Mike Judge, the man responsible for Beavis and Butt-Head, King of the Hill and Office Space has set his crude and rude satirical sights on the center of the universe, aka Silicon Valley, in this new HBO program whose first episode you can find online (at least temporarily). Set among the weird, hermetic subculture of aggregators, applicators, code-writers, compressors and software starter-uppers, Silicon Valley seems almost too good to be true.
Five un-dateable dudes in Cheetos-stained T-shirts toil in a sprawling ranch home purchased when one of their group made a small bundle off a piece of software called “Aviato.” All are working on their own version of the next-best thing while holding down day jobs at outfits like the fictional Hooli (“the most progressive company in the world”), whose self-regarding founder oversees a flock of adoring acolytes.
Judge has brought out the sharp knives on this one, skewering the preening, newly-moneyed billionaires who all proclaim they want to “make the world a better place” by designing “minimal message transport layers” or “constructing elegant hierarchies for maximum code reuse and extensibility.” The meaningless jargon slices to the bone of this bullshit world, where employees are trucked through campuses on ridiculous shuttle buses, where a CEO drives a cartooned Smart Car after the TED talk in which he proclaimed “Silicon Valley is the cradle of innovation because of dropouts”. Said dropouts pay thousands per month in rent to live in an area one of them admits is a “shithole.”
Judge gets so many things right in this first 25-minute episode, my only fear is that he won’t be able to sustain this initial mood of funny, derisive scorn. Our five “heroes” get a shot at running their own start-up, which will supply the plot for coming installments, and so far they seem a likeable, scruffy bunch, especially their money-guy, a bong-hitting doofus who wears a shirt emblazoned with the phrase “I know H.T.M.L.” (How To Meet Ladies). It will be worth a few hours of binge-watching to see where this show leads, but if Silicon Valley dissolves into a puddled, quasi-affectionate lampoon, than it will be time to drag it to the trash.