Hollywood has tried its hand at depicting startup culture often enough in recent years, but none were as keen as Mike Judge's Silicon Valley, an absurdists' take on the glories and indignities suffered by entrepreneurs today. And though it's billed as a satire, the show is surprisingly realistic, if silly at times.
For the uninitiated, the show follows its protagonist, an outsider and computer programmer named Richard Hendricks, as he navigates everything the startup world has to offer--from choosing a business name to eating ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner and other clichés. It's as insightful as it is comedic--so it's little wonder why just three months since it's debut, the show is up for a plethora of Emmys.
On Thursday, Silicon Valley received Emmy nominations for Best Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing, Directing, Art Direction and Main Title Design. In the first category, it goes up against hit shows like Modern Family and Orange is the New Black, a Netflix series with business lessons of its own.
Chairman and CEO of the Television Academy Bruce Rosenblum said this year's nominations reflect "the rapidly expanding definition of television," in which entrepreneurship plays a visible role. Here's why Silicon Valley deserves the accolade:
It Nails Stereotypes.
Conceived by Judge, whose credits include Beavis and Butthead and Office Space, the series is not afraid to poke fun at its subject. With bike meetings, brogrammers, and lame parties, it highlights the absurdity of "geek chic" in a way that resonates. The awkward people feel real, and writer Clay Tarver nails it with one-liners like, "What about 'smaller,' spelled S-M-L-L-R, you know, because we make things smaller, and this would be a smaller version of the word 'smaller.'"
The Characters Are Likeable.
Hendricks is the ultimate Silicon Valley outsider. He fights the culture and viewers can't help but sympathize with his underdog status. Just look at his adorable commitment to the company name "Pied Piper," when everyone tries to convince him to change it to "something you can scream out during intercourse." But as he gets more successful, the show presents a challenge: How to maintain his likeability, which is key to Silicon Valley's success. Will Hendricks resonate with viewers or become what he's fighting against?
It Reflects the American Dream.
Hendricks' journey reflects a common American theme. As Peter Gregory, a venture capitalist played by the late Christopher Evan Welch, put it, "Silicon Valley is the cradle of innovation because of dropouts." Personalities clash on screen in a way that resembles America. All they need is some Apple Pie and maybe a dog. Season 2, perhaps?
What's your take? Think Silicon Valley is a winner? Tell us why or why not with a comment below.