The socially challenged underdogs of the lucrative world of tech start-ups are finally uncovered in the painfully funny Silicon Valley. So here’s a look at the best of Silicon Valley alumni Mike Judge, and the projects he’s created with his own unique, brilliantly sharp and wonderfully offbeat humour…
Silicon Valley (2014-2015)
This critically-acclaimed HBO comedy takes viewers inside the high-tech gold rush of modern Silicon Valley. Inspired by Judge’s own experiences as a Silicon Valley engineer in the 80’s, the show follows the trials and tribulations of awkward computer programmer Richard (Thomas Middleditch), who lives in a “Hacker Hostel” along with his friends Big Head (Josh Brener), Gilfoyle (Martin Starr), and Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani). Combining brilliant observational comedy with a fantastic cast and razor-sharp dialogue, Silicon Valley taps into the zeitgeist in a completely unique way. It shows, in the funniest way possible, how often the people most qualified to succeed are really the least capable of handling success.
Beavis and Butt-head (1993-1997)
Mike Judge first became famous for creating this animated MTV series turned phenomenon about two heavy-metal music loving high school burnouts living in a fictional Texas town that hate attending school, and love watching TV while “reviewing” music videos they watch. The show aired for five years and was a massive cult hit, with Judge voicing both title characters and other supporting characters. He brought back the comical hit in 2011 for another successful season.
King of the Hill (1997-2010)
Judge took another whack at animated comedy and successfully co-created an American adult sitcom with Greg Daniels. King of the Hill centres on the life of propane salesman Hank Hill and his middle-class family, who also live in a modern fictional Texas small town much like Beavis and Butt-head. His substitute-teaching wife is opinionated, his son is a disappointment, and his friends are losers. Despite his problems, Hank is hard-working and keeps a level head, maintaining the status of “King of the Hill.” Judge provides the voice for Hank Hill and delivers his character effortlessly.
Office Space (1999)
This amusing comedy film written and directed by Mike Judge is a take on the satirizing life and vapidity of American corporate culture. A computer programmer at a software company named Peter suffers numerous humiliations in his bleak workspace, along with his other colleagues. Peter, played by Ron Livingston, changes his mind set on his job and suddenly becomes lazy and carefree. This plays out with the utmost hilarity as the results of his behaviour are not what he expected. The supporting cast is strong, starring Jennifer Aniston and Gary Cole, and the film received positive reviews, with a 79% “Certified Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Luke Wilson stars in this adventurous comedy film mainly set in the future year 2505 – where the ordinary is considered extraordinary. In 2006, an average American named Joe Bauers (Wilson) is selected for an experiment in which he hibernates for a year, but he is forgotten and ends up sleeping for five centuries. When he wakes up in 2505, the human race has become idiotic and Bauers is the smartest person on Earth. Hilarity ensues as he attempts to take on the position of ultimate ruler of the human race. Judge wrote and directed the film, with the cast including other well-known comedy actors such as Dax Shepard, Maya Rudolph and Terry Crews.
Judge wrote and directed this hysterical film about a flavour-extract factory owner who is about to sell his company and retire when a freak workplace incident occurs and his entire professional and personal life gets turned upside down. The film was said to be Judge’s companion piece to his classic Office Space. With a stellar cast, including Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Ben Affleck, and J.K. Simmons, Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune called it “the funniest American comedy of the summer.”
Silicon Valley: The Complete First Season is released on Blu-ray and DVD from the 23rd March 2015, courtesy of HBO.