Tuned In

Non-tourage

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HBO

Just caught up on How to Make It in America, the first episode to air since the review copies HBO sent me. In my review, I, like most critics I’ve seen compared the series to Entourage (with which it shares a producer). The makers of the show have resisted the comparison, though it’s meant as a compliment: it reminds me of the things I liked best about Entourage, back when I liked Entourage.

But I will give the show credit for being unlike Entourage in one important way. Whereas Entourage is often about anything but the actual moviemaking of movie star Vincent Chase, How to Make It takes its conflict directly from the work of its aspiring designers, and it’s better for it.

I tend to doubt that How to Make It will ever become the media-buzz sensation (or inexplicably Emmy-nomination magnet) that the showbiz-centric Entourage is, but its depiction of the fashion business, viewed from the ground floor looking up, is far more interesting. (It’s also packed with local flavor. If you were wonder about the inscription on the T-shirt Ben sold last night—RIP IRT R-17—it’s a tribute to an outmoded New York City subway model.)

Also, the show doesn’t have an outsized, catchphrase-coining character like Ari Gold, although Luis Guzman has done a good job simultaneously bringing the comedy and the menace as criminal turned energy-drink entrepreneur Rene. Any Tuned Inlanders stick with this?

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