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"Office Space" creator Mike Judge shooting new HBO parody of Silicon Valley (deadline.com)
329 points by sweis on Dec 8, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 115 comments



> "Silicon Valley is set in the high tech gold rush of modern Silicon Valley, where the people most qualified to succeed are the least capable of handling success."

This could work.


However, it seems pretty unfair. I've met maybe 30 people who have gotten rich from startups. None have really changed all that much.

There's plenty to parody (pivoting, easy money, demographics, ivy league obsession, VCs, new angel investors, the term "disrupt") but how people handle success is really not one of them.


Pivoting could easily become the show's running gag.

Just before closing credits: "Well, that space looks like it's going nowhere. We've decided to pivot and focus on coupons for pet owners, and it'll have a really big social aspect to it too."

Next week: "Well, it turns out that cat owners don't get out much, so we're pivoting. We think that what they really want is to stream music over their pet's collar"

Third episode: "Well, who knew that Cocker Spaniels are frightened by Ke$ha? So we're pivoting, and what we're going to focus on now is overnight construction materials delivery. Concrete mix, FedEx'd to your door!"


That, and hoodies.


Since when did comedy have to be fair? It's the Rule of Funny: if it makes people laugh, it's worthwhile for that fact alone.


Comedians don't have to be fair, but humorists do.


Could you clarify that?


I'm guessing that he means that parody only works when what you're parodying is real.


That's more satire. Parody can take the ball and run with it as far as it chooses; satire can only be relevant if its characterization has a degree of verisimilitude.


Fair.

In addition, the target audience of the show are unlikely to know very much about the valley. I would expect most people believe the valley is "kids from Harvard who think they're hot shit, trying to get rich doing something useless".


Actually, I'd say that's more an in-valley appraisal. I suspect non-tech types would simply view SV as computer nerds finding ways to make millions. Now that Jobs is gone, the industry is dominated by nerd CEOs. Ballmer doesn't count.

We have, in the Valley, a preponderance of companies started and run by nerds. I suspect that reality has leaked into the public consciousness.


Having a very high paying job after right after college is also a success that can be handled in interesting (not to say wrong) ways. Earning very well (just regular IT software engineering salary) when you're in your very early 20s is a thing.


That's a good point - I've certainly met plenty of people on 100K who think they are god's gift because they know Rails and are in high demand.


We clearly know different people. I worked with plenty of people that won the Microsoft lottery, and to say they changed would be understating it.


That's a different culture though - conspicuous consumption is pretty frowned upon in the valley (excepting Sand Hill Road, which is a culture all of its own). For example, at the Facebook IPO, everyone was warned about coming to work in new sports cars.


Conspicuous non-consumption: writing blog posts about how you live so minimally, throwing everything out and buying new things when you move. Just a Macbook ($2000) and an Apple display ($1000) and an Aeron chair ($800) and the "perfect" desk ($1000, sit-stand), plus a mattress tossed in the corner... in your $2000/month downtown S.F. apartment.


I agree that the valley isn't Seattle; good on Facebook for the warning. I used to park my multi-hundred dollar car out by the sports cars at what is now Facebook's campus; drag races out the main exit, over the railroad tracks, and on through EPA were not unheard of.

Here's my view of the Valley from 1997: http://blog.ryjones.org/2006/10/21/welcome-to-the-bay-area/


That's awesome! I loved this one

No one brings radio’s into work – they just use RealAudio and listen to “thedj.com.”

RealAudio...


> Here's my view of the Valley from 1997

Exactly - lots of idiosyncrasies, but the rich guys don't act like assholes.


Mike Judge and the other writers stopped by our offices at Tout.com (startup in SF) and were asking us about startups and being a developer. We told them about meetups and open source stuff. Probably won't affect the show, but it was fun talking to them and seeing they were really into it.

Here's him asking about ruby: http://www.tout.com/m/t0x6dh

judge drawing on one of our desks: http://www.tout.com/m/q8ppc1

here's the full stream: http://www.tout.com/hashtags/MikeJudgeToutHQ


If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend Judge's 2009 movie 'Extract' with Jason Bateman of Arrested Development.

