The Silicon Valley/Veep Power Hour: “Sand Hill Shuffle”/”Joint Session” Reviews
Yeah, let’s try something weird.
It’s pretty crazy to think that two of the best comedies on television air literally back-to-back to each other: it’s something you don’t see often anymore to be honest, but it’s a refreshing sight for sure. But even more crazy is the fact that, despite both Silicon Valley and Veep being awesome TV comedies, we here at Geek Binge haven’t really written much about them. I admit I was late to the party with both but, still, there’s been a severe lack of coverage on these two powerhouse HBO comedies on this here website. But this year, I’m hoping to change that with something that I’ve never, ever done before: a double review.
Yes, unfortunately, I don’t really have the time to write reviews for both series, even though I absolutely would love to do so. So rather than chose one or the other, I decided I will just spend one article each week discussing both shows – they won’t be gigantic 1000+ word reviews for each episode but, considering how they are comedies, I figured this method would actually work out quite well. But who knows, maybe it will be a disaster. Now way to know until I try, right? So without further ado, welcome to the Silicon Valley/Veep Power Hour. Let’s begin.
Let’s start with Silicon Valley, which of course lead the hour. The series from creator Mike Judge is coming off of a quite impressive first season, one that showcased a very funny series with a lot of room to grow. So did the season 2 premiere, “Sand Hill Shuffle,” deliver on the potential with an amazing start to Season 2. No, not quite, but it was still a good return for the show, and an entertaining send-off to actor Christopher Evan Welch, who played Peter Gregory in the show’s first season. Welch’s tragic death was certainly a shame considering how great he was in the series, but the show must go on, and Welch’s replacement, Suzanne Cryer’s Lori, is a fun new character that should be interesting to see play off the folks at Pied Piper.
Of course the unfortunate death of Welch is leading to a big shake-up for the series, as I’m sure the whole choosing a new partnership storyline wouldn’t have come about if he hadn’t passed. But the show did with it what it could, with the best moment of “Sand Hill Shuffle” definitely being the montage of Erlich going to all the investor meetings and being more and more aggressive each time. The fact that it just caused their stock to RAISE is such a perfect little bit of satire, and I’m so glad Mike Judge is around to mock the oxymoronic world of Silicon Valley in only the way he can.
“Sand Hill Shuffle” isn’t perfect, and it certainly suffers from a bit too much focus on the main story (the rest of the cast but Erlich, Monica, and Richard are all but sidelined, to the episodes detriment) but it was still a solid start to the new season, and I for one am excited to see what comes of Pied Piper now that they are locked in a legal battle with Hooli. It wasn’t the most amazing finale, but it certainly showed a lot of promise.
The season 4 premiere of Veep on the other hand, entitled “Join Session,” was both. Yes, Veep has proven itself to be a pretty brilliant little comedy, and that remained the case with this premiere. I’m sure many were worried that the series would lose what made it great by making Selina the new President of the United States (and thus betraying the title of the show, for what it’s worth) but “Joint Session” proved more than anything else that Selina’s job has not gotten any less ridiculous now that she’s the “head” of the country.
And even with Selina no longer Veep, “Joint Session” was pretty classic Veep. The whole cast was on fire, the writing was outstanding, and the fast quips and brilliant little asides that Veep so excels at delivering thrived as ever. I also enjoyed guest performer Patton Oswalt going toe to toe with Jonah, in a sexual harassment-y standoff that really shouldn’t be as funny as it was. But what can I say? Patton Oswalt grabbing the genitals of the Jolly Green Jizzface that is Jonah was pretty amazing.
But the clear highlight of “Joint Session” was the climax, in which Selina is forced stalling in front of the entirety of congress. This was perfect cringe-Veep material, brilliantly laid out by the opening segment that ends with Selina in the headlights. The whole episode you were waiting for the bomb to go off and, once it did, it’s wonderful. Even with the main character no longer the abused VP, Veep very much remains a pretty damn wonderful comedy. Let’s hope the remaining nine episodes prove to be just as fantastic as this one.
