Last Summer, Fox announced plans to develop a revival of King of the Hill, based on the success of revivals like X-Files, Will & Grace, Full House, and the upcoming Roseanne. On the red carpet for PaleyFest honoring his show Silicon Valley, Mike Judge told Rotten Tomatoes he would revisit the Hill family, but only if he could make them older.
“It would have to have a passage of time,” Judge said. “People have grown up. I think The Simpsons are so iconic just the way they’re drawn, you can keep Bart that same age for 60 years. Our characters, it was starting to strain a little bit to have Bobby still be that age for that long.”
King of the Hill ran for 13 seasons on Fox. It was almost canceled after season 10, but hung on for three more years.
“Two hundred and seventy five episodes wasn’t enough,” Judge joked. “We’ve talked about a way to bring it back. I think it would have to be different.”
Judge’s first long-running series was MTV’s Beavis and Butt-Head. They enjoyed an MTV revival in 2011, but Judge told Rotten Tomatoes he is thinking about revisiting the heavy metal headbangers too.
“That’s possible too,” Judge said. “It came up two months ago. It’s just a matter of coming up with an idea that feels like it’s worth doing. They’ve talked about a movie possibly.”
The duo’s first film, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America came out in 1996, three years after the show debuted. The movie is certified fresh at 72% and comparable 69% audience score. It grossed $63 million after a No. 1 debut weekend of $20 million, which was cool, huh huh huh.
In the Silicon Valley cast, Kumail Nanjiani has more movie prospects, too, after his Oscar-nominated film The Big Sick. He and Emily Gordon, his wife and co-writer, are writing another movie, but not another autobiographical one.
“The next thing we’re working on is fiction,” Nanjiani said. “I think it will still feel like something we wrote, I hope, but it’s in a very different world. We really laid our personal lives bare and now it’s time to keep some of that to ourselves for a little bit.”
Fans at PaleyFest got to see the season 5 premiere of Silicon Valley, which finds the Pied Piper gang occupying new offices and staffing up. So far, Dinesh (Nanjiani) and Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) have only hired three people, and Richard (Thomas Middleditch) struggles to motivate them.
“Richard isn’t the best at remembering all his lessons at being a good boss,” Middleditch said. “There’s some stumbling on his part that goes along with that. He still pukes though, don’t worry.”
Future episodes will see Jared (Zach Woods) return home, Woods said.
“He moves back into his condo,” Woods said. “Real hot residential spoiler.”
Jared had previously been shut out of his own home by a renter who wouldn’t leave when Jared wanted to move back in.
“The squatter takes off and then he can move back into his condo,” Woods said.
Gilfoyle is still the most sarcastic programmer at Pied Piper. The company’s success only gives him more material to mock.
“I might be making fun of other people’s poor decisions as they make bad decisions in their success,” Starr said.
Dinesh may be one of those people making bad decisions. He’s trying not to though.
“We’ve seen what he was like when he was CEO,” Nanjiani said. “Now this season he’s got more power, but he understands that he can’t lose it the way he did last time. It’s a delicate balance for him to fight his own tendencies to be a douchebag.”
Season 5 seemed like a good time to finally allow Pied Piper some success. We’ve watched them struggle for four years, so now they’ve earned it.
“The concern is if they become billionaires overnight, does anyone give a sh– about the problems of whiny rich people?” executive producer Alec Berg said. “I think you have to be careful how much success you give them. When it becomes rich people problems in an unpleasing way, then you’ve made a mistake.”
Judge and Berg also figured out a way to give Pied Piper some office space (see what we did there?) without turning into a different show.
“We were also worried about it settling into some kind of office comedy,” Judge said. “That feels like a lot of what’s already been done. Somehow this season, getting 50 employees doesn’t feel like a typical office comedy to me.”
During the panel, the creators addressed the elephant in the room. T.J. Miller left Silicon Valley before a woman alleged Miller sexually assaulted and physically abused her. Miller denied the accusations. The cast and creators previously spoke in depth with The Hollywood Reporter about Miller’s behavior on the set. Season 5 picks up with Erlich Bachman (Miller) still missing, having never returned from an opium den in Tibet.
This was not the show’s first experience losing a cast member, Berg reminded the audience. Christopher Evan Welch died before completing season 1.
“We had dealt with the idea we have this central character that we were not going to have on the show anymore,” Berg said. “We knew this is a surmountable challenge. It’s not going to be fun. It’s going to be difficult.”
Miller left the show voluntarily, but Berg said it had already become difficult to write Erlich story lines, since he was only a passive investor in Pied Piper and the gang’s landlord.
“This season, they move into offices, and we’re doing less and less scenes in the house,” Berg said. “It was at a point where it was going to be really hard to figure out an organic way to get the Ehrlich character into the show anyway. From that standpoint it was time. T.J., for a number of reasons, just decided that his time had come and gone and he wanted to move on.”
The creators also addressed criticism that there were not enough women on the show. Amanda Crew was the only female cast member on the panel, though Suzanne Cryer remains a recurring actor too. Judge and Berg reiterated comments they had made to THR about the predominantly male culture of the real Silicon Valley.
“I don’t think it’s good to pretend that there’s not a gender gap there and pretend it’s not happening,” Judge said. “You want to make fun of it and that’s what we do.”
Berg reiterated the show’s satirical mandate.
“We’re a satire,” Berg said. “At a certain point, the job is to hold up a mirror to a real thing and say this is what it is.”
For example, in season 1 Silicon Valley filmed scenes at the real TechCrunch Disrupt event. It turned out all of their footage was mostly men.
Berg recalled, “A friend of mine who works in tech called me and she said, ‘I gotta tell you, you completely whiffed it on that TechCrunch Disrupt thing. You didn’t put any women in that.’ I said, ‘You know the shots that we used of TechCrunch Disrupt are real shots of the real TechCrunch Disrupt. Who do you think actually whiffed it?’”
Crew appreciates getting to play the character of a businesswoman who works with the Pied Piper men and is not romantically involved with any of them. That is a landmark in television, if not in the real Silicon Valley.
“They have created a character who is not serving as a love interest or the eye candy,” Crew said. “It may be the first part I’ve ever done that that hasn’t been an element of it. Most female roles are written with at least some sort of male story line or ‘she’s hot’ or ‘sexy.’”
Yet Judge joked this is not the first show he’s made about a male-dominated industry.
“I did 13 seasons of King of the Hill,” Judge said. “In 13 years, nobody in those whole 13 years ever complained there weren’t enough women in propane.”
“This guy, with no awareness of how he was saying it said, ‘Our hope is that within the next two years if you use this app, you will never have to make another decision again,’” Berg shared, aghast.
Google now knows what you need before you do, and it’s not just predictive text.
“I heard someone said Google knows your pregnant before you know you’re pregnant,” Nanjiani said. “From searches, they can tell this person’s going to need diapers in nine months.”
Technology is a safety hazard too.
“Pedestrian deaths are skyrocketing because idiots are on their phones instead of watching when cars are coming,” Berg said.
Maybe it’s safer to stay home and watch Silicon Valley. In the past, Judge suggested season 6 would be the final season. Now he’s changing his tune, in front of thousands of PaleyFest fans.
“Looking at these episodes, it kind of takes on a new life, kind of a second wind,” Judge said. “I think it could go on for a while. You never know.”
Silicon Valley returns Sunday, March 25 on HBO.