- Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for New York Magazine
On Sunday night’s season finale of HBO’s hit comedy “Silicon Valley,” we bid a fond farewell to one of the show’s most popular characters, Erlich Bachman. The actor behind “Bachmanity,” T.J. Miller, revealed in late May that the recently ended fourth season would be his last on the show.
Following his last episode, The Hollywood Reporter ran a lengthy interview with Miller in which the comedian got more into the specifics of his departure.
Miller said that HBO offered him a reduced role on the show going forward (three to five episodes), but instead Miller countered by saying he’d be more comfortable leaving the show entirely.
“It felt like a breakup with HBO,” Miller told THR. “The final phone call was them going like, ‘Well, I don’t think this is the end of Erlich. I still want to see him on television,’ and I was like, ‘I know but I think this is for the best.’ … So they were very, very cool about it, and that final conversation was super friendly and sad. It was heartbreaking on my end.”
In a separate interview with THR, show co-creator Mike Judge gave a little more clarity about the situation.
“It was kind of becoming clear that he didn’t want to do the show anymore, but we wanted to leave it so that there would an opportunity to come back at some point, ” Judge said, who added that the open-ended storyline on the season finale episode (SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t seen it yet) in which Erlich is left behind in an opium den in Tibet by Gavin Belson (Matt Ross) was done on purpose.
“When the season was done, we talked to T.J. and said, ‘Do you want to come back for part of it?’ And he just wanted to move on,” Judge said.
Miller said in the THR interview numerous times that he’s extremely busy with other projects, from stand up to the Comedy Central show “The Gorburger Show” to upcoming movies like “The Emoji Movie” and the “Deadpool” sequel, so he felt this was the best time to move on.
“I swear to god, that’s why the internet broke,” Miller said, referring to when the news broke that he was leaving “Silicon Valley.” “Everybody was like, ‘What the f— are you talking about? You’re on this successful show. Don’t you want three more years of solid acting work and don’t you want to be a famous television actor?’ And I was like, ‘No, not really.’ I’d like to parasail into the Cannes Film Festival for ‘The Emoji Movie’ because that’s the next new funny thing that will make people laugh.”
Miller said most his castmates and crew were supportive of his decision to leave the show, though he did have a few parting shots for one of the show’s Executive Producers/writers Alec Berg and star Thomas Middleditch:
“I think that HBO and Alec Berg, specifically, kind of thought – and I guess apparently Thomas Middleditch – I guess they thought, ‘Alright, maybe this is the end of the character. But like everything in the show, we’ll sort of solve this and then it’s back to normal.’ And they just didn’t imagine that I would be in a position of being like, ‘I think that’s it.’ … I don’t know how smart [Alec] is. He went to Harvard, and we all know those kids are f—ing idiots. That Crimson trash. Those comedy writers in Hollywood are f—ing Harvard graduates and that’s why they’re smug as a bug. … I think that in television you usually have one element that is very challenging, very frustrating. It’s an obstacle, right? So you’re doing the best work that you can do. Alec was that for me, and I think I was that for Alec. And a very good article was written that says that Erlich in the show is just this constant annoyance to Richard. … And I think in some ways, that is analogous to real life. I think in some ways Thomas Middleditch is … we have a contrarian relationship, like a big brother-little brother relationship. And this is also an opportunity for me to be like, ‘Let me just step off, dude. Like, just do your f—ing thing. You’re amazing.’ I did a two-man improv show with him for a decade. He’s amazing.”
When asked if he’s upset Erlich didn’t have a better sendoff in the finale episode, Miller said he doesn’t watch the show anymore because “I don’t have the time.”