HBO’s Silicon Valley: Behind This scenes of the Closing, Psychological season

It’s a bright summer morning on the record of the HBO comedy Silicon Valley, and founder Mike Judge is sitting behind 2 screens, still hunched over laughing following four takes. Jared Dunn, earnest, loving cheerleader into his nerdy boss, Richard Hendricks, has grown unhappy with Richard and can be expressing it in a really un-Jared-like manner. It’s a speculative spectacle, Judge states, since the series has never driven the noble, vaguely optimistic Jared into these dire actions.  “I was really nervous that wasn’t going to work, so that might have been a lot of laughing out of relief,” Judge informs me afterwards. Spoiler alert: It worked.  The scene seems in episode two of the sixth and final period of this Emmy-winning series about computer geeks attempting to make it in Silicon Valley. As that the seven-episode year kicks off, startup Pied Piper has hundreds of workers and large, multilevel digs. The firm’s peer-to-peer net “of the people, by the people and for the people” is so powerful that Richard (Thomas Middleditch) is testifying before Congress concerning the safety of consumer information, unmistakably channeling Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s jittery Capitol Hill performance.  A jumpy Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) testifies before Congress at Silicon Valley’s last year. 

But while the path to the auspicious juncture was paved with speed bumps — a copyright infringement lawsuit, scheming corporate overlords and smarmy investors in gaudy sports cars — victory brings new challenges. Like a ramped-up struggle between personal integrity and also the lure of money. And higher-than-ever psychological stakes: Now which Richard has ascended from non invasive developer using a promising file compression algorithm to large tech CEO emerging on C-Span, weak, adorable Jared (Zach Woods) is atmosphere lost.  “Jared’s having to learn how to tolerate distance from Richard as the company grows,” states Woods, among those celebrities I talked to as the show entered its last days of shooting. Distance is not easy to get a man who is basically imprinted himself on Richard just like a small duckling since early in year 1. That’s when Richard turned into a Massive buyout offer so that he can induce his own fate — and Jared, his own co-worker at technician giant Hooli, determined Richard was a beacon of decency worthy of adulation.   The afternoon I see the Southern California place, Woods gets dropped his voice and will not have the ability to capture his lines before he receives it back. That does not prevent him from completely, and , conveying his character’s distress. The 6-foot-4-inch comic speaks with his scrawny limbs and pliable, expressive face since he ends up a scene using Jimmy O. Yang’s pain-in-the-ass program developer Jian-Yang. The celebrities, obviously improvisation experts, place a somewhat different spin on each take and look for every nuance as funny as the past.   “We just know each other’s ins and outs,” Woods informs me of how throw members steer each other supporting their funniest collective job. The throw and dozens of team members have assembled in the front of this one-story, ranch-style Hacker Hostel in which the Pied Piper team lives and utilized to get the job done. In a high-profile death, T.J. Miller’s dot-com millionaire Erlich Bachman abandoned the show two seasons ago, but his green and yellowish Aviato-branded mini SUV remains parked in the driveway. 
Jared and Richard is just one of the wonderful love stories of my entire life. 
Zach Woods, who performs Jared Dunn
As Woods and I talk in a rest between scenes (because he does not have a voice, I speak and he replies with hand gestures), it is clear that he shares his personality’s open-hearted sweetness. Over the length of this series, Jared has triumphed at a dim past (“When I was little, I used to pretend I shared a room with Harriet Tubman and we were always planning our big escape”). But he emerges as the merry, (largely ) unflappable mother hen into the Pied Piper guys. Especially toward Richard, his protagonist, that turns uncharacteristically tender in year 6 in the prospect of shedding Jared because his faithful adviser and friend.   “Jared and Richard is one of the great love stories of my life,” Woods states once I catch up with him a couple of months later. “A part of my heart will always have been colonized by Jared for Richard.” “I suppose I’ve always had a little bit of a bad attitude about technology, or a cynical attitude about it,” admits Judge, a former scientist who worked in a startup graphics card business in the ’80s. He made animated hits including Beavis and Butt-Head and King of the Hill before turning his eye to the ever-shifting swells of Silicon Valley.  Silicon Valley creator Mike Judge: “It’s better to stop while it still feels new.” 
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO
The series, his first live-action show, premiered on HBO in 2014 to critical acclaim and earned legions of fans, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. “If you really want to Comprehend just how Silicon Valley works now, you need to observe the HBO series Silicon Valley,” Gates wrote on his blog. “The series is a parody, so it exaggerates things, but just like all fantastic parodies it catches a great deal of truths.” Many of those truths come directly from Silicon Valley sources.  The show’s team has met with famed venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, among other notable tech figures. Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo consulted on the series. And technology advisers routinely sit in the writers’ room and on-set to be certain details ring truedown into the lines of code which appear on personalities’ monitors. Code that real-life programmers dissect on Reddit and even try to reproduce.   “Every display and each whiteboard and each flier that is taped to Each wall has been assessed for fact,” says executive producer and writer Alec Berg, who also produces HBO comedy Barry. “The best compliment I get from folks working in technology is, ‘I can’t watch this show cause it makes me nauseous.’ Making individuals in that planet nauseous since it seems too close to home is a nausea I shall take.”
It will be hard for Berg and the rest of the team to say goodbye, but Judge, who calls the show “among their greatest adventures I’ve had in the planet,” says now’s the time for Silicon Valley to leave Hollywood. The series was never meant to be a static workplace sitcom that endures forever, he stresses, but instead a series with a clear arc about a programmer and his brainy friends searching for success in an app-eat-app world.  “You can only go so far before you begin getting frustrated with seeing them shed, and when they start winning large, you will find new levels of issues … and we have done that,” Judge says. “It’s better to stop while it still feels fresh.” 
