[This post contains plot points from the Silicon Valley season four finale, so if you haven’t watched it yet, maybe check out our favorite games of the year so far, or share what Harry Potter means to you.]
Last night’s Silicon Valley had the usual close calls, but the season-four finale wrapped with the boys at Pied Piper on an upswing, though the battle lines have already been drawn for season five. But that rising tide didn’t quite lift all boats, as Gavin Belson (Matt Ross) ditched his wannabe convert, Erlich Bachman, leaving him in a Tibetan opium den. Though the specifics were unknown, T.J. Miller’s exit from the show was announced a month before the finale, with HBO saying the decision was “mutually agreed” upon by the network and actor. Miller elaborated on his departure in interviews with Larry King and Entertainment Weekly, saying he was “very happy” to work on other projects, but that the whole thing had been like an “a break-up,” albeit an “amicable” one.
It all sounded like standard stuff from a professional actor and a network over their parting of ways, which actually seemed kind of odd for Miller, who recently drummed up interest in The Emoji Movie by parasailing into a press conference. Thankfully, Miller opened up a bit more to The Hollywood Reporter, who spoke with the once-but-probably-not-future Erlich Bachman about his character’s unceremonious exit. The actor says he’s grateful for HBO and the Silicon Valley team’s consideration for his movie-shooting schedule, which apparently manifested as an offer to film just three to five episodes for season five. But Miller thought it best to leave the show to focus on other commitments, including his personal life. He also seems to think it was the right time for the character, whom he feels was no longer “essential” to Pied Piper, nor liked very much by his incubator residents (he kind of has a point on the latter). “Yeah, nobody likes him,” Miller says. “He doesn’t have any friends. His only friend is Jian Yang [Jimmy O. Yang], and Jian Yang fucking hates him.”
Of course, the swaggering Aviato founder inserting himself into the power plays and bonding was a significant part of the fun, but Miller tells fans who already miss Erlich that this is just another one of Pied Piper’s and the show’s “pivots.” He does admit that the conversation in which the decision was made to let Erlich leave for smokier pastures was “super friendly and sad,” calling it “heartbreaking on my end.”
Miller goes on to single out Zach Woods’ performance this season (with good reason), and talk about the reactions among the cast to his leaving. All this graciousness doesn’t quite capture how strange and forthcoming Miller gets in the THR interview, though. He quotes Kristen Stewart for some reason, but also alludes to having differences with Alec Berg: “I don’t know how smart [Alec] is. He went to Harvard, and we all know those kids are fucking idiots. That Crimson trash.” That could just be Miller fucking with THR and all of us, as he also credits the team for writing a great exit for his character. The full interview is here, including a list of ideas that Miller has for future projects, like a Weasel-centered Deadpool spin-off, which we can probably all take with a grain or two of salt.