|"Can't knock the hustle"|
The series follows the lives of Ben Epstein (Bryan Greenberg) and his friend Cam Calderon (Victor Rasuk) as they try to succeed in New York City's fashion scene, with a really funny side-plot of Luiz Guzman playing a small time gangster trying to go legit with a soda brand called "RastaMonsta".
The show, just starting its second season, is an unapologetic celebration of the American Dream. "You can't knock the hustle," indeed. For all of the brokenness of America these days, and failures of global capitalism, the 'success story' is still emotionally powerful -- especially when writ small in the lives of young people trying to 'make it' for the first time.
These aren't the people who greedily wrecked the banking system for their own profit. They are main street heroes, using their wits and hustle and whatever they can, to find a place in the world. They have low-rent apartments or are living with their moms. They can't afford much and whatever they have, they are putting into their business ventures.
What is interesting about the show is how small the stakes are. An episode will hinge on whether or not a retailer likes a new T-shirt design, or whether or not their low-budget viral video takes off on YouTube. Every once in a while I will stop and ask myself, why do I care so much that the T-shirt is a hit? They aren't about to save someone's life, or flee killers or stop an evil menace threatening the world. But, I do care!
Of course, a great cast, excellent theme song, and great writers don't hurt, either! HBO has another winner on their hands with How to Make it in America.