It sort of inverts the Office Space formula and shows the sometimes taxing, even soul-crushing nature of entrepreneurship.

It seems to follow the pattern of Office Space and Idiocracy in being panned by critics and ignored by audiences at first, and then quickly developing a cult following and being recognized as pretty brilliant.


I consider Idiocracy to be the greatest satirical film post WWII.


That's an opinion(so of course it can't be wrong) that I have heard, it is being debated fairly intelligently downthread along with a debate about the fantastic King of the Hill and Office Space.

Here is a list of movies that critics and non-critics consider to be much better post WWII satires than Idiocracy, according to internet ratings of these movies. Note: many of these are more humorous and brutal while being less crude and light-hearted than Idiocracy. Also many have plot, emotion, and deep characterization.

Films: American Psycho, A Clockwork Orange, Fahrenheit 451, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Dr. Strangelove, Office Space(also Mike Judge)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satire

My main problem with Idiocracy as a satire is that the message it sends is flatly incorrect, because the rules of their world are not the same as ours. It is a satire of some alternate universe in which we are not living, it has no applicability for the world we live in.

Film's message: "If our societies ever end up giving a competitive advantage to low IQ people, time travel will be necessary to correct society's decline."

The truth:"If our societies ever end up giving a competitive advantage to low IQ people, natural selection will take care of it, since intelligence seems to be a competitive advantage for apes."

I think the true message is also a better call to arms for both intelligent people and unintelligent people. The movie Idiocracy seemed like it was made to be consumed by the citizens of the low-IQ world, in both plot and acting. I do enjoy its light-heartedness.

Much more realistic are the famous dystopian texts, especially Harrison Bergeron: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrison_Bergeron


The time travel is a plot device. It exists only to set the stage for the story.

The satire is the stuff like politics being an obvious (blatant?) popularity contest and people not having any notion of where their food comes from. You know, like today.

I think even the fall of society depicted in the movie is mostly a plot device. For instance, in much of the developed world, trash is simply thrown on a big pile (generally a special, well managed pile, but nonetheless a big pile).

The movie isn't a warning where we are headed, it is a withering criticism of where we are.


I mostly agree with what you are saying, and I don't feel like it is in conflict with anything that I said in my comment. One point about our trash - is it "simply thrown on a big pile", or is it "strategically centralized so that future people can effectively recycle it when it becomes economically feasible"? In a post apocalyptic wasteland, you will find me making runs to the "grocery store" that is the trash dump.

I think it appealed too much to "the masses" to be enjoyed by "sophisticated" people. And I think that the satire bits were much too sparing to really be absorbed by "unsophisticated" watchers. No one under the age of 18 that I talked with has any idea that this movie is a "withering criticism of where we are". Here's why:

I do agree with you that the movie had satiric elements, and I agree that it pointed out the specific issues that you say it pointed out. But if you watch the movie, these issues are only briefly mentioned, they are not explored or analyzed. If the film was pared down to the satire bits, it would be about 7 minutes long. The plot of the film was Luke Wilson the time traveler saving the world, the serious satire elements were the setting. Well if the plot doesn't get the message through, we can use the characters, right? Unfortunately, the low IQ people in the film were incapable of talking about their problems in a sympathetic way that most people can understand. Few people recognized that the characters were actually caricatures, because they were so dumb and happy about their lot in life. When you watch Schindler's List, do you relate to the characters that are unsympathetic oppressors or to the characters that are sympathetic and oppressed?

My friends and family were effected much more by the satire in Planet of the Apes, which is very similar movie to Idiocracy. The main thrust of both plots is "a hero saves the day," and the satire elements are mostly setting. PotA works as satire because some of the ape and human characters had problems that they were struggling with, just like you and I! None of the lower IQ people in Idiocracy was struggling with anything; the "dystopia" was NOT a nightmare for them, because they had IQs too low to express any anguish and garner any sympathy.

I think the movie would have made an excellent short film, and I think Luke Wilson would have been brilliant in it. It would have made a fantastic Family Guy episode for those that enjoy Family Guy. It failed as a feature length film which is disappointing from such an effective artist as Mike Judge.


My friends and family were effected much more by the satire

should be

My friends and family were affected much more by the satire

There were many effects of the movie - one was to make the watchers cry, the other was to make dinosaurs explode onscreen. They were affected by the movie. I have affected the deal - pray that I do not affect it further.

Affect is always a verb. Effect is always a noun, except when it's a verb. In that case you rely on a subject/object agreement thing, and English should really drop both words and use ffect instead.


I would add the brilliant, venomously-biting 2009 political satire In the Loop to that list. Its characters are over the top, yet their interactions and the ensuing consequences have a ring of political verisimilitude unlike any similar comedic piece.


I caught the made-for-tv adaptation of Harrison Bergeron one time at least a decade ago. Since then I've dropped “I'd say that's proof positive!” into conversation lots and lots of times. Still waiting for the awesome moment when someone catches the reference :)



It's the only comedy which is slowly transforming into a documentary.


Greater than Dr. Strangelove?


I had the same thought, and my personal opinion is "not even close." Idiocracy was good, but very much "one note." I can think of other better films - MAS*H comes to mind, not to mention Catch-22 (though somewhat uneven, still better). Even Mel Brook's movies - Young Frankenstein, and The Producers, especially.

Nothing in Idiocracy matches "Springtime for Hitler."


Maybe not, but Dr Strangelove is extremely dated, and the people and issues it satirized are mostly dead now.


The question was "Is Idiocracy the greatest satirical film since World War Two?" not "Is Idiocracy the greatest satirical film since the end of the Cold War?"

Now, it's true that many aspects of the Cold War feel like really old news. Thank god.

(Though at this point, as (arguably!) a former colleague of Hans Bethe [1], I'm professionally obligated to deliver this public-service announcement: Nuclear arsenals are way out of fashion these days, and are never talked about outside of defense procurement committee meetings, but that doesn't mean they're gone. Nuclear weapons still exist and could blow you up today.)

However, even apart from the nuclear angle, Dr. Strangelove continues to be a movie about a big war that is secretly planned in advance by cabinet-level executives working with the military-industrial complex. Then the war gets kicked off by a very small cabal which engineers a highly visible attack on a handful of targets by a few rogue aircraft. Can anyone else see how this story might have remained relevant in the twenty-first century?

---

[1] I was a grad student in his department. It's a bit tenuous, really. But, for better and for worse, I consider myself inducted into the guild of people that build doom devices and later come to regret them. Sigh.


What a lot of computer scientists don't know is that Dr. Strangelove was DIRECTLY modelled on John von Neumann.

They don't talk about this in CS departments.

Your hero was Dr. Evil.


Inspired, not directly modeled, I think. Dr. Strangelove was in part based on Edward Teller. Unlike von Neumann, Teller actually a bit bonkers in many ways; he was a deeply jealous and vindictive person who was directly responsible for destroying the career (and likely shortening the life of) J. Robert Oppenheimer, and he tried to convince people that Stanislaw Ulam did not contribute to the Manhattan Project. Teller wanted to use hydrogen bombs to dig deep-water harbours, and to extract oil by blowing up underground oil deposits with nuclear weapons, and lobbied to create what became known as Reagan's failed "Star Wars" project. He also tried to get the US to build a network of underground shelters similar to the scenario that Dr. Strangelove outlines at the end of the film.


It's very direct.

1. Von Neumann was biggest proponent of first strike

2. Was in a wheelchair

3. Wanted to create a doomsday machine that would destroy the worlds crops with intentional global warming. By destroying Russia's crops USA would end up ahead by better agricultural tech

4. Time magazine and others have acknowledged that it was directly based on Von Neumann.

Also Von neumann was way more important. He was easily the most important intellectual of his time. Without him there might have been no nuke at all--it was his design that finally suceeded.


