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‘Silicon Valley’: How Post-Election-Night Improv Led to Season 4’s Greatest Moment So Far

Behold, The Jared Woo™.

Zach Woods and Thomas Middleditch in HBO’s “Silicon Valley”

John P. Johnson

Jian Yang’s Erlich impression. Big Head’s sudden ascension through the guest lecture circuit. Gavin Belson’s failed key-card swipe. Last night’s “Silicon Valley” was an episode that kept the Season 4 hot streak alive with some unsurprisingly delightful developments.

But there’s one that has them all beat.

While going through the files of their early investor Peter Gregory, Richard (Thomas Middleditch) discovers that the man who once gave Pied Piper some much-needed runway also may have left the key to building a brand new, decentralized internet.

READ MORE: Zach Woods Compares His ‘Silicon Valley’ Character to a ‘New England Mom,’ and Here’s Why That’s Hysterically Tragic

Jared (Zach Woods), Richard’s partner in amateur sleuthing, helps them both realize this discovery means that a new internet might be more viable than either of them thought. Richard’s newfound excitement leads to a back-and-forth of happy enthusiasm. One tiny “woo” leads to….well, it leads to this:

“That happened the night after the election and there was some personal stuff going on and I was feeling kind of crazed,” Woods said in an interview to IndieWire last month. “We were improvising in this scene where Richard cheers. I was like, ‘Fuck it, I’ll try this,’ so I started to scream, just to see how it would go.”

Woods explained that even though the moment might have gone past what was originally on the page, it’s a perfect example of the show’s circular process of trust that lets its performers try things without fear of embarrassment.

“Sometimes on a show when you improvise something hambone or stupid, they’ll put it in the show. But these guys have such unbelievable taste in what makes it in and what doesn’t. They protect the characters so well, even from your own dubious contradiction sometimes,” Woods said.

Aside from the release of decades worth of pent-up Jared tension, that sequence also highlights how “Silicon Valley” continues to pay tribute to Peter Gregory. That the show continues to incorporate the eccentric billionaire is a testament to how well the late Christopher Evan Welch was able to craft such a memorable, lasting character in a few episodes.

The Jared Woo™ will live on in GIFs eternal, but that context makes it an even more special achievement.

To see the scream in its partly-edited glory, catch it at the end of the Season 4 trailer below. “Silicon Valley” is available to stream in its entirety on HBO NOW.

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