THR’s ‘Silicon Valley’ cover story makes TJ Miller sound like a massive d-bag

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Silicon Valley is, I believe, a pretty accurate representation about what really happens within many actual Silicon Valley groups. Obviously, it doesn’t represent the obscenely-wealthy-yet-clueless-about-real-life part of Silicon Valley, but the idea that these “(beta) bros” would actually exist in Silicon Valley right now, today, yes… I believe it. Just like I believe the show is just as messy, problematic, toxic and bro-culture-y as the real Silicon Valley. That’s what the new Hollywood Reporter cover story is about – the success of the show, the growing pains, and of course, how TJ Miller exited the show in a garbage-fiery, self-defeating downward spiral of douchebaggery. You can read the full THR piece here. Some highlights:

Mike Judge, on what led to TJ Miller’s exit: “There had been stretches when, multiple show sources say, he looked to have things under control, and others when he’d show up seemingly under the influence, if he showed up at all. ‘There are a lot of different ways you can find out somebody doesn’t want to do the show anymore,’ says Judge … ‘And it’s not fun to work with someone who doesn’t want to be there, [especially when] they’re one of the main people and you’ve got however many crewmembers and extras and people who are [not paid as well] and they’re all showing up before 7 a.m., and then are just like, ‘Oh, OK, we’re not shooting today.’’”

More on Miller: “Table reads would start late as the cast and crew waited on the untamable actor, and when he did arrive he typically hadn’t cracked open the script. Schedules would regularly have to be rejiggered, and sources from the set recount tales of Miller falling asleep between takes, leaving cast and crew to nudge him awake.”

Yet more on Miller: “There was almost a danger to having him around,” says one insider. “He was explosive, and there were moments where you’d go, ‘Whoa, that’s not where I thought that was going at all, but that was f–king awesome’ … but it was a trade-off.” In the end, all parties involved decided it was best if he moved on.”

Miller’s rebuttal: “In real life, I’m not always high like Erlich is. And this will blow your readers’ minds, but I’m not high when I work because it gets in the way of the comedy. I also am not a guy who’s blackout drunk, bumping into things on set. … What was occurring was I was out doing stand-up all the time, even if it meant I only got three hours of sleep. So, the thing I have a problem with? It’s pushing myself to do too much.”

Alec Berg, on the show without Miller: “These guys are the Golden State Warriors of comedy,” Berg says … “So, it’s like, yeah, we’ve lost Andre Iguodala but we still have Steph Curry and Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson and some other guy on the Warriors whose name I don’t know. But I don’t feel like we can’t win championships anymore because we’ve lost …” He pauses there, and then rephrases, mixing his NBA superstars into a metaphoric cocktail: “T.J. wasn’t LeBron.”

Miller’s rebuttal: “Oh, that’s great. And it makes me like him more [because] he’s so good at being an a–hole.”

Judge, on critiques that the show is too white and male: “Well, if you’re doing a movie about Nazi Germany, you can’t [cast 50 percent people of color]. And if you’re doing a TV show about tech that’s satire, you can’t do it.” Judge has made his case before: If you’re going to make fun of this world and the way it is, you have to show the way it is. “I don’t think you do any service by pretending [Silicon Valley] is half female or half black,” he adds. “And not to pin bouquets on ourselves here, but I think we brought some attention to the gender imbalance by doing this show.”

Berg, on why the show won’t address gender imbalance: “We certainly aren’t like, ‘Oh, let’s not talk about that,’” says Berg. “We talk about it all the time. The lack of hitting it head-on just comes down to the fact that we haven’t done a great job of finding the definitive satirical take on it.”

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

Re: the gender imbalance on the show. I agree that it’s realistic: most of the actual Silicon Valley people are truly bros (beta or alpha bros) and there are countless articles about the prevalent toxic masculinity of the real Silicon Valley. Perhaps a better representation for the show would be these beta bros dealing head-on with the alpha-bros who actively cut women down and refuse to hire women and treat women like garbage?

Re: TJ Miller… think about this… think about if a woman had behaved that way. Think about if an African-American actor had behaved that way, showing up drunk or stoned or both, falling asleep in the middle of read-throughs, constantly causing the show to be rewritten at the last minute. Why was TJ Miller thought of as “worth” that drama? Because he’s a mediocre white guy and they get away with everything?

