Jun 6, 2016 · 3 minutes

Silicon Valley-- sorry! HBO’s Silicon Valley-- is a weird show.

In the opening scene this week, Dinesh and Richard somewhat clumsily look like they are doing exposition to explain what a “beta” is to the rest of the world, and then drop a line about Reid Hoffman-- an accurate one at that-- and in no way explain who he is.

Later there’s a reference about passing on Slack, moving to AWS, and countless other references that an editor at BusinessWeek, much less a producer on what’s supposed to be a mainstream show, would make me qualify.

In the past, we’ve debated in house the “dick joke” dominated episodes of the show versus the super realistic episodes of the show thusly: The dick joke ones may be universal but the super realistic ones produce some of the most biting and poignant truths of the start ecosystem served on a big or small screen to date.

Fortunately, this season the writers have hewed to the latter. Which is great for me. But yields more moments of Paul and I turning to each other and yelling, “WHO IS THIS SHOW WRITTEN FOR?”

Of course, that’s why writers love(d) HBO: Because you don’t have advertisers you can tailor -- almost obnoxiously-- to a niche audience since it’s subscriber-geared not ad-geared. And Netflix and Amazon take that nichey-ness to an even greater level since they have huge audiences they can serve up the right shows to. Ie: “Loved Halt and Catch Fire” and “Mr Robot”? Here’s another nerd drama!

The trend-- ironically also brought to you by the Valley-- is the biggest reason this show likely won’t be the end to shows that gaze so far into the Valley’s navel they open with a montage that includes a “headquarters” for Recode, a company that sold to Vox in less than two years.

As usual this season there was a pearl of Valley wisdom buried inside all of those inscrutable references. No, not that everyone lies. We unearthed that one earlier in the season. See also: A total lack of loyalty.

What jumped out at me was in the scene where Erlich helps Bighead confront his crooked business manager. Bighead-- a brilliant portrait in likability and failing up-- would have never noticed he’d been cheated or had the balls to confront his cheater. He kept apologizing in the meeting where Erlich did. He needed Erlich.

OK, it didn’t do a lot of good because the guy didn’t have the money to make it right. But Erlich ultimately sold his Pied Piper stock to pay off the outstanding bills. So ultimately, he did find a way.

That was Erlich’s well-overdue 10% good this season. Most of these characters are mostly bad, but somewhat good. More than that, they compliment each other. There was a reason Erlich needed Richard and Bighead to come close to any success. But time and time again they’ve needed his obnoxious bluster too.

They’ve at times needed other blowhards like Russ Haneman to stay afloat, and of course the flawed but selfishly loyal Dinesh and Guilfoyle too. And everyone needs Jared. Perhaps the only character who doesn’t lie, who is truly loyal, and is also genuinely skilled. (He’s the one who figured out Bighead’s crooked manager for instance.) But Jared’s issue? No vision or technical talent (Richard), no spine (Erlich), and no money (Monica, Russ, and until last week, Bighead.)

It’s overstated sure. But that’s one of the truest things about Silicon Valley and the outsizes success and the things that seem like they should succeed that don’t: They are the weird combinations of mostly imperfect people who are missing parts the others have.

Great teams aren’t filled with “all A players” as some bullshit management books would have you think. They are packed with skilled fuckups that ultimately manage to compliment one another.