Perhaps partially, but John von Neumann was Jewish and left Europe for America before WWII, while Dr Strangelove is a former Nazi... the references to Operation Paperclip seem clear.


This is literally the only part of Dr. Strangelove that doesn't fit Von Neumann. Everything else including the accet is a dead ringer.


I hope you're kidding. Dated? It satirizes the cold war, the elements of which — deterrence, mutual assured destruction, espionage, minority factions which desire to provoke war, etc. — are still relevant, if in a modified form. (USA and Russia are no longer in a cold war, but there are plenty of nukes, and plenty of countries who desire them.) It's still consistently and widely considered a masterpiece of political satire.


I dont care what critics say, i love that movie. Unfortunately its frighteningly close to reality


Extract received positive reviews from 63% of reviewers on RottenTomatoes. I wouldn't consider that "critically panned."


Meh, 58% if you click 'Top Critics' and filter out the blog-spam critics. A solid F+.

Plus all the big national papers: the Times, Post, Journal, and LA Times, plus all the trades: Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly all shat on it, and many of the small local paper reviews that are counted as positive are mixed at best:

"Although never boring and almost continually amusing, Extract doesn't work as a movie because you don't buy a minute of it, even as silly satire."

or

"Extract has some flavor, but the comedic kick is diluted by flat characters and a thin story."

http://www.metacritic.com/movie/extract/critic-reviews

It reminds me of something Tim Heidecker said about the horrible reviews for 'Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie': "If you're a critic and you walk out of a theater wondering what the filmmakers could have possibly been thinking, maybe you missed something?"

You would think critics would give the benefit of the doubt to the guy who made Idiocracy and Office Space, especially considering the critical reappraisal each of them has gotten in the years since their release.


Athough Mike Judge's projects haven't always been a commercial success, everything he's been involved in has been damn entertaining. I'm really excited to see how this turns out.


He also made Beavis and Butt-head, which is just as classic compared to Office Space IMO.


And Idiocracy, which was vastly underrated even though marred by what seems to be studio-meddling (the annoying narrator, for instance). Idicoracy is especially amusing because as the years go on, it only seems more prescient.

I'd also point out that King of the Hill was a great show, if a little too dry for most tastes.


Am I the only one (I realise that is a trope in itself) that didn't enjoy Idiocracy? I kept hearing how great it was, but it felt like it bashed you over the head repeatedly with the points it was making.

I felt like I was watching an Idiocracy-era satire. "LOOK, PEOPLE ARE STUPID, SAY AND DO STUPID THINGS"


The only real point being made was that less intelligent people currently tend to breed more often than more intelligent people, which has potential to lead humanity toward the scenario depicted in the movie. People enjoy it (or at least I do) because it's hilariously scary to think what a world entirely populated by Honey Boo Boos would be like.


Sir, you just put a damp on my evening. We're all doomed.


I don't think it was seriously trying to make a point, it was just a comedy, and it had what plants crave!


Perhaps that is the problem. Everyone talked about it as if it was a super-clever take on modern consumerist society. I suppose my expectations were probably wrong.


Really? I thought most people found it pretty mediocre...especially compared to Office Space. The movie itself had a very hard time getting released, IIRC. So maybe my standards were so low coming into the movie that I ended up liking it (which I guess would kind of prove the movie's prophecy in some way...)


No, that's Portal 2.


I think the narrator continually stating the obvious ruined it for me, which was reportedly (citation needed) against Judge's wishes (and unlike his humor stylings in general).

I didn't like Idiocracy the first time I saw it...but grew to appreciate it after rewatching it during the 2008 presidential election


Now that I live in Austin, I only appreciate King of the Hill even more. I'll never forget the episode where Bobby proposes a town where there's music everywhere, everyone has cool things and drives convertibles, Hank replies: "Ugh, sounds like Austin"

Boy I got a good laugh out of that I tell you what. Mike Judge knows how to cut to the bone with everything he creates


King of the Hill is definitely one of the more underrated animated series out there. I actually think it's daring that it doesn't aim for 'gut busting' humor the way most American comedies do, and it's very nuanced in the way it portrays its characters.

