BLOGS

The Telefile
<I>How to Make It in America</i>: Better Than <I>Entourage</i> These Days, at Least How to Make It in America, the Entourage-producers' new half-hour HBO comedy premieres this Sunday, and to promote it the network was kind enough to send us the premiere episode for our critiquing pleasure. So I watched it, and while I can definitely say it's miles better than Entourage, that is, of course, not saying a whole lot.

The story is simple: Two "hustler" types named Ben and Cam try to "make it" in NYC by illegally selling pleather jackets on the street, making illegal denim fabric deals down at "the docks" (they're going to make their own jeans?) and hopping from media/art industry party to party, trying to sell their ingenious business ideas (one of which is a restaurant called "Build-a-Nut," described as a "Cold Stone for donuts") to potential investors who rightly laugh in their face.

They also for some indecipherable reason know every charming New York child in town, from a Jewish eight-year-old who gives Cam a ride on the back of his bike after a one-night-stand (with an of-age woman, not the kid) in the opening scene, to one of those candy-selling subway kids who trades quips with them as they ride over to "the docks." The whole thing is a little boring, and pretty humorless, but like the jackasses in Entourage, people like this do actually exist in this town (except for the odd knowing-all-those-kids part), which is the sole saving grace of the show.

They're caricatures, but there is a truth to Ben and Cam. The show mercilessly mocks these guys (and there are thousands of them) who've just taken every Jay-Z song far too literally and tried and failed to apply them to their lives instead of getting real jobs. The guys they went to high school with who did get real jobs? That's who they borrow money from, as well as the guys they went to high school with who became real criminals, not just illegal street vendors. Ben and Cam are struggling to walk this line of do-right and self-destructiveness because they're not very smart, they're not actually very ambitious (despite all their talk) and they're extremely immature. And, of course, the "hustla life" is gangsta, and they want it. It's not brilliantly done on the part of the show, or even particularly original, but there is something effective about it all the same.

Aside from Ben and Cam the cast is a little schizophrenic, with Shannyn Sossamon -- who is somehow even more gorgeous now than she was almost a decade ago, though still just as terrible an actress -- Lake Bell (yawn) as the lost love of Ben's life, the always hilarious Luis Guzman as Cam's fresh-out-of-jail cousin and an awesome cameo from The Wire's ill-fated Ziggy Sobotka as a fellow hustler, which is about the only thing in the world that could make me watch this show on a regular basis. Oh, but if you're tuning in just because Kid Cudi's involvement in it has gotten a little bit of fanfare, he's sadly not in the premiere very much. He may very well play a larger part later on in the season, but I wouldn't sit through 28 minutes just to see his 20 seconds of screentime in the premiere if I were you.

Comments

SHARE THE SNARK

X

Get the most of your experience.
Share the Snark!

See content relevant to you based on what your friends are reading and watching.

Share your activity with your friends to Facebook's News Feed, Timeline and Ticker.

Stay in Control: Delete any item from your activity that you choose not to share.

MOST RECENT POSTS

BLOG ARCHIVES

The Telefile

March 2014

25 ENTRIES

February 2014

24 ENTRIES

January 2014

43 ENTRIES

December 2013

15 ENTRIES

November 2013

28 ENTRIES

October 2013

40 ENTRIES

September 2013

37 ENTRIES

August 2013

16 ENTRIES

July 2013

15 ENTRIES

June 2013

26 ENTRIES

May 2013

38 ENTRIES

April 2013

43 ENTRIES

March 2013

35 ENTRIES

February 2013

58 ENTRIES

January 2013

62 ENTRIES

December 2012

48 ENTRIES

November 2012

60 ENTRIES

October 2012

71 ENTRIES

September 2012

67 ENTRIES

August 2012

66 ENTRIES

July 2012

51 ENTRIES

June 2012

60 ENTRIES

May 2012

70 ENTRIES

April 2012

73 ENTRIES

March 2012

72 ENTRIES

February 2012

64 ENTRIES

January 2012

80 ENTRIES

The Latest Activity On TwOP