HBO’s latest push to snag a younger demographic, and Mark Wahlberg’s latest venture into the world of aspiring young bros, “How to Make it in America,” is probably about 80 percent style and 20 percent content at this point. That said, the style is fresh and the content shows potential for depth and nuance.
The show stars Bryan Greenberg as Ben, an aspiring designer scraping by in New York City. Although he’s working at Barney’s, with a little push in the right (or wrong, or illegitimate) direction from his best friend, Cam (Victor Rasuk), he could have a very successful denim line on his hands. The auxiliary members of the gang include Cam’s hilariously vicious ex-con cousin, Rene (Luis Guzman) and Ben’s ex, Rachel (Lake Bell). As Ben and Cam’s friends begin moving up to bigger and better things, the pressure of being left behind gives their mission a desperation that drives the show forward.
Parallels to the show’s older brother, “Entourage,” must of course be made, and “How to Make it” comes out on top in almost all categories. The characters show potential for growth, whereas the “Entourage” posse has always seemed disappointingly flat. The concept, although not exactly the most original, allows for more genuine suspense than “Entourage”: these guys are young adults that have something to lose rather than babies frolicking around Hollywood. The humor could definitely use some work (the jokes are pretty lame), but otherwise, the foundation appears solid.
Ian Edelman, the creator of “How to Make it in America” may have succeeded where the minds behind “Entourage” failed. Greenberg is a protagonist to root for, as opposed to somebody whose antics we simply find amusing. The show, admittedly, is off to a rocky start, but with a little more character and concept development, HBO may have a hit that we can all appreciate.
“How to Make it in America” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on HBO.