On the one hand it's under appreciated, on the other as cartoon with a complex view of american life that isn't going for the "big laughs" I'm surprised it wasn't cancelled in a week.


I didn't really get much of the humor in King of the Hill until I moved to Texas. It is very much a parody and exaggeration of each particular "stereotypical" Texan you actually run into. Now that I've lived here for a significant amount of time, it is much more humorous.


You're right, Fox did do some bold things. Married with Children is probably another.


And Children's Hospital, largely unknown...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs5QbUjmtt8

Edit: Sorry, not by Judge, it's just really funny.


Idicoracy is especially amusing because as the years go on, it only seems more prescient.

A part of that is just your curmudgeon factor increasing as you get older. [quickly steps off lawn]


Did you know the average IQ is increasing over time?


Isn't IQ normalized relative to your cohort? The mean IQ should always be 100 if you're doing things right. I would be interested in changes to the test historically.

Edit: my tablet reinterpreted 'doing things' as 'dong tongs'


I assume your parent is referring to the Flynn effect [0], and that by an increase in IQ he means that the average person today, taking a test normalized for the average population a few years in the past or more, would score above 100.

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flynn_effect


I find it hilarious that Idiocracy wasn't mothballed because of its message (dysgenic threat) or potential for being seen as insensitive regarding mental retardation but, instead, because it disparaged large corporations.

Idiocracy was good but not as good as Office Space. I think that there was an extremely dark humor (see also: Borat, Bruno) that hit the spot during the Bush years, but now seems less funny. Or maybe I am just older and less into schadenfreude.


>I find it hilarious that Idiocracy wasn't mothballed because of its message

Are you sure about that?

>The film's scheduled release date was August 5, 2005, according to Mike Judge.[7] In April 2006, a release date was set for September 1, 2006. In August, numerous articles[8] revealed that release was to be put on hold indefinitely. Idiocracy was released as scheduled but only in seven cities (Los Angeles, Atlanta, Toronto, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Mike Judge's hometown, Austin, Texas),[4] and expanded to only 130 theaters,[9] not the usual wide release of 600 or more theaters.[10] According to the Austin American-Statesman, 20th Century Fox, the film's distributor, did nothing to promote the movie;[4] while posters were released to theatres, "no movie trailers, no ads, and only two stills,"[11] and no press kits were released.[12]

>The film was not screened for critics.[13] Lack of concrete information from Fox led to speculation that the distributor may have actively tried to keep the film from being seen by a large audience, while fulfilling a contractual obligation for theatrical release ahead of a DVD release, according to Ryan Pearson of the AP.[9] That speculation was followed by open criticism of the studio's lack of support from Ain't It Cool News, TIME, and Esquire.[14][15][16] TIME's Joel Stein wrote "the film's ads and trailers tested atrociously", but, "still, abandoning Idiocracy seems particularly unjust, since Judge has made a lot of money for Fox."[15]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiocracy#Release


> Idicoracy is especially amusing because as the years go on, it only seems more prescient.

This is just you turning into a curmudgeon; that is, your mind ossifying and you being unable to absorb new ideas as readily.


Hmm, I don't think so. We can limit our examination to the tech sector:

In Idiocracy, medical care, among other decisions, are issued through simple touch-screen devices.

Currently, the popular idealized interface is finger-touch, such that even a toddler can figure it out. Styluses and keyboards and other peripherals are ostracized as laughably archaic/geeky ways to do input, and are probably not far from being seen, as Idiocracy's citizens would put it, "faggy".

Bret Victor has a good rant on this: http://worrydream.com/ABriefRantOnTheFutureOfInteractionDesi...

In Idiocracy, despite decent progression in technology, the result has been more passive consumerism than active creation of media

From the Times: Wasting Time Is New Divide in Digital Era http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/30/us/new-digital-divide-seen...

