Upon starting the pilot episode of How to Make It in America, I couldn't help but think of Entourage. Both shows are executive produced by Mark Wahlberg; both are half hour comedies; both feature a guy pining over a broken relationship; and both feature native New York guys with a similar aura of cool. Sure, the main leads Ben (Bryan Greenberg) and Cameron (Victor Rasuk) can only dream of the high life that the Entourage boys enjoy, but I could easily see these people hanging out in a club at 3 A.M. like lifelong pals. Because of all these similarities and the incredibly high bar that Entourage (like most HBO shows) had set, I wasn't exactly blown away the way I'd been in past. Still, I liked what I saw and was interested enough to see how things developed. The premise involves two working class guys struggling to eke out a living. Ben, has a job at Barneys but aspires toward a more fulfilling career in design, if only he can catch a break. Cameron is his outgoing, though undisciplined, best friend who has a knack for hustling. When the pair decide to start their own line of jeans, the series really starts to take off.
My initial concern was that the show would turn into a painful exercise in futility that would involve the boys floundering their way toward the impossible only to end up worse off than when they started with each attempt, because the main characters are nothing if not likeable, and seeing them suffer just isn't any fun. Even Ben's ex-girlfriend, Rachel (Lake Bell) or Cameron's ex-con cousin Rene (Luis Guzman) - who I initially didn't care much for - are appealing in their own ways. After seeing a few episodes (only 6 of the 1st Season so far) I caught on to the main theme of the series, which is the struggle of making ones bones in this world - yeah, the title should have made it obvious, but it was nice to see it slowly play out with the story threads of some of the other characters. Seeing how these people get by, in their own way, is far more engaging than I anticipated.