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How to Make It in America: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray]

In the bohemian subculture of downtown NYC, two 20-something friends plot a series of entrepreneurial strategies to short-circuit the traditional route to success – and achieve the American Dream on their own terms. Bryan Greenberg and Victor Rasuk star in an all-new HBO comedy series from executive producers including Stephen Levinson and Mark Wahlberg (Entourage): How to Make It in America.HBO’s hip, smart series How to Make It in America is a snapshot of the beating heart of young ambition and energy in New York City. Youth may flail–and even fail–but good ideas and smarts and an “angle” just might pay off in the City That Never Sleeps. The ensemble cast is terrific, including Bryan Greenberg, Victor Rasuk, Lake Bell, Shannyn Sossamon, Kid Cudi, and the always-hilarious Luis Guzmán. Some are layabouts, some are craven with ambition, some are artistes, some are thugs–and some are all of the above. Much like Entourage does, How to Make It in America follows a group of friends and acquaintances through their daily lives, and sometimes feels as aimless as real life really is. But the writing and direction and acting are all first-rate, and anyone who’s ever visited New York, or lived there, or dreamed of living there, will be captivated by the realism. The reality of New York is both romanticized and taken at harsh face value–such a vivid portrait, in fact, that the city feels like another character in the ensemble. And it’s true that as a metaphor where dreams are created–or dashed–New York is unparalleled. How to Make It in America works as a comedy, a drama, and a character study that completely draws in the viewer–even if the characters aren’t always likable. TV doesn’t really get any better than this. And remember–if you can “Make It” here, you can make it anywhere. –A.T. Hurley

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2 comments to How to Make It in America: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray]

  • E. A Solinas "ea_solinas"

    “The secret is not to get rich quick — the secret is to get rich slow.” Starting your own business is risky, painful and full of stumbles. And that’s what is all about — a clever little dramedy about three different businesses that are trying to get off the ground, and the highs and lows they encounter along the way. It’s a little quirky, gritty, and riddled with romantic problems.Mild-mannered Ben Epstein (Bryan Greenberg) and his street-smart buddy Cam Calderon (Victor Rasuk) decide to start a denim clothing line called Crisp, but run into a bunch of problems — they have little money, one investor, no business plan and a disastrous sample. Even as their dreams seem to crash and burn, they discover a new business road has just opened up — if they can keep their hands on the merchandise.In the meantime, Ben’s ex-girlfriend Rachel (Lake Bell) has a wealthy new boyfriend named Darren, which might be good for her designing agency — but bad for her personal life. And Cam’s cousin Rene (Luis Guzmán), who has just gotten out of prison, is going legit with an energy drink called Rasta Monsta — which is encountering the same sorts of problems as Crisp.”How To Make It In America” is all about pursuing the American Dream in the 21st century: you need opportunity, street smarts, connections, and lots of hard work. It’s not quite as brilliant as some of HBO’s other shows, but it does have an endearing, gritty earnestness — and it reminds you that for every successful business that takes off, there are dozens of failed ones.Along the way, there are lots of dimly-lit New York nightclubs, shady street venders and warehouses piled high with vintage T-shirts. The writing is fun and often clever (“Edie, do you know where I can find some X?” “Top drawer on the left”), and the writers balance out drama and low-key comedy with an expert hand.The one downside: it feels a bit unfocused at times, with side-plots about a crazy skateboarder and Ben’s new girlfriend. They don’t really add anything to the main plot.Greenberg and Rasuk are a strong pair of Odd-Coupley leads: Ben is a pleasant, mild-mannered young man who’s been disappointed over and over, and Cam is a fiercely ambitious, optimistic young man who pounces on every chance for success.Bell does a pretty good job as Rachel, but she honestly doesn’t get to do very much for the first five episodes or so — but her about-faces in the last few are great. Guzman is compelling as an ex-con valiantly trying to run a legit business, and Shannyn Sossamon is wildly underused as quirky trust-fund art-dealer Gingy Wu.”How to Make It In America” is a gritty, sleek little show that might blossom into something more. All it needs is a little more oomph and a bit of the fat trimmed off.

  • T. Soares "lifeson"

    Amazing I didn’t even know this show existed until HBO re-ran the entire series a few months ago.All I can say is ‘Wow’. I was a big fan of ‘The Sopranos’ until it ended. But “How to make it in america” has gotten me hooked more than the Sopranos ever did.The cool thing about this show – for me – is that I can relate to it. The desperate search for *some* way to make it big, the tumbles the characters take, the questionable paths they take…I’m told this show comes from the director of “Entourage”. However, Entourage never appealed much to me – for the simple reason that it is all about Hollywood. But I live in the real world.You can see similarities shared between the two shows. They both follow a small group of young guys, as they try to make it big. In Entourage, they make it in Hollywood; in “How to make it in America”, they make it in the gritty neighborhoods of NYC.This show is a must-see if (i) you’ve struggled for any length of time trying to make it big, (ii) you live in the city. It’s a must-see otherwise too, but the impact will be greatest if you fall in these two categories.I’ve been looking everywhere for this show. ITunes has nothing, HBO has almost nothing, YouTube has little, HBO rarely replays the first (and only) season. Things should get better when the second season comes out.Just watch. This show WILL be bigger than the Sopranos.

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