New York City’s Venture Capitalists Finally Get the HBO Treatment

New York City VCs finally get their own character on an HBO show. But is it the one they deserve?

  • New York City’s venture capitalists may be familiar characters to the readers of Betabeat, but the rest of the world may not have any idea of what the men (and very few women) who bestow cargo-loads of cash on young businesses (and particularly tech startups) are like. After this week, however, you can bet a few of them now do, as Sunday night’s episode of HBO’s ‘Girls’ prominently featured a VC—and all of his material accouterments—trying to close on a night out on the town.

    Marnie: “No, I think he’s hot. And what he does is so interesting.”

    Jessa: “What is a venture capitalist? It sounds like some sort of explorer but that can’t be the case.”

    A few things in the shows portrayal of the VC are of note:

    For example, the fact that ‘Girls’ creator Lena Dunham has stated in interviews that many a character and story-line have been inspired by and drawn from personal experiences, either of her own or her friends’.

    Another is that the show does archtypes—especially those pertaining to Brooklyn—particularly well.

    For example, if you can’t say you don’t know anybody with money in the tech community who lives in Williamsburg, who buys ostensibly interesting modernist furniture (that’s really just whatever’s at the front of the closest CB2), who fancies themselves somewhat creative with creative hobbies to go with said self-designation, you may not be paying close enough attention. Also, are you surprised that the first VC character to have a significant plotline on a buzzed-over show is a man? You shouldn’t be.

    And maybe you’ve heard stories about many a VC being an “asshole.” Or the inter-personal relations of certain VCs looking for love in all the wrong places. Maybe Lena Dunham has, too.

    Either way, the character was part of a brilliant setup for one of the funniest moments in the show’s run so far. Even better was the small attention to detail, especially where the show’s writers’ ideas about how a VC would act in this situation are concerned.

    We’ve annotated and transcribed some of the scenes for your viewing and reading pleasure, up above. How right are they about this type of person? And even more:

    Is it anybody in particular that they’re right about?

    We’ll let you be the judge.*

    [*Unless, of course, you know anybody who may reflect this character. In which case, shout.]

    fkamer@observer.com | @weareyourfek

  • VC: "Hey, I have a suggestion. I just moved, like, a block away. I just moved to Brooklyn last week, I don't know anybody, and I have been saving the most beautiful bottle of red wine for a rainy day."

    Marnie: "Or a rainy night."

    VC: "Or a rainy night."

    Jessa: "The weather's fine."

    Marnie: "Well, first of all, we should welcome you to our borough.."

    VC: "Thank you."

    Marnie: "And I don't know about you, but I would love to do something [makes air-quote sign] 'uncool.'

    Jessa: "I'd rather do something cool."

    VC: "She's a firecracker, this one."

    [The VC excuses himself to the "little boys room" and then they will "mosey."]

  • Marnie: "He's cute."

    Jessa: "Is he, though? His face is sort of...very cereal-boxy. It's a perfect square."

    Marnie: "No, I think he's hot. And what he does is so interesting."

    Jessa: "What is a venture capitalist? It sounds like some sort of explorer but that can't be the case."

    Marnie: "I like him. And I like this drink. And I like [pokes Jessa's nose] you, Jessa."

  • Note the VC's building, which is supposed to be a Williamsburg high-rise. Naturally. Know any VCs who live in luxe apartments in Williamsburg?

  • Please note the Foosball table and the fact that it's a two-story, lofted apartment.

  • The rug and the lamp look as thought they were purchased from the same store (think CB2 or The Future Perfect). A skyline view, but of course.

  • Note the fireplace.

    [Len's "Steal My Sunshine" plays in the background. Marnie emerges from the bathroom.]

    VC: "I've just been doing it like three or four months. Saw it on an episode of Entourage. Isn't it cool? I call this one 'Field Nights.' Like 'Field Mice.' You know, happy?"

    Jessa: "John didn't want you to get self-conscious while you were in the bathroom. So he...started spinning."

    VC: "I know how self-conscious you gals get when you're taking a tinkle. Took care of it."

  • Jessa attempts to leave. Marnie decides to make out with Jessa. This is the look on the VC's face when she does.