Silicon Valley: 11 essential Erlich moments
Celebrating T.J. Miller's character before he exits the show
After four seasons, countless insults, and just as many bong hits, Silicon Valley is saying goodbye to Erlich Bachman.
The actor who plays him, T.J. Miller, is moving on to pursue other projects — particularly animated features. “In a weird way, it’s interesting to me to leave a show at its height,” he previously told EW about his decision to leave the HBO comedy. “It’s interesting to me to see how the show will grow and change with the exit of this character.”
But before the show officially moves on, let’s look back at the most essential Erlich moments — negging, mansplaining, and slapping included. Miller’s final episode will be the season 4 finale, which airs Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.
1. Erlich does shrooms
Season 1, Episode 3
Erlich is full of genius ideas — but hardly any of those come when he’s sober. During season 1, he decides he’s going to go on a mushroom trip to come up with Richard’s new start-up’s name. He takes the mushrooms too quickly, though, and gets stuck in traffic. He never makes it to the desert for his mind-altering trip, but he does make it to a roadside bathroom. —Dalene Rovenstine
2. Erlich slaps a kid
Season 1, Episode 6
Say what you will about Erlich — okay, you didn’t have to say that; that was just mean — but he can surprise you with his fierce loyalty. When Richard was being bullied by a kid selling him Adderall, a bathrobed Erlich marched out onto the street, told the brat that “You just brought piss to a s—t fight, you little c—t!,” slapped him in the face, and threw his bike over the bushes before demanding that the kid deliver five pills or… well, just watch. —Dan Snierson
3. Erlich negs
Season 2, Episode 1
“If they want to negotiate using hostility and rudeness, well, they picked the wrong guy,” Erlich intones before putting on a parade of insults (also see: season 3, episode 1) to people he really shouldn’t be insulting. But, hey, at least he’s good at it — and that becomes even more apparent once poor, sweet Richard tries it out for himself. —Ariana Bacle
4. Erlich waxes philosophic about yogurt
Season 2, Episode 4
Erlich is a passionate, particular man — as evidenced by his stubborn insistence on the correct pronunciation of Aviato — and he’s especially a stickler for the correct way to consume Fage yogurt. “The Lady” finds Erlich delivering a fervent monologue about narrow spoons, practical design, and the correct jam-to-yogurt ratio. (For what it’s worth, he’s totally right about those yogurt cups.) —Devan Coggan
5. Erlich tries to explain trash
Season 2, Episode 4
Many of Erlich’s most memorable moments on the show involve maddening exchanges with Jian Yang, but one of the all-time highlights is Erlich’s attempts to explain trash. His frustrated, dejected delivery of the expletive at the end makes it all that much better. —D.C.
6. Erlich insults
Season 3, Episode 1
Miller is so good at spewing insults as the apparently very creative Erlich that there are over four minutes worth of outtakes, each cut-for-time diss just as delightfully ridiculous as the last. Highlights of the original include a miffed Erlich telling new Pied Piper CEO Jack Barker that he seems like he’d be a fan of such travesties as “senior citizen discounts at Perkins family restaurants” and “liking Ike.” Burn. —A.B.
7. Erlich breaks up with Jian Yang
Season 3, Episode 2
Nothing good has ever come out of anyone saying “I’m not racist.” Of course, Erlich would disclose that after presenting Jian Yang, who is Chinese, with a traditional Japanese kimono. It gets worse when he then asks Jian Yang to bow “all the way, to the waist” in unison, an order he refuses. Cultural sensitivity — or sensitivity in general, for that matter — has never been Erlich’s strong suit. (Bonus: Gifting a kimono is an Erlich tradition, as first shown in a season 2 episode.) —A.B.
8. Erlich speaks “Mandarin”
Season 4, Episode 3
Erlich is definitely not fluent in Mandarin, but he is fluent in fake Mandarin, which he is more than happy to break out in business meetings. —D.C.
9. Erlich doesn’t fit in
Season 3, Episode 3
Or do we? They are three dramatic words that could change the course of Pied Piper. Or they can just be ignored. So they need to be said a second time by Erlich. And then they are followed by an attempt at a rousing ride-or-die Founding Fathers speech that ends with Dinesh observing, “That was underwhelming.” Enjoy sad Erlich, desperately trying to be part of the team. —D.S.
10. Erlich mansplains
Season 4, Episode 7
Part of Erlich’s brand is obliviousness and faux-enlightenment, and look no further than this Raviga meeting with Monica and Laurie: Erlich blatheringly reminds Monica and Laurie of the “grotesque” gender imbalance in the venture capitalist community while introducing them to the term mansplaning (which they already know, of course) and defining it for them. That’s right, he mansplains mansplaining. —D.S.
11. Erlich eats noodles
Erlich is a fan of Asian culture, and that’s never more apparent than when he’s eating ramen. For the full experience, he clips back his curls and slurps extra, extra loudly. And, somehow, it’s still not the grossest thing Erlich has done on Silicon Valley. —D.R.
Silicon Valley‘s season 4 finale airs Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.