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Silicon Valley Season 1, Episode 3 Review

Silicon Valley Season 1, Episode 3 Review

‘Articles of Incorporation’

In Articles of Incorporation, Richard starts to regret rejecting Gavin Belson’s offer to purchase Pied Piper for $10 million when problems arise involving the name of the company.

The majority of episode three focuses on Richard’s pursuit to secure the name Pied Piper for his new startup business. Unfortunately for Richard, Pied Piper is already in use by an irrigation company in Gilroy, California. Determined to prove his skills of negotiation to the rest of the guys in the incubator, Richard travels to Gilroy to meet with Arnold Garris (Casey Sander).
silicon-valley-episode-3-02Meanwhile, back at the incubator, Dinesh, Gilfoyle, Jared and Erlich are already brainstorming new names for the company. One of the names that they come up with is SMLLR – a clever name denoting that the company is dealing with making audio and visual files smaller. The guys cannot agree on a name, and as Dinesh points out, SMLLR has some pretty unsavoury connotations, so Erlich decides to get high on magic mushrooms and take a hallucinogenic journey where he will come up with a brilliant new name for the company.

There were two sequences in this episode that stood out. The first, focused on the topic of immigration, but the writers have put a clever spin on this controversial topic. We expect the problems to lie with Dinesh Chugtai – an Indian living in America – but actually, it’s Gilfoyle who is not a citizen of the United States of America. What’s great about this sequence is the fact that the comedy comes from a pretty unexpected source, and it’s resolved later in the show much to the dismay of Dines. It took Gilfoyle five minutes to secure citizenship, whereas Dinesh had to go through several questions about terrorism.
silicon-valley-episode-3-01The second, and perhaps the best sequence of the entire series so far comes when Arnold visits the incubator. Richard had previously had a heated discussion with Arnold about the price of the company. Arnold agrees to sell Richard the name for $1000, but when he reads a webpage expressing details about the billionaire owner of Pied Piper, he gets angry and demands further $250,000. Arnold approaches the house so that he can “Kick Richard’s ass”, and as a defence mechanism, Jared suggests that Richard should repeatedly say his name, as it would project a sense of dominance and create a feeling of fear amongst his opponent. The sequence ends with Richard, Dinesh, Jared and an Asian boy in the incubator repeating their names to fend off the aggressive redneck.

Through Articles of Incorporation, the writers have created another great episode of a fantastic sitcom. The episode starts to show a sense of character growth – characters like Dinesh are given more lines and a lot of the comedy comes from this character, as well as the situations he is put in – Dinesh refers to Gilfoyle as a “lazy immigrant” which subverts the stereotype of illegal immigration. Overall, the show moves at a nice smooth pace, with funny yet subtle gags. The series consistently encourages you to think about the gags, rather than creating obvious laugh-out-loud situations through things like catchphrases. The episode ends well, leaving everything open for next week.

★★★★

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