- “Would it hurt your feelings if no one went?”
- Elrich describes The Winklevoss Twins: “They are like two genetically enhanced Ken dolls.”
- The Peter Gregory death story gag was a nice little bit of endurance humor. Worth it for Richard and Elrich’s reactions though.
- “He hadn’t run in a long time, maybe ever.”
- “I have a question – that was horrible.”
- “I don’t want to live in a world where someone else makes the world a better place than we do.” So wonderfully biting. Mike Judge, you brilliant bastard you.
- “Watch me fuck this place!”
- “I’m covered in dust, I have a three foot dick!”
- “Are you feeling unwell? Do you need protein?” Help from Jared is the best kind of help.
- “If they want to negotiate using hostile and rudeness, then they picked the wrong guy.”
- “You’re logo looks like a sideways vagina: I find that to be racist, don’t you?” I think meant racy, but whatever!
- “My wife picked these out.” “Then you married poorly.”
- “In fact, what I think I’m seeing is the human equivalent of a flaccid penis.” Seriously, T.J. Miller owned that montage.
- “If you don’t fund us, you’re a fucking slut.”
- They got to 75 million because Elrich flashed his balls..wow.
- “Thank you.” “…Yes.”
- “Shit, she’s my ride home!” The character of Monica didn’t have much to do last season, but that made me laugh.
- “I was going to say if you had, you’d have to show me yours too.” That thing he did with his eyes afterwards really sold the awkwardness.
- “All that money, fucked me.”
- “Why the fuck didn’t anyone tell me I could take less?!”
- “How could we possibly quantify a human being’s contribution’s to mankind? Let’s break it down into its three component elements.” Peter’s Legacy formula. Genius.
- “Warm, generous, and not disappointed in Snapchat.” Nice little cameo there, huh?
- New theme song! That’s good.
- And a bunch of Veep quotes follow, as you do.
- “We’re looking at a big fat greek funeral.”
- “You big lady racist.”
- “It smells like Puerto Rico in here.”
- “Who is that.” “Who is Cathy?”
- “No, I don’t need you Gary.” Ah, poor Gary. None of his mother’s need him anymore.
- “Like a strap-on in a porn dungeon.”
- “Tell me, do not show me.”
- The concept of a cock thumb (commonly known as negotiating) was great.
- “I just gave you the message. You’re being shot BY the messenger!”
- “There was a lot of loose lids!”
- “Lot of anxious first ladies use it.”
- “Was Vladimir Bring-Attention-To-Myself Already Taken?” Perhaps the line of a night. This man will make an interesting new character.
- “I’m saying all this outloud, and I probably shouldn’t be.”
- “I’ve never seen it but, as I understand, there’s a scene where they all walk in a row like this.” Kent Davidson, Pop Culture Connoisseur.
- “It’s funny, I don’t really think of you as a man.” “Oh…okay.”
- “That’s a life lesson, Jobi Wan Kenobi.”
- “He’s really, really hands on.”
- “Kent majored in fortune cookies.”
- “Oh my god, are you okay?! …You look okay!” Jonah ramming that woman was an excellent sight gag.
- “That’s horse hockey!”
- After $50 billion offer, Selina did the whole twitch thing. Nice little callback
- “I think Lassie’s trying to tell us something!”
- “10 fucking points to Elsa the Ice Queen.”
- “We might as well have an anti-unicorn strategy!”
- “Hey Dobby the house elf, we’ve had enough, get out.”
- “Live long and fuck off!” Oh Veep, never change.
- “Why have you blinded the president, Gary?!”
- “My entire career just flashed between my eyes.”
- “I detest jazz, but this is impressive.”
- “I’m almost crying, I didn’t know I could still almost do that.”
- “He’s not FUCKING dead!” Fun payoff to that running gag.
- “Obsolete metal, giant dildos.”
- “You need to be far away from me. Get out of my office.” And of course they all come back in slowly anyways. Poor Selina.