For Bravo's latest pretty-white-wealthy-people-with-problems show, "Start-Ups: Silicon Valley" (10 p.m. Monday), the network zeroes in on "geeks" in Silicon Valley. But these alleged nerds are not overweight, pocket protector-wearing nebbishes; they're attractive and on the show it's a pretty even gender split, which makes them perfect for Bravo if not a reflection of the real world.
All the cliches of unscripted cable drama (like "The Real Housewives..." shows) are present, including in-fighting by a few members of the clique and ridiculous displays of opulence. "Start-Ups" presents its stars as movers and shakers in the world of technology but several of them seem so self-absorbed -- and more on the public relations side of things rather than at work on true technological innovation -- that it's impossible to take the show seriously. (Not that anyone would take any Bravo show seriously.)
Programmer David Murray, a 2006 Carnegie Mellon University graduate, plays a supporting role. In Monday's premiere he spends most of his screen time detailing the work he's had done (hair transplant, eyes done twice, nose done, fat removed from under chin, etc.), which probably makes him an outlier among computer programmers.
He's friends with Sarah Austin, the Queen Bee of drama in "Start-Ups," who finagled her way into the free hotel room she's living in by exchanging social media work she does for the hotel for a free place to live. In the premiere she also orders room service for her dog.
Sarah is in a war of words with Hermione Way over some past contretemps. Hermione and her brother, Ben, have teamed on a new company but their efforts to find venture capital funding don't meet their initial expectations.
"The future of the world is in our hands and we're not sitting back and letting it pass us by," Hermione says in voiceover narration. Did I mention their start-up product is an app that keeps track of weight loss and life expectancy in real time?
Midwest transplant Kim Taylor sums up "Start-Ups" most succinctly when she says, "Silicon Valley is high school but it's only the smart kids and everyone has a lot of money."
No wonder Bravo bought this show!
Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer