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TV Critic’s Corner

TV’s most selfless character

Zach Woods as Jared on “Silicon Valley.”
Zach Woods as Jared on “Silicon Valley.”John P. Fleenor

Silicon Valley Sunday at 10 p.m., HBO

I’m really enjoying this season of Mike Judge’s “Silicon Valley,” although that horse-sex scene was excruciating. Wow. I loved the idea of it, as the horses went at it while Richard and the new Pied Piper CEO talked in the foreground; but, as Valerie Cherish put it so memorably on “The Comeback,” I don’t wanna see that.

Zach Woods is a great member of the cast as Jared, the really tall guy in the Pied Piper gang. I first noticed him on “The Office,” as the socially inept corporate drone Gabe, and I liked him as one of the NSA guys on “The Good Wife.” But I’ve been savoring him on this show.


He’s got a gentle, apologetic demeanor that is so extremely sweet it’s funny.

In a way, he’s the traditional-mother figure of the gang. He loves to nurture the guys, and his penchant for organization comes in handy since they’re so chaotic. He is absurdly selfless, and doesn’t ask for anything much in return. When Erlich insults him, he hardly notices. Partly that’s because he’s a social loser, at the bottom of the Pied Piper hierarchy of losers; partly that’s because he’s just the nicest guy ever.

You could call Jared tragically milquetoast, or you could call him a quiet hero. I prefer the latter definition. Woods plays Jared without a layer of irony; you don’t feel as though the actor is baiting us to laugh at his character. He simply gives us a perfectly ego-less fellow with a tender heart.

Woods, who is rooted in improv theater with the Upright Citizens Brigade, is a guest on CBS’s “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” Friday at 11:35 p.m.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.