HBO's newest attempt to regain relevance debuts on Sunday (but is on YouTube now!), and if it takes off it is going to ruin Manhattan just like Carrie Bradshaw did in the 2000s. Get ready for the Ben Sapstein invasion.
Ben Epstein (the delicious Bryan Greenberg), the main character on How to Make It in America is a scruffy late-20s hipster type who has given up trying to hit the big time and taken a job folding jeans at Barneys. His best friend is native New Yorker Cam (Victor Rasuk) who is always working an angle and trying for a make-it-rich scam. They have a bunch of connected friends and go to glamorous art openings and rage at fabulous loft parties. It's all so awesome and now. Shit, I wanna live in this New York and I already live in New York! It's just like Sex and the City was back in the day. And the similarities don't end there. They both feature too-big apartments, too-lofty dreams, and too-ideal social worlds. The things in How to Make It—hedge fun jerks, candy boys on the subway, Nylon writers, trust fund babies, bootleg clothing merchants, Conde Nast expense accounts—do exist (well, those expense accounts don't exist anymore), but there aren't as many of them and they aren't as great as this show makes them out to be.
However all the young, impressionable boys at home are going to watch this thing and think it's real life and they're going to flock here in droves, like a pack of entitled locusts self-consciously attaching themselves to the city's industries and trying to leech them for their own shot at the big time, only to be disappointed. Yes, the green light at the end of the dock is the glow of a TV screen left on too long, and it is not real. Just ask the disillusioned PR girls, magazine writers, publishing execs, and lawyers who moved here in the 2000s trying to drink cosmos at club openings with their best girl friends only to find out that they couldn't even afford cable anymore, nonetheless the premium cable lifestyle.
The time period and the gender of these people may be different, so is their goal. While the Scary Sadshaws are hoping for love, fashion, and a life of leisure, the Ben Sapsteins want money, status, and tons of pussy. But still they are strivers all. The ironic thing is that the Sapsteins also hate the thing they also want to ultimately become. Ben and Cam come across an old high school friend of Ben's, Kappo, who is the stereotypical hedge-fund douche who hires hookers and likes bottle service. Didn't the recession kill off this horrible and virulent strain of human beings? They hate him, but use him for his money. Also, Ben's ex girlfriend has taken up with a financier/hotelier asshole named Darren. Of course they hate him as well, but the thing that underlies their repulsion is jealousy. The Sapsteins want to be rich like the man, but they think they can do it without becoming the man. This is just another layer of their mass delusion.
Get ready to learn more about the Sapsteins as the show progresses so that we can adequately prepare for when they graduate from their state schools and invade our fair city. There is little we can do to stem the tide, but at least now there will be an influx of eligible men to finally give the Sadshaws their shot at love.