Each week, we watch "Silicon Valley" on HBO and then reflect on the ways the show mirrors — or doesn't — the real Silicon Valley. This week, our founding fellas make halting forays into the world of romance. To catch up on the recaps, you can see them all here.
While the guys are out at a bar, putting the last of Richard Hanneman’s Tres Commas tequila into a giant virgin margarita, Richard makes contact with a woman. A woman who is not contractually obliged to speak to him. This sets off a competitive avalanche of attempted hookups in which Dinesh tries to make a love connection with a remote coder in Estonia, Jared turns out to have mucho mojo and Richard ruins everything by letting his coding standards overshadow his actual almost-relationship.
The issue: When coders are writing the letters in ASCII that will later become code, there are certain finicky details that don't affect the code in the end, but that different coders have definite opinions about. For example, in some instances you can insert carriage returns just to make it easier on the eyes; to some coders, this is just annoyingly stupid, while others like the aesthetic appearance of the ASCII.
In this episode, Richard makes it clear — overly clear, maybe — that he disapproves of some coders' preference for spaces where he would use tabs. In the workplace, this is a boss-preference thing and easy for coders to change. But when Richard's date, Winnie, reveals that she isn't on the same page, he can't see past it. It's like the coding equivalent of Jason Alexander's character in "Shallow Hal" — the guy who dumps a beautiful woman because she has one weird toe.
Coders of my acquaintance confirm that "spaces versus tabs" is, indeed, something people get excited about, but none of them had strong feelings about it. Yes, Richard’s "tabs" method saves a minimal amount of file size, but the alternate "spaces" method allows for more specific alignment. For a deep dive into how that works, read this fantastic PopSci article.
"Of course," said one of my supercoder friends, "the correct answer is tabs and the [visual] editor. The use of spaces is just indicative of the dumbing down of programming; tabs will make America great again." Another added, "I find writing ASCII so objectionable. We may as well use crayons on construction paper. Why do programmers still live in technology that wasn't even cutting edge in 1970?"
Did I say none of my coding friends had strong feelings about this? My mistake.
A few folks wondered about the restaurant the Pied Piper team is in. The Mexican-themed outing seems to be a leitmotif throughout the series; in fact, this looks like the same place where Richard and Gavin had a confrontation at the end of Runaway Devaluation (season two, episode two), in which a dramatic moment is interrupted by a mariachi band.
A quick search reveals that there was a place called Compadres (the name written on one of the sombreros on the wall), but it closed years ago. (Maybe it was beloved of Mike Judge during his brief tenure as an engineer.) Palo Alto Sol is a less-fancy Mexican restaurant that serves non-giant margaritas and is known to be a favorite of Mark Zuckerberg. And there is an adorable place called Nola, also in Palo Alto, which is not Mexican but that does have giant cocktails. (Recode/Silicon Valley meetup? Name the date!)
This episode also featured a very specific tribute to the particular San Francisco Bay Area style of street theater protests — Gavin should be grateful he was only doused with suds, not barf. In response, Gavin reminisces about the good old days when men like him could have protesters beaten and/or killed, a direct reference to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Is Gavin ideological buds with Trump delegate Peter Thiel?
See you next week and on Twitter, folks.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.