Emmy episode analysis: Thomas Middleditch (‘Silicon Valley’) tries to take back his company

One of the biggest surprises on the morning of the Emmy nominations announcement was the appearance of Thomas Middleditch in Best Comedy Actor for HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” The show’s first ever acting nominee, Middleditch plays Richard Hendricks, a tech worker who is trying to navigate the ups and downs of starting his own compression software company, Pied Piper. Middleditch has chosen the episode “The Empty Chair” to submit to Emmy voters.

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Richard reads online rumors about possible replacements for Pied Piper’s CEO following the ouster of Jack Barker. Richard decides to shrink the company by firing all the sales staff but the staff doesn’t take him seriously and speculates about Richard’s probable demise.

Later Richard finds out that Laurie (Suzanne Cryer) is contacting his old (and useless) friend, Bighead, about possibly becoming CEO, which infuriates Richard. When Richard arrives for his publicity training he begins to completely vent all of his grievances and frustrations about how he’s been treated by Laurie, only to find out that he has actually been talking to the tech blogger who intends to publish the story the next day.

Back at his home, Richard is mortified about what he’s done but Bighead lets it slip that their old boss has been using his search engine to scrub the internet of negative stories about his failures. Richard brings this to the blogger who agrees to spike the story. Richard returns home as the CEO of Pied Piper and is introduced to the new engineering team. He’s also presented with Barker’s old CEO chair and manages to topple over the chair in front of the new employees.

Can Middleditch snatch up Emmy gold on his first try? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:

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“Silicon Valley” continued its upward trend in nominations this year (11, up from seven last year and five in 2014) and is the second most-nominated comedy behind “Veep” (which has 16), making it a show that demands to be taken seriously.

Middleditch gets to deliver a great speech, or more of a rant, in this episode that is absolutely killer, and we know that speeches have managed to guide many performers to Emmy wins in the past.

He also gets to display a good amount of physical humor in this episode, including trying to keep the blogger’s car in her spot and falling out of the CEO chair in front of all the new employees.

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While the nominations for “Silicon Valley” have kept inching upwards, it still has yet to win an award during the main telecast, which shows that some voters are hesitant to award the program.

The third season of the show was well-received, but it was shy of the overwhelming acclaim that was bestowed on the first two seasons.

Middleditch might not be as well-known outside this role to most Emmy voters and that could take away the impact of his performance if voters think he might be playing a version of himself.

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