Silicon Valley, episode 9: Too sexy for this headline, too sexy...
Crotch touching, lawyers, of course it's on HBO
Recap "I haven't had a girlfriend in, like, three years."
"No, I'm not gay. Just… busy."
This week's episode of Silicon Valley – the penultimate one of season two – decided the lackluster sex lives of coders was the perfect foil with which to repeatedly stab the floundering Pied Piper as it tries to recovers from yet another setback.
Having managed to delete hundreds of hours of porn from its potential business partner, the compression software company was limp and lifeless. With no money, the company's new staff had quit and all was lost.
Until, that is, Richard's old and hopeless friend, Big Head, happened across a mobile beta of its competitor Hooli's product. Left behind in a bar, no less. And it sucked. It sucked so badly in fact that Big Head suggested that there may be some leverage to be had with Hooli's CEO Gavin Belson. And it is there that we enter the lawyer's den.
It says something of the comic talents of the Silicon Valley production team that they managed to derive some big laughs out of a bunch of suits. Sure, you can get courtroom drama, but courtroom high-jinks? Much harder.
While the lawyers help stop Richard and Gavin from threatening one another – just – the dispute between the two leads to "binding arbitration", the title of this episode. And it is within this fast-tracked legal process, helped with the sharp-talking, quick-thinking junkie pedophile murderer lawyer Richard has hired (the terrific Matt McCoy as Pete Monihan) that we enter into the sexual depths of geekdom. And by depths, we mean, there is very little light and no signs of life.
When Monihan calls Richard on his claim not to have had a girlfriend for three years after he finds emails referring to one, Richard reveals it's his joke name for his laptop – "Because, um, it’s the only warm thing that's touched my crotch," he says apologetically.
But that warm crotch could lead to Pied Piper's downfall as it becomes clear that when his laptop crashed and was being repaired for three days he used Hooli's computer to do some work on his algorithms and therefore – therefore! – it can put claim to some of the company's intellectual property.
In other words, game over. With a sideswipe at the insane IP laws that only make sense in the bubble that is Silicon Valley.
Richard has the opportunity to escape it all by lying. And the inept, stupid but lovable Erlich promises to help him, even going so far as to declare himself Richard's girlfriend. But it's all for naught. Richard is too damn honest.
Call it a papering, call it a document dump. It ain't good and it's killing trees, man!
There is plenty of fun along the way, much of it unapologetically smutty in this episode.
McCoy repeatedly stole the show:
Was I in possession of cocaine, amphetamines, amyl nitrate – also known as poppers – on the night of my arrest? In large quantities. Did I have consensual intercourse with two women under the age of 18? Repeatedly. I admit this. Did I violate the Mann Act and transport them across state lines for sexual purposes? Alleged but not proven. And boy they tried… they tried.
And the interactions between Monihan and Erlich (T.J. Miller) produced some gems, particularly when Monihan unexpectedly cracked him on the stand for being absolutely hopeless at his job and thinking the app "Nip Alert" was better than Pied Piper's actually brilliant technology.
Monihan: Mr Bachman, you have incubated a seemingly endless string of patently unsuccessful apps, haven't you?
Bachman: No, no that is not correct. I incubated Pied Piper. I saw the value in that.
Monihan: Oh, did you? Isn't it true that you were about to evict Mr Hendrix until he became the subject of a bidding war…. In fact you tried to encourage Mr Hendrix to change his app to be more that Mr Bighetti's horrendous app called 'Nip Alert', isn't that true?
Bachman: Yes, I thought Nip Alert showed great promise…
Monihan: It did not show great promise. What it showed was the location of nearby women possessing erect nipples. And as such Mr Bighetti's grotesque creation was passed over by every investor in this town. Except you. Because it was perverted… Nip Alert was poorly conceived and riddled with bugs, wasn't it?
Bachman: All apps in the beginning…
Monihan: Mr Bachman, you liked Nip Alert, and it was terrible. You liked it! Didn't you?!
Bachman: OK, yes, yes, fine! I liked it! Even though it was a terrible app and had no market potential. I was high when he pitched it… and I like nipples… and…
Monihan: Thank you Mr Bachman.
Bachman: It was buggy, rapey piece of shit designed by an idiot. It sucked.
Aside from the courtroom, there was a sidebar on Schrödinger's cat that was repeated, largely pointlessly, three times in order to keep the other main characters in the episode. And a delightful little joke about "arbeit macht frei" (look it up) and lawyer document dumps.
In short, the comedy show was back up to speed after last week's nosedive. And in the preview of the final episode next week, it looks as though Silicon Valley will return to its moral center by highlighting that so long as the technology is good, all the trials and tribulations will fall away… as hundreds of thousands of people watch a live stream of a badly injured man drink his own urine in glorious unwavering HD.
You've got to admit it, they have tapped into the Valley. ®