The word 'genius' has been sorely overused for decades now, and often times it's used incorrectly. When something or someone's actions or body of work is really just pretty clever or somewhat unique, or they do something 'ingenious', you far too often hear the exaggerated GENIUS! label instead. It seriously annoys me.
Wanted to make that distinction so that you know I'm not using the term lightly-- I think Mike Judge is a comedy genius. And I think his latest venture, HBO's Silicon Valley, is proof of that.
Just consider his body of work. He created --
Beavis and Butt-head, King of the Hill, Office Space, Idiocracy, and finally Silicon Valley. Of course he has been involved in many other projects and collaborations, but those are the ones people know most from him. And in my opinion, are his greatest accomplishments.
I know it's hard to think of the guy that gave the world Beavis and Butt-head as being a genius. But when you consider those 5 shows/movies I listed as a prism into different worlds you can be introduced to, it starts to become a more valid claim.
He absolutely nails cubicle life in Office Space. No movie will ever do it better. He nails the dumbing down of American culture in Idiocracy, a movie that people have stolen concepts from ever since. He totally nails redneck culture too, I think (having grown up in it myself), and did it with King of the Hill in such a way that if you think about each episode's title and subject matter, that show really has a lot of intelligent and poignant things to say about the world, just happens to be through the prism of a handful of good ol' boys.
Then comes Silicon Valley. This show is the best window into 'tech-life-culture' I have ever seen, while being super clever, and really unique as well. And being on HBO, Judge isn't censored at all, which is also great to see.
Judge always tends to create really unique windows into American subcultures, with entertaining ensembles that act as great mouthpieces to ultimately comment very intelligently on culture, life and general human absurdities. I really appreciate his work, and hope he keeps going, even beyond Silicon Valley. Wonder what sub-culture we will be introduced to next?
The Trailer --
If you haven't ever heard of Silicon Valley, I'm not surprised. For such a great show that just finished it's 2nd season, it is rather niche. It has die-hard followers, but doesn't get a ton of talk. So for those that are interested, I highly recommend checking out the preview below for the Season 1 trailer. And then if interested, put your HBO Go app to work catching up. It's a great show to binge, as the episodes are only 23 minutes or so a piece. You'll be caught up in no time: