I wasn’t sure if How to Make it in America would lend itself to weekly coverage. Going forward it may not. It turns out the machinations behind creating a business, while interesting, aren’t the biggest source of writing material. In “Paper, Denim and Dollars” Ben and Cam finally get their little venture off the ground and Rene takes his business to the streets.
It was nice to see Cam take something on and finally make it work in the form of actual dollars. When he sells the Wilfredo decks to a group of uptown prep school kids on the notion that Wilfredo is, in fact, crazy, he shows that his contribution to Crisp jeans will be more than bluster and smooth talking. Is it conceivable that he sold $1500 worth in an afternoon? Of course not, but hell a victory is a victory. What I loved to see was his and Ben’s ultimate dedication to their jeans and each other. That each is willing to go to any level (rent money, selling decks out of a shopping cart) to make their idea work is more a testament to what they feel about each other than their actual faith in the product.
Ben and Cam are guys on their last straw. If Crisp jeans doesn’t work out there is no chance either will do much with their lives. I’m not saying they’d be the dregs of society, but that “we’re too young to fail” mentality is starting to enter its twilight. Crisp jeans just has to work. Right?
Meanwhile Luis Guzman is a revelation. I don’t know if it’s the accent, his mannerisms or Rene’s absolute ruthless determination to sell Rasta Monsta, but I found myself laughing every time he entered frame. His dealing with the bodega owner and learning how exactly to market Rasta Monsta (hint: it’s equal parts violent threats and good old fashioned marketing) are lessons both Cam and Ben could and should learn quickly. He deals with two sleazy executives for Rasta Monsta, who look like they came right out of the Guido’s Guide to Subtlety, in exactly the way you deal with guys like that; you don’t allow them to speak.
All in all, another strong episode of How to Make it in America. Crisp jeans is moving along and Rasta Monsta is going to take over every bodega in the city.
- I always wondered what interior designer did. Turns out they “save this city 300 square feet at a time.”
- I was glad Ben’s dad didn’t turn out to be some rich guy. It’s more realistic that Ben comes from modest and loving means rather than some high-powered CEO that regrets Ben’s lack of focus in life.