Mike Judge has always been somewhat acclaimed for his “low-brow” hits such as Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill. While these shows may be low concept, they still have had an undeniable impact on society. This is because Mike Judge is not only a creative mind; he is an unofficial sociologist. Beavis and Butthead came out right around the peak of the hair-metal craze and despite Judge allowing the more countercultural viewers to be in on the joke and give them amiably low-I.Q. characters to relate to, Judge also made a direct satire of every character in the show. The prototype for Hank Hill, Tom Anderson, was the disgruntled neighbor of the golden duo before King of the Hill was created. This was an early portrayal of Judge’s insights into social norms: Judge sees the social paradigms of the world and filters them through the conduit of his own aesthetic, which has always been fun, loose, and most importantly, accurate.
Judge has dabbled in a few high concept projects, such as the dystopian satire, Idiocracy, which has since gained a cult following. Now, however, Judge has moved into new creative territory. After Judge graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in physics, he went on to pursue programming. In 1987, he moved to Northern California in an area that was quickly becoming widely known as Silicon Valley. He joined a video card company called Parallax that had less than 50 employees. Judge has been quite outspoken about his experiences there, claiming that the entire culture “believed strongly in something, but I had no idea what it was”. This statement doesn’t just ring true with residents of Silicon Valley, but with the entire millennial generation today… And what better way to portray the hilarious mess that is this digital revolution than a series on it done from a man who has experienced it first hand?
All of these elements point to the show being an inevitable success, but no one was entirely sure what to expect from Judge’s new series. His legacy as the “king of the low-brow satire” hindered viewers from watching a series where he’s portraying such a high-intelligence world in which really no outsiders know what goes on within. People wondered if he could really fuse his classic brand of simple, yet fearless humor with all of the cinematic intricacies required to make a series like this. Nonetheless, Judge went on with the project, recruiting modern comedy stars such as Kumail Nanjiani and T.J. Miller, as well as Thomas Middleditch as the main character. Filming for the pilot began on March 12, 2013, and HBO green-lighted the series only four days after.
The series focuses around Richard Hendriks, who, after discovering an incredible breakthrough in compression speeds for data transfers, is sought upon by every big investor in Silicon Valley. He also has some steep competitors, one of which is his old best friend who began his own “rest and vest” lifestyle. Richard is immediately pushed by his friends to allow them in on the project, which he is reluctant to at first. As time progresses though, he begins to see how much each of them utilize their role in the project and they become a team (which appears to be an ode to how Steve Wonziak and Steve Jobs began Apple).
The show just aired its 8th episode last Sunday, and it was quite a pivotal point for the storyline. Since it’s very early on in the series, I won’t give any spoilers, because after all, this is not a thought piece…. It is merely a very strong recommendation to do yourself a favor and indulge in the fresh, generationally relevant and hilarious new HBO series that is Mike Judge’s [Silicon Valley](series:844456)… And if you’re watching it on a device besides a television, just remember that the compression rate for your video is all due to some hipster in Silicon Valley throwing his soul out to make your internet faster because in the digital world, THERE IS NO ROOM FOR FAILURE(psych).