I don’t know if How to Make it in America is going to lend itself to a weekly reaction. It is a show with very little happening. That is not a bad thing. Far from it. It’s value, as a program, is in its subtlety. The high production value has a muted sensibility that makes the half hour seem very real. All in all, tonight’s “Crisp” was a quality follow-up to last week’s solid pilot.

“We’re the only two idiots in the history of loan sharking to pay a vig on a spool of denim.” - Ben

This may or may not be true. I don’t know because I have little to no background knowledge with the fashion world. How to Make it in America appears intent on detailing the entire process of clothing design, manufacturing and production. That may, over time, become tedious but right now I find it pretty damn intriguing. Who knew denim people were so hush hush with their hook ups? The struggle Ben and Cam went through to just get to give up before they started makes me wonder how they even get the whole production off the ground. It’s obvious they have no idea what they are doing. But we’ll learn right along with them.

”She don’t appreciate your misery the way I do.” – Cam

Cam may be an imbecile, but he’s at least he’s an advantageous one. Nothing gets the little Dominican down. He’s the classic hype man. The guy willing to do anything to come out on top. Victor Rasuk plays the part perfectly, right down the dumb grin and happy-go-lucky hop in his step. I originally thought Cam’s main role would be lending comic relief. I am not sure that’s a correct assumption. Instead, I think he’s there to bring a giddy naiveté. He does the dirty work without hesitation because he very likely just doesn’t know any better . Willing to speak the truth on Ben meeting up with Rachel or giving a cheesy toast to garner a meeting with a fashion who’s who.

“Where’s my cousin and his Jewish lover” – Rene

I was starting to wonder where Rene’s character (man I love Luis Guzman) really fit in this show. Besides the one-liners, I couldn’t see how his roll made sense besides adding a little extra motivation for Ben and Cam to get Crisp Jeans off the ground (like getting kneecapped). But tonight I started to see it. I assume he is there to juxtapose Ben and Cam’s action plan for starting a business with his own little entrepreneurial foray. Where Ben and Cam are making it up as they go along, trying to turn chance meetings into keys to the kingdom, and flying by the seats of their pants, Rene is calculated, cold, determined and ruthlessly motivated to turn a crappy soft drink into a success. He’s trying to get his own little piece of the American dream, just through strong-arming and threats of violence rather than cocktails and introductions. Who stands a better chance of making it? I think it’s Rene by a country mile.

Other thoughts and comments:

- Aloe Blacc’s “I Need a Dollar” might be the best opening theme song to a show since Alabama 5’s “Woke Up This Morning.”

- Is it really this hard to find a denim manufacturer?

- Fantastic “flashback” at the beginning of the episode with a mix of grainy video and snapshots of the guys partying to celebrate their Crisp idea. It was the perfect way to “remember” the drunken debauchery from the night before.

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