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‘Silicon Valley’ remains both intelligent and witty

Throughout its third season, “Silicon Valley” sharpened its comedic wit and honed its storytelling abilities to produce a hilarious comedy replete with a compelling and sound plot. There were no missteps or questionable decisions. It became a show that viewers could enjoy purely for how well-rounded it was. Now entering its fourth season, “Silicon Valley” not only maintains its momentum, but advances it. A fitting follow-up to its impeccable third season, the outstanding latest season reveals that series visionary Mike Judge (“Office Space”) is not content to rest on his laurels, despite the show’s plethora of Emmy nominations.

Picking up several weeks after the events of the end of season three, the fourth season premiere wastes no time in resuming Pied Piper’s meandering journey in the tech capital of the world. The series immediately drops audiences into the action as Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch, “The Final Girls”) attempts to put his fraud allegations behind him. “Silicon Valley” doesn’t shy away from diving back into its plot, and audiences are rewarded with updates on each of the show’s central characters.

A hallmark of the series’s first three seasons is the constant barbs between Gilfoyle (Martin Starr, “Operator”) and Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani, “Franklin & Bash”). Their frequent trade-off of insults consistently produces some of the most hilarious moments of “Silicon Valley.” The show evidently has no intention of robbing audiences of these fantastic scenes, featuring a verbal spar in which Dinesh brags, “I’ll never underestimate my talents again,” before Gilfoyle replies: “Don’t worry — I’ll continue to do it for you.”

Another strength of “Silicon Valley” ’s new season is its commitment to developing diverse and charismatic characters. With a large cast, the series has at times struggled to give equal weight to its various, competing narratives.

In this latest season, however, the show strikes an effective balance among its different storylines. The result is more screen-time for some of “Silicon Valley” ’s most likeable — yet underrepresented — characters. More scenes with the eccentric Gavin Belson (Matt Ross, “Turn the River”) and his naïve security chief Hoover (Chris Williams, “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story”) are always welcome.

One of the best results of these multiple plotlines in “Silicon Valley” is the return of venture capitalist Russ Hanneman (Chris Diamantopoulos, “The Art of the Steal”), in all his absurd, calf-implant glory. After featuring in only one episode of season three, Hanneman has re-entered the show and seems poised for a prominent role in the new season. Despite the time off, Hanneman hasn’t lost sight of the important things in life, telling Hendricks during a meeting at his child’s school: “My fucking nanny got another DUI and lost her license, so now I’m stuck picking up my own kid like an asshole.”

Throughout this most recent season’s first two episodes, “Silicon Valley” maintains its brand of smart yet ridiculously fun humor. The show separated itself during its initial seasons through employing witty, thoughtful jokes. This latest season continues to depend on this style to produce hilarious scenes, and viewers should appreciate “Silicon Valley” ’s type of thoughtful — but not overly sophisticated — humor.

That’s not to say that the series doesn’t boast its share of more juvenile humor — it most certainly does. This quality is especially clear in the show’s most recent season, which includes several hilarious, low-brow scenes. Nowhere in “Silicon Valley” ’s new season is this more apparent than in the season premiere, which contains a running gag of employees at prominent Silicon Valley firms being relocated to offices directly across from bathrooms that make for incredibly awkward and frequent eye-contact.

In its first three seasons, “Silicon Valley” established a high comedic and entertainment standard for itself that appeared difficult to top. Still, this latest season manages to do just that, and provides both excitement and laughs in equal doses from start to finish.


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