For Our Consideration: Losing Erlich Bachmann gives Silicon Valley more than just an asshole vacuum

Note: This essay discusses plot points from last night’s season finale of Silicon Valley.

Last month, HBO announced that T.J. Miller would be leaving Silicon Valley, a decision greeted with about as much optimism as Shelley Long leaving Cheers, if Diane had been a bong-ripping walrus of a man who talked about jerking off constantly. Beloved TV characters departing shows while they’re still successful is nothing new (if still rare enough I had to reach back to the hoary old Cheers example). But the loss of Erlich Bachman feels especially pivotal for Silicon Valley: How can this show soldier on without a character who seems so key to its dynamics—and should it? And furthermore, why would Miller just up and leave behind what seems destined to be his most iconic role, depending on how The Emoji Movie shakes out?

To that last point, we’d normally …

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