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How to Make It in America: The Calm Before the Entourage


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#1

AyeshaTheGreat

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Posted Feb 10, 2010 @ 7:08 PM

I didn't find a thread for this show but I saw the pilot on demand and found that it premieres this Sunday at 10 pm. Has anyone else be following this show?

http://www.hbo.com/#...e-it-in-america

Since I can't copy from the HBO site, I found this article that discusses the show.
http://www.poptower....hbo-tv-show.htm

HBO Gets Started on 'How to Make It in America'


Due in February 2010, the new comedy series stars Bryan Greenberg, Victor Rasuk, Luis Guzman, Lake Bell and Scott "Kid Cudi" Mescudi.


October 28, 2009

NEW YORK, NY — Production has begun in New York on "How to Make It in America," starring Bryan Greenberg ("Prime," HBO's "Unscripted"), Victor Rasuk ("Lords of Dogtown," "Raising Victor Vargas"), Luis Guzman ("Anger Management," HBO's "OZ"), Lake Bell ("Boston Legal," "What Happens in Vegas") and hit recording artist Scott "Kid Cudi" Mescudi ("Day and Night," "Poke Her Face"). Executive produced by Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Stephen Levinson, Rob Weiss, series creator Ian Edelman, Emmy-nominated director Julian Farino, Jada Miranda and Mark Wahlberg, the comedy series will kick off its eight-episode season in February 2010.

"How to Make It in America" follows two enterprising Brooklyn twentysomethings as they hustle their way through New York City, determined to achieve the American Dream. Trying to make a name for themselves in New York's competitive fashion scene, Ben Epstein (Greenberg) and his friend and business partner Cam Calderon (Rasuk) use their street knowledge and connections to bring their ambitions to fruition. With the help of Cam's cousin Rene (Guzman), who is trying to market his own high-energy drink, and their well-connected friend Domingo ("Kid Cudi"), the burgeoning entrepreneurs set out to make it big, encountering obstacles along the way that will require all their ingenuity to overcome.

"How to Make It in America" also stars Lake Bell as Ben's ex-girlfriend Rachel, who is concentrating on her own career and a new relationship; Martha Plimpton ("Beautiful Girls," "200 Cigarettes") as Rachel's boss Edie, an eccentric interior designer; Shannyn Sossamon ("40 Days and 40 Nights," "The Holiday") as Gingy, Ben and Cam's artsy friend; and Eddie Kaye Thomas ("Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist," "American Pie") as David Kaplan, a successful hedge fund manager and high school friend of Ben's.

Creator and first-time writer Ian Edelman is collaborating with Emmy nominee Rob Weiss ("Entourage") on many of the show's scripts. The pilot and other episodes of the show are being directed by Julian Farino. Additional writers and directors will be announced as they are confirmed.

"How to Make It in America" is produced by HBO Entertainment; executive producers, Stephen Levinson, Rob Weiss, Ian Edelman, Julian Farino, Jada Miranda and Mark Wahlberg; producer, Jane Raab.

Edited by AyeshaTheGreat, Feb 10, 2010 @ 7:13 PM.


#2

CaliforniaSun

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Posted Feb 12, 2010 @ 1:11 AM

Just watched the pilot. It was alright, nothing too special. I'll give it another episode or two to see if it picks up.

#3

Any Passing Fad

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Posted Feb 13, 2010 @ 2:10 PM

Watched the pilot about a half hour ago. The characters are a bit different, but the themes seem to be about the same as the ones seen in Entourage. (I don't think this show is going to escape the Entourage comparisons, at least for a while, anyway.) But I did genuinely like it, and I want to see where it goes.

#4

Empress1

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Posted Feb 14, 2010 @ 2:26 PM

I wanted to like it because I like all the male actors in it, but I didn't really. I always think "Wow, no New Yorker I know lives like that" when shows like this come out. Maybe Eddie Kaye Thomas's hedge fund manager; he's kind of That Guy.

My favorite was the hustler kid on the subway. "I'm out here hustlin' for my damn self!"

#5

Fisher King

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Posted Feb 14, 2010 @ 6:52 PM

The pilot was rather blah but could get better. I just can't figure out the appeal of Bryan Greenberg at all.

#6

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Posted Feb 14, 2010 @ 10:35 PM

It wasn't anything special, but I'll watch it next week to see if there's improvement. I guess that's all HBO cares about, huh?


One line did it for me though...

"I would tear that ass up!"

"You would????"

#7

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Posted Feb 15, 2010 @ 12:00 AM

Entourage is a bubble.

This can be more real, about guys on the make who have more hunger than the Entourage douchebags.

Already liked that the main guy doesn't get laid (in fact loses out to a gay painter). Vince in these scenarios would have had women behaving like an Axxe commercial.

The cousin gangster can be a cliche.

The entrepreneurial energy of the main guys could be interesting. Also liked that the hedge fund high school classmate makes reference to the meltdown. Maybe this show will depict a little bit of the underbelly of the American Dream, not the glam male fantasy which is Entourage.

Oh and he's pining for his ex, who looks like the transgendered guy/girl from Real World Brooklyn?

#8

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Posted Feb 15, 2010 @ 7:56 AM

I really liked the fact that it was so understated and low key, and seemed intent on letting the characters develop or come into their own.

It makes for a nice antitode to the one note shite that is Entourage - where nothing is really at stake and everything seems to fall into place of its own accord.

#9

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Posted Feb 15, 2010 @ 2:27 PM

NY Times review-
The Dream, Without the Drive

I rather liked it, though I wondered about the use of so many five year old Cam'ron songs. I was trying to figure out if it was maybe supposed to take place pre-recession when designer denim and energy drinks were the next big thing. But I guess not if hedge find guy mentioned the financial meltdown.

I stopped watching Entourage years ago due to what you aptly describe "Axe commercial"-ness of the show, but I think I can stick with this for a few episodes. It's easier to root for the underdog.

I always think "Wow, no New Yorker I know lives like that" when shows like this come out. Maybe Eddie Kaye Thomas's hedge fund manager; he's kind of That Guy.

Seriously. Though from what I gather, the girls on the show are supposed to be wealthy trust funders. I doubt Nylon pays that well.
Ben and Cam are supposed to live in Brooklyn, which is a bit cheaper, depending on the area. Though I was trying to figure out how Ben could afford living sans-roomate while working retail.

#10

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Posted Feb 15, 2010 @ 4:12 PM

Completely awesome seeing James Ransone on television again, especially playing a douchier version of himself. Fabulous. Also awesome is the mocking of hipsterdom, which makes this show a satire? A drama? I can't quite figure out what it's supposed to be.

I can't stand every female actress on this show yet still like it. Agree with Cam though -- Lake Bell looks awful. What happened to her? She used to be so pretty.

I really liked the fact that it was so understated and low key, and seemed intent on letting the characters develop or come into their own.


Totally agree. I watched because I've had a sad, fangirl crush on Bryan Greenberg since his "One Tree Hill" days, and rather liked it. My issue with "Entrourage" was how distanced I felt from the characters and their lifestyles, but I feel more connected to these characters. I can relate a bit, unlike "Entourage," where everything just fell into the palm of Vince's hand and the show's premise, at least post-season two, was one big party and good time. Writing was never that show's forte, but this one seems to be trying. The focus is on the characters, not the sceneray around them. While NYC will play a role in this show, it seems it's trying to be more than random celebrity cameos and name dropping cool night spots (Avenue aside).

I always think "Wow, no New Yorker I know lives like that" when shows like this come out. Maybe Eddie Kaye Thomas's hedge fund manager; he's kind of That Guy.


He could totally live like that, meltdown and all. A friend of mine also works for a hedgefund that took a hit, yet he's in the process of buying a condo in Miami in addition to his spacious Manhattan apartment. It's nice to work in finance. Jane's apartment annoyed me more. Unless she too is a trustfund baby, there's no way in hell a writer could afford that apartment. Publishing notoriously underpays, especially an indepedent, scenester magazine like Nylon.

I rather liked it, though I wondered about the use of so many five year old Cam'ron songs.


This was a problem with "Entourage" as well. I stopped watching in mid-season three, but the earlier seasons were always plagued by songs released three years before the show aired.

Ben and Cam are supposed to live in Brooklyn, which is a bit cheaper, depending on the area. Though I was trying to figure out how Ben could afford living sans-roomate while working retail.


I was trying to figure it out too. The Hassidic kid implies inner Brooklyn, as they were clearly not riding the L from Williamsburg. The train looked a lot like the F, so maybe Ditmus? There's a big Hassidic community there and it's relatively affordable. I'd say Crown Heights but they were riding the wrong train. Who knows. Clearly, I'm thinking too hard about this.

Edited by Lila82, Feb 15, 2010 @ 4:37 PM.


#11

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Posted Feb 15, 2010 @ 7:07 PM

It was slow paced, but that's what I liked about it. It seems to be trying a little too hard to be artsy, but I suppose that's to be expected, and it's only the pilot so I don't want to judge it too prematurely.

It honestly reminded me a lot of Prime which also starred Greenberg, Meryl Streep, and Uma Thurman. He feels like exactly the same character, in about the same setting, etc.

His buddy felt like he was trying too hard, but he's cute enough for me to give him a few more chances to click.

I wish they'd cast Autumn Reeser instead of (Samaire?) from The O.C.

I'll def watch the next few eps to see where it's headed. HBO has to keep trying cuz they usually bring us the hits.

Edited by McCafe, Feb 15, 2010 @ 7:09 PM.


#12

Empress1

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Posted Feb 16, 2010 @ 9:28 AM

Publishing notoriously underpays, especially an indepedent, scenester magazine like Nylon.

Oh, I know. I spent a few years in book publishing. My house paid the most and I was in marketing, not editorial, so I did OK, but entry-level magazine work pays dick, even at the most recognized magazines. It does because it can - most of those coveted, "glamorous" industries don't pay well at the entry level (fashion, PR, the arts). When I said "live like that," I meant less the way they lived financially (although 99% of shows set in NYC get that wrong - no one has roommates, apartments are huge) and more the constant hypertrendy clubbing, gallery openings, etc. Eddie Kaye Thomas's hedge fund manager was the closest - he would of course make a lot of money, but he wouldn't be into the really trendy, more "underground" scenes and would have a "trying too hard" air about him, which he did. Whereas if Ben is trying to make rent on that apartment, he probably has another job in addition to retail (even at Barney's) and doesn't have time to go to exhibitions and whatnot all the time.

The Conde Nast expense account line made me laugh, because those are dunzo.

Ben and Cam are supposed to live in Brooklyn, which is a bit cheaper, depending on the area. Though I was trying to figure out how Ben could afford living sans-roomate while working retail.

I thought Ben and Cam were roommates, no? And it wasn't Williamsburg or Park Slope they were living in - maybe Flatbush? My grandmother lives in Midwood and her neighborhood is an interesting mix of Hasidic Jews and West Indians.

His buddy felt like he was trying too hard, but he's cute enough for me to give him a few more chances to click.

Check out Raising Victor Vargas, Victor Rasuk's first movie. He's great in it.

#13

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Posted Feb 16, 2010 @ 2:46 PM

Was Bryan Greenberg in that Bravo show years ago called The X Factor about struggling young performers? So far the only one I remember from that show who's made it in any way is Jeremy Renner, but I feel like I know Bryan way more than I should for the few movies I've seen him in, and I think that may be why.

#14

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Posted Feb 21, 2010 @ 12:28 AM

I don't remember Bryan Greenberg on "X-Factor" but I don't remember Renner being on it either, that's nut. Sometimes I see the blonde Karate girl though. I liked that show.

This show, not so much. It's kinda just like hanging out at Urban Outfitters.

#15

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Posted Feb 21, 2010 @ 11:42 PM

So they didn't have a business plan or even basic nuts and bolts about the business like making samples first and then setting up manufacturing? So much for that FIT education.

And they borrowed from a shark despite this?

Even if they get past those hurdles, how are they going to handle distribution and marketing and cutting deals with stores to carry Crisp jeans?

Liked the professor snarking on how NY in the '70s sucked. Must be a Giuliani voter.

So they played some 70s music that nobody remembers, other than "Take a walk on the wild side."

#16

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Posted Feb 22, 2010 @ 12:57 PM

I'm watching and want to like this show because I can relate to the premise of being in your twenties in a big city and feeling like you have one last chance to make something of yourself before you become a nobody (though I live in L.A., not NYC), and because the main characters kind of remind me of my friends in that they're hapless losers with interests in skateboarding and art and fashion and not much else, drifting around making half-assed attempts at being grown-ups.

The problem I'm having so far is that I don't actually want to watch a bunch of losers being losers. I want to feel like there's a reason for me to root for these guys. If Ben and Cam were my friends and had told me they were starting a denim line I would have laughed in their faces and that's what all their friends should have been doing from the word go. The fact that they got as far as meeting with someone from John Varvatos before anyone told them their chances of succeeding were slim to none, especially considering neither of them seems to have any concept of what it takes to start a denim line, is completely unbelievable. I haven't seen either of these characters do anything even remotely competent -- Ben works at Barney's and supposedly made t-shirts once upon a time, and Cam wears cool Nikes, but that seems to be about as far as either of them have made it in fashion, so the fact that anyone would get behind them starting a line of high-end denim is completely implausible to me. It seems like they have a lot of relatively hip and intelligent friends that realistically would have told them their business plan was a load of crap.

If these guys magically start to succeed at their new line in the next episode I will probably stop watching the show -- it would take it to "Entourage" levels of unbelievability. But if the show is about them struggling to get off the ground it might be more compelling, though still I find it hard to get behind and root for a couple of losers. I want to see these characters work harder to get what they apparently feel they deserve.

The other problem I'm having with this show thus far is that the female characters all seem oversimplified and mainly there to serve the purposes of the male characters. I like that the women have been shown to be more successful than the men at this point, but I don't like that this is getting explained away by trust funds and inheritances, like the only reason these girls are getting more out of life than Ben and Cam is because they have well-connected parents.

And I don't get Lake Bell's character (Rachel?) at all. She seemed in the first episode to be quite sane and rational so why should I believe that she would invite her ex-boyfriend who recently showed up outside her window at 4:30 AM, drunkenly screaming and threatening her new boyfriend, out for a congenial chat over sake? No. It would not happen. She would not need to "get together to talk about what happened the other night," and she certainly wouldn't feel the need to apologize for bringing her new boyfriend to an art show. I want smarter female characters and I do not need another Sloane situation.

Again, I want to like this show because the concept is appealing, so I really hope it steps it up in the next couple of episodes or I'll be over it. As it is, if I wanted to watch male losers complain about being losers while being inexplicably catered to by beautiful, badly-written women far out of their league, I would just rent a Kevin Smith movie.

#17

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Posted Feb 22, 2010 @ 8:18 PM

Eh, this show seems too hard to be "Sex and the City" cool for me. I get it, it's cool and frustrating to live in New York. I guess I sound like a jaded New Yorker, but I just don't find it that realistic to my experiences here.

Plus, I still don't get why Lake Bell is getting steady work.

#18

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Posted Feb 23, 2010 @ 2:28 PM

I felt beyond hip that I recognized the restaurant where they met Varvatos & have actually eaten there. I'm way past my 20s and was never a hipster. The night I was there probably about four years ago, Rocco Dispirito was in that back room holding court. Then again, maybe it's not so hip - in getting the url for this post I see they're advertising being used as a location for this episode.

#19

AyeshaTheGreat

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Posted Feb 26, 2010 @ 10:30 PM

Okay I finally watched the latest episode and I see this show is having the same impression on me as it is on others.

I get it, it's cool and frustrating to live in New York.


I totally get this vibe from the show. Especially from the "extras" that they have On Demand. From the inside info of this show, you would think it was the first show to focus on New York and how they can't believe no one ever thought to do such a thing.

Now, back to the actual episode. Rene wins points for being the only funny part of the show. Cam is a clown who tries too hard. And I have yet to understand Kid Cudi's presence. I will probably continue to watch this season but if it doesn't get better, I don't see another season (at least on my end) in the future.

#20

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Posted Mar 1, 2010 @ 4:01 PM

Aw, I like this show. Perhaps because I live in NYC, work in magazines, and am friends with other creative types, and this show is way more realistic than other shows about twentysomethings trying to "make" it in a big city, like Friends or Entourage. I believe Ben lives where he does. He's not in Manhattan or even pricier Brooklyn. I like that the women have actual jobs. I like that things don't always work out for these guys the way they do the Entourage gang. I like that Lake Bell doesn't look perfect. And I think the reason she called Ben after he drunkenly serenaded her is that she clearly isn't completely over him.

And--glad to see Martha Plimpton on my TV again! I'll agree that Kid Cudi seems superfluous for now, though.

Edited by TheRealJanBrady, Mar 1, 2010 @ 4:02 PM.


#21

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Posted Mar 1, 2010 @ 4:11 PM

I thought he was suppose to be living in Brooklyn.

The one time they showed his apt., looked pretty big.

How much apt. does $1550 buy you in Brooklyn?

#22

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Posted Mar 1, 2010 @ 8:47 PM

He does live in Brooklyn--I meant that he doesn't live in pricier areas of Brooklyn such as Williamsburg or Park Slope.

#23

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Posted Mar 1, 2010 @ 11:00 PM

I really liked the first episode, but I can't say I've been feeling the subsequent two.

It hasn't helped that the show too readily veers into Entourage fantasy zone - it seems every woman they meet wants to have sex with them or that somehow everything falls into place for them.

and then the show just seems to lack...energy. It's kind of life sapping watching these two guys keeping their eye on the prize.

#24

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Posted Mar 2, 2010 @ 11:58 AM

Yeah, the "broke scenesters bedding a different model every week" thing will get old quickly. Hopefully they'll give the leads a bit more to do. The secondary storylines were interesting. I identified with feeling inadequate next to the friend who's doing really important work. The energy drink promotion looks promising.

#25

braggtastic

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Posted Mar 2, 2010 @ 1:14 PM

That kid in the bodega was so cute!

#26

EllisCarver

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Posted Mar 2, 2010 @ 2:15 PM

I noticed the song ("This Land is Your Land" by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings) in the closing credits was the same one used as the opening song for Up in the Air.

Good episode. Good to see the boys aren't totally clueless as to how build a company like this.

#27

viftrup

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Posted Mar 4, 2010 @ 1:33 AM

IMHO one of the best soundtracks on television right now - perfect mix of old, new and remixed!

#28

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Posted Mar 7, 2010 @ 10:40 PM

This may very well be the most obnoxious show on TV right now....either that or I'm getting old....probably both.

#29

mr sweet

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Posted Mar 8, 2010 @ 1:18 PM

Maybe I'm the only one but I'm really diggin this show. And this past Sunday's episode was the best thus far. It has found it's groove. I really like the characters and the New York backdrop. The weak link might be Ben's ex-girlfriend. They just have no chemistry and it's a big "who cares" when they are in scenes together.

#30

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Posted Mar 8, 2010 @ 9:42 PM

Doesn't Martha Plimpton's character have any friends her own age? She seems way too obsessed with one of her employees for the supposed successful businesswoman she's meant to be.