Silicon Valley and the Shit-Slinging Robot Monkey Hand

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Even though Silicon Valley primarily follows (and mocks) a small startup, the show has always been stellar at satirizing the tech establishment. This week’s episode uses a wearable robotic monkey hand to make a point about how the big companies can be the biggest (and sometimes most literal) shitshows of them all.

Hooli head honcho Gavin Belson is still gunning for Pied Piper, and he screws the team’s plans to move out of Erlich’s house by using his clout to make it hard for Pied Piper to rent a server. Gilfoyle proves his worth by suggesting a novel solution. “We build our own servers,” he explains, arguing that rental servers are all generic, and that custom-made configurations would make Pied Piper even faster. It turns out to be a good idea, even though it means the team must stay at Erlich’s and forgo a fancy startup space. Silicon Valley often treats the Pied Piper team like the bumblers they are, but this episode makes it pretty clear that there’s a good reason to root for them: At least occasionally, they’re able to make choices that are grounded in delivering the best product instead of living up to hype.

The Pied Piper team’s actual sound reasoning is contrasted well by Hooli’s revenge-based missteps. Belson is still propping up Big Head (who Belson still refers to as “Bag Head”) as an innovator, even though Big Head is using his new position as Co-Head Dreamer to create a structurally unsound giant potato cannon. Belson doesn’t care about how inept Big Head/Bag Head is, as long as he can manipulate him to fit the narrative that Pied Piper was created by Hooli.


“give it up for bag head”

“Worth is a relative thing,” Belson says, and maybe he’s right— but, as the end of the episode shows, he has done a terrible job of correctly assessing the worth of Nucleus. He promises that Nucleus will be able to livestream an upcoming UFC fight without realizing that it’s nowhere near ready to livestream anything.

Even though Hooli has resources the Pied Piper team can only dream about, the Nucleus team is a mess. Nobody wants to deliver bad news, so no one is communicating how far behind the project is.

And the so-called genius Belson has hired to be the other Co-Head Dreamer actually does something that should be cool with his position and resources, creating an advanced prosthetic arm for a monkey name Kiko. Except that Kiko doesn’t do anything with his new body part but jack off and throw poop.


poop monkey is a metaphor

Most of the fun of the scene comes from reaction shots and monkey noises, and it’s one of the funniest since Silicon Valley’s mathematic dick joke from last year. It’s a wonderfully literal way to make fun of how even the most advanced tech companies can wind up with a product that’s full of shit.


Stray observations:

  • Jared recommending Kegels was my favorite throwaway line this episode.
  • Also speaking of beautiful Jared, any German experts know what he was saying in his sleep?

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