Silicon Valley’s new season is right around the corner, April 24th to be exact. And while we’ve seen the usual teaser of an actual trailer for the third season, what better way to build up the hype than by doing a screening of a single scene?
The HBO series decided to take things in a more minimalist way. Instead of organizing a screening for the first episode of the new upcoming season, they called all the media they could, rented all the spotlights within a block of the Cinefamily’s Silent Theater in Hollywood, CA, and sold really cheap tickets to the screening of the now infamous “Scene 308.”
The event kicked off with a classic red carpet parade. The cast arrived at their leisure and greeted the media and fans who were in line waiting to get into the theater. One of the newest cast members of the show, Stephen Tobolowsky (The Goldbergs, The Mindy Project, Groundhog Day) was the first one to arrive. And after deciding I wasn’t a homeless man holding a microphone and a camera, we talked of his excitement about being part of the show.
“I had so much fun doing it. There’s certain shows that you’re on that you feel that no matter how good a show is, like Silicon Valley, no matter how funny, you feel in a way the writing is sacred. You can see how carefully every script is written and how carefully it’s re-written. When I get on shows like that, I love it! I know the writers and the creators have thought so much about the characters, the plot, and the ramifications of the twist of the characters is so clever that you just sit back and enjoy it as an actor. You don’t have to work so hard because the writers have done so much work for you.”
When asked if he liked the dynamic with the rest of the guys, Tobolowsky had this to say:
“It is one of the easiest cast to work with ever. I mean, everybody is so delightful and so much fun. To do this show, you have to work long hours, sometimes in difficult circumstances, and everybody was so delightful. You spend all day laughing. Everybody’s really dedicated to getting the scenes done right. There’s a great sense of collaboration and that makes everything fun. Everybody’s a theater person, so everybody knows what that is, to interact like on sketch.”
We also came across Jimmy O. Yang (Those Who Can’t, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 2 Broke Girls) who plays his fictional relative Jian-Yang on the show. When asked about the milestone of reaching a third season and getting a bigger role in the series, he responded:
“It’s the second year when realized I’m actually not poor, let’s just put it that way. It’s very exciting. We’re just having so much fun and get to do very creative stuff, like this event. I think every season, the writers go through such a painstaking, cool, and amazing thought process to come up with this amazing script. And every time we go to the table reads, it’s something unexpected for us. It’s amazing just for us to see it progress and how the audience sees it progress. I like to think of myself as a fan of the show that somehow just got lucky to sit at the table reads. It’s just amazing.”
I then asked him if they get to offer up any ideas of their own:
“They’re very open to ideas. Even on the day of shooting. They always come up with new lines as well and we Improv a lot. It’s very fun and it’s a super cool collaborative effort. I was always able to pitch in ideas and they were accepting of that. I just started improvising in the show and it’s been great!”
No one made their way down the red carpet better than Thomas Middleditch did. He arrived with his wife on scooters donning helmets. Safety always comes first. We talked about the infamous scene 308:
“I can’t even tell you about scene 308, I haven’t seen it. We’re all seeing it tonight for the first time and I’m incredibly excited. All I know is that when T.J. [Miller] and Stephen [Tobolowsky] get together it’s magic. It’s fireworks. It’s like putting your nose over a freshly baked pizza. It’s a nice smell. Unless you’re lactose intolerant. Then it brings up feelings of nausea. I wasn’t even there. I wasn’t on set that day. I was doing something else. I was getting a massage, a toe massage I think. But yeah, from what I keep hearing,it’s really that good. I could be lying from being lied to so I don’t know.”
Middleditch disappeared with his scooter, possibly to score another toe massage. However, that opened up the opportunity for another star from the enigmatic scene 308 approached me. T.J. Miller immediately declared how excited he was about the premiere of the scene:
“I modified my pants to be capris, that’s how excited I am about scene 308. I mean, I’m more than excited, I’m stunned this is actually happening. To see the lights, to see the people that are psyched for the show that’s about to start in 15-20 minutes, and that there’s never been a premiere for a scene. I’m sure there have been scenes that are good enough to maybe have a premiere, like the orgasm scene of “When Harry Met Sally”. But for this scene itself to have one, I think in our humble opinion, deserves it. Let’s see what the audience thinks. A scene of this caliber deserves a premiere. We did cut a trailer for it that is longer than the original scene. We will have the opportunity to give the audience a Q&A to say things like, ‘How did the scene come about?’ And Mike Judge is gonna do something special, we’re having a big surprise. No spoilers. So this is a special night and also this is the venue we chose because we thought we really want the 70, 80, 100 people who really, really love this to have a very special experience.”
T.J. Miller was obviously excited. He stayed put posing for a bit with his smile that can cure cancer itself. The event was about to start, but not before we got word from another new comer to the show, Tammy Dahlstrom, who had this to say about “Scene 308”:
“I am the star.”
Then she elaborated a bit more as well the new season:
“I am the funny lady behind the two funny guys. I can’t really tell you [what I did], it’s a little bit of a surprise. They haven’t revealed yet what I bring to scene. You’ll have to wait and see it.” She continued on, “I hope people get excited about the entire season because there’s a lot of new people introduced this go-around. Stephen [Tobolowsky] is the CEO and I play one of his sturdy assistants. Ren Hanami actually. She’s his other assistant and we’re like a sturdy ‘Frick & Frack’ of Pied Piper.”
“This is crazy but it is right up their alley having a whole premiere for one scene. The scene is a minute and they’re doing a trailer which is longer than the actual scene so it’s gonna be fun. It’s all the brainchild of Mike [Judge] I mean, this is all his doing. I was a fan of the show before, but now I’m a fan of his. It’s so great he’s allowed all of this for one scene, it’s hysterical.”
Once we all filed in to the event, Miller started speaking to the audience reiterating how excited he was about “Scene 308.” This was just in case there were some people who didn’t hear him yelling and screaming the numbers outside of the venue. He then proceeded to call Judge and Tobolowsky up to the stage to bring more insight into the premiere.
Before the scene was revealed, or even the trailer everyone mentioned so enthusiastically, the production team made a teaser for the trailer for the scene of an episode of the new season of Silicon Valley. And it was absolutely worth it. Topping off the teaser for the trailer was the actual trailer which surely took much longer to put together than “Scene 308” itself. Explosions, deep-voiced narration, scenery of the world, and a slow-motion glimpse of the scene took over the screen. They had to crank the volume in order to cover the laughs emanating from the room.
Once that was out of the way, the magnanimous “Scene 308” was finally revealed. The snippet was less than two minutes of an episode featuring Tobolowsy, Miller and Dahlstrom. In the scene, Tobolowsky used one of the best one-liners ever. To tell you what it is would ruin all of its glory. I will say however, that it involves a fish.
After the scene wrapped up, the Q&A followed and was handled by Dahlstrom, Miller, Tobolowsky, Judge, writer Adam Countee, Zach Woods and Martin Starr who we would like to believe was drunk the entire time. After answering the questions in the most un-serious manner possible, there were some prizes given to the audience by Richard Hendricks. A perfect way to end the cast involvement. But there was still one more surprise to go. We were shown the mysterious unknown “Scene 309” which blew everyone’s mind.
Make sure to catch Silicon Valley’s third season premiere on HBO April 24th.