‘Silicon Valley’ Comes Out Strong in Season Three Premiere (TV REVIEW)

[rating=8.00] “Founder Friendly”

If Silicon Valley was an indication of where standards were set for television, the world might be an alright place. Mike Judge continues his reign of absolute supremacy with the Season 3 premiere “Founder Friendly,” a happy showing of the continued stride the series has been able to cover. Last season we were left with an infuriating cliff hanger (and one of the most intense scenes to ever grace your chosen entertainment screen). Lucky for us, Judge knows how to please and this season started right where we left off.

By all accounts, Richard jumps the gun when he decides to leave Pied Piper. He hasn’t been fired, but effectively demoted, something none of the other dudes would ever stand for. It’s nice seeing Richard stick to his principles, but at the same time it was almost a letdown as it felt like a throw away story line. Of course he would come back, whether it would be this episode or the end of the season; again, luckily Judge knows how to please and the fake out turmoil ends as quickly as it begins. There’s no way Richard would stoop to working as an engineer for a “Movember” gag, though those mustaches were solid. Anyone want to put money down on when Apple will integrate a mustache option into Facetime?

Loyalty is tested as the dudes are forced to make a quick choice on where to play their cards. There’s a few nice scenes with Dinesh and Gilfoyle as they debate the merits of sticking by Richard or sticking with a steady job. These two have historically been shitty, effectively making them less than friends and more of a hindrance. Of course the slight push back always makes for an interesting sub-plot, so there’s no reason to fret too hard over the fate of the two flakiest friends to ever flake.

Dinesh and Gilfoyle

Jared, on the other hand. held tight to his buddy as he’s done since leaving Hooli. He’s so confident in Richard he’s convinced that he’ll have job security no matter what happens. Jared’s love for his comrade is constantly toeing the line between obsessive and adorable, and as the seasons march on he gets weirder and weirder. It’s glorious, keep spiraling buddy.

Surprising enough the voice of reason this episode was none other than Erlich. Remember he royally fucked things up last season by revealing the days Richard had used the Hooli computer to develop Pied Piper, but he basically redeemed himself during his failed attempt at standing up for Richard against the new CEO (Stephen Tobolowsky). Rather than continue with insults, Erlich is charmed by the new hire and decides Richard needs to get it together and accept the new role. Who knew Erlich could be pragmatic? Is this a sign for changes coming to character development this season? Season three seems to be the right time for that.

Can we talk about the creepy Bambi-bot for a second? It was this horrifying mix of adorable and nightmare inducing as it toppled back and over and few times after Richard hit it with the car. The way they so nonchalantly brushed it off as the “goddamn Stanford” students was hilarious. Is this what it’s like to live in Silicon Valley? You just randomly run into innovating robotic projects so frequently that it’s not only expected but an inconvenience? Watch out for those new toasters y’all, if they’re anything like that Bambi-bot they’ll be gnawing on your bones and embodying your old life by Christmas.

bambibot

The part of the storyline that definitely worked was Gavin. His generally do no matter what because of the caliber of his character’s working insanity, but it contrasted well with the flimsy storyline mirrored by Richard. Over at Hooli, shit went down when they lost the Pied Piper case. Not only did they have nothing to show for their months of research and work because they needed Richard’s algorithm, but it turned out many of their working contracts were void. What was first a precarious situation soon turned into a “teaching moment”; Gavin was able to save face, and even fire the shit out of thousands of his employees without repercussion due to weird clauses in their contracts.

The best moment (aside from the Tim Burton-esque Bambi-bot that might be standing right behind you) came when Gavin was discussing his options with five lawyers in the boardroom. As they talk about the upside to fucking up contracts, he notes the performance reviews aren’t doing so well this time around, citing one in five workers could actually stand to be fired. Two beats longer than he should have chimed in, one of his lawyers retorts with “what was that” (or something of that nature). As the fired employees begin streaming out of the building, Gavin stands before his lawyers and one chair sits empty ominously in the corner.
So with the employee problem solved, there’s only one mountain left to conquer: The exceedingly out of control question of Big Head. He’s done nothing so far other than get paid obscene amounts of money and create a potato canon that works half the time. Gavin is aware of this, and rather than invest in something like a daycare for the building (brushing off a female employee in the process, something we’ll get to later) he invests everything into getting rid of Big Head. Faced with a severance package of 20 million dollars, we now have to wonder where Big Head is going to play into this whole mess. He could fund a new start-up, start his own company, or invest in Pied Piper and get back on with Richard and the dudes.

Getting it out of the way early, let’s address the gender problem once more shall we? Realistically we’re going to lack a female presence until IRL Silicon Valley can get it together and hire more diversely. As far as the show goes, not only did Gavin fire one in five of his lawyers, but he had one woman in five employees. What looked like commentary by the show runner probably was because they’ve been on point thus far. She kept her job, mostly because she’s a snake in the grass and good at it. As the dudes navigate their newfound success, there’s guaranteed to be a lacking in a female presence just as there has been in the past. Hopefully Monica gets more screen time as her relationship with the dudes is solid and reminds the audience of their inability to talk to women due to their severe lack of contact with them. Laurie should be guaranteed more screen time as she now has the board seats Hanneman held last season. Here’s hoping we get that diversity the world craves- you know, that selfish world looking to see entertainment mirror reality.

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