HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ starts up season four with fresh comedy

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"Silicon Valley" | HBO
Grade: A-

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Following the overwhelmingly positive reception of the series’ third season, HBO’s Emmy Award-winning tech comedy “Silicon Valley” returns with more characteristically sharp humor and unexpected twists in its highly anticipated fourth season.

Season four picks up in the aftermath of the click farm scandal that not only demolished the interest surrounding Pied Piper that Richard (Thomas Middleditch) was able to drum up amongst a slew of sharp-toothed Valley venture capitalists, but also resulted in the unexpected buyout of Pied Piper by the company’s own Erlich (T.J. Miller) and Big Head (Josh Brener).

As the direction of the company’s development shifts to the video-chat app and brainchild of Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) known as PiperChat, Richard reevaluates his passion for the guys’ current work. But soul-searching quickly escalates to Richard’s decision to leave Dinesh, Erlich, Big Head, Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) and Jared (Zach Woods), while he instead pursues his dream project of creating a “New Internet” using his original infamous compression algorithm.   

What results is a series of hilarious conflicts and team endeavors amongst Richard and the rest of the Pied Piper crew as they attempt to develop their projects and secure their assets under the same roof at Elrich’s incubator, while simultaneously escaping the comical wrath of their longtime rival, Hooli CEO Gavin Belson (Matt Ross).

With witty humor infused into practically every scene and instance of dialogue, “Silicon Valley” once again successfully proves its ability to surpass sitcom tropes and instead use its unique characters and story arc to create an unparalleled comedy experience. Even the repetition of the show’s typical subplots offers hilarious material. Dinesh and Gilfoyle’s apparent hatred for one another, Erlich’s struggle to control the members of his incubator and the constant cat-and-mouse game between Pied Piper and Hooli takes on a new life in season four, as the show seems to prioritize the development of individual characters over simple plot this time around.

Considering that the main plot chronicles Richard’s struggles to break ground on a “New Internet,” it seems that this season represents a reinvention of sorts, not only for the Pied Piper gang, but also for the show itself. This new direction for the story brings light to the friendships that Richard shares with some of his most beloved companions, including Jared and Big Head, while they traverse the tricky world of tech development and investments.

In fact, it’s the subplot-contained interactions between members of the Pied Piper crew that shine through in season four, not only showcasing the show’s honing of its unique comedy style, but also bringing a renewed sense of energy to what could have been a tired reworking of the same comedic formula. Even in its more serious moments, such as when Richard sets aside his professional disagreements with Dinesh to comfort his moping friend, “Silicon Valley” manages to maintain a momentum that drives the plot forward, seamlessly integrating character development into the show’s comedic thread.

After three successful seasons, “Silicon Valley” most certainly understands its strengths: the show has grown into a groove of unmatched clever humor that is undeniably rooted in the hilariously mismatched and contrasting personalities of the show’s main characters. In this way, season four plays to the show’s assets, developing engaging comedic elements that are dependent on the crew’s keystones, such as Jared’s undisturbed moral compass, Erlich’s pot-induced genius and Big Head’s utter lack of care for anything. This approach improves upon the more sitcom-like form of the show’s third season and brings about a fresh sense of reinvention.

Season four of “Silicon Valley” will, yet again, have the audience rooting for Pied Piper’s success through every hysterical stumble and mishap on its way to taking the Valley by storm.

Season four of “Silicon Valley” premieres this Sunday on HBO.

Contact Manisha Ummadi at [email protected].