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  • Writer's pictureA.J. Sobel

Silicon Valley

I've been re-watching the HBO series Silicon Valley of late, and wondering why I love it so much. I’m not a coder; I’m barely a computer user. Ask me to do anything beyond use a writing application, and you’ll get a blank stare, swiftly accompanied by an “Uuuuuuh…”

Anyway, after thinking long and hard about it, I realized: It’s the grind. For the first few seasons, they do nothing but work and toil, shedding blood, sweat, and tears to build something special.

It’s a show about five guys making it fucking happen. All the roadblocks, all the bullshit, all the stumbling, and they’re still busting their asses to make their dreams come true. That right there is a sentiment I can relate to. A sentiment I feel like anyone can relate to.

Sure, it’s a show draped in the veneer of comedy (despite T.J. Miller’s actions, he was by far the funniest character), but at its heart, it was about pursuing the American dream: Making obscene piles of cash doing something you love.

I’d say its unique in that regard. I’ll admit, I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of television, but, like most people these days, I do spend a probably unhealthy amount of time in front of a TV screen. I can’t really think of another show that so accurately portrays what it’s really like for people to try and make something on their own, short of reality tv -- and the authenticity there is dubious at best.

They aren’t the strongest, or the fastest (though they may be the smartest), yet every time life kicks them in the balls (and that happens a lot), they get back up, dust themselves off, and press on. Granted, their particular pot of gold is potentially worth billions -- and who wouldn’t try to grab that? -- but with the shit they went through, a lot of people would eventually just call it quits.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I idolize them, but I watch those nerds (it’s cool, I can say that, I’m a nerd too) doing their thing, and I wish I could do that, too. It’s not glamorous, it’ll probably never make me untold millions, but I wish I could park my ass in front of a computer for twelve-plus hours a day and just do my thing. Not needing another job to pay the bills, no other distractions; just me and a computer, putting words on the page, unlimited potential stretching out before me.

While it’s true that the later seasons may have lost me in terms of relatability, the grind was still there. Navigating a world where everyone was trying to sponge off of them, didn’t give a shit about them, or was actively trying to make them fail, they never gave up.

I don’t know, maybe I’m in the minority in that regard, but development issues aside, Silicon Valley speaks to me on a fundamental level in a way that most shows don’t. It’s not about escapism, it’s not about watching the beautiful people prance, spouting highbrow monologues, it’s not about trying to make the world a better place (despite what Gavin Belson will tell you). It’s about the work, and the lengths people can, and will, go to so they can make. Shit. Happen.


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