Following highly publicized issues with star T.J. Miller, all eyes are on Silicon Valley. The show is dealing with the loss of its lead with efficiency.
Taking The Loss In Its Stride
The popular show returned Sunday night for its fifth season, minus Miller's character, Erlich Bachmann. The actor bowed out after Season 4, with rumors swirling about the circumstances surroundings his exit.
In keeping with the tone of the hit comedy show, the absence of the venture capitalist and early Pied Piper investor who was at the show's core is being dealt with ruthless efficiency and barely disguised animosity.
During the Season 5 premiere, "Grow Fast or Die Slow," nobody asks where Erlich is, or whether he's still in the Tibetan opium den where last audiences saw him. And, more to the point, nobody really cares. Poochie, he is most definitely not.
Instead of focusing on Erlich, all eyes are on Richard, who's busy trying to build his decentralized internet. Only Erlich's arch nemesis, Jian Yang, is concerned with his whereabouts.
Hatching A Scheme
Rather than trying to locate him, however, Jian Yang takes his opportunity, first by inviting friends over to the Hacker Hotel, proudly telling anyone who objects that he's doing it primarily to annoy Erlich, who he openly hates.
Then, in order to further solidify his standing with the company and his possible inheritance of the aforementioned house, Jian Yang sets about proving Erlich is, in fact, dead.
"I want to ship a dead body from China, but it's hard to find a white body in China, especially fat like Erlich. So I buy a fat white cadaver from Cincinnati Medical School," he brainstorms with his buddies.
The second episode sees Jian Yang taking a huge pig carcass out of his car and proudly proclaiming it's Erlich.
"A pig is most like a fat human," he reasons.
Harsh But True
Similarly to how Two and a Half Men roasted star Charlie Sheen after his unceremonious departure, the pig and fat jokes could be seen as a way for those behind Silicon Valley to take shots at Miller.
They're also fairly in keeping with the tone of the show, which seeks to skewer the fraternity-like atmosphere of the titular area. It also rings true for Jian Yang as a character.
He's also been a victim of Erlich's ignorance and racism, so this is a way for the show to tackle that side of his character and give Jian Yang an opportunity to get his revenge in his own right.
No Going Back
Naturally, Erlich probably isn't dead. But he's likely not going to appear on the show again either. Miller, for his part, has claimed he'd never go back to Silicon Valley, even for a cameo.
"I didn't talk to Alec, because I don't like Alec," Miller said previously, of show runner Alec Berg.
The actor and comedian was accused of both sexual and physical assault in a damning Daily Beast expose. He and his wife, Kate, vehemently denied all allegations.
The news came out after he'd already cut ties with the show, but it still cast a dark shadow on whether Miller could ever return. Thankfully, Silicon Valley hasn't suffered without him.