Over the past two seasons, Silicon Valley has made a name for itself in part because of its comedic charm, biting wit, and incredible aptitude for skewering the eponymous California mecca of tech and start-up culture. But Mike Judge’s Emmy-winning series – along with its mid-spring counterpart, Veep – has also earned a reputation for offering viewers a much-needed post-Game of Thrones cool-down period that helps relax the tension built-up during the previous hour’s unscrupulous Westerosi maneuverings.
With the show’s season 3 premiere a little more than a month away, HBO has seen fit to offer fans a taste of what’s to come, along with a new poster that shows how the team at Pied Piper will find themselves at the mercy (and for one of them, embarrassingly in the employ) of the company they helped create. Amidst the potential professional setback for Thomas Middleditch’s nervous programmer Richard Hendricks are wall-to-wall jokes at the expense of everyone from Zach Woods’ Donald ‘Jared’ Dunn to newcomer and future Pied Piper CEO Jack Barker (played by the great Stephen Tobolowski). There’s also a nice bit from Suzanne Cryer as Laurie Bream – who wound up being a top-notch addition to the cast, following the sad loss Christopher Evan Welch, who played aloof tech genius Peter Gregory.
The trailer provides audiences with a solid idea as to what season 3 will entail and what kind of problems – personally and professionally – the team at Pied Piper will face now that they’re not just putting out random fires (figuratively and literally) caused by lunatic angel investors like Chris Diamantopoulos’ Russ Hanneman. It looks as though Richard will have his hands full trying to maintain a modicum of control over his creation, as he’s informed during the opening sequence that he’s “created a company too valuable for [him] to run.”
The irony of Richard’s situation is surely not lost on anyone who’s kept up with the series since its 2014 premiere, in which he turned down millions of dollars from Hooli CEO Gavin Belson (Matt Ross), to pursue all the gratifying challenges of building his own company from scratch and making the world a better place through middle-out data compression. While the battle for Pied Piper has been at the heart of every season in one way or another, this time it’s – wait for it – personal. Richard, along with Erlich (T.J. Miller) and his incubator full of (self-proclaimed) coding and tech geniuses have found themselves on the verge of massive success (and stock options) time and again, only to wind up being stymied by various outside forces.
If season 1 was Richard fighting his own insecurity and indecision (or poor decisions), then season 2 was Richard vs. Gavin and the whims of one-trick billionaires (that’s a pretty good trick, really) who lack the sort of vision for Pied Piper as Richard does – even if he doesn’t really know what that vision is yet. By the look of things here, Pied Piper is poised to become an esteemed company in spite of its creator being ousted for a “hitter” like “Action” Jack Barker (Tobolowsky) who, along with a fondness for muffins displays a remarkable resilience to Erlich’s rapid-fire insinuations about his various preferences due to his “advanced” age. While Erlich’s attempt to insult the “gray-haired fossil” is the sort of humor viewers have come to expect from a series that boasts such creative talent as Judge and former Seinfeld writer and producer Alec Berg, let’s be honest: everyone looks forward to the day they can get the senior citizen discount at Perkins Family Restaurant.
While it looks like another tough road ahead for Team Pied Piper, perhaps Jared’s promise of team jackets will be enough to get the crew through whatever struggles season 3 has in store. At any rate, fans only have a few weeks to wait before they find out.
Silicon Valley season 3 premieres Sunday, April 24 @10pm on HBO.