Welcome to Silicon Valley — hub for entrepreneurs, technological advancements … and the newest Bravo reality show.
Produced by Randi Zuckerberg’s, (yes, Mark’s sister), the show will feature a $17,000/mo. rental that plays host to five roommates with dream. The goal? Show the “raucous reality of the tech industry in 2012.”
As the New York Times article explains, many in Silicon Valley fear it will make them look like laughingstocks, but Randi’s not worried: “Trust me, enough people in this industry make laughingstocks of themselves. We’re just capturing reality!”
“It’s more important than ever to get girls excited about technology and entrepreneurship and the only way you’re going to do that is by, you know, really making technology cool in pop-culture and showing women working at startups and making it a little glamorous” –Randi Zuckerberg answering a question from Forbes about misrepresentation in social media.
Meanwhile, the gang all goes to Hermione’s toga party, including Sarah, who is feuding with her because of a dustup over an event they worked on together at South by Southwest. Sarah believes Hermione owes her an apology. Hermione is still mad at Sarah for sending a “very unprofessional e-mail” about Sarah’s behavior in Austin.
“It’s just an e-mail,” Sarah sighs. “Get over it.”
Ah, yes, but poor Ben, crushing on Sarah, is caught in the middle: Should he side with his sister or throw her under the bus for romance?
In the midst of the party, as if all of a sudden the clam dip went bad, Dwight wants everyone to leave and go to his friend Rohan’s party – a decidedly more down-to-earth affair than the toga bash.
Here, for just a few seconds, you may actually spot examples of the seemingly near-extinct species genus Nerdus americanus – disheveled guys, some on the chubby side, with bad hair, pale skin and glasses that look much more LensCrafters than Alain Mikli or Warby Parker. It’s as though a tribe of time-traveling kiwis suddenly waddled into a San Francisco walk-up, but you have to look quickly because they disappear into the underbrush almost immediately. Clearly, these guys aren’t ready for their close-ups – not in “Start-Ups: Silicon Valley,” at any rate.
“Start-Ups” isn’t very good, or very original, neither of which should come as a huge surprise. But what’s really too bad is that the show misses a great opportunity to capture the singular mix of ambition and creativity that makes Silicon Valley so special. When word spread that the show was in the pipeline, valley types were reportedly worried that their community would be “Hollywoodized.” On the basis of the premiere episode at least, those worries seem to be confirmed.
The show is occasionally good at capturing the entrepreneurial bravado, false or otherwise, that defines Silicon Valley, but it comes across as almost beside the point. Like the other reality shows it imitates, “Start-Ups: Silicon Valley” is about a group of people thrown together in a somewhat closed environment competing with each other, behaving badly at times and not getting along at others.
Maybe “Hyper-Real World: Silicon Valley” would be a more accurate title for the show.
Start-Ups: Silicon Valley airs at 10 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5, on Bravo.