(To underscore that point, I think it's not a stretch to say that the iPad is geared much more towards media consumption than creation)

Ow My Balls

Actually, Ow My Balls was pretty good for an early iOS game. I'm thinking of the popularity of "Fart Sounds" and every freemium social game that dominates the top-grossing list. I'm not as big into the gaming scene anymore, but from my distant perspective, it seems that the future of gaming (despite Zynga's current troubles), is moving more towards Angry Birds or worse...Nintendo is floundering. It'll be nearly 7 years since the PS3 was released (the PS3 was released 6 years after the PS2) and no release date yet for the PS4...I love Angry Birds, but in terms of gaming, I'd consider it more "Idiocracy" endpoint than "non-Idiocracy"


AB: Star Wars is a more complex and fun game than AB. My iOS (au) top paid game charts: 1) AB: Star Wars. 2) GTA: Vice City. 3) Baldurs Gate. 4) The Room. 5) Bad Piggies.

There is still hope. (The counterpoint to the above is the top grossing list. That's much sadder)


> Currently, the popular idealized interface is finger-touch, such that even a toddler can figure it out.

OK. That's bad... why? How is it bad to remove accidental difficulty? 'Accidental difficulty' being difficulty imposed by a bad interface, such as how annoying it was to drop a deck of punched cards. Sorting punched cards is not an essential part of programming; it is accidental. This terminology is due to Brooks, in The Mythical Man-Month.

> Styluses and keyboards and other peripherals are ostracized as laughably archaic/geeky ways to do input

As long as keyboards remain available, reasonably high-quality, and not too expensive, I'll be happy. If most people don't use them, that's fine with me.

> the result has been more passive consumerism than active creation of media

Most people have never created most kinds of things. Most people don't want to and are not good at it.

Besides, whenever we do focus on user-created media, what do we do? Laugh at blogs and GeoCities pages. There is literally no way to please the kinds of people who think Idiocracy makes good points.

> Ow My Balls

Bear baiting. When bear baiting makes a comeback, come talk to me.


> Most people have never created most kinds of things. Most people don't want to and are not good at it.

Why do you say this? Almost everyone I know makes SOMETHING and they normally like doing so and are proud of their creations. It could be a batch of cookies from a personal recipe, a well crafted letter to a newspaper, a hand knit bedspread, or a nicely decorated living room. People are making things all of the time!

They might not be making things professionally or for distribution, but to say that they don't want to and are not good at it is very short sighted.


> Almost everyone I know makes SOMETHING and they normally like doing so and are proud of their creations.

In 2004, relatively few of the people I was listening to voted for George W. Bush.


That doesn't fit when people complain about rising anti-intellectualism.

It's not one of the standard things that one generation always accuses "kids these days" of being guilty of. It's not like language choice or concepts of etiquette and politeness and changing social mores.

It's something that pops up in cultures constantly and when it gains a good foothold it royally fucks that culture up for a few generations before being stamped out again ... if it's not destroyed by a culture still embracing new ideas in the interim.

The whole premise of Idiocracy is as a morality tale about the dangers of anti-intellectual consumerism culture. Exactly what new ideas are being ignored if you find that a well suited criticism of contemporary culture?


King of the Hill is a terrible show. It looks like a 12 year apology for making office space. Where-ever office space attacks and mocks the traditional power structure, king of the hill carefully reinforces it. King of the Hill is not a little too dry it is a lot too stupid.

In fact if I were prone to more paranoia, I would suggest that some Hollywood honcho sat Mike down in some dark office and explained to him that he has done a terrible thing by making office space, and he has to suffer, and only if he suffers willingly and eagerly for more than ten years by continuously making this awful trash called King of the Hill, only then he will be back in the good graces of the powers that be. But of course that is just my imagination. I am sure nobody actually had to explain this to Mike Judge. He likely figured it out on his own.


KOTH is one of the best animated comedy series of the last 30 years, with a writing staff that included the co-writer of Idiocracy (and Tropic Thunder, which was also excellent), Wyatt Cenac, and writers from Mr. Show, Kids in the Hall, The Late Show, Parks And Rec, and the Simpsons (and during their good years). The voice talent is probably the best assembled ever for any animated show, including The Simpsons, anchored by Stephen Root, also one of the best character actors of the last 40 years.

I don't think Mike Judge has much to apologize for; also, if you really think KOTH "carefully reinforces the traditional power structure", your irony sensors are so irreparably broken that you should have all of modern culture explained to you via a translator.


Wait wait...surely Adventure Time, Frisky Dingo or The Venture Brothers are of equal excellence.

I'm not sure if I'm being serious or not. I do love those shows though.


Adventure Time is surprisingly excellent (I don't watch a lot of TV, but my kids watch AT).


adventure time is MATH


That's an awfully blanket statement which indicates to me you judge the show entirely by the cover, and have seen at most a few episodes. You probably saw a redneck family and immediately assumed the show centers entirely around the popular stereotypes and tropes of that subset of society. While it's certainly not lacking in the aforementioned, the show explores a far wider range of subject matter than you'd probably care to give it credit for.

While any show running for so long has hit-and-miss episodes, overall the the show is very well rounded - it explores controversial subjects with care and grace, while remaining funny and heartwarming. And yes, the humor can be quite dry. It's not for kids with short attention spans and who need constant gag after gag, i.e. Family Guy. In most episodes it's difficult to discern whether the moralistic views are real "American values" or a parody of them. It's much more about episode-long deep satire than one-off jokes.


Well I have seen most of the episodes of King of the Hill and pretty much agree with that assessment.

It's not about the setting or the characters or even the jokes (which are both more dry and generally less funny than other projects, and I love dry humour).

It's about the complete reversal of the counter-culture commentary that made Office Space and Idiocracy popular. If you choose a boring hack writer setting (teacher wife, blue collar father, stupid son, etc, etc) for your show then you better make that choice the focus of your commentary, like the Simpsons did. The setting was chosen in order to comment on it. If King of the Hill was doing that then the commentary appeared to be "Isn't this nice. See how wonderful life can be when you don't question your place? Learning won't make you happy, conformity will. Good hard work and ignorance can be fulfilling".

I don't think anyone is wrong for liking it, but you certainly can't complain that fans of Judge's other work dislike that level of support for an anti-intellectual outlook.


> It's about the complete reversal of the counter-culture commentary that made Office Space and Idiocracy popular... If King of the Hill was doing that then the commentary appeared to be "Isn't this nice. See how wonderful life can be when you don't question your place? Learning won't make you happy, conformity will. Good hard work and ignorance can be fulfilling".

But it's really not. Another reply put it better than I could as far as the reversal of commentary:

> if you really think KOTH "carefully reinforces the traditional power structure", your irony sensors are so irreparably broken that you should have all of modern culture explained to you via a translator.


Because it couldn't have been satirizing that traditional power structure.


It could have but it didn't. On balance is was very much pro traditional power structure and the ability to find happiness within it.


Did the people in the show seem happy to you? Did it seem like Bobby, Peggy, Hank, or Dale were satisfied human beings? Boomhauer is the only person that really seemed to accept their role in life without regrets, and that's only because I could never understand what he was saying.

Note: I didn't watch the show religiously.

We can agree that there were specific times when the characters were happy but I think we can also agree that there were times of deep sadness. Mostly the happiness was portrayed as being very superficial, and the sadness was generally existential and deep. In the episodes that I saw, this deep sadness was due to how the "traditional power structure" tried to mold them. It's a pity that they didn't break out of their molds, but as a show I think the zeitgeist was their deep dissatisfaction with their lives, punctuated with small insignificant victories.

Think about Beavis and Butthead. Do I think that it glamorized(to some extent) acting like a jackass? Yep. Did it make me want to act or be like either character? Nope. Do I think it "convinced" any normal humans into acting like jackasses any more than the evening news does? Nope.


