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How to Make It in America: The Complete First Season



That's what the show's
about ostensibly, but really, it's a look at how young New Yorkers live and love: sorta half-assed on both counts. Sad-sack Ben (Bryan Greenberg, "Friends with Benefits") and street-smart Cam (Victor Rasuk, "Stop-Loss") are two best buds seeking the next big thing after a venture in skateboard decks failed to take off. Men's jeans, they decide, could be the cash cow, if only they could find the funds to get things going.

They do that by befriending a lonely, rich geek (Eddie Kaye Thomas, "American Pie"), but the criminal behavior of Cam's criminal relative, Rene (Luis Guzmán, "Arthur"), always stands in their way. He's trying to launch his own product, an energy drink called Rasta Monsta. For Ben, the distraction is his ex-girlfriend, Rachel (Lake Bell, TV's "Children's Hospital"), whom he still loves, even if she's moved on.

Each half-hour has an easygoing charm to it, as the characters plot and scam their way to winning. Unlike "Entourage," which this show is not completely unlike, I don't want to bash in their teeth. "America" is funny without being in-your-face or laugh-out-loud — although those bits usually come courtesy of Martha Plimpton (TV's "Raising Hope") — and the love story between Ben and Rachel is real enough that viewers will want to invest in it.

Besides, at four hours total for the season, it doesn't get a chance to become unwelcome. Bonus points: It currently has the best theme song on TV, with Aloe Blacc's soul throwback "I Need a Dollar." The two-disc set is disappointing in the way of extras, focusing on more of the Big Apple's skate culture (which has very little to do with the actual episodes) than the show itself. —Rod Lott

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