HBO Original Series 'Silicon Valley' Bay Are Premiere

Photos courtesy of WENN, cover courtesy of THR.

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40 Responses to “THR’s ‘Silicon Valley’ cover story makes TJ Miller sound like a massive d-bag”

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  1. Hh says:

    Well, do they have any women behind the scenes? Writers or producers? Maybe THEY would know how to address the gender imbalance in a good satirical way. Under-represented groups can often see things in ways others cannot. Just a thought (that I won’t even charge them for). ;)

  2. laulau says:

    I just got into this show, I’m about half way though season 2 and it is by turns hilarious and annoying. The guy from freaks and geeks and Kumail are awesome but Richard reminds me of so many guys in my brief time as an engineering major who are seemingly nice and normal but actually seething with under-the-surface rage and irrational thinking.
    They did find, I thought a comical narritive strand with the blond programmer(?) who they hired for a while in season 1, they shoudl have kept her.

  3. Aiobhan Targaryen says:

    So instead of Mike Judge or a higher up at HBO just firing TJ’s unprofessional dirty looking ass, they kept him on? Even though he was inconveniencing the crew and making it hard for everyone else.

    So instead of old dirty bastard quitting earlier because he did not like the environment or felt whatever he felt he decided to stay and take their money, but make it so difficult for everyone else that he would force them to fire him?

    I just don’t get it. There is no excuse for accepting this sort of behavior at all. This show doesn’t really do that well buzz-wise, no one gives a sh-t about this show during awards season, nor do I think it is a ratings juggernaut. I bet if you polled 100 people maybe one or two can facial recognize any of those men. Maybe the same amount can pull one name out of their butts. So what was the point in keeping this bum on the show for so long? This is an honest question.

  4. Hoopjumper says:

    I love that you need a “definitive satirical take” to justify including women. Bullsh*t. They had a female programmer and they could have just kept her on. Ugh.

    Also, TJ’s phrase “what was occurring was…” Is peak “guy who was being a douche and buying time to explain it” syntax to me.

    • La says:

      Agreed. I work in IT and while there aren’t many of us, we do exist. And it’s not like there wouldn’t be a ton of potential material–even if they want a “satirical take” being a woman in IT has plenty to explore.

      TJ is a douche and I’m glad he’s gone. I hated both him and his character. Dinesh and Guilfoyle forever. They remind me of people I actually work with and are hilarious.

      • hoopjumper says:

        The SWOT analysis?!?! I died. I think the writing and acting on this show is great, but that makes me even more annoyed about their lack of inclusion.

        I actually think your point that there is plenty to satirize might be the problem: they know there’s plenty of material there, so much so that they’re afraid of their show becoming too much (ie, more than they’re comfortable with) about women.

      • Cate says:

        Yes, I am not in IT but I am a woman in a very male-dominated STEM field (and my husband is in Silicon Valley tech…) and there is PLENTY about my experience to satirize. Especially since I have had kids, my male co-workers (even the ones with children) are so oblivious to the kind of obligation that kids are. I have written some very entertaining (to me) little essays on my life and how ridiculous some of the things that happen to me are.

  5. Jay says:

    I don’t know how I feel about that argument. The founding fathers were all white but that didn’t stop Lin Manuel Miranda. But yes in a thing about Nazi Germany where one of the aspects is Aryan superiority you need white actors. Hm.

    • OG OhDear says:

      Yeah, when it’s a movie starring white people where the characters are non-white, everyone’s all “but it’s just a movie, what’s the big deal?” when people protest the whitewashing. But if you do the reverse the same “but it’s just a movie” people are all “this is not historically accurate at all! They were WHITE! How very dare they cast someone who isn’t WHITE!”

  6. grabbyhands says:

    THR’s ‘Silicon Valley’ cover story makes TJ Miller sound like a massive d-bag

    Oh, that’s only because he IS a massive douchebag.

    Is the massive effort to explain how unprofessional he was a way to cover up for the fact that they knew he beat up and sexually assaulted someone and hired him anyway because he was funny? Also, if he was such a lazy, disrespectful jerk, why didn’t he get canned ages ago?

    Oh yeah, he’s a white guy.

