The Silicon Valley/Veep Power Hour: “Binding Arbitration”/”Testimony” Reviews

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Courts and hearings.

In a bit of somewhat coincidental (but not really) scheduling, it was Law Week for the Silicon Valley/Veep Power Hour, as both episodes of the two series focused heavily on the legal proceedings that our casts of characters have gotten themselves thrown into in their respective seasons.  To bad this didn’t happen last season, or we could have had some Tyrion trials thrown into the mix to have an all legal night of HBO content.  Alas, the power hour going into due process will just have to do.  But did each respective court episode deliver?  Yes and no, honestly.

Let’s begin with Silicon Valley though, which for the second week in a row overtook Veep to be the standout of the hour.  Maybe it’s because the court case with Hooli has been something the show has been leading up to all season, but I found “Binding Arbitration” to be a strong show for Silicon Valley, combining its effortlessly hilarious sense of humor with a lot of narrative tension, especially for a TV comedy.  I’ve really begun to appreciate in the second half of this season of Silicon Valley how well this show is doing at telling its main story — it’s not just pushing its narrative to the sidelines because it’s a comedy.  Even if Silicon Valley wasn’t as funny as it was, “Binding Arbitration” would be an engrossing and tense episode of television.

And I think that’s simply because I actually care about this cast of characters, and generally want to see the folks at Pied Piper succeed.  There is a truly great underdog story at the center of Silicon Valley, and episodes like “Binding Arbitration” really put that up front and center.  The episode ends on a pretty big cliffhanger as the fate of Pied Piper is far from being certain, but I’m hoping for this upstart anyways.


And the exact opposite can easily be said about the cast of Veep, who are really at their best when they are fumbling like fools and losing at every turn.  That’s how they got into the gigantic messes that created “Testimony” in the first place and, upon the conclusion of last week’s episode, I was super excited to see what the show could do with an episode focused entirely on legal depositions and hearings.  And I have to admit, I was a tad bit disappointed at the start, with things being pretty rough in the laugh department for the first 10 minutes or so.  Thankfully things improved greatly in the second half, bringing us some wonderful little moments such as Jonah’s entire questioning of his fondling (making that subplot continually worthwhile) and Mike’s beyond awkward examination being pretty exemplary moments of the episode.  But what makes Veep so incredible is the wonderful interaction between its ensemble, which was in extremely limited supply this episode.  Because that I can’t say I quite loved “Testimony,” even if it did have a few really great moments nestled within it.

And both “Binding Arbitration” and “Testimony” couldn’t ignore the silly tropes of these types of episodes, especially one of my personal pet peeves: when in the trial its established that there’s ONE THING that can bring the whole thing crashing down, and a character proceeds to say that EXACT THING VERBATIM half way through the episode haphazardly and completely out of the blue.  This eye rolling cliche happened in both episodes and, well it was a little easier to swallow in Veep (Richard saying something idiotic isn’t much of a surprise), it’s still an annoying way of amping the tension in these kinds of situations.  In any case, neither “Binding Arbitration” or “Testimony” where the best of the Silicon Valley/Veep Power Hour, but they do set things nicely in place for what should be excellent season finales.  We shall find out next week!



Loose Ends:

  • Quotes!  Here’s a bunch of quotes!
  • “I have a boat…I guess that’s really not a skill.”
  • “Gavin promoted me just to spite you.”  Well, at least Big Head is aware of what’s going on…he’s not completely clueless!
  • “You can’t threaten him, especially not sexually.”
  • “Let me hit you back in 10 and we’ll sidebar this.”  Great scene with the lawyers on each side.
  • “Everyone who has ever sued me has been settled out of court…pussies.”
  • “Did I have consensual intercourse with two women under 18?  Repeatedly.”  Loved the lawyer character.  Very Mike Judge wacky guest dude.
  • “Oh it dilates the anus.”  “That is accurate.”
  • “Anal dilation aside, what do you think of our case.”
  • “Are you saying work will set you free?”
  • “He is the most cheerful person I’ve ever heard quote Hitler.”
  • “We’re not litigating your sexuality.”
  • “If you know one end of a Barett 50 Cal from the other, I’ll eat a bowl of shit.”
  • “That does sound rather Austrian.”
  • “It’s the only warm thing that’s touched my crotch in a little while.”
  • “Are you telling us this entire case hinges on people thinking that Richard has a girlfriend?”
  • “We are fucked.”
  • “Wait are you sure, because it says no admittance.”
  • “Anyone that goes to an open casket funeral is a murderer!”
  • “You are one sick motherfucker, Jared.”
  • “Then I realized that no, I was just the president of the AIDS thingy…”
  • “It has been called the garden of tech Eden.”
  • “Aren’t you considered a joke in this town?”
  • “Mr. Bachman, you liked it, didn’t you!”
  • “It was buggy, rapey…”
  • “Richard, do the right thing here, lie on the stands.”
  • “He had hit is so hard, I needed a doctor.”  Amazing timing from T.J. Miller.
  • “Jared, you just killed that guy.”


Loose Ends:

  • “You’re not telling me the difference, you’re just turning nouns into verbs.”
  • “That shoehorned stab at nobility will not fly here.”
  • Oh my god, all those Jonah nicknames were glorious.  I got Jack and the Giant Jackoff, One Erection, Hagrid’s Nutsack., 12 Years A Slave of Jerking Off, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Assholes, but sure there’s a bunch more great ones.
  • “Okay, have you ever seen The Usual Suspects?”  Gary is surprisingly Keyzer Soze-y…
  • “He’s the bag man yeah, but he’s also the bag man.”
  • Gary on his relationship with Selina: “It’s very intimate.”
  • “Gary has a very limited set of skills.  Mainly I would say picking objects up and putting them down.”
  • “If you would let me finish my sentence, that would be appreciated.”  Even if I had problems with the cast on their own without the back and forth with each other, I did think it illustrated a lot of fascinating things about them.  All the Selina scenes in particular did a good job of illustrating how awful a person she is.
  • “I mean consulting.”
  • “I have to go, I have to call the President of Africa.”
  • “Unlike in reality, I would have got Iwo Jima right.”
  • “I literally have no idea what that sentence means.”
  • “Um, it’s knee medicine.”
  • “I wanna say it’s called Crouch Cream.”
  • “This may be a good day for truth, but a sad day for love.”
  • “That’s why Jaws was such a nightmare shot.”  Mike’s examination was easily the funniest.
  • “Knee Free!  That’s the cream!”
  • “They still exist in the cloud, as I’m sure you are aware.”
  • “You know, mating.”
  • “Why are you throwing pebbles at a tank?”
  • “……….I was touched.”  Excellent pause.
  • “Was it the buttocks?”
  • “It was…around the other side.”
  • “Was there ever any contact between the testicles and hands?”
  • “She can’t have believed this would ever work.”
  • “Did he always touch both testicles?”
  • “It’s like a bell.  It can’t be unrung.”
  • “It’s around the spheres.”
  • “Actually I’d like to plead the fifth.”  Damn it Richard.
  • “No…I am not.”
  • “Who–Gary?”
  • “Gary Walsh, you need to understand, is a twelve year old boy trapped in the body of a twelve year old girl.”
  • “But to answer your question, yes, Bill Ericsson.”  Such a great way to get rid of Bill.
  • “I took noticing in high school.”
  • “Sorry, I was practicing in the mirror.”

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