Silicon Valley Season 4 Episode 8: The 5 Best Jokes in “The Keenan Vortex”

Here are our five favorite jokes in Silicon Valley Season 4, Episode 8 “The Keenan Vortex”

Silicon Valley is a saga about one man’s journey into the heart of darkness of the world’s weirdest and most insular industry where everything is “disruptable” and nothing makes sense.

But also: jokes.

After each episode of Silicon Valley this season, we’re cataloguing our five favorite jokes. What constitutes a “joke” is often subjective. So don’t concern yourself too much with the proper definition of “jokes.” These are the five moments that made us laugh the hardest, ranked in order.

No wonder T.J. Miller is leaving at the end of this season. Erlich Bachman is having an incredibly rough time. At first in “The Keenan Vortex” everything seems to be coming up Erlich. Keenan works into his contract with Lori and Monica that he’ll only work with them if Erlich is there. Then Keenan uses that muscle to get a bigger deal from Raviga AND bring Pied Piper into the fold.

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Not everything is at it seems when it comes to Keenan Feldspar and his bitching VR demo though. Monica tells Richard that they were ok with dropping Keenan because his technology will never work for the mobile market. Then Keenan dumps Erlich by teaming up with Hooli. The end result of the devastation is an ashy-faced, unemployed Erlich burning the gazebo he loves so much to the ground. That’s some cold shit, Haley Joel Osment.

5. “Fucking…WHAT.”

You might not even remember where this quote comes from, it’s so subtle. In the beginning of the episode, Richard has some issues opening up his energy drinks. The third time he tries it, he someone punctures the whole top of it and liquid sprays everywhere. Right before that, however, he just simply breaks the tab off and exclaims in exasperation “Fucking…WHAT” in an extremely high voice. Exasperated Richard is one of this show’s best comedic weapons. And this stupid little, almost completely unnecessary instance is among my favorites.

4. “Suck it, Jin-Yang”

This has been an excellent season for callbacks. The best was certainly Gavin Belson destroying his mansion twice. But don’t sleep on this subtle one from “The Keenan Vortex.” In the episode preceding this, Gilfoyle hacked Jian Yang’s new smart fridge to a .gif of a mime, um, miming fellatio with the message “Suck it, Jin-Yang (“Jian Yang” being spelled wrong obviously). The shot of the hacked fridge lasts little more than a second in this episode but it’s among the best laughs in the half hour. Apparently, this is just that smart fridge’s destiny now.

3. “Oh Richard, I forgot how much of a jealous crone you can be.”

There’s that saucy Erlich Bachman we know and love! By episode’s end, Erlich will be jobless once again and near catatonically depressed. But before that happens he has the opportunity to point out Richard’s stuffiness again. After Erlich that Keenan “gave me one of the first opportunities to shit myself over (the VR tech),” Richard gives a typically bitchy response to VR. So Erlich points out what a jealous crone he is…because somebody need to.

2. “Wow, you really vomited a lot. And like immediately.”

Cutting to Richard immediately puking upon being invited to try out VR software is funny. What’s even funnier is a character outside the Pied Piper world (Keenan) pointing out just how funny he is. Thomas Middleditch is an underrated physical comedian. In a show dominated by dialogue, Middleditch brings so much to the table with Richard’s, let’s say, physical frailty. If there were a character whose tiny, jealous body can’t handle virtual reality, of course it would be Richard. And then Haley Joel Osment comes in with the perfect underplay.

1. “He came in the front this time.”

Someone say something about callbacks? Here is another great one. Richard comes home to deliver some bad news to the rest of the Pied Piper boys. He’s breaking off their contract with Keenan. Unbeknownst to Richard, however, Dinesh, Gilfoyle and Jared have almost the exact same bad news for him: Keenan broke off the deal, himself. But it wouldn’t be Silicon Valley season 4 if we didn’t have some staged confrontation hijinx. Last time the crew tried to confront Richard, he came in the back door of the Bachman household so they’re all facing the wrong way to begin their intervention. This time, they all face the back door and Richard comes in the front. It’s such a stupid joke and a needless callback…but it’s also so, so great.

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