Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: How to Make it in America - Season 2


by richmin3000

if you weren't aware (as i wasn't), season 2 of hbo's show, "how to make it in america" had its finale two sundays ago. i didn't realize it until i tried to watch it this past sunday only to discover that there wasn't a new episode on. at least it gives me a chance to review this past season.

a lot of people like to compare this show to entourage, another hbo show about a group of people trying to "make it" in a big city. entourage followed the life of a burgeoning actor while how to make it follows ben epstein (bryan greenberg) and his best friend, cam calderon (victor rasuk) as they try to make it big in the world of fashion. both shows were produced by mark wahlberg and his production team, were 30-minute pseduo comedies and used the cities (l.a. and nyc, respectively) as a character in the show. the similarities are there for sure, but its the differences that make 'how to make it' a far better.

maybe it's because i live in new york and hate the city of angels, but 'how to make it' seems like a more honest and real show. maybe entourage was real too... in that vince came across as a whiny, annoying pretty boy with no real acting skills and dreams of being a movie star. perhaps that's real for people in l.a. in new york though, the reality is that life is a hustle, especially when you are trying to make it on your own. new york challenges you every day; it tests your self-confidence and your tenacity. and in watching this show, i find myself rooting for ben and cam because it makes me feel like i'm rooting for all my friends who have started their own companies or are trying to carve out a niche for themselves in this city.

looking back on this past season, there was a lot of bad (all of rachel's storylines for example), but there were a lot of good moments too. at the end of the day, ben and cam joined forces with another big-dreamer (who they had spurned earlier) and decided to do things their way, which is really the only thing they could have done. we left off, after season 1 with crisp making t-shirts after failing with their denim line. and after upgrading to hoodies during season 2, they ended the season with the promise that their original goal of making a sick pair of jeans was still alive and well. i like that the show is taking things slow (not realistically slow but slow for tv) and not trying to make crisp into the next big thing (just yet).

at this point, hbo has not decided whether to renew 'how to make it' for season 3, but i'm hoping that they do because i'm excited to see what crisp has in store next.

my favorite moments from season 2:
- episode 1 ("i'm good") - 'big in japan' opening sequence really got the season off to a cool start
- episode 3 ("money, power, private school") - ben and cam are hired to design graduation t-shirts for an elementary school and a very stylish little girl with blue hair tells them that the design is "too obvious"
- episode 5 ("mofongo") - biking en masse in bushwick just because i feel like that is exactly what happens in bushwick
- episode 5 ("mofongo") - ben and cam hustle their way to their first big order, life is great and ben celebrates in style (to the tunes of m83's 'midnight city')
- episode 7 ("the friction") - crisp by yosi... brilliant
- episode 7 ("the friction") - ben and cam arguing about whether to sell out to yosi; this argument really highlighted the nature of the two characters and why they need each other
- episode 8 ("what's in a name") - nancy tells ben that her buyer friend say his lookbook is juvenille, to which ben responds, "tell your friend to go fuck herself"
- anything with luis guzman

no hyperbole allowed rating: b+

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