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Silicon Valley S01E08: "Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency"


I haven't been doing episodic coverage of Silicon Valley's first season, so here's a quick summary of my thoughts on the show since it debuted in April: It's currently one of my favorite TV comedies. Its serialized nature makes it feel more like a long movie than a sitcom that presses the reset button at the end of each episode, and I dig that. It's the kind of comedy that can only really work on a network that's willing to throw away syndication sales, and HBO (which also airs the similarly structured Veep) is the perfect fit.

Silicon Valley's Season 1 story came to an end in "Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency," an episode that was both predictable and incredibly satisfying. We knew the guys would get into trouble, that they'd be on the verge of losing it all, and that Richard would save the day. We probably could've guessed that there'd be a lot of talk about how to jerk guys off—this is a Mike Judge comedy after all—and it was a very safe bet that the episode would set the stage for Pied Piper to move up in the tech world in Season 2, adding a whole corporation's worth of problems to the list of things that make Richard stress-vomit. This ending was visible all the from the Yosemite Valley (or whatever valley is closest to you but totally far from Silicon Valley), and that's totally okay. 


Comedy is all about the characters, and—I'll go ahead speak for us all—we've come to really love the code jockeys of Pied Piper. They're a lovable bunch of awkward underdogs, especially Richard, and we want to see them succeed. So that's all I wanted out of "Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency," and that's what I got, with a feel-good win for the little guys when Richard dazzled the judges at TechCrunch Disrupt with an 11th-hour "pivot." Well, it more of a nudge, really, but it led to a dramatic upgrade of the Pied Piper compression algorithm that'd been duplicated by those asshats at Hooli. Hooray for small-business perseverance and ingenuity beating mega-corporate espionage and thievery!

I can see how some folks might gripe about the way Richard beat the competition, though. I won't pretend that all the tech speak is anything but sorcery to me; I can't repeat 99 percent of the jargon they were throwing around, and if I could, I'd be a well-paid software engineer buying fancy two-ply toilet paper instead of hoarding old Taco Bell napkins. Viewers with actual technical knowhow may've been throwing their mouse pads and flash drives at the screen in disgust over the ridiculous nature of Richard's last-minute save. But for a dummy like me, all that mattered was they won. 


"Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency" could've been one long TED Talk about optimizing data transfer via the Cloud (ZZZzzzzzzzzzz....) and it still would've been amazing, as long as it had that incredible joke about how Erlich could possibly jerk off—to rousing nerd climax—800 guys in an auditorium in 10 minutes. I was literally LOLing as the guys sincerely attacked the problem, taking into account a four-penis approach (from the middle out), the distance between each guy's penis and the ground, whether inevitable differences in girth would affect efficiency, "complementary shaft angles" to keep Erlich's strokes smooth, hot-swapping penises in and out to accommodate multiple "orgasm thresholds," and a whole lot more. I'm wondering why there wasn't more of discussion about lubrication or the possibility of Erlich using his feet (that's allowed, right?), because if Erlich is as skilled at curving his arches as a ballerina, that could've knocked out about a tenth of those guys. Hmmm.... maybe I've found my calling and should move to Silicon Valley and work as a consultant to make use of my innovative thinking. Shoot, I could have Erlich done in nine minutes.  

But while I ponder that possible career path, let's quickly address the question of what's next for Silicon Valley. Monica essentially laid everything out for Richard when she told him to prepare for an inundation of investment offers, growing the company and hiring staff, getting sued by imitators, and competing with Gavin. Winning Disrupt with a revolutionary new compression algorithm was just the beginning for Richard, Pied Piper, and Silicon Valley. Now the real fun begins.



NOTES

– I've always thought of Richard as an early version of Peter Gregory, so it would make sense for the duration of Silicon Valley to focus on Richard's transformation from nervous tech newbie to eccentric billionaire.

– It's a long shot, but Thomas Middleditch deserves serious consideration for an award of some sort, and he'd probably get my vote. His performance as Richard has been brilliant, a combination of anxious physical humor and reserved demeanor that yields a character who's more than just an out-of-place geek. He's a savant. His confusion over how to hold the microphone during Pied Piper's Disrupt presentation was too funny. His ticks are comedy treasures.

– The Monica-Richard romance that's brewing still needs a lot of work. Or maybe it's Peter Gregory's way of trying to control Richard using all his resources?

– Dinesh on Erlich getting the guys a sweet suite: "I was just happy you got punched in the face, Erlich, now I'm super happy. I feel like I won twice."


What'd you think of Silicon Valley's finale? How about the first season overall?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 4/24/2016

Season 3 : Episode 1

Next Episode

TONIGHT AT 10PM

Season 3 : Episode 2

39 Comments
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I like this show, but I don't laugh out loud too often. In this episode, I just couldn't stop once they started doing all of those hand job calculations. :) Such commitment!
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I'm picky about comedy but I really adore this show! I wish every episode was reviewed.
Good job
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Enjoyed it. Once my TV schedule gets filled up again though, there won't be a spot for this show. It's just not a "can't miss tv" show.
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I catch myself saying "Poor Jared" about five times an episode. SV is an absolutely awesome show.
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This show is just way too much like Betas, but with far shallower characters. As much as I like the actors on this show, there just isn't nearly enough depth to the characters for the actors to dig into. Silicon Valley is a little funnier than Betas, and it obviously has a bigger budget, but Betas just had better characterization and a deeper portrayal of Silicon Valley start up exploits.
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Loved Jared in this episode when he was polling people. And later I saw a rerun of Freaks and Geeks and it made me feel old. Martin Starr looked so different then.
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You don't need to be a pro to understand you can't compress or reformat a 130Gb file in 10 seconds. But I still like this show and it was a great episode. I wish there were more episodes.
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Well that was the sensation of it all so? :) If you want to create something new it is by definition something that wasn't possible until then.

Otherwise I'm not overly impressed by the show. Tim seems to have some bias against these tech people. Thus he loves anything that tries to make a satire of them. In my mind the writing is mediocre at best, and I hated that Soo american cliché depiction of how they won the competition, with celebrating music and all.
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Uhm. Its technically possible. With the state of the art tech that are available and also remember tech crunch is a multi million/billion dollar TECH company.
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He did that on a laptop !
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Just makes it look so easy...the jokes never feel out of place and he would get my vote too.I'm so gonna miss it...BTW,it has been renewed for a second season,right?
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Definitely the best comedy of 2014 so far!
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I like this show also, probably will get cancelled now!
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It's already renewed so no.
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The scene where they argued whether Erlich could jerk off 800 guys in 10 min was just like the big bang theory, except way funnier than that show has been in a while.
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Yeh that was hilarious :-)

I still think Big Bang is funnier than this show overall, even though it's not quite as good or funny as it used to be.
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I knew I'd like this show after the pilot, but it blew me away (crass double-entendre not intended) from episode 2 onwards. I thought the finale was quite average for this show, but it was still great compared to other comedies. Irlich is comfortably my favourite character :)
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I have a confession to make. I have fallen completely, utterly, whole-heartedly, head-over-hells in love with each and every character on this show. Oh boys, I will miss you, and pine away for your wonderful banter and endearing personalities between now and next spring...
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Head over hells? Let's hope it doesn't freeze over.
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Lol yeeeaaahhh still waiting for TV.com to add the ability for me to to edit my posts.
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It kinda sucks that there's real-world "Weissman score" but at least it gives the writers some poetic license and a narrative device to easily show that Pied Piper's compression algorithm is better than Hooli's Nucleus without getting too technical.
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Except the "Weissman score" was invented for the show - it just goes to show the attention to detail when they made it - IEEEE Spectrum has an article about it here; http://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/computing/software/a-madefortv-compression-metric-moves-to-the-real-world
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Man, this episode was just fantastic. My girlfriend was listening in the background, and even she was laughing her ass off at the ridiculous ongoing dick joke. Such a shame that it was already the finale, as this show was definitely my favourite comedy of the year. Can't wait for it to come back next year.
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Oh man, this was the season finale? Never got around to watching this show yet, but the effects of last night's GoT had my friends and I in a daze, so we left HBO on and said very little. I couldn't help but pay and attention and all those dicks had me loving what I saw! And not seeing an episode before, this one was still easy to follow and enjoyable. But man, I hate short Season shows :c
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Loved the episode, loved the season. Arguably my favorite comedy on TV at the moment. And yes, it's all about the characters. I mean, sure, the jerking off bit was hilariously written, but I maybe might not have laughed at it as much if the math were being done by different characters.

