Silicon Valley Gets Ready to Go Big (SPRING PREVIEW)

A. Bottinick
Frank Masi/HBO

Silicon Valley

You know the saying about the fine line between genius and madness? That may be debatable–but a bunch of geniuses can certainly drive you mad. That's what Silicon Valley's shy computer whiz Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) is about to learn as he leads landlord-cum-business partner Erlich (T. J. Miller), business manager Jared (Zach Woods), and roommates/employees Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) and Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) into the techie big leagues after their compression app, Pied Piper, won a start-up competition in the satirical comedy's first season finale. (Pied Piper converts big files into very, very small ones so they are easier to store and share without losing quality.)

"Season 2 is about what happens when you have something blow up like this," says cocreator Mike Judge. "Suddenly, the boys have to build their company to the next level." To further develop Pied Piper, they must deal with financiers–one of whom gives Richard particular trouble. And as the company changes, so do the guys' roles within it. "People are given titles and start putting a name to what they do that implies a certain amount of value," says executive producer Alec Berg. "Feelings get hurt."

Erlich's bravado–and discretionary spending–continues to wreak havoc on their brand (and bank account). Dinesh becomes obsessed with finally being considered cool, while the will-they-or-won't-they-kill-each-other vibe between Dinesh and Gilfoyle intensifies (except when they're hurling insults at Jared). "There is so much weird machismo in the code world," Nanjiani says. "These guys are very good at one thing–coding–and nothing else. Yet they're cocky about everything. They see themselves as rock stars."

Which makes Richard their beleaguered Brian Epstein. "He begins to realize that he's the boss," Middleditch says. "Richard's got to put his big-boy pants on and figure stuff out if they're going to be rich." Yet hitting it big so quickly might not be the group's fate. At least not this year. "They have to have some success, because if they fail too many times, the audience will think they're idiots," Berg says. "But if they succeed in this business, they become billionaires. And who gives a s--t about those guys?"

Silicon Valley, Returns Sunday, April 12 10/9c, HBO

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