV? Because the decisions are still largely made by groups of men. Perhaps they should stop being so damn lazy and self-centered and start thinking outside of the box. It would only be GOOD for creativity and originality, so I am NOT SURE AT ALL why people are trying to defend the laziness of lack of diversity. It's just so pathetic to me that people like you aren't demanding more.

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#27

That programmer "groups of five" may have been accurate 20 years ago but not today. From the numbers at http://econdataus.com/svworkers.html , you can see that about half of Silicon Valley programmers are non-citizens, about a quarter are naturalized citizens, and about a quarter are citizens by birth. You can see the countries of birth at http://econdataus.com/svcountry.html . From those numbers, I would say that programmers now travel in groups of four where one is a white guy, one is an east-Indian guy, one is an east-Asian guy, and one is some other foreign-born guy. Of course, he could be from Canada, Europe, or Russia so you could make him the "fat guy with a ponytail" mentioned in the show. But you need to nix the guy with the crazy facial hair. And, of course, you should add in an occasional group of women programmers/tech workers.


#28

Mod note: If you can't have a civil discussion that doesn't involve insults, snark and sexism, step away from the keyboard.


#29

The Slate guy's review is bizarre. Maybe it gets worse, since they saw (and discussed in far too much detail) episodes that aren't released yet, but it seems like the reviewer is so oddly determined to hate the show for what's not there that he ignored what is there. I can understand disliking Mike Judge for his shallow and hypocritical libertarianism, but it seems like it seriously poisoned that reviewer's ability to review the show fairly.


#31

Well Slate has intentionally taken contrarian positions in recent years, so that might explain the predetermined-to-hate vibe you're getting from the piece.

That said, I kind of doubt that any sitcom would have come up with something as stupid and quintessentially Silicon Valley as soliciting money from VCs in a crowdsourced taxi service . Where's George Michael Bluthe's Fakeblock when you need it?