Silicon Valley Review: “Signaling Risk”

(Episode 1.05)

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<i>Silicon Valley</i> Review: &#8220;Signaling Risk&#8221;

Now that Pied Piper has money in the bank and the go-ahead from Peter Gregory, it’s time for the company to take on one of the biggest decisions of their early days: creating a logo.

Okay, really there are much bigger concerns going on in the startup, but the funniest aspects of this week’s episode pertain to Erlich’s attempts to get a gritty logo made for the company by a graffiti artist named Chuy. At first, the spray painter is wary of getting involved without getting some stock options, coming around only because he sees Dinesh from afar and thinks the skittish coder is Mexican.

So, when the first logo goes up on the Pied Piper garage, it’s a picture of Dinesh, done up with a full Aztec-style headdress, anally violating the Statue of Liberty. Erlich, rightfully, balks and fesses up about Dinesh’s real lineage. So, Chuy changes the face of the Statue of Liberty to look like Erlich.

The whole mess is capped off by the fact that they are paying Chuy $10,000 to paint this, which opens up Jared’s concerns that within five months—well before they have a working piece of software—the company will be out of money. If that isn’t enough, Pied Piper is accepted into TechCrunch Disrupt, a startup competition that Richard forgot he had entered. He could withdraw, but is forced to present a working version of the program in eight weeks because Gavin Belson decides to be keynote speaker at the conference and introduce Nucleus to the world.

As Clay Tarver—one of the show’s writers—tweeted today this episode is really where Silicon Valley takes off. Richard finally learns that Peter Gregory’s interest in Pied Piper exists simply to piss off Gavin Belson. And the young startup finally starts making some forward movement thanks to Jared’s new workflow system that forces Dinesh and Gilfoyle to start coding like mad men, only because they are each trying to show the other up.

Tonight there was a nice spark of energy for a show that threatens to bump up against its limitations. There is limitless comedic potential in the tech world. But if you’re keeping the action to, primarily, the four walls of the Pied Piper house, it could stale quickly. Luckily, the show is starting to embrace some well-worn sitcom tropes. This turns up the heat just enough to keep both the characters and the audience on the edge of their respective seats. The last three episodes of this first season are going to be a lot of fun.

Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.