Start-Ups: Silicon Valley episode 5: The birthday party favor

In the fifth episode of this riveting show, a performance with a strap-on in front of important investors might leave one startup strapped for cash.

Hermione in crisis. Over a sex toy. BravoTV Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The other night I met someone who is utterly riveted by "Start-Ups: Silicon Valley."

It was Windsor, the stellar barperson at my local restaurant, Sushi Ran.

"Why do you like it?" I asked.

"Because it's great," was her excited reply. I probed. She insisted it was great "because it is."

I wonder how great she would have found last night's episode 5. It began with Hermione (British, blonde) embarrassed at her drunken psychotic behavior last week.

It's just the stress of getting funding, explains her brother Ben (short, pretty, pretty short.)

How will she relieve the stress? Well, it's her 27th birthday, so she will use the traditional method of the young and ambitious: she will have a party.

David (gay, vaguely sane) decides to go with Jay (not gay, vaguely vacuous) to buy Hermione a gag.

No, this isn't a contraption to shut her up. Well, not only. It's, you know, a sexual gag for heightened pleasure.

No, wait. It's a "gag gift." But it will be bought at sex shop Good Vibrations.

David explains that Jay, who is nervous about buying this gift, needs to loosen up and enjoy the San Francisco way. They settle on a strap-on. What else does an empowered businesswoman need?

Gymnastics
Kim (brunette, ambitious, blessedly dull) gathers a group of fine technical brains around her in her fancy apartment. She quit her job last week. Now, she wants to do a fashion startup.

You see, everyone (in the world) is badly dressed. Other than Kim, that is. She can see that people have no idea what to wear. It is hard to tell whether this is because they work in tech or because no one has quite the beatific taste of Kimmy.

Kimmy wants to call her startup "Shushunova." This, of course, refers to the great Yelena Shushunova, a Russian gymnast. Kimmy used to be a gymnast. She demonstrates this fact by leaping onto the couch.

Perhaps, she decides, she'll call her site just "Shunova." Her friends seem to shun the idea.

But what of Sarah? Sarah, we have established, is a vastly egotistical, fragile being. We have also established that, being fragile and egotistical, she objects to date-cheating.

She doesn't object, however, to the idea of going on a date with Ben and making Hermione feel uncomfortable. I believe the technical term for this is "meting out a date-beating."

To smooth the path, she calls Hermione to talk about it. She insists she and Ben are only going to "hang out as friends." But things can happen when you hang out.

Ben and Hermione go to the fairground. It's hard work, this startup-ing. Ben eats a hotdog. This may be of significance later

Meanwhile, Dwight (mannish, hairy) goes home to his mom and dad in Los Gatos. They notice a mark on his palm. Dwight explains this is a burn. Dad, a vice president of applied sciences, declares: "Lubrication helps."

Yes, you really can apply science to humor.

Mechanical bull
Back at the fairground, Ben is riding a mechanical bull. This might, for some, be an allusion to the way he presents in pitch meetings. Ben's bull can be more than a little mechanical.

He gets thrown off. Now it's Sarah's turn. She is worried that everyone will see "my business."

In Silicon Valley, your business must be kept discreet.

They go on the Ferris Wheel. Ben, whose breath must still reek of hot dog, kisses Sarah. You can just tell that Sarah never imagined this would happen. You can tell she likes a hotdogger.

If only Ben could close the deal like this in meetings. Perhaps he could wear the same silly hat he is wearing at the fairground.

Dwight is building a new edition of his site, Carsabi. It's the Google of cars. You didn't know? So he needs to be at Hermione's birthday party. People with money will be there.

Strap on and on and on
The party is wonderful. But Hermione is nervous. No, it's not because of the investors who will be there. It's because David suggests that Sarah might become her sister-in-law.

The producers stand them all in a little party circle. This serves as the stage upon which Hermione can ask Sarah whether she created, well, something of a startup with Ben on their date.

Sarah admits to the kissing on the Ferris Wheel.

Hermione wishes she could smack her in the kisser.

Instead, she offers: "You called me, like, 10 minutes before and said you didn't like him."

Sarah denies it. She and Ben, she declares, have chemistry. This, presumably, is the code word for "the producers told us to make out."

Ben insists he has seen the real Sarah. The real Sarah is so very likable, so very not someone who causes drama. This seems so very unbelievable.

And then Hermione gets her strap-on on. No, really, she tries to put it on.

"I am watching this s*** and I wish I had popcorn," declares a suddenly amusing Kimmy.

Hermione begins to chase gay men around, with her strap-on strapped on.

Ben gets concerned that, gosh, no, investors are seeing this performance. Indeed, he tells Hermione that her little show has cost their startup $500,000.

Hermione insists that he shouldn't have invited investors to her birthday party. She is appalled that Ben could say something like that to her on her birthday.

It's her party and she can dry-hump if she wants to.

Ben admits he isn't sure that it's cost them the money. Ben is a very bad actor. In more than one way.

David feels horrible. He is the "dildostigator."

Sarah, who is manifestly not trashy, insists that she would not strap a dildo to herself and "go around humping people." That, she says, is "trashy."

Throwing drinks over people is, however, delicately feminine.

Hermione won't change her ways for a mere investor. She hasn't got where she is today by changing her behavior. No, no.

Ben suggests that perhaps they shouldn't be in business together.

Yes, Windsor, now I can see why this show is really great. It's taken a while, but I have seen the light. It's the nuances that get you in the end.

 

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