Saturday, June 8, 2013

"The Internship" - Nerdy Stereotypes and Hollywood Silliness

I saw "The Internship" last night.  I wasn't too excited to see the movie, but wanted to see it to see how Hollywood might portray Silicon Valley, engineers, and the tech industry as a whole.


First off, the movie didn't portray software engineers as complete losers, which is pretty good.  Atleast two characters, Neha and Stuart, are portrayed relatively well.  They are smart kids with good social skills.  The only negatives about them are normal "growing up" issues (i.e. communicating better).

However several characters are portrayed with the normal nerdy stereotypes.  Yo-yo, which they could have given a far more normal name, was home schooled his entire life, is a mama's boy, and punishes himself by pulling an eyebrow hair whenever he performs poorly.  "Headphones" (that's the name given on IMDB) is the stereotyped overweight computer genius that has no social skills.  He in fact states that he is uncomfortable around people.

Overall, it's pretty balanced.  There are some nerds and some normal kids, far better than the stereotyped portrayal of engineers.

While the portrayal of the characters was hit and miss, I couldn't help but laugh at the portrayal of many of the aspects of the actual job/work.  Here's the ones I could remember.
  • In the movie groups of five interns are created and the teams are put into a battle royale of sorts against each other.  I don't know of any company in the tech industry that does such a battle.  In reality, interns are put to task on actual work.
  • The team that wins the battle royale is guaranteed full time jobs at Google and everyone else isn't.  I find it humorous that the movie portrays Google as only having 5 full-time job openings.
  • In one scene Yo-yo, Stuart, and Neha are having a heart to heart discussion about how they really need to win this contest because they really need the job at Google.  In reality, if you're smart enough to get an engineering internship at Google, you shouldn't have a problem finding a job in the tech industry.
  • Despite skill levels and backgrounds being so different, apparently all interns are thrown into the same projects.  In reality, interns of different skill levels (or at a minimum, different backgrounds) would have different projects to work on.
  • During one scene the intern team is required to "make a sale", however instead of trying to sell ads, they appear to be trying to sell real estate.

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