Mike Judge’s “Office Space” only scored 68% positive among top critics on Rotten Tomatoes. “Idiocracy” only 67%. “Extract” 58%. Not everybody loves everything Judge does. This may constitute one of those circumstances!
Here’s “Nolan Night” with a review of Judge’s HBO pilot script “Silicon Valley”:
It's post holidays (hope yours went well) and I'm ready to really dig into the pilot script for Mike Judge's "Silicon Valley."
Here's the short review: If this script is unchanged as HBO begins production, it will be one of the worst pilots HBO has ever aired. The draft I read is dated mid October, so God willing Mike Judge (and other writers John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky) get their act together. Frankly, I had to re-read this twice to really take in just how God awful it is.
Even shorter review: Mike Judge drives through Silicon Valley. Once. He then fills a script with uninteresting stereotypes. It is not funny. At all.
So you're still around- so why do I hate it so much?
The writer's disdain for Silicon Valley is evident from the OPEN. The credit sequence references gaudy billboards and "shit brown colored hills of Mountain View" and geeks doing things that the audience "doesn't understand." This is a recurring theme by the way- these stupid geeks with their alien geek culture.
Our main character, Thomas, is living in some sort of a geek house, where his older benefactor Ehrlich runs a geek household of promising geeks working on geeky programs. For instance, Thomas is working on a program called "Pied Piper" which delivers "melody" recognition. Our story takes off ::cough:: when Ehrlich tells Thomas he has to get the hell out of the house because his computer program sucks. I guess if your program doesn't suck you can hang around in the "hacker hostel."
By the way, I've ignored a few other house characters because frankly, they aren't worth noting. One is a black guy. One is an Indian guy. One is an Asian guy. And one is a fat white guy. Seriously. Thomas's best friend, Big Head, is named Big Head because he has a big head. That's how the script describes him.
(One more note: the Asian cusses! Isn't that hilarious? Remember when that happened in the Hangover?!)
Ehrlich says Thomas needs to work on an app with a more practical purpose. Like Big Head's idea "Nip Alert" which tells people when women's nipples are erect. /sigh, the Nip Alert idea could be funny, if this script had any idea what to do with their stupid humor ideas. But we are supposed to take this at face value and buy into the fact that this is a real world representation of Silicon Valley. By the way, these "genius" stereotypes actually figure out that Big Head's idea is stupid/impractical 30 pages later into the script
So Big Head and Thomas go to work, (at a Google esque company, Boodle). Where they talk about the industry giant Peter Gregory (thinly veiled Peter Thiel) and go and see him speak that evening. But before they get through that, Judge has to introduce new characters at Google, excuse me Boodle, called BROGRAMMERS. So these particular "genius" Silicon Valley programmers, the script lazily refers to as "frat guys" "who clearly only work out their upper bodies" and OF COURSE they make fun of poor Thomas and his Pied Piper music program. Oh and they totally LOVE their DOUBLE MACHIATTOS. Because that's what Brogrammers drink Bro.
Anyway, yada yada yada it turns out Thomas's program has an mp3 esque revolutionary aspect to it- it can COMPRESS mp3 files! Woah. Peter Thiel, excuse me, Gregory and the EVIL CEO of Boodle Gavin start a bidding war over it. WHO WILL THOMAS CHOOSE? THE EVIL CEO and all of his money or the revolutionary Peter Thiel cough Gregory, who offers Thomas less money but more involvement?!
Dun, dun dun.
I'm sick of reviewing this because frankly, re-reading it has reminded me of how disappointing it is. One sideplot, I'm not kidding, is two hot women (a laid off publicist & a non prof worker) deciding to date geeks because they have money. (The script has them looking at an MSNBC broadcast and commenting "Well they don't look rapey.") Seriously, that's a sideplot that happens. If this were in any way presented as humorous, I could buy in. Instead it's just ANOTHER lazy stereotype.
This isn't Office Space humor of reality/biting sarcasm. This isn't Idiocracy humor of the absurd. It's like a drive by concept, that in execution lacks any semblance of humor, because the world they've created isn't believable and the characters they've populated in it lack any semblance of reality.
There's no Peter Gibbons here. Just "geeks" and "brogrammers." Ha. Ha.