Zach Woods is the hardest-working man on TV.
In 2014, he appeared on Veep, USA’s Playing House, The Good Wife, FXX’s The League, and finally, his most notable role as Jared (or Donald) on Silicon Valley. And in each role he plays, Woods subtly steals scenes away from his leads with his quirky characters.
For example, there’s Zach on Playing House, Maggie’s (Lennon Parham) brother, also known as “the male Joan [from Mad Men]”:
His delivery is so quiet and unique, and yet it garners big laughs.
But while his collective work as a character actor is solid, he especially stands out on Silicon Valley, as either the brunt of everyone’s joke (“Retarded Frankenstein, AIDS Lady, Effeminate K.D. Lang”) or as the one delivering the best lines with dead-pan inflection (“Are we to understand you did not ‘crush it’ in 2012?”). While creator Mike Judge has clearly been trying to pitch Richard as the heart of the show this season, especially with the Pied Piper CEO’s pension for making wrong decisions at the expense of doing what is “right,” Jared has sacrificed more in the name of Pied Piper, specifically his name (he goes by “Jared,” but his real name is Donald) and having a place to live (he resided in the Pied Piper garage for a while). Plus, he cares just as much as Richard, if not more, about the company’s success, which comes across in his positivity and even his purposeful use of the SWOT board (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats).
Of course, I’m talking a lot about the character like he’s real, which is a testament to Woods’ work. T.J. Miller is the show’s best bet for a Best Supporting Actor Comedy Emmy nomination, but Jared may be the best supporting character on the show.
You can put him in the Strengths bucket.