“Silicon Valley” Season 4 came to its conclusion last night on HBO, and with it came the end of an era for Erlich Bachman. The notorious investor played by T.J. Miller had been one of the most popular and quotable characters on the Mike Judge-created comedy series, and he said his final goodbye as the series left Bachman stoned out of his mind in an opium den in Tibet. Miller was an iconic presence on the series, and the announcement of his departure last month came as a huge surprise for fans. Many were left wondering what exactly caused Miller to leave the series, and he finally teased why in a wide-ranging exit interview with The Hollywood Reporter
One point Miller kept returning to throughout the interview was his complete dislike of executive producer Alec Berg. Berg had worked on “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” before “Silicon Valley,” and it appeared Miller was getting very tired with the cyclical comedy style that Berg had made a staple of the series from the get go.
“The only thing that you can talk down about the show and about Alec Berg, the showrunner for the first couple years, is that it’s cyclical,” Miller said. “If they fail, then they succeed, and then if they succeed, they fail. It’s over and over. That’s an old type of sitcom. That’s ‘Seinfeld,’ where Alec Berg used to work. It’s recycling, it’s network. This is HBO. And so I thought, what if suddenly the whole thing changed?”
It sounds as if Miller wanted to sacrifice his character so that the show’s cyclical nature could finally be upended, which is clearly a dig at Berg’s comedic leanings. Miller also made no effort to hide his feelings for Berg, saying, “I didn’t talk to Alec because I don’t like Alec, but I think Mike Judge and Clay Tarver are brilliant.
“I don’t know how smart [Alec] is,” Miller continued. “He went to Harvard, and we all know those kids are f*cking idiots. That Crimson trash. Those comedy writers in Hollywood are f*cking Harvard graduates and that’s why they’re smug as a bug…I think that in television you usually have one element that is very challenging, very frustrating. It’s an obstacle, right? So you’re doing the best work that you can do. Alec was that for me, and I think I was that for Alec.”
The writers purposely kept Bachman’s departure open-ended in order to give Miller the chance to return should he want, but it appears his relationship with Berg and his time on the show got to be so unenjoyable that he would never return. The interview includes Miller making the rather blunt statement: “I will never be on ‘Silicon Valley’ again.”
For more on Miller’s thoughts on his departure, head over to The Hollywood Reporter now.