Ok, I definitely think that viewing King of the Hill as an examination of existential pain from social convention is interesting. I need to think about that. Definitely brings some scenes to mind that I liked as well.


Note: This is only tangentially related to our thread.

The word "agency" is often used to describe the ability of a human to act as an agent, or the ability of a system to act as an agent. Philosophers like Marx often focus on systems as agents, other philosophers (I am not well read) and sociologists commonly focus on individuals as agents. Debating agency is very fun, and can be done at all times in all places, since literally everything is an "agent" :) . How much free will does a given agent possess; how are an agent's choices constrained by the systems in which it exists and the tools it has available?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agency_%28philosophy%29 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agency_%28sociology%29

Also there is an academic philosophy thread here that you might be interested in: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4891502


Thanks for the pointer, that is an interesting discussion.

> Debating agency is very fun, and can be done at all times in all places

Yes it is and yes it can! I can't count the number of times I've had to backtrack and explain the concept of agency when having discussions where I brought it up.


He has to track down the person who originally came up with the status code "PC LOAD LETTER" and give them a cameo.

He has to.


What the fuck does that mean?


It's an Office Space reference.


This sounds amazing and 80% of the comments in this thread just sound bitter.


This reminded me of the Vooza webseries [1]. Some of their skits are corny, but I think they show that there is potential for a good startup oriented series.

[1] http://vooza.com/


For sure, their Radimparency spoof is pure comedy gold, and rather scarily close to portraying a large portion of the startup scene here.

http://watch.vooza.com/post/27284828649/radimparency


I expect it would be more realistic than Randy Zuckerberg's show.


I hope this gets past a pilot episode.


Who makes pilots anymore? What they really need is a Minimum Viable Production.


With a 30 second elevator pitch.


and a node.js backend!

Man they don't even need writers, just read HN all day.


The script is just an adaptation of this twitter account: https://twitter.com/shit_hn_says


With Eric Reis' fame, I actually fear this may become standard practice at one point.


HBO have the lowest non-carry-on rate out of the major networks. Meaning that a HBO pilot is much more likely to make it to a full series than a non-HBO pilot.

They also rarely use the pilot process. A lot of the big series are just approved and produced as full seasons.


This reminds me of the "Office" episode where "Wuphf" is a Silicon Valley startup spoof. In Ryan's "profit" projections[1] he's asked about his plan for revenue, and he replies:

"First rule of Silicon Valley, you think about the user, the experience. You don't think about the money, ever."

[1] http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-wmzwXd31Rw8/UI6hLHjRvnI/AAAAAAAACK...


I would be beyond content if this was nothing more than 30 minutes of the Start-up Guys [1] with Mike Judge creating buzzword fusion words for company names. [1] http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6507690/hardly-working-sta...


He made the Goode Family, which was short-lived but from most accounts, terrible. Hopefully he'd be able to grasp SV culture as much as he did in Office Space, and not miss it by going after typical caricatures of San Francisco.


Wow. That's great. There is a Santa. :) Can't wait.


It's all over now. SV can only become a parody of itself.


I'm confused, isn't Bravo already airing a parody of Silicon Valley?


Any idea when this might air?


oh my. this has the potential to be soo great.


"fuckin' a"


They should get Ashton Kutcher involved in this, he's one of the few actors who has actual real-life involvement in Silicon Valley (he's already doing the SJ biopic).


I think it's more important for this project that they choose talented, entertaining comedic actors and leave the real-life involvement to the writing staff.


This comment is part of your tryout for a writing position on the show I assume?

Well done. This is exactly the kind of idea that the show is probably going to be ruthlessly mocking.


There are a lot of things to mock about it (and boy do I), but Kutcher is a pretty bright guy.


Really? Everything he has ever said or done in public has lead me to the opposite conclusion.

His financial advisers and PR people seem exceptionally talented, he has, so far, hidden any ounce of talent from the public.


As an actor: ha ha. As one who's worked with hackers... ha ha ha. Yes, you shall indeed be the butt of this show.




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