How to Make It in America is a show that really grew on me over the course of its short first season run. I was very close to the point of bailing, in fact, when Paper, Denim + Dollars, the third episode, gave me an inkling that there was a pulse going on here. Unhappy Birthday really blew me away though, with its great New York City party scenes and vibe, and with the fact that I was for the first time seriously caring about what this quirky batch of New York City hipsters and hustlers were up to.
Top 5 How to Make It in America Episodes: Season One
#1 – How to Make It in America, "Unhappy Birthday" (S0104)
This is the episode that really turned me around on a show that I thought could go either way. It shifted gears from work to fun, minimized Rene's role (Luis Guzman, great actor, but character doesn't mesh well with the show), the chemistry started to gel, and it finally gave some Kappo (Eddie Kaye Thomas). What more could you want? Oh yeah, Veselka!
#2 – How to Make It in America, "Never Say Die" (S0108)
The first season finale sealed the deal on a show that, while having some issues, has a great deal of promise and is one that we should all hope returns. To quote myself, "The key thing I realized – I think – is that this show works as a drama with a good dose of comedy, as opposed to the other way around." And as a bonus, I'm always a fan of shows that can showcase New York City in the light that it deserves.
#3 – How to Make It in America, "Keep On Truck'n" (S0107)
The characters and energy of the How to Make It developed to the point where I really enjoyed the dramatic dynamics here. There didn't have to be a lot of jokes: I was interested in where Rachel (Lake Bell) and Darren's (Jason Pendergraft) relationship was headed, and was even rooting hard for Ben (Bryan Greenberg) and Cam (Victor Rusak) to get through the day selling Rasta Monsta so they could get their t-shirts delivered to Haraki (Ted Oyama) in time.
#4 – How to Make It in America, "Good Vintage" (S0106)
I sussed out that spending more screen time with characters such as Kappo or Edie (Martha Pimpton) and less with Rene could help the show out a lot: " In a way, we have a case of Entourage-lite (which is not exactly a slight: Entourage is a high quality comedy and How to Make It is one with potential and, as yet, some flaws) meeting Carlito's Way-lite (which Guzman was in, by the way). We need to lose the Carlito and power up the Entourage."
#5 – How to Make It in America, "Big in Japan" (S0105)
This one saw just sort of so so in my view (there were only eight first season episodes, let's remember, so I leave it Gawker, which wonderfully explains: Rachel and her boyfriend Darren—the kind of rich, attractive asshole I hope to marry some day—are having a little bit of trouble because she keeps bringing around her ex-boyfriend Ben—the kind of poor, attractive hipster I hope will break my heart before I marry a rich, attractive asshole.