YouTube politely informs visitors that embedding the pilot episode of How to Make it in America is disabled by request. Presumably that request was made by HBO, which, to its credit, has agreed to screen the entire first episode of this particular TV program on YouTube. I would have liked to embed at least part of that video here, but I can't, so feel free to visit the YouTube page directly if you're interested in checking out this episode.
I bring this up not because I think this show is any good--I wouldn't know; I haven't watched past the first 67 seconds--but because the opening credits are extremely good. No less an opening-credits arbiter than Alan Sepinwall calls it "one of the best HBO's given us in a while." And it's especially cool for the New York-centric audience which I imagine the readers of this blog comprise.
I think these credits are interesting because New York resentment seems pretty popular these days. There is, of course, the (false) dichotomy drawn between Wall Street and Main Street. And the sentiment expressed by some politicians over the past two years that New York isn't the "real" America. But these opening credits, combined with that song about an empire state of mind, demonstrate a sort of celebration of New York by some artistic types. Now, granted, the target demographics those politicians were trying to hit differ pretty dramatically from Jay-Z and HBO fans. It would be easy to conclude this post with some half-developed idea about the fracturing of American society. But I'm not sure that there's a larger point here, and, if there is, I'm fairly certain the fracturing of American society wouldn't be it. As a New Yorker, though, I appreciate the cultural attention being paid to the city. I think a couple songs and a montage or two is the least we deserve for cramming ourselves into subways and enduring a cost-of-living index more than double the national average.