It ends with something unexpected and still very satisfying, at least for us.
Martin Starr, who plays Bertram Gilfoyle 
Martin Starr, who plays Bertram Gilfoyle, ultra-cynical security architect, self-described Satanist and perennial provocateur to Kumail Nanjiani’s gullible coder Dinesh Chugtai, admits he initially didn’t think season 6 was the right time to end the series. Then he read the script and found “a lovely ending that fully embodies and reflects the series. It ends with something sudden and very gratifying, at least for us.”  There’s no cynicism when Starr talks about how it felt filming his last scene with Dinesh, whom Gilfoyle clearly loves despite the constant deadpan putdowns. “That was a demanding one,” he says. You can’t have one of these guys without the other. Hardware and software. Ones and zeroes.  Starr won’t reveal spoilers, though he does share a secret about how things wind up for the fan-favorite pair. “I can inform you that people do get married, however there’s a looming divorce,” he jokes. Nah, who’s he kidding? “We’ll be together forever,” Starr says.  Some aspects of tech culture don’t seem funny on the surface: spectacular product failures, privacy breaches, gender disparities. But Judge saw a world, and people, begging to be made fun of.   He remembers reading a Rolling Stone article about late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and being fascinated that a billionaire didn’t appear quite as wealthy when it came to social skills. Gavin Belson (Matt Ross) is Richard’s self-absorbed, willfully misguided nemesis. 
Eddy Chen/HBO
“There’s never been a time in history in which Kind of character are the wealthiest person on Earth,” Judge says. “It was generally these captains-of-industry agro-male forms rather than such introverted, nerdy socially embarrassing Men and Women.”   Awkwardness permeates the show, with Richard one-upping even wanna-be lothario Dinesh for the highly competitive title of Most Awkward Beta Male. Middleditch’s fidgety inventor is deathly afraid of eye contact and prone to puking when he has to speak in public.  “This bumbling, foot-in-mouth smarty pants was great to perform ,” Middleditch says. “My favourite components, out barfing or hammering my mind on desks, are those moments in which you shout at the TV saying, ‘What are you doing, you idiot?'”  The show has sent up everything from pointless apps to personal spiritual gurus, tech bros, tech bloggers and over-the-top themed launch parties. But through the biting satire, it also celebrates Silicon Valley because a place where innovators follow their visions — and sometimes improve the world.  “As much as this series pokes fun in the business, there are a few interesting folks attempting to do some mad things,” Middleditch says. “I can not talk to the firms that somehow increase a hundred thousand bucks to send cookies for your door or any man which makes a program which makes your kitty’s butthole talk in a ridiculous voice onto your telephone, but hey, I figure that is far better than slipping every ounce of private data and using this to reshape democracyright?” Since joining the Silicon Valley cast, the actor, a lifetime gamer who’s attended his share of LAN parties, is now more entrenched in the world of tech. He now zips up to the San Francisco Bay Area to invest in green companies.   “Art has become life, and I’m now trying to make the planet a better place,” he says. “But do not worry. In addition, I increase and watch baseball and fly planes, so there is a good deal of full-tilt machismo too. Don’t wish to bragbut I could curl over 20 pounds. Each arm. At exactly the exact same moment.”The day I visit the set, Middleditch demonstrates another kind of physical deftness, the comedic kind, as he films a scene that involves jumping out of a window, landing on a thick mat below, and taking off running with a gait that in no world, not even an uber-geeky one, could be described as graceful. It requires a few takes to get the panicked awkwardness just right.   “It feels just like a sitcom autumn, such as I’m hamming it,” the actor tells Judge after watching a replay on the monitor. Then he’s back at the window, jumping again. Nailing a scene sometimes requires the precision of a star coder. And lots of volleying between players on both sides of the camera.   “It’s not autocratic,” Woods says of the show’s creative process. Judge and Berg “do not throw their large weight around. They’re inquisitive … and they are receptive to individuals That Are relatively really untested.”    
The series has changed my entire life, plain and simple. 
Thomas Middleditch, who plays Richard Hendricks
For those people, Silicon Valley has been nothing short of professionally and personally defining.  “The show has changed my life, plain and simple,” says Middleditch, who appears in the new action-horror movie Zombieland: Double Tap and plans to work on a comedy series with his wife, Mollie Gates, about the swinging lifestyle. He and the other actors switch from quippy to sentimental when talking about what it feels like as Silicon Valley gets ready to power off for good. “I simply feel monumentally blessed and thankful,” Woods says. “Like anything once it ends, there is the pain of loss, but I really feel like a lottery winner.”  He’s already preparing for what’s next. “I delve into the yawning chasm of doubt,” Woods jokes. He’ll also join new HBO space comedy Avenue 5 opposite Hugh Laurie.  Navigating the choppy tech waters in Silicon Valley season 6 are, from left, Jian-Yang (Jimmy O. Yang), Nelson “Big Head” Bighetti (Joshua Max Brener), and Jared Dunn (Zach Woods). 
Eddy Chen/HBO
Judge will stay with HBO as well, helming two projects. New show QualityLand adapts German writer Marc-Uwe Kling’s satirical dystopian novel. And A5, a limited live-action series, follows a bioengineer who discovers the gene responsible for turning people into assholes.  This won’t be the first time Judge has tackled the topic. Silicon Valley had its share of characters who deserve the label, and Erlich famously philosophized that “in case you are not an asshole, it generates this sort of asshole vacuum, and that emptiness is filled by additional assholes.”  The protagonist in Judge’s new show will attempt to answer “the questions nagging whatsoever people : Why do assholes exist? Why have they begun to dominate our civilization? And is it treated?” Maybe Judge could isolate the Pied Piper men to reply those stumpers having an algorithm. 
Originally printed Oct. 16.