One of my favorite television shows is Entourage, which shows on HBO, and is produced by rapper-turned-actor, Mark Wahlberg. When I read that he was producing a new show called How To Make It In America, I knew instantly that I would give it a shot. How To Make It In America is based in New York City and follows two high school friends, Ben Epstein and Cameron "Cam" Calderon as they try to fulfill their dreams and make it as fashion designers in New York City. The first season was 16 episodes of Ben and Cam fight and claw their way to success. There is also Ben's ex-girlfriend, Rachel, and Ben and Cam's good friends, Domingo and Kappo, who are also looking for their own forms of success and happiness.
Each episode is wrought with optimism, haphazard schemes, disappointment, setbacks, failures and perseverance---all of the qualities that you need to make it in this city and anywhere else in the world. It also shares these same qualities with my other favorite show, Entourage, which is based around an actor, his brother and friends as they ride the ups and downs of success in Hollywood.
But what I like about this show is that not only is the show set in New York City, but it shows what I think of as a more realistic portrayal of the city. We see the glitz and glam and the struggle and defeat while learning the stories of the more ordinary people who make up the energy in the city. Which is unlike most shows set in the city, which often shows a fantasy life and the often unrealistic portrayal of an easy ride to success, romance and happiness. (Yes, I'm a little bit of a jaded New Yawker, can't you tell?)
Another show that gives me the same feeling and has a totally different vibe, is another HBO show called Bored To Death, which is also set in New York City, but mostly set in Park Slope Brooklyn. That show focuses on an awkward writer who begins posing as a detective in an effort to cure his writer's block and to push himself outside of his comfort zone after a bad breakup with a girlfriend. The main character, Jonathan Ames (played by Jason Schwartzman), is surrounded by other quirky characters including his loser best friend, Ray Hueston (Zach Galifianakis), and rich editor George Christopher, played by Ted Danson. This show is more modern noir and less modern idealistic comedy. An eccentric quality that I love.
I have to give it to HBO. They've added some quality shows to their roster and after the devastating losses of both the Sopranos and Six Feet Under, I could not be more pleased. If you haven't checked out How To Make It In America or Bored To Death, catch up and get ready for their upcoming new seasons.