How to Make It in America: It's Not Just Entourage with Jeans

By Louis Peitzman

Nov 18, 2011

“It’s a show about jeans.”

That’s the way How to Make It in America was first pitched to me, and can you blame me for not being all that enthused? Even now, as a fan of the series, I find it difficult to explain. No, they don’t sell jeans anymore. Yes, they’re still trying to make it in America. No, it’s not a drama. No, it’s not really a comedy either. Yes, Bryan Greenberg and Lake Bell remain two of the most attractive people on television, ever.

Here’s what I DO know about How to Make It in America: I love it. And if you’re one of those people who hasn’t found a reason to tune in, I humbly suggest you to give it a chance. If you’re lucky enough to have HBOGo, you can go that route. Otherwise, I suggest finding a very generous friend with HBOGo, and hanging out at his or her house a lot. Bake some How to Make It in America-themed cupcakes to sweeten the deal. (And no, I don’t mean cupcakes laced with weed. Well, not necessarily.)

While Season 1 took a while to find its footing, Season 2 has offered a far more fluid, consistent string of episodes. (And at only eight episodes a season, the show is easy to digest.) The arc of Ben and Cam’s success, so central to the series, is always interesting—but it’s the relationships between the show's characters that draw me into How to Make It in America on a weekly basis. This season has complicated things further, as Ben’s ex Rachel got involved with pot-dealer/dog-walker Domingo, and Ben got involved with the very important (and very married) Nancy Frankenburg.

The writing is sharp, but it’s also worth noting that this series has one of the most diverse and interesting (and yes, super sexy) casts on television. Everyone has stepped up the game this season, although I’ve been especially impressed by Lake Bell as Rachel and Kid Cudi as Domingo. (Also, let’s just take a moment to honor a series that showcases Lake Bell and Kid Cudi on a weekly basis.) While I do miss Martha Plimpton, who brought much of Season 1’s humor, Gina Gershon’s Nancy and Nicole LaLiberte’s Lulu are solid additions to the cast.

I know that I sound gushy, and I’ll admit How to Make It in America hasn’t fully realized its potential. But if I’m effusive, it’s because this is a show that never really gets the credit it deserves. So while I’m maybe a bit more of a cheerleader than usual, I think it’s warranted—this is a series you should be watching. It’s hip but it’s not obnoxious. It’s quirky but it’s relatable. It’s deliberately paced without being boring.

I also recognize that it’s maybe not for everyone. How to Make It in America is a tough sell, in part because it’s so different from most of what’s on TV. And while that inherent oddness makes it a joy to watch for me, it might make it a total drag for you. Hey, I’m not here to judge. But if you’re holding out because you’re worried it’s going to be “Jeans! Jeans! Jeans!” all the time, I implore you to give it another shot. There’s still time to marathon Season 2 before the season finale on Sunday.

Have you been watching the show this season? How would you describe it?

Superfan bonus: Do you think Crisp is destined to sell out to Yosi? Check out these other possible brand collaborations we dreamed up. (Click to enlarge.)

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  • wearegetgetgo Nov 21, 2011

    Crisp by Supreme would be my vote, but from a money standpoint, the Zoo York pick is a good look.

  • kokobombon Nov 20, 2011

    I recently discovered this show and after marathoning season 1, Im happy to download the show every week. Id say its a show about two friends trying to build a business that happens to be about clotles... and not jeans but something closer to Vans. I was considering at one point to get the Rich Kids tshirt online :P

    I want Crisp by Zoo York!

  • EmoBLiSs Nov 19, 2011

    I really like this show. It is smart and optimistic, and the portrait of friendship is more real than any other show about friends.

    Anyway, CRISP by Marc Ecko the best option by me :)

  • mansher Nov 19, 2011

    ah at last an article about this show.... i was wondering how no critics were ever talking about this show and how it's grown this season

  • Silver_Sword_14 Nov 19, 2011

    "How to Make It in America is a tough sell, in part because it's so different from most of what's on TV." -- Exactly. I struggle to sit through most TV shows nowadays, but this is one that I always look forward to. Each episode leaves you wanting more as the cast and their particular stories deliver every time. I mean, one of the stars is Luis Guzman! That should be reason enough to watch.

  • DolliphizzleA Nov 19, 2011

    i love the show too :)

  • Fakistoteles Nov 19, 2011

    Brilliant show; It's got multiple elements combining into something wonderful. It's funny, clever and interesting. And the soundtrack is a big plus!

  • TheMirayShow Nov 19, 2011

    Hmmm.... I think I'll give it a go then :)

  • Eric10301 Nov 19, 2011

    I really like the show, especially Luis Guzmn's character Rene.

  • pabst27 Nov 19, 2011

    Great show! Very underrated hopefully it will get a couple of more seasons.

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