The Darkest Backstories of Jared from 'Silicon Valley,' Ranked

Jared Dunn’s backstory is like a Mad Libs of horror
The Darkest Backstories of Jared from 'Silicon Valley,' Ranked

Out of the numerous bizarre and questionable nerds inhabiting Silicon Valleys satirical tech industry, Jared Dunn (Zach Woods) manages to low-key outcreep them all. Underneath his sweet, soft-spoken exterior — that could probably pass for any anti-anxiety commercial — lies a past filled with the worst of the worst that can possibly happen to a single person. 

Jareds many misfortunes get played up because he has a habit of dropping his morbid personal tales randomly into conversations, much to everyone elses frightened confusion. So lets wade through Jareds darkest backstories to see if we can understand the enigma who can go from making unexpected Julia Roberts movie references to telling his co-workers what its like living in a cardboard box...

He Has Dark, Dark Dreams, Presumably of His Past

During a pseudo sleepover in Season Five, Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) tells Jared, Sweet dreams, to which Jared chuckles and replies, If only. This brief exchange alludes to Jareds forever haunted existence, in many ways foreshadowing his inner ticking time bomb.


“I will be your best friend even though I murder you in my sleep every night.”

Of course, we get a slight glimpse of the terror lurking in Jareds dreams in the scene where he talks in his sleep — in German, and quite violently — and scares the bejeezus out of Hendricks in the process.

His Parents

Heres what we know about Jareds upbringing (brace yourself, its a lot): 

1) He was the product of forced adoption, or so Jared tells Richard during Season Fours Hooli-Con episode. On the Pied Piper blog, he wrote: Sometimes California Child Protective Services makes an unannounced visit at precisely the right time! He also talks about being raised by largely well-meaning foster parents, and he states that parts of (his childhood) he cannot legally discuss because of non-disclosure clauses in settlements. Yeah, thats usually the type of line you read in a Ronan Farrow story.

2) Jareds parental woes also ventured into racism, as he told the gang in Season Five: We never had pizza because my stepmom said Italians arent real white people.

3) On the blog, Jared shares that he used to live in attics and semi-enclosed porches, which I paid for with endless, backbreaking chores and things no child should see.

4) In Season Five, Jared says he knows what its like to only be able to rescue half of your family, and its awful, leaving Richard to wonder what in the world thats supposed to mean and how he ever came to know this guy.

5) In the final season, Jared tracks down and finally meets his biological parents, who are, to no ones surprise, the absolute worst. The rich couple basically tells him that he was given up for adoption because a third child was just too much of an inconvenience when it came to traveling.

His Sad Childhood Friends

Jumping between foster parents was obviously tough, but with an extremely creative mind, Jared forged his own companions. In Season Three, he talks about a beloved stuffed animal named Winnie, which was technically not a stuffed animal: I took a Ziploc bag, and I stuffed it with old newspaper, and then I drew a smile on it.

He also had some historical imaginary friends, once saying, When I was little, I used to pretend that I shared a room with Harriet Tubman, and we were always planning our big escape.

His Aunt and Uncle

Whether this is supposed to be Jareds foster parents, who he simply ended up calling “aunt and “uncle, or a different level of sadness entirely, the guy who is trying his absolute best ends up referencing this duo more than once. In the second episode of Season One, he apologizes for his physical appearance, explaining, Hey! Sorry if I scared you; I know I have somewhat ghost-like features. My uncle used to say, You look like someone starved a virgin to death.’”

Not to mention, his aunt called him glasshole, and theres an extremely disturbing game he loops Hendricks in on:

To make matters worse (like anything even could at this point), Jared tells Richard in Season One that during an assault, a person should yell out their name because it forces the assailant to acknowledge you as a human. Which could be a reference to either his upbringing, school days or life on the streets. Regardless of the origin, its another example of Jared being a Russian nesting doll of trauma — that also looks like a beady-eyed lamp pole.

Whatever happened with the whole situation with his aunt and uncle, we do at least know that his torture eventually ended, hopefully with a sprinkle of justice. In Season Five, as Jared and the gang walk in on their house/office all emptied out, he mutters, Why does every home Ive ever loved get stripped?

He Created a Persona to Give Himself Crap

The guy can disassociate so easily that when he creates an Ed Chambers character to cope with making deals over the phone, he not only believes his fictional managing supervisor is real but uses this persona to belittle himself in conversation. While this is not technically part of his backstory, its clearly a product of it.

His Life on the Street

In Season Four, Richard asks Jared how he knows the art of applying nail polish so well, to which Jared responds, When I was on the street, it was a means of survival. Its a statement thatll stick in your brain for days, as you try to think about the exact situation requiring that specific solution. 

In Season Three, Jared also reveals to Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) and the others that he knows what its like to be forced to sleep inside of a cardboard box:

The descent into Jareds street life phase continues, as he hints at a life of sex work in Season Five when he gets very specific about showing a John your genitals to prove that youre not an undercover cop. In The Blood Boy episode, he tells the story of how he had to sleep with the head of an assisted-living facility to get his friend a spot on the list. Furthermore, he goes into a whole speech with Hendricks, saying, Sometimes you have to numb yourself. If you wanna work the corner, you cant fall in love every time you turn a trick. Thats why you do the oxy.

His Image Issues

Besides his uncle telling him that he looks like a starved virgin ghost, Jared has clearly had several issues with his physical appearance. In Season One, he tells Hendricks and Bachman (T.J. Miller) that doctors once tried to diagnose him with wasting disease because hes so skinny. Yeah, the man who looks like a scarecrow wearing a sheet cant even catch a break from medical professionals.

Later, when Jared watches himself doing an online interview, he asks Gilfoyle (Martin Starr), Is my nose really that big? I mean, I look like an anti-Semitic propaganda cartoon. He then goes and gets himself lip injections to try and distract from his nose, which just makes matters worse.

But hey, at least the guy f—ks.

Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?