Silicon Valley reboots its hilarious cast for season 2.0

Rami Chaudhry, A&E Editor

Although HBO’s new comedy Silicon Valley airs after the worldwide phenomenon that is Game of Thrones, the half-hour sitcom stands on its own and then some.

On April 12, Silicon Valley’s highly anticipated second season finally premiered.  The fact that the show is only on its eleventh episode, and yet has captured the hearts of millions, says a great deal about the half hour comedy.  Created by Mike Judge (Office Space, Beavis and Butthead), Silicon Valley combines smart writing and a hilarious ensemble cast to create one of the best comedies on television.

In season one, socially awkward programmer Richard Hendriks (Thomas Middleditch), who works in a live-in start up with a number of other young tech hopefuls in California’s Silicon Valley, develops a casual music app named Pied Piper.  Upon finding out that his app contains a game changing data compression algorithm, Richard, along with the rest of his roommates, venture through the ups and downs of tech startups with hilarious results.

Without spoiling the first season, season two begins right where the last left off.  Pied Piper is a hot item in the Valley, and Richard, along with his roomies Erlich (T. J. Miller), Gilfoyle (Martin Starr), Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani), and Jared (Zach Woods), are being treated like celebrities.  Firms and venture capitalists want in on Pied Piper and will go to extreme lengths to win over these five tech geeks.

The first episode opens with the five of them being wined and dined by a firm at AT&T Stadium, home of the San Francisco Giants.  At the party, cameos by actual Giants athletes, in addition to the infamous Winklevoss twins of Facebook fame hint at the success of both Richard’s start up and the actual show.

As the special guest of the night, Richard is given the chance to bat.  As a ball approaches him, he runs away from it awkwardly.  Richard is then asked if he wants another swing at it and rejects it immediately, forcing him to ask the rest of his Pied Piper team if they would like to bat.  Jared replies, saying that if someone has to go he will but it seems frightening.  “You sure?” the catcher asks him.  “You got us for a whole hour.”

“Would it hurt you feelings if no one went,” Jared replies.  Fittingly, none of them step up.

In addition to serving as a catch up episode that packs a solid amount of it’s awkward comedy and perfect timing from most of its five lead actors, the premiere also deals with the death of actor Christopher Evan Welch.  Welch’s character, Peter Gregory, a head of a venture capital firm that funded Pied Piper’s budding development, was such a huge part of Silicon Valley’s comedic core and witty writing.  In addition, Peter was a fundamental character to Valley’s plot, for Richard and his friends were going to let him fund Pied Piper.

Instead of ignoring his passing and moving the bigger plot of Silicon Valley ahead with a replacement actor, the episode deals with his death head on.  In doing so, his death is used to drive the rest of the season’s main story.  He not only dies in real life, but in the fictional world of Silicon Valley as well.  His fictional and real life death are given an emotional tribute near the end of the episode.  However, the writers of Silicon Valley do not make the entire episode a complete downer with this tribute.  They write in some great jokes that compliment Welch’s character, in addition to making his fictional character’s death due to a freak accident involving a safari trip, a tent, a hippo, and poor cardiovascular health.

Though it sounds like Silicon Valley requires some knowledge of the tech world, the show does not have any learning curve whatsoever. All it asks of you is to have a sense of humor that welcomes absurd situations, awkward exchanges of dialogue, and witty satire about the technology industry.