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How to Knock Off Entourage? February 15, 2010

Posted by Patrick in Televisual.
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How to Make it in America aired its first episode last night on HBO in the US. Having been touted as a New York-set Entourage-alike, the show certainly lived up to this comparison in its first half hour on the air.

America swaps L.A. for New York and instead of a group of guys trying to make it in the entertainment industry, it’s two guys trying to make it in the fashion industry. At least – that’s what the promos say. After watching the first episode though, I’m not really fascinated by its insights into the fashion industry at any level. Yes, they buy some stolen leather jackets off the back of a truck and attempt to sell them – but for the most part I felt like this was all in the name of making a quick buck, rather than trying to scale their thievery into some sort of thriving career.

Unsurprisingly, it’s from the same team who produced Entourage. I would have expected them to try out something new this time round, rather than produce something to keep Entourage fans interested. Alas, no luck.

The cast does an acceptable job with the material, although Bryan Greenberg as Ben continues to slightly annoy me. Maybe it’s because he played Peyton’s boyfriend in One Tree Hill way back when. His best friend Cam, played by Victor Rasuk is nothing special either, and once again feels like an Entourage import. The ladies don’t fare too much better either. Shannyn Sossamon pops up as the duo’s friend Gingy, and she’s fine but her character has little to do. Always-bland Lake Bell plays Ben’s ex in a storyline that we’ve seen thousands of times before. Samaire Armstrong guest stars and let’s just say she’s become exponentially more annoying since her days as Anna on The O.C. Kid Cudi also randomly stars in the show, but only briefly appears in the first episode.

Criticisms aside, the series shows a lot of potential, and I think the characters will become more likeable as we get to know them and as the show’s focus tightens a bit. Judging by the trailer alone, things look to get much more interesting in forthcoming episodes. Basically, it needs to justify its existence and step out of Entourage‘s shadow. It’s nicely shot, with some hipster photography thrown in every now and again and during the opening credits.

Check out the trailer below.