NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t

Silicon Valley


FRESH AIR: To an outsider, the start-up culture at Pied Piper, the fictional tech company featured in the HBO comedy series Silicon Valley, might seem a little odd. Not only do the company’s employees live and work together in an “incubator,” they also get into biting arguments about the nuances of whether it’s acceptable to type spaces instead of tabs when programming code. Alec Berg, who serves as showrunner along with creator Mike Judge, tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that the quirky details viewers see on the show are inspired by real life. “One of our writers texted a friend who works for Apple just saying, ‘Hey is this tabs vs. spaces thing real?’ ” Berg says. “And his friend … was out at drinks with a bunch of other engineers and she replied that, A) it is real and B) just talking about it now has sparked a giant, violent debate and they were actually screaming at each other in a bar about whether tabs or spaces were better.” Thomas Middleditch, who plays Richard, the nervous, soft-spoken creator of Pied Piper, adds that real-life tech companies are sometimes so over the top that they leave little room for satire. “It seems like you can’t hyperbolize it for a joke hard enough,” he says. Berg and and Middleditch are joined in the studio by Judge, who also created King of the Hill and Beavis & Butt-head. MORE