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Photo: Kia Kokalitcheva/Axios

As HBO's "Silicon Valley" series enters its final season, the show's tagline asks "How Big Is Too Big?" in a not-so-subtle nod to the real-life tech industry issues it will parody before the curtain falls.

Why it matters: "It's almost as if breaking all the things isn't always a good thing — who could have foreseen?" co-creator Alec Berg told Axios of the ongoing backlash against Big Tech that's mirrored in the show. The cast and creators were in San Francisco on Wednesday for the season premiere.

The big picture: In a way, Berg and co-creator Mike Judge appreciate the coincidence that the show is on its last season just as the tech industry's reckoning is reaching new heights. "It's almost as if it's not a coincidence," muses Berg.

  • "You can't be quite as silly about this stuff as you used to be able to," says Judge, who spent time in Silicon Valley as an engineer in the '80s. "At first it was all these kids making billions of dollars ... and now you can't be as flippant," he adds.

Yes, but: The show still manages to poke fun at the tech industry's zeitgeist, such as a bright green Lime scooter ending up in a big trash can, and a reference to Facebook's countless apologies over the last two years and pledges to "do better."

  • "We missed the WeWork guy," Berg and Judge told Axios when asked if there's anything they didn't get to tackle on the show. Production was too far along by the time the office co-working company's IPO troubles (and peculiarities like founder Adam Neumann's $6 million brand fee to his own company) hit the headlines.

Go deeper: Silicon Valley, get ready for your closeup

Editor's note: Axios has a show on HBO.

Go deeper

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1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's carbon emissions-cutting pledge faces tough climb

Image from the Rhodium Group study "Pathways to Paris." Courtesy of the Rhodium Group.

The verdict is in: President Biden's U.S. emissions-cutting pledge isn't a fantasy, but the path to meeting it is very difficult and relies on forces outside of White House control.

Driving the news: The Rhodium Group just released an analysis of policy combinations that could close the gap between the current U.S. trajectory and Biden's vow under the Paris Agreement to cut emissions in half by 2030.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Johnson & Johnson pulls the trigger on Texas talc gambit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's official: Johnson & Johnson has invoked a Texas legal loophole in an attempt to protect the bulk of its corporate assets from claims that its baby powder caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

Why it matters: It's the biggest and boldest invocation yet of the so-called Texas two-step defense. But it's still not clear whether it's going to work.

Poll: U.S. leadership approval rebounds from Trump low

A Gallup report published Tuesday found approval of United States leadership in 46 countries and territories hit 49% — up from 30% at the end of Donald Trump's presidency, and matching former President Obama's first year (2009).

Why it matters: Biden's efforts to reengage with the international community following the Trump administration appear to be improving the global approval ratings for U.S. leadership, though this poll does not take into account the withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.