‘Proof Of Concept’
In the penultimate episode of Silicon Valley season 1, Richard and the guys arrive at TechCrunch to present Pied Piper to the judges and the audience. Proof of Concept is a very clever episode because it’s so simple yet so effective.
With Jared back from the island, Richard, Erlich, Dinesh and Gilfoyle head to TechCrunch where they meet up with Monica. Monica plays an important role in this episode because she seems to take Jared’s place as the secretary of the company. Jared starts to feel useless and envies Monica’s position because he has sacrificed a lot to work for Richard at Pied Piper.
Monica is so organised in this field because she’s done it several times before. As such, it’s her duty to show the guys around the venue, and point out two key factors. Firstly, there will be an abundance of women at the conference, so the guys need to stay focused on the app. Secondly, she points out all of the judges. One of the judges is Dan Melcher. Erlich immediately recognizes the name, because he slept with Dan’s wife and he doesn’t know if Dan is aware of what had previously transpired. To make sure he doesn’t ruin things for the company, he seeks out Dan’s wife, only to discover that Dan has a new wife after a messy divorce with his ex-wife. Thinking that he’s safe, Erlich starts talking with Dan’s new wife, and charms his way into sleeping with her.
Richard is also having problems with the opposite sex, as a girl that he previously dated is presenting at the battlefield. She reveals that she broke up with him because he was obsessed with her. This is something that Richard denies, but it is obvious that he still likes her. Things start to get out of hand between the two of them, until she overhears Jared talking to Monica about Richard. She misreads Jared’s passionate tone as love and immediately thinks that Richard is gay.
Meanwhile, Dinesh falls in love with a beautiful woman, but that doesn’t matter to him. He doesn’t care about her looks or her body, he just likes her because of her mind – he thinks that she has the ability to write code. The Dinesh/Gilfoyle rivalry is present in this episode because Dinesh finds out that it was actually Gilfoyle who wrote the code for the beautiful woman. Gilfoyle then teases Dinesh, stating that Dinesh is gay for his code.
The moment of truth finally arrives when the presentations begin. Most of the presentations are all generic nonsense as they talk about how their product will change the world and revolutionise their field – the one exception comes from a brilliantly named and smart app called panic-a-tech, which tells its users whether they are having a panic attack or a heart attack. Pied Piper are finally set to present and, after months of hard work, Erlich steps up and begins to deliver an epic and awe-inspiring presentation. Everything seems to be going well, until Erlich is attacked by Dan for sleeping with his wife.
Proof of Concept is by far the best episode in the series. The script is magnificent – a very simple idea, but with so much content. Relationships have been key throughout the entire series, but in this episode, we get to see more of how these characters can function with the opposite sex. A lot of the comedy came from the juxtaposition of Erlich and Jared. T.J Miller delivers a brilliant performance as playboy businessman Erlich, while Zach Woods also deserves a lot of credit for his portrayal of the neurotic and lonely Jared.
The one thing this episode made me realise is how important Big Head is to the show. Richard and Big Head talk before the conference, and Big Head talks of his wealth and success, despite the fact that he doesn’t really do anything. Big Head is ultimately there to show us what Richard’s life would’ve been like if he had accepted Gavin Belson’s offer. In next week’s season finale, we should find out whether or not Richard’s hard work has paid off, as TechCrunch comes to an end.