Actually, it's about ethics in startup culture

Yesterday I watched the first season of Silicon Valley, nominated for quite a few Emmys, the “Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy” Golden Globe and sporting “universal acclaim” according to Metascore as well as a “Certified Fresh” rating from RottenTomatoes. I didn’t expect too like it much, for the same reasons most archeologists probably can’t enjoy Indiana Jones. It wasn’t even too bad in that regard, but sadly still just not very funny. Nowhere near as horrible as The IT Crowd, but right down there with The Internship. Still, with just eight 30-minute-long episodes it was entertaining enough for an afternoon. However, one thing really stood out to me after watching: women, or rather their lack of.

Here is a list of all female characters I remember:

  • A secretary/assistant
  • A stripper
  • A few escorts
  • A girlfriend
  • An ex-girlfriend (who is supposedly spreading lies)
  • A woman from a startup about cakes (asking for help with Java [twice, to seduce a guy])
  • A wife (cheating on her husband [whose ex-wife has repeatedly cheated on him as well])

That is not a list of “job descriptions” or roles of females in the show, it is literally a list of females in the show. At least all who say more than a few words or just stand around, but those aren’t too many either. The biggest role is the one of Monica, the assistant. Guess what, her story arc ends with asking one of the main male characters out on a date.
Seriously, HBO, what the fuck? I know it’s bad, but it is not that bad and you’re certainly not helping by wasting screentime with dudes talking about jerking off other dudes most efficiently and finding a magic new compression algorithm in the process, instead of showing a few positive examples. As if it wasn’t bad enough that the show doesn’t actually manage to criticise any other problems of startup culture and Silicon Valley, because who would want to anger the new big target demo, right?

The parties in Silicon Valley are amazing because people don’t care about how they’re perceived socially, which I don’t think Mike [Judge] got. Hollywood is a place where people always care about what the public will think of them … and the show felt more like that[.]

Having never been to Silicon Valley myself I’m gonna have to take Elon Musk’s word for how accurately (or not) it’s portrayed, but what I can say with certainty drawn from my own experiences is that it’s a damn shame how this show is portraying software engineers and women in tech.

The best thing about the show? Easy, the intro:

Categories: tv