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By ucblockhead (Wed May 21, 2014 at 12:14:01 AM EST) (all tags)
Mood is a bit heavy, so to lighten the mood: "Silicon Valley" vs. "Betas".


Started watching Mike Judge's Silicon Valley because I happened to have an HBO Go subscription for some reason.  I also started watching Amazon's Betas for compare and contrast purposes.

On the one hand, yeah it's a pretty good skewering of the valley, but I am finding the lack of diversity on the show a bit appalling, particularly on gender lines.  The most recent episode may be the last straw for me, as the first time we see a female coder, she's tricking guys into doing her coding for her with sex appeal.  So yeah.

Also depressing is that there seem to be only two non-white regulars.  One is an Indian who is about as whitebread as you can get without being caucasian, and the other is side-character whose sole purpose is "can't understand English jokes".  So yeah.

Otherwise, it does a pretty good skewering of the startup culture, particularly with the semi-autistic VC character. Googling just now turns up that the actor died.  So yeah.

Other characters are all one notes.

Sad, because they've clearly done their job on the tech, what with talk of compression algorithms, and people using actual burndown charts.

I think I'll stop bothering with that.

Betas is more low rent, and a bit too much on the low-brow and raunch comedy style for me, but clearly shot in SoMa, it gets the scene right, and has the advantage of an Indian coder who actually acts not unlike Indian coders I've known, and an Asian woman who actually acts much like an Asian woman from San Francisco.

It does have the advantage of the satire in that they are developing app that is so clearly massively privacy invading and offensive.  I wonder where they will take that.

I don't know if I'll continue with it if I'm not comparing and contrasting though.

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Television | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Sorry that the minorities aren't stereotypey by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed May 21, 2014 at 01:47:54 AM EST
enough for you.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

What minorities? by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed May 21, 2014 at 01:55:41 PM EST
Other than the token Indian, there's hardly any non-caucasians on the show.
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This one: by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed May 21, 2014 at 10:51:38 PM EST
" One is an Indian who is about as whitebread as you can get without being caucasian"

Because Indian people must conform to how you think they should act - e.g. "not caucasian" (whatever THAT means.)

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

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I'm saying by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #12 Wed May 21, 2014 at 11:18:07 PM EST
That the characters on "Betas" act a lot more like average Bay Area developers than the characters on "Silicon Valley".
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I haven't seen the show by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed May 21, 2014 at 01:58:22 PM EST
but ... the team I work on has to white people and everyone else is chinese, indian, or japanese. the team i'm currently on loan to has an unusually high percentage of white people in that it was half white half non-white before i wandered in. etc.

a representation of silicon valley in which it's mostly white is, simply put, a lie.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
yeah by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed May 21, 2014 at 02:48:16 PM EST
Whites run at 40-50% of those I work with, and about half of them are non-Americans.  That's pretty typical around here.

On the show, you've got one Indian guy as a main character and one chinese guy who has appeared twice, to make a cheap "no speaky English" joke.  I guess that's the subtlety gmd is talking about.  Everyone else is a generic American white guy.

I prefer Betas, because it's making fun of the sort of people who are actually in the industry.  (Not that it's particularly great, mind you.  But at least it understands that if you are going to make fun of SF startup culture, you need to be mocking hipsters.)
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As someone who has worked in IT for by gmd (2.00 / 0) #2 Wed May 21, 2014 at 02:46:17 AM EST
 Over 20 years, I'd say the gender balance in "Silicon Valley" is pretty accurate.

i also wonder if some of MIke Judges humour is too subtle for the American audience?

i thought the episode with the graffiti guy and the logo was hilarious.


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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
It's not the "gender balance" by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed May 21, 2014 at 02:40:53 PM EST
It's the deliberately making the first female coder appearing on the show someone who can't actually code and uses sex to get men to do her work for her.  Offensive to those few women who are in the industry.

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Are you saying that sort if thing doesn't happen? by gmd (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed May 21, 2014 at 07:23:21 PM EST
 Because it definitely does.

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
I haven't been interested by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed May 21, 2014 at 10:57:43 AM EST
because it would be too much like bringing work home.

Now, Archer or Ventures Brothers, yeah.


Hmmm by Bob Abooey (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed May 21, 2014 at 12:53:44 PM EST
We can now stream those at NC via Amazon Prime - I'll have to check them out over the three day weekend whilst I'm lounging aboot the house in my dirty underpants and t-shirt.

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

How's my blogging: Call me at 209.867.5309 to complain.

the only live television I watch by StackyMcRacky (4.00 / 1) #9 Wed May 21, 2014 at 04:12:16 PM EST
is PBS Kids.

Everything else is streamed after the kids are in bed at night, usually at least a week after it first aired.  Most likely years after it aired.

Ads by R343L (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu May 22, 2014 at 03:58:40 AM EST
There has been a big ad campaign for Silicon Valley here in the transit tunnel. Big glossy ads with the lineup of characters. Pretty obvious it was bad just going by that.

I'm completely unsurprised the only woman coder is a sexist stereotype. If they have a black coder sometime, no doubt he'll get violent during a code review or something.

Anyway does either show parody well? Unless there's at least one guy pushing to build something from scratch instead of using a perfectly serviceable solution on GitHub, it's a poor representation.  There should also be someone designing their own new programming language.

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

I should note by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #14 Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:42:29 AM EST
The female coder is a one-episode drop-in in the "B" plot.  There's definitely parody of the VC fueled startup world in both.  Both used the cliched "genius programmer" trope.  I think Betas does the parody of startup attitudes better and certainly does a better job of skewering SF SoMa culture.

I think Judge's issue is that he's filtering it all through his own Texas corporate tech experience, and so he's filtering everything through that. 
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Television | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback