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Hercules Says HBO’s Blue-Jeans Sitcom HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA Is A Cut Above!!

I am – Hercules!!
A not-bad highly serialized new sitcom from “Entourage” writer-producer Rob Weiss and somebody named Ian Edelman, “How To Make It In America” is about late-20s clothes-folder trying to start a designer jeans business because successful guys are getting all of New York’s hottest women. It has an urban contemporary soundtrack and stars thirtysomething Bryan Greenberg (“October Road”), Victor Rasuk (“ER”), Lake Bell (“Surface”), Shannyn Sossamon (“Moonlight"), Luis Guzman (“John From Cincinnati”), Martha Plimpton (“Surface,” “Grey’s Anatomy”) and Eddie Kaye Thomas (“Til Death”). The pilot’s too-arty early minutes nearly convinced me I would hate this show, but the project’s virtues came to turn me around. It works better than the last couple seasons of “Entourage,” which has gotten lazy with increasingly sitcommy plotlines and largely let its characters collapse into caricatures. “How” feels less like a sitcom like “Bored To Death” and more like an above-average big-screen indie chopped up into half-hours. Guzman’s loan shark is funny, and you’ll find other interesting supporting characters if you stick with the series beyond its pilot. Also, the female characters are richer than “Entourage’s,” which I like. The show could be hurt by its title, which is too long and too generic, and makes this scripted comedy sound like an HBO documentary on the crack trade. Entertainment Weekly says:
… A sort of Entourage before the guys got an entourage, How to Make It in America is an ingratiating shaggy-dog half hour. … doesn't have a lotta laughs, but it's got charm and a feel for the atmosphere of downtown artgalleries, parties, and business hustling. … A lot of movies and TV shows have tried to depict the post-slacker generation with energy; How to Make It in America may be one that succeeds.
USA Today says:
… this show is pretty much what you'd get if you sent a twentysomething out with a flip camera to a few openings and parties, and then let him get drunk and roam the streets. Rather than art re-creating and explicating reality, How to is art mimicking reality shows, with all their annoyances and posing. …
The New York Times says:
… When Ben shakes his hangdog complacency and gives the jeans project his full attention, “How to Make It in America” finds its stride — not the “Entourage” strut but a garment-district shuffle. …
The Los Angeles Times says:
… Certainly, this is something of a fairy tale of New York, but it largely hums with an easy and attractive naturalism. Creator Ian Edelman keeps his characters on the right side of caricature and avoids the kind of melodramatic confrontations their relations might typically suggest. (When characters do act melodramatically here, they are sort of embarrassed about it afterward.) Most of the people we meet act decently to one another, the way that people mostly do. …
The Washington Post says:
… takes a few episodes to get properly underway. I've seen the first four and, although each was more compelling than the last, the series contains a repellent amount of hipitude, which distracts from its tale. … Ben and Cam's vacuous characters are deepened and made sympathetic only by their reliance on one another. We wind up feeling sad that their dreams are so empty.
The San Francisco Chronicle says:
… "How to Make It in America" is, like "Entourage," more entertaining than actually funny. You're not going to burst out laughing at anything, but there are plenty of comic moments. … The series has a lot of interesting angles, but the main drawback is that the linear story line doesn't really fuse with the character development until about the third episode, which is not atypical for HBO but demands a certain dedication from the viewer. At the end of each half hour - which, as with "Entourage," comes quickly - you're left with a small sample of a big story. …
The Denver Post says:
… instantly captivating and more relevant than "Entourage." …
The Newark Star Ledger says:
… I had few expectations for the series, in part because of the lack of buzz from HBO, and I found myself pleasantly surprised by the early episodes, even as I kept recognizing how insubstantial the show was and how atmosphere alone (or my love of Luis Guzman) might get me through half a season.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:
… grows more interesting in episodes after the pilot as Ben's world expands and connections among the characters form. But to get that far viewers may need to be: a) Living Ben's lifestyle, b) Remembering their immature years fondly or, c) Have a high tolerance for slackers whose ambition outpaces their drive and/or intellect.
The Boston Herald says:
… One of “How’s” biggest flaws falls right on the shoulders of star Greenberg, who is rapidly winning a reputation as a show-killer. (Among his flops: “October Road” and “Unscripted.”) In every series, he’s the same mopey, whiny guy. He doesn’t have the chops to carry a 20-second Doritos ad, much less anchor a show. …
The Boston Globe says:
… “How to Make It in America’’ does not offer the same pornographic allure of “Entourage.’’ But it has other charms, as it draws viewers into a little slice of crowded Manhattan life. … I think “How to Make It in America’’ has a lot going for it, if show creator Ian Edelman can keep from indulging in New York hipster cliches. …
The Hollywood Reporter says:
… A more accurate title might be "How to Make It in New York City When You Can't Get Your Ass in Gear." … Unfortunately, "America" isn't as textured and riveting as it thinks it is. There are flashes of light -- Rene (Luis Guzman), the ex-con Our Heroes go into debt with is a menacing delight with his own delusions of grandeur, and Cam's frenetic, audacious ambition blasts the plodding story line along in most unexpected ways. But Ben, sans direction or real ambition, is a black hole in every scene and fails in convincing the audience that he knows what he wants for dinner, much less out of life. …
Variety says:
… one can most charitably approach this breezy half-hour as what E. and the guys might be doing if Vince hadn't made it as a movie star. Of course, that still doesn't make "America" a place you'd yearn to be.…
10 p.m. Sunday. HBO.

“Fringe: Season One” on Blu-ray, $47.99 in December and $42.99 in January, is momentarily $24.99!!

“Farscape: The Complete Series,” $129.49 last year, is momentarily $59.99. That works out to less than $15 per season!!
Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 14, 2010, 4:11 a.m. CST

    It's like entourage but worse

    by andrew coleman

    And entourage is pretty bad right now. I would avoid this show at all costs. Sounds like a frat boys wet dream bull shit to me. I'll stick to Bored to Death or anything else.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 5:58 a.m. CST

    It's like worse but entourage

    by A G

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 6:43 a.m. CST

    Herc, perfect critique of Entourage

    by I am_NOTREAL

    "has gotten lazy with increasingly sitcommy plotlines and largely let its characters collapse into caricatures." That just about nails it.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 6:47 a.m. CST

    Yes, but you think Entourage > Arrested Development

    by Kobaal

    Opinion = suspect.<p> Probably worth a look though.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 7:13 a.m. CST

    Blue Jeans?!?

    by RenoNevada2000

    Damn, I thought this was going to be the triumphant return of Jonny Blue Jeans.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 8:12 a.m. CST

    Giving it a shot

    by NudeandAroused

    I think Luis Guzman is one of the better actors around, he deserves attention.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Luis Guzman and Martha Plimpton?

    by xXxJamiexXx

    Count me in.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 10:09 a.m. CST

    rob weiss was the failed filmmaker who bashed kevin smith...

    by RedHorseVector

    douche!

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Do you guys mean it's like Entourage

    by gotilk

    But less Entouragey?

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 10:59 a.m. CST

    He's hardly a "failed" producer.

    by gotilk

    But what the hell did he bash Smith for? The guy seems infinitely like-able.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 11:55 a.m. CST

    this looks bad

    by BandysTract

    bros in the city

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 12:02 p.m. CST

    As a member of the pre-post slacker generation...

    by Chili_Dog_Phart

    I find these insider tales of making money to be incredibly vapid. Rob Weiss is a fucking knuckle-head, I remember watching "Amongst Friends" amongst my own, most definitely slacker friends, and laughing for all the wrong reasons. Sorry, shows glorifying the trials and tribulations of designer-jeans wearing douche bags is not compelling at all to me. Now, I'm off to put on my best flannel shirt and take a hit from my bong, as all us Gen-Xers do on Sunday mornings, amirite?

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 12:11 p.m. CST

    HBO is finally gettin their shit together

    by Watch_The_Birdie

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 12:11 p.m. CST

    The Pilot

    by secretcylon

    Was made about a year before the rest of the episodes if i'm not mistaken and is a little clunkier than the rest of the episodes. The show definitely gets better as it goes along.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 12:13 p.m. CST

    Also

    by secretcylon

    Luis Guzman And Eddie Thomas are hilarious in this.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 1:49 p.m. CST

    Creator Ian Edelman

    by Goonie

    I used to work with Ian... He's one of the nicest, coolest, most genuine people I've ever met. I haven't seen the show yet, but I really hope it succeeds-- he deserves it. I implore the talkback community to give this one a chance.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 3:19 p.m. CST

    So its not like Bored to Death?

    by MacReady452

    Pass. Everything should be more like Bored to Death.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Arrested Development is over-rated

    by CarmillaVonDoom

    The only fans more annoying than AD fans are fans of "The Office." Neither show is worth a squirt of piss.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 4:26 p.m. CST

    NOT REMOTELY INTERESTING.

    by uberman

    Way to go, HBO. You cancel your great shows and give us this shit which only appeals to...who? If it wasnt for True Blood, I'd cancel my HBO as it has nothing on it but crap.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 4:39 p.m. CST

    Fingers crossed it's at least Entourage level of good.

    by RedJester

    Is Entourage the best show on earth? No, but it is one of the most fun! Let's hope this show at least delivers the "fun".

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 5:50 p.m. CST

    I've always been interested in the world....

    by MacReady452

    ..of designer jeans.<p>Are you fuckin kidding me?! It sounds like a recipe for homo douche soup.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 5:52 p.m. CST

    uberman

    by MacReady452

    hang in there. we got The Pacific and the Buscemi Atlantic City deal coming up. This is the weak shit.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 7:54 p.m. CST

    Nothing can match...

    by Sicuv Uyall

    the douchebaginess of all the talkbackers here.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 9:32 p.m. CST

    Sicuv Uyall

    by MacReady452

    You come close though all on your own. Douche is so over done. I'm gonna go with colostomy bag for you. Cause your a bag o shit.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 10:40 p.m. CST

    It was like Entourage for poor hipsters

    by BackRiverCatfish

    I'll give it another chance

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 11:25 p.m. CST

    It's a good thing Herc puts other journalists quotes

    by smackfu

    in his reviews, because otherwise no one would trust them. Because he's the guy who would rather watch America's Top Model or figure skating trials than some of the most critically acclaimed shows of the decade. And by 'not watch' I don't mean he doesn't like them, I mean by the time he gets around to watching them the 3rd season is out on DVD. Because was too busy...you know...watching a 14 year old girl's TIVO schedule.

  • Feb. 15, 2010, 12:35 a.m. CST

    good actors in search of a good script

    by brabon300

    is really what the show shoulda been called<p> i care about the hipster culture as much as i care about the hollywood one....which is nada<p> now if luiz guzman gets more scene time...ill watch...but the pilot bored me to tears

  • Feb. 15, 2010, 2:18 a.m. CST

    WRONG!

    by Griefo

    FAIL!

  • Feb. 15, 2010, 2:20 a.m. CST

    I'm still waiting for this to finish downloading

    by Griefo

    Looking forward to it.. Luis Guzman forever!

  • Feb. 15, 2010, 2:32 a.m. CST

    bad news...there is on shmata biz in nyc anymore

    by brabon300

    all of it is outsourced to india, south america and china...and those 900 dollar jeans...cost 2 bux to make...end of series

  • Feb. 15, 2010, 6:51 a.m. CST

    Bored to Death

    by Sicuv Uyall

    How I felt when i watched it. And Macready, you're a soaking used up tampon, so shut the fuck up you double douche.

  • Feb. 15, 2010, 9:06 a.m. CST

    lake bell AND shannon sossamyn???

    by Six Demon Bag

    done and done.

  • Feb. 15, 2010, 9:09 a.m. CST

    Love it

    by Omar B

    Reminds me of my teens and early 20's. My buds and I were always working or high school and college jobs but always had some side business or scheme going. The art openings, loft parties, it's as if they want to take the average 20-something New Yorker's life and condense it. It works on some level because I'm familiar with starting the day hustling and ending the day at an opening. Though these guys are into different stuff, my hustling was mostly involving journalism and session musician.

  • Feb. 15, 2010, 11:14 a.m. CST

    Isn't the reason we watch Entourage ....

    by skycrapper

    is because it's fantasy life of a Hollywood Star? Would we really care about Vince and E "the early years"? And no Game of Thrones mention in an HBO talk back yet? For shame.

  • Feb. 15, 2010, 6:59 p.m. CST

    Kabukiman

    by Omar B

    Well you seem to assume all 20-something New Yorkers are hipster douches so I guess there's no getting around that. Just for the record dudes, I'm a 20-something New Yorker who's not a hipster or a douche and I quite liked the show.

  • Feb. 15, 2010, 11:42 p.m. CST

    You know what?

    by spookybibz

    I like it.

  • Feb. 16, 2010, 3:19 a.m. CST

    Samaire Armstrong

    by Don Lockwood

    ...also showed up in the first episode. I hope we see more of her. And when I say "more of her", I mean it's time to jump start your career with some nudity, Samaire.

  • Feb. 16, 2010, 3:29 a.m. CST

    It's just a shitty Hipster Entourage.

    by TheWaqman

    Fucking skip this shit. Such a horribly lame pilot.

  • Feb. 16, 2010, 6:02 p.m. CST

    Next year it'll be called: "HTMIIA", just to shorten the title!

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • Feb. 17, 2010, 7:54 a.m. CST

    HBO has become such a chick network

    by Dr. Hfuhruhurr

    ... with shows like Hung, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, True Blood, In Treatment, Big Love and now a show about designing jeans. Okay. And why does Luis Guzman keep getting hired? Is he supposed to be funny? Everytime I saw him pop up on I Love The 80's with people like Michael Ian Black or Greg Fitzsimmons or Doug Benson I'd sit there and think, "Is he funny?"

  • Feb. 18, 2010, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Skyscrapper

    by seniorspeilbergio

    I was totally going to mention Game of Thrones. I just got here late. By the way, word is HBO liked the pilot but weren't overwhelmed by it like they thought they would be. Looks like there's going to be some reshoots. Word is Sean Bean is terrific in it, though.

  • Feb. 18, 2010, 6:49 p.m. CST

    More Boredom from HBO

    by timmerlimmer

    All the half hours from HBO these days seem to picked by someone who only reads New Yorker and Vanity Fair. They are all overly pretentious and arty - and lack the great characters and comedy of past successes. Fingers crossed that HBO can correct this - but the track record has been very bad for too many years. Personally, I really dug Flight of the Conchords - but even that was way too niche-y to ever find a wide audience.