One of the concerns some critics and viewers have about Silicon Valley is that it gets a little cyclical. Richard and the team have an idea, the idea looks like it’s gonna work, it works, something goes wrong, everything goes to hell, some last-minute miracle or stroke of luck saves them. It’s happened a few different times now, and it represents the trickiest part of doing a show about a startup-based business like Pied Piper: the struggle is the interesting part. You need to have everyone battling against something — preferably forces bigger and more powerful than they are — or else you lose the basic conflict of the show. I mean, is there a show to be made about the success and continued success of now-billionaire tech entrepreneurs whose little invention moved them out of a small house in a development and into a series of stunning mansions around the globe? I dunno. Probably. I’d love to see what a billionaire version of Jared looks like. Just screaming and whooping on a boat filled with swimsuit models. Russ Hanneman knows what I’m talking about.
But if the very nature of the show is the thing that risks holding it back, like, then what? Where do you even go from there? The exit of T.J. Miller and his Erlich Bachman character frees them up to play with the format a bit, and Richard did have a little bit of an Evil Kermit look to him in this season’s final scene with Gavin at the Mexican restaurant (Richard’s swing to the dark side and possibly unearned saving via smart fridge is another discussion altogether), but the show probably needs to shake things up somehow to remain in that upper-tier of television comedies. In a post-finale interview with THR, creator Mike Judge indicated that this — the new internet thing, the Richard vs. Gavin thing, the Richard going a little Walter White thing — is all setting up what he thinks will be the final two seasons.
At the beginning of the season, we started thinking that maybe we shouldn’t have them fail and pivot again to something else. On one hand, I think it’s really fun to watch these guys scramble and fail — but it’s also fun to watch them succeed. At some point, we just thought that we should figure out what they’re going to pivot to, and that really big play would take them to the end of the series. That’s the plan anyway.
So there you have it. That’s the official plan. Now, I’m sure there are lots of unqualified yahoos out there with their own crazy and/or bad ideas about what the show can do going forward, but I don’t think…
Wait a second. I’m an unqualified yahoo. And I have crazy/bad ideas. Tons of them. I should get involved here. Hmm. Just give me a second. Let’s go with… Jared and Jian-Yang go on a road trip together.
Yeah, let’s go with that. Jared and Jian-Yang on a road trip. Across the country. And not just for one episode, either. I’m talking about the full season. Ten episodes of the two of them in an RV headed to, let’s say, Miami, for tech… things? We’ll figure out the beats later. Maybe it has something to do with Big Head stumbling into a gold mine of some sort, as Big Head tends to do. Maybe it’s an actual gold mine. Maybe he’s hiking in Florida and a sinkhole opens up and he gets sucked into a cavern filled with gold and Jared and Jian-Yang are driving a dump truck to haul out the gold. Or something. Not important now. What’s important is that we’re making progress. Just think of all the reasons this idea could work:
– I like Jared.
– I like Jian-Yang.
– Jared and Jian-Yang are about as opposite, personality-wise, as any characters you’ll find. Jared is a sweet troubled man with incredible work ethic and a never-failing moral compass. Jian-Yang is an angry mediocre coder who hates everyone. Picture them on about hour 20 of a cross-country road trip, somewhere around Iowa, surrounded by flat nothingness as far as the eye can see, not even able to get an internet signal.
– I want to see them in, like, Texas.
– Maybe they could rob a bank?
– With Erlich gone, Jian-Yang will need something to do and/or someone to hate. Jared can be that for totally opposite reasons. Plus, Jared is fascinating and I want to know everything about him, so giving him a season behind the wheel of a large vehicle will give us lots of time for reflection. And monologues. So many monologues.
– With the main focus on Jared and Jian-Yang, Richard and the Pied Piper crew can work mostly in secret on whatever their plan is regarding the internet, and the audience can just check in at notable moments to see them making progress, instead of riding the same success/failure rollercoaster we’ve been on for a while now.