It takes a very special show, I think, to make me like TJ Miller as much as I like him in this show, and particularly in an episode like this. And this episode totally sold me on how great Zach Woods can be. He stole this episode. Loving the whole cast.
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"Let's pivot, guys!" I really loved this season. The last two episodes were just brilliant. This one was incredibly funny and definitely made me feel good. I can't wait for season 2.
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This show is surprisingly good. It's also nice to finally see a show with legit tech talk (without boring the non-tech audience). I love the characters and the attention to detail.
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Take a watch at Halt and Catch Fire. It's about computing in the early 80s when they cloned the PC. AMC new episodes Sundays 10PM ET, first two episodes play at 10AM and 11AM Sunday morning.
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I definitely plan on catching up on that show soon, thanks for the advice!
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I have watched the presentation scene like over and over for seven times or maybe a little more. first time this happens to me for a comedy. I just loved it. Of course it was predictable, in fact since the kid episode and the fact that Richard couldn't understand what Cloud Tech is all about.
This is really a great episode to understand the way genius works. There is always a grain of ignorance in the genius, this is why many have not taken the school path with success. Somehow ignorance is genius
s best friend and progression his worst enemy. I know it sounds weird, but this is why: Progress always rely on what came before it as Richard very well explained and a brilliant person can take over more steps ahead than others; but the advance is always linear of sorts and since it borrows on old and just adds as it goes along. the problem is that after a while it all becomes old as all the venues of the prime idea have been filled and the idea dies. This is what Nucleus did to Richard and Pied Piper.
The genius will take the same route of progress others do until he can feel in his guts that the road is at an impasse.This is where ignorance is handy. Since he has reached the impasse by not understanding what leads to it, his mind will bypass the whole path and take an aside, and this means stripping all the added mass and return to the prime idea and this shortcut creates new paradigms. You can't be a slave to something that is not part of your experiment.It is the impact of seeing the wonder of a new idea from what couldn't be stripped away.
More+
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Now you know what kind of drunk I am, lol. Boy, was I wassted when I wrote this.
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I love the show and really liked the season finale. The final scene that set up next season was great, though I wish they made it more clear that Peter wouldn't be back, he was an initial investor. it was a big loss, they weren't prepared for it, but they could have done something more than the acknowledgment at the end.
Taco Bell napkins!!! I get it. is all I'm saying.
Thomas Middleditch won't be getting any attention from the nominating committees for anything other than his co-op board is my guess. It took Shameless 5 seasons to get any respect. No major Hollywood A-listers here. My apologies to T.J. Miller, though he has been great.
this show is the reason I am waiting a bit to check out Halt and Catch Fire. I know they don't have a comedy bend like this, but still. This was soooooo well written I am waiting to hear some of the reviews for that before I startwatching.
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I can't decide if I like this show or Broad City more. Broad City is probably funnier but Silicon Valley is also very smart and interesting.
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Was a great season final to a great new show! Really enjoy this. Zach Woods (Jared continues to dish out the most underrated character on the show he's brilliant with his delivery. Its a shame that the great actor playing Peter Gregory passed away and I will miss the actors great performances. I wonder how he will be written out next season..
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That is very sad :(
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8======)
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Love this show, even more so because it means success for some great actors/comedians. TJ Miller was fantastic in this episode.
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Excellent. My favorite freshman comedy. I can't wait for season 2. I hope they ordered more than 8 episodes for season 2 though.
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Also my favorite comedy currently on TV. I love Big Bang Theory too, but shows with laugh tracks and people who push food around their plates for 5 minutes straight instead of actually eating it can never be considered great. VEEP is right up there, but has gotten a little tired.
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