The fifth season of HBO’s Silicon Valley aired on Sunday, March 25, picking up where Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) and his team at Pied Piper left off in their attempts to deliver a “new Internet.” But the biggest story from the episode centered around clever manipulation in the opening credits that was a clear dig at Facebook.
Blink and you might have missed it. In the opening credits, as the screen pans through a bustling animated scene of the Silicon Valley area, as it has done for the last four seasons, it shows the logos and company headquarters of businesses like Pinterest, Oracle, YouTube, and the fictional company Hooli. But look closely and you’ll notice something different with the Facebook logo. The lettering switches from the signature white Klavika font to Cyrillic lettering that resembles Russian text. It isn’t actually Russian, but a clever use of lettering to make it both recognizable as the word Facebook, yet appear to be Russian text. The sneaky jab seems to subtly reference the controversy surrounding Facebook’s purported role in influencing the 2016 presidential election. If you didn’t catch the credits, have a look at the animated GIF below that highlights the part showing Facebook.
Whether you noticed it or not, the episode continued to showcase how the series depicts and often parodies, the world of tech. (Spoiler alerts ahead if you haven’t yet watched the episode.) Hooli CEO Gavin Belson (Matt Ross) works to thwart Richard’s success at every turn. Jian Yang (Jimmy O. Yang) attempts to take over Erlich’s home now that the eccentric character, played by T.J. Miller, has left the show. Laurie Bream (Suzanne Cryer), Lead Partner at Raviga Capital, returns to work mere hours after giving birth. And an attempt at hiring the perfect team of developers leads to some sour and vengeful acquisitions.
Facebook has been in hot water over details of alleged data mining of more than 50 million users that was acquired by Cambridge Analytica, which was handling social media campaigns related to Donald Trump’s presidential bid, as well as the Brexit vote in the U.K.
In the spirit of TV show’s Easter eggs, this one is pretty brazen, though chances are that most viewers never noticed. But when you isolate the image, it’s hard to miss the subtle, yet powerful, message. One thing is for sure: Next week, viewers will likely be hitting the slow-mo button to see if the creators continue the pun, or come up with something new.