Will How to Make It in America Make It on HBO?

Best of all, character actor extraordinaire Luis Guzman is cast as Cam’s crooked cousin, a man fresh out of prison with a plan to stay on the straight and narrow. He’s bought a stake in a new energy drink that no one knows anything about.

It’ll be fascinating to watch a recovering thug work within the system to find his own success story.

Naturally, the gap between the haves and have-nots is intense in the Big Apple. But while the main characters here see corporate types as sellouts, they also buy into the American dream. They just tell it through the prism of their life experiences.

This isn’t about two Americas; it's about the hoops citizens jump through to pass from one to the other.

The show offers the New York melting pot at is lowest bubbling point. All races and creeds come together here, from Rachel’s work posse to Ben and Cam’s extended network of buds. And the authenticity of the city sequences is pitch perfect. This isn’t a glamorized New York, but there’s something affectionate about the way the series honors the city’s flaws.

Those wary of political cheap shots or sucker punches will be pleased to find none here, at least so far. Audiences can read their own messages into the evolving story, but there’s little that jumps off the screen as a polemic broadside. In one episode, Ben’s father casually tells his son he’s reading an Al Gore book and bemoans the state of the environment. "That's propaganda," Ben mumbles back, and the issue is dropped.

Comparisons to Entourage are inevitable … and mostly ill-informed. Yet the fourth episode in the series does bear a whiff of that show’s bromantic vibe. And it’s the best of the four installments shared with the press. Should How to Make It in America continue in that vein, letting the working poor manage to temporary lead the lives they think they should, the series will find its niche.

But Entourage, even in its current overextended state, still has more comic firepower and West Coast cameos to justify its place on the HBO schedule.

How to Make It in America can’t yet make such a claim.