Entrepreneurs finally have a TV show to watch that accurately depicts the day-to-day realities of working in America’s technological hotbed and starting a business from the ground up. OK, maybe not. But at least it’s funny.
HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” which premiered on Sunday, is a satirical comedy about six tech-nerd roommates trying to strike it rich in, you guessed it, California’s Silicon Valley. The characters work for Hooli, a Google-esque company with a sprawling campus peppered with motivational posters that say things like “Discipline + Persistence = Success.” The show is about how some of the guys decide to try and start their own music site and the craziness that ensues.
(If you didn’t catch the first show, you can watch a YouTube trailer for the show.)
Creator Mike Judge, who directed the movie “Office Space” and TV cartoon “King of the Hill,” said he felt the socially awkward techies working in the Valley were perfect fodder.
Early reviews of the show have been glowing among reviewers, who say the show hilariously depicts the self-importance, tech-geek vernacular and venture-capital-obsessed culture that Silicon Valley is often stereotyped for.
“It’s a great mix—a little bit insider, a little bit broad appeal, all filtered through the kind of workplace dynamics and relationships that people from all walks of life can relate to,” writes Bryan Bishop of The Verge, adding: “It’s the first show about the startup scene that’s actually good.”
BusinessWeek’s Sam Grobart said the first episode was “mighty good,” adding: “The show is a slow burn, with subtle yet delightful touches, such as a Hooli team meeting that takes place on a multiperson tandem bicycle and a toga party where actresses have been hired to talk to the nerds in attendance.”
Some viewers—particularly those who’ve actually lived and worked in Silicon Valley—said the show isn’t very accurate in portraying what life is really like in the Valley.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly “hated” the show when he saw its premiere at a party in Silicon Valley and felt it was too stereotypical and inaccurate, according to Re/code. (His name is dropped in the first couple minutes of the first episode.) “The truth? It's stranger than the fiction,” Musk told Re/code. “Most startups are a soap opera, but not that kind of soap opera.”
Some say depictions of Silicon Valley often inaccurately glamorize it. "We're all searching for the club that Sean Parker went to in 'The Social Network'—no one's found it yet,” joked Kim Taylor, CEO of education technology startup Ranku, told The Wall Street Journal.
Regardless of how accurately the show depicts Silicon Valley’s startup culture, many people will likely tune in. Bashing Silicon Valley culture has become something of an obsession in recent years, making it a seemingly irresistible topic for a TV show.
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