Good hustle: "How to Make It in America" 

How to Make It in America opens with a soulful, streetwise theme song that repeats the lyric "I need a dollar, dollar, dollar/that's what I need." So there's your story — you wanna make it in America, you need money.

As for characters, we have Ben (Bryan Greenberg) and Cam (the irresistibly charming Victor Rasuk). Ben dropped out of the Fashion Institute of Technology, works at Barneys and dreams of starting his own line of jeans. Cam hustles merchandise (mostly hot goods) on the streets of New York City and hopes to cash in on Ben's success. They have assorted friends, ex-girlfriends and relatives all trying to grab a slice of the pie. And they have a city — New York — that crackles with energy generated by dreams and schemes.

This isn't Carrie Bradshaw's New York, the one filled with glamorous shoes and fabulous restaurants and sex. This is bodega-and-street-vendor New York. This NYC is the kind of place where a couple of guys can borrow three grand from a loan-shark cousin (with $300 interest payments due every Friday), use the money to buy a bolt of stolen denim, scam a meeting with a famous fashion designer and scrounge more dough to hire a pattern-maker to cut a sample.

And that, in fact, is what happens over the first four shows in its eight-episode first season. That, and a lot of searching for even more cash.

How to Make It in America is billed as a comedy, but other than the occasional comedic moments, it's really not. It's the story of two guys trying to win in a city that can be exceedingly cruel to those with no money. It's the quintessential American story of hustling to get ahead.

TV's always loved a good hustler, whether it was Ralph Kramden with his get-rich-quick schemes, Max Klinger and his horse trading or Turtle from Entourage scamming his way through Hollywood. (Fittingly, this show comes from the makers of Entourage.)

Ben and Cam are equally loveable. We want them to succeed because it shouldn't just be the guy pushing money around Wall Street who get rich; it should be guys who're creative and start with nothing.

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