Nathan for You is the funniest show I’ve ever watched. To describe it, it’s kind of like a mix of The Office and The Eric Andre Show, drawing on absurdist cringe humor from the most laughably inconceivable plotlines you could possibly come up with. Every single person I’ve watched this show with has loved it (which I suppose might say a bit more about my friend group than the show) – it’s got a kind of initial holy shit how is this real? bit of shock that nothing else I’ve seen has managed to do, and besides being absolutely hilarious, it illustrates just how crazy humans really are, us and Nathan Fielder included.
The show is a docu-reality TV series that follows Nathan Fielder, a business consultant who attempts to help small businesses by providing them with innovative ideas. For a liquor store, he’s helped increase profits by allowing the sale of alcohol to minors, but the minors can’t take home the alcohol they’ve purchased until they’re 21. For a struggling electronics store, he’s tried to exploit Best Buy’s price match policy by having the electronics store offer a television for $1, enforcing heavily restrictive measures like placing an alligator in a room in between the store and the television for sale, and purchasing all the televisions from Best Buy for $1 for resale. For himself, he’s created an entire fake dating show called “The Hunk” where he recruits 10 women to be on the show in order to become more comfortable around women. It’s not scripted, and only Nathan himself is in on the joke when he’s filming.
What’s really incredible about the show is the absurd efforts that Nathan and his team are willing to go to for a skit. Every idea, no matter how ridiculous, is treated with utmost seriousness and ingenuity, pushing even the most outlandishly out-there concepts to reality. If Nathan can’t manage to make an idea work initially, he searches for workarounds, taking seemingly huge diversions in order to achieve a goal. The show is genius. And it’s only complemented by Nathan’s excellent acting and comedic timing. Nathan’s “character” is utterly oblivious, a representation of the most awkward and naïve human being ever. It’s his deadpan delivery and extreme resolve to staying in character that makes scenes in this show just so uncomfortably hilarious. If anything, Nathan for You should teach you that you shouldn’t ever be self-conscious or worried about an awkward conversation you might have had, because nothing could compare to the level of awkwardness that some of these episodes entails. Scott’s Tots is baby food compared to the Bachelor episode of Nathan for You, but it’s not so cringe-inducing that the show is unwatchable, because those real people featured on the show are just as insane and willing to buy into Nathan’s crazy world as Nathan himself. At its core, the show is an impressive display of human nature’s compulsion for absurdity, a homage to those why not? moments in your life where reason and restraint become secondary to having ridiculous fun, and even the worst ideas end up becoming hilarious and memorable experiences. I’d highly recommend this show.