How to Make it in America: The Complete First Season [Blu-Ray]

How to Make it in America: The Complete First Season [Blu-Ray]
Judging from the eight episodes that comprise the first season of NYC-based HBO drama How to Make it in America, the way to "make it" is to act like a dilettante at a variety of different endeavours, using whoever you can to further yourself, until you manage to fool people into buying whatever bullshit product and label you're trying to hock. This isn't even a cynical exaggeration, since the entire season is focused on retail whore/fashion school dropout Ed Epstein (Bryan Greenberg) and obnoxious hood rat Cam Calderon (Victor Rasuk) trying to start up a denim line after they fail in the skateboard industry (likely because their target demographic is more accustomed to stealing things than buying them). They never really talk about their vision, or the style, or what their brand might represent; rather they repeatedly babble about it being "high quality," when not running around to different insipid networking events in an effort to make contacts with equally empty vessels. There are some secondary storylines involving art dealer friend Gingy (Shannyn Sossamon), Cam's thug uncle (Luis Guzman) and Ed's ex-girlfriend, Amanda (Lake Bell), but the focus is their self-serving shenanigans in recognizable NYC locales. And while the series could come off as an astute, but perpetually aggravating testament to the intense, superficial vulgarity of the urban art scene, given that not a single character ever says anything remotely insightful, clever or compassionate (except for something Martha Plimpton says about birthdays), the multiple commentary tracks on the Blu-Ray suggest that the writers genuinely felt that these disgusting archetypes were "real," identifiable characters. Adding insult to injury are the other supplements in the two-disc set, wherein fashion designers and similar poseurs tell "hustle stories" prior to their success. There's also something about the elusive Wilfredo Gomez and a documentary short, "The Get By: Making it on the Streets of New York," which focuses on skateboarders, who suggest the NYC skateboarding scene is" gnarly" and "sick" because of the racial diversity and crack addicts. They have some real gems to dispense, such as, "You gotta, like, work because you can't just, like, sit around and do nothing, " and, "People here are, like, you gotta be, like, all badass that it's, like, holy fucking shit." I couldn't have said it better myself. (Warner)