  7. Mia4s says:

    And Miller was accused of sexual misconduct…and now Miller has a role in that new Spielberg movie Ready Player One. 🙄

    God a**holes really do just fail upwards in Hollywood don’t they? All we can hope is he managed to piss off Spielberg at some point. That might actually rid us of him. Ugh.

  8. Ally says:

    Yeah, Halt and Catch Fire was 50% female leads and it worked just fine. Lazy and male-centric is what they were going for here.

  9. smcollins says:

    I attempted to watch Silicon Valley when it first aired (I tend to give most HBO shows a test drive) and I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe I’m just not the target audience (40-something woman) for this type of show. I will admit that if it’s a show that takes time to get into, a la The Leftovers or Westworld, I usually give up before it takes hold and gets interesting. I’m sure I’ve missed out on some great shows because of that (apparently I gave up on The Leftovers too soon), but I’m just one of those people that needs to be immediately drawn in to continue investing the time. 🤷‍♀️

    • Jessica says:

      Try it again. I’m a forty something white woman and love it!

      • Chaine says:

        Same. But I agree with others up thread. I know plenty of women programmers, QA people, network engineers, there is not excuse for not having women in their show other than they wanted an all-guy ensemble. Having the one woman character that is an investor is a pathetic token gesture.

    • Harryg says:

      I didn’t like The Leftovers or Westworld either. They were both trying too hard. Westworld the original movie already said it all, and better.

    • India Rose says:

      40-something woman who doesn’t work in IT. I love Silicon Valley (mostly) and got an HBO subscription just to keep up with it. Kumail Nanjiani is one of the smartest voices on Twitter and he’s a fun, sweet actor. He and Jared (Zach Woods) are the best parts of the show.

      It took me awhile to get into The Leftovers too, but as I’ve posted on here before — it is absolutely worth sticking with. Damon Lindelof is a genius writer and showrunner. The majority of the episodes are directed by a woman (Mimi Leder) who ran the set. Justin Theroux and Carrie Coon are outstanding actors. I watched the finale a couple months ago and still think about it a lot.

      If you’re okay with some ambiguity — and a show that lets you make your own choices about what you believe — it’s brilliant. And watching Justin Theroux slide naked out of a bathtub onto the floor? Even my husband was like, damn that guy is RIPPED. And Theroux really is a much better actor than he gets credit for. I loved it.

  10. Tan says:

    Ugh!

    Are they saying there is absolutely no engineer or tech ladies in Silicon valley?

    That’s bull shit.

  11. Frizzy and frazzled says:

    If he wanted to be racially realistic, there would be more than one Asian man.

  12. Chisey says:

    I watch and enjoy Silicon Valley, and I was sad that the show lost Erlich because I thought he was a great character. But yikes, he sounds like an unprofessional mess. He gave this crazy interview insulting many of the people he had worked with on the show shortly after exiting, and that shocked me by it’s total unprofessionalism and just plain dickishness. Add that to this info, and I just am shaking my head. And all that’s aside from the sexual assault allegation! I actually think he’s funny and talented, but no amount of talent is worth putting up with all this crap. It absolutely boggles my mind that this guy is still working.

  13. Morgan says:

    As a former Silicon Valley engineer (female), I love the show and find the representation pretty accurate. There are women in the field, but not a lot, and not in the kind of startup situation the guys are shown in. Plus, the two women VCs are portrayed as smart and sensible compared to the often bumbling dudes.

    As for Miller, sounds like he was awful but I think they got rid of him as soon as they could. He was essential to the first two seasons and his totally toxic personality was a big part of his character. Richard only worked at first because of how Erlich pushed him around.

  14. Miles says:

    All I’m going to say is TJ Miller’s character was a big hit in Deadpool so one would think he’d be in a lot of the marketing for the sequel but I think there’s a reason why Fox and co have decided to pretty much ignore him marketing wise for Deadpool 2. Aside from the rape allegations against him, the guy really is just a douche bag who brings nothing but negativity to whatever it is that he’s a part of.

  15. Harryg says:

    I cannot stand this show.

  16. Mina says:

    TJ Miller is like those people who respond “I’m a workaholic” when asked what’s your main flaw in a job interview. Why do people have to give him a pass because poor guy was up too late working on something else? That’s his problem. He sounds so entitled.