“Silicon Valley,” the HBO comedy that lampoons California’s other major industry, had its season two premiere Thursday at the El Capitan Theatre, where the growing intersection of Hollywood and tech was obvious.
Tech entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss guest star in the first episode of the new season and joked on the red carpet that no, they’re not playing Armie Hammer, the actor who famously portrayed them in the film “The Social Network.”
Mike Judge, who created the show with John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, hearkened back to his early days in the tech field during his opening remarks before the show.
“A long time ago, I was actually an engineer in Silicon Valley,” he said. “I was an engineer dreaming of becoming a comedy filmmaker in Hollywood and now here I am doing a show called ‘Silicon Valley.’ As we do this show, I keep thinking I really should be dreaming of going back to Silicon Valley and coming up with a stupid app and becoming a billionaire and maybe buying a network or something. But, I remind myself that making fun of them is a lot funner.”
The first season of the show, which follows a group of young (mostly) white men in a tech startup company, received some criticism for its limited portrayal of women in the industry. Actress Amanda Crew — the only female series regular that season — says that’s more indicative of the Silicon Valley world than it was sexist casting.
“It’s really unfortunate that it’s so imbalanced and I think the show got a lot of heat for that,” she said. “But to Mike’s credit, we’re not trying to change Silicon Valley, we’re trying to be a commentary on Silicon Valley and that’s what exists. Do I agree with it? Absolutely not. So hopefully people will be paying much more attention to it. I think there have been a lot of really cool movements to help young girls strive to get these kinds of jobs.”
This is also something that’s changing this year. For one, Suzanne Cryer is joining the cast and replaces the late Christopher Evan Welch, who played investor Peter Gregory.
“I’m a woman who doesn’t operate the way women normally operate in television, quite frankly,” she said. “She operates completely cerebrally. She has no social skills. I mean, literally the opposite of what women are supposed to do … she’s a math wonk, really. So more than like a geek, she’s a nerd I’d say. She’s a hardcore math nerd and she doesn’t get distracted by emotions.”
The cast is mostly made up of extroverted comedians, meaning they tend to not fit the stereotype of the mild-mannered computer programmers they play onscreen.
“We’re very similar in some ways: We both lack talent, ability or any real intellectual know-how, and yet, somehow, end up on red carpets,” said Josh Brener. In season one, his sub-par tech employee Nelson “Big Head” Bighetti managed to find himself in a rather cush gig despite having much skill.
The show is also known for a bit of raunch, as executive producer Alec Berg famously received an Emmy nomination last year for writing an episode that focused on an overly elaborate, anatomically-focused math problem.
“I thought that was such a brilliantly written episode because it’s when the comedic climax and the narrative climax coincide,” said Zach Woods, who plays the rather docile Jared on the show.
Could audiences expect such hijinks from season two?
“There may be a monkey in season two,” Judge said on the red carpet.
Let the speculation begin …
The second season of “Silicon Valley” begins airing April 12 on HBO.
(Pictured, left to right: Michael Lombardo, president of HBO programming; actor Thomas Middleditch; writer/director Alec Berg; creator/producer Mike Judge; and actor T.J. Miller at the premiere of HBO’s “Silicon Valley” 2nd season)