Remember when Entourage was good? This was way, way back. Back before the writers went off on wild story-tangents that no-one cared about and before almost every character became completely unrecognisable, loathsome shells of their former selves
Yeah, good times.
There’s definitely a sense that with their new show, How to Make it in America, HBO is trying to recapture the spirit of the early Entourage. At its core, the show about a couple of schmoes trying to… uh… make it.
New York, to be precise. And no, they haven’t quite managed to capture the fun, carefree spirit of early Entourage. My wife has yet to watch an entire episode without commenting on how much she hates the main character (“Look at his face! It’s so hateful!”). And it’s true, Bryan Greenberg comes from the school of acting where “emoting” means “look smug whilst simultaneously looking like you’re nonchalantly trying to pass a kidney stone”.
Which all sounds terribly negative, and it probably would be if this is all there was to the show. So thank goodness the show is more of an ensemble piece. People like Eddie Kaye Thomas, Shannyn Sossamon and Martha Plimpton pop up occasionally. HBO regular James Ransone (Ziggy Sobotka from The Wire, Corporal Ray Person from Generation Kill) even appears in a blink-and-you-miss-him cameo. But, best of all, it’s got Luis Guzman. I mean this in a completely hetero way: I love Luis Guzman. His dreadful sitcom aside, I think Luis Guzman steals the show whatever he appears in, and, more importantly, he also makes things infinitely more watchable. He’s even one of the best things about Community, and that only has a statue of him. He’s perfect in How to Make it in America, playing a felon released from jail and trying to establish himself as a legitimate businessman (with his energy drink, Rasta Monster). He alone makes the show worth watching.
It’s still early days yet, and I’m not quite sure I know where the show is going, but it’s definitely worth checking out.
### Random notes ###
* Like Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind and the recent Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, this show is basically one giant love-letter to New York. Does any other city in the world get this much love?
* I think this is the closest we’re going to get to an American version of Only Fools and Horses
* The theme song for this show is “I Need a Dollar” by Aloe Blacc, and it’s fucking incredible.