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Made for Love made a more effective satire of Silicon Valley by thinking differently

  • "The problem with satirizing Silicon Valley is that the tech industry moves so fast and breaks so many things that it’s impossible for filmmakers to keep up," says Matthew Dessem of the HBO Max dark comedy starring Cristin Milioti. "You can quickly verify this by rewatching The Social Network: Received back in 2010 as a withering portrait of Facebook, the movie suggests that the company’s fatal flaw has to do with misunderstanding the nature of friendship, which doesn’t hit quite as hard now that they’ve moved on to facilitating both QAnon and genocide. (Similarly, compare Silicon Valley’s 2014 pilot, which promised a light comedy about nerds with more money than sense, to its 2019 finale, in which the main characters almost destroy civilization.) You just can’t outrun those guys, but as HBO Max’s funny and surprising new show Made for Love demonstrates, if you aren’t trying to craft the definitive statement about humanity’s relationship with technology, you can get in some good laughs along the way." Dessem says Made for Love could've gone off the rails. "There are moments when you can feel the tug of one or the other of those poles, but the filmmakers never fully succumb to either temptation," he says. "That turns out to be key to Made for Love’s success, because the show’s tricky, downbeat season finale would never land if the audience was expecting humanism. In fact, the show is a pretty good test case to see how far TV can get relying mostly on tone and performance. It’s not particularly visually striking, it doesn’t have the most tightly-constructed plot—a thread about Hazel having her consciousness 'merged' with her husband’s takes up a lot of show’s first half before being abruptly dropped—and the fewer questions you ask about which parts of the Hub are real and which are virtual, the happier we’ll all be. If you can overlook a few flaws, though, Made for Love has a lot to offer. If you can’t overlook a few flaws, maybe you can use virtual reality to construct a utopian society where they make better television. Just run it by your spouse first, OK?"


    TOPICS: Made for Love, HBO Max, Silicon Valley, Alissa Nutting, Billy Magnussen, Christina Lee, Cristin Milioti