How to Make It in America – Season 2 – Final
How to Make It in America returns to HBO after more than a year and a half.
The first minutes of the Season 2 premiere shows Ben (Greenberg) and Cam (Rasuk) travelling around Tokyo enjoying the overseas success of their clothing brand Crisp. Shortly after returning home, the guys learn that Crisp has been surpassed by Neanderthal, forcing them to work harder in order to reestablish their brand.
At the same time, we also follow Rachel (Bell) trying to get a new job as a journalist and move on with her life. Meanwhile, Renee (Guzmán) is finding ways to expand and advertise Rasta Monsta while also dealing with his new girlfriend (Andrea Navedo) and a Caribbean community leader (Eriq La Salle) opposing his energy drink company.
Season 2 feels a lot less shy compared to the first season that struggled to find ground and didn’t flesh out most of the main characters very well. This time, How to Make It in America feels alive, interesting, fun to watch and has a certain edge to it. The screenwriting has improved a lot in terms of character development, performances, storylines, blending comedy and drama as well as linking the characters to NYC. There are many things going on in America during its latest run: new characters are introduced, relationships and friendships are being put to the test, all of this while the characters are trying to succeed in the Big Apple despite complications at nearly every turn.
Most of the show’s best moments happen thanks to Luis Guzmán and Victor Rasuk, as both develop their characters greatly. Bryan Greenberg showed improvement compared to his work during the first season. Eddie Kaye Thomas was great at making Kappo feel like more than just a rich guy when his world began to fall apart halfway through the season. Kid Cudi, surprisingly, did a good job with his character.
But I have to admit that Lake Bell stepped up her game a lot and she’s easily one of the best acts of the show. Rachel is now a three-dimensional character and Bell makes the best use of her screentime, making her character feel interesting, likeable, smart, funny, sexy and shy, all at the same time during her enlightening storyline.
Despite the big improvement, America still has some flaws. Keeping Ben and Rachel apart was a great idea, but separating Ben from Cam exposes some of Greenberg’s weaknesses. Also, the writing for Ben makes it inevitable for comparisons with Vincent Chase from Entourage. There are still a few “everything’s gonna be alright” moments here and there, but it doesn’t hurt America as much as it did Entourage because America puts its characters in legitimate tight spots — and they don’t turn to Kappo for easy help.
Guest stars for this season include James Ransone (The Wire) as Neanderthal´s owner, Gina Gershon, Pharrell Williams, Michael Zegen (Rescue Me), Eriq La Salle (ER), Joe Pantoliano (The Sopranos) and Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope), who makes a brief return during the season finale.
I’m hoping for Season 3 to begin sooner than Season 2 did this time around because I like watching the show and there are questions left to be answered regarding certain characters.