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Nathan For You “Mechanic/Realtor” Review (2×01)

2 Jul

cdn.indiewire “So, is that enough small talk to make you comfortable?”

Nathan For You is a show that doesn’t rely on a restrictive script or manufactured drama to function. Rather, Nathan Fielder–one of the funniest guys around right now–crafts a general set-up for what he wants to accomplish with whatever business he’s “helping out”, then pokes and prods until the underlying humanity shines through. It’s not so much about making people angry or playing a prank or attempting social commentary as much as it is about showing us unique and hilarious exchanges, all guided by the hand (and small penis) of Fielder.

Take, for example, his interactions with lie detector technician John Grogan, a guy who begins the proceedings as someone just doing his job, but ends as someone who feels the need to defend his technology and knock Nathan around a bit. Nathan gets a reaction out of Grogan by directly addressing his tech-y side, putting down the computer and continuing to question the accuracy of the test. It’s hilarious how Grogan makes sure to let both the woman and Nathan know over and over what specifically Nathan’s lying about–the fact that he watches porn and pleasures himself while doing so–and the way Grogan says it makes it funnier.

You can tell he’s enjoying himself when he gets to say “True” to the mechanic’s rejection of a Nathan Fielder Offer-to-hang-out-later, which, by the way, is a nice continuation of the thread that permeated the first season: Nathan’s feelings of loneliness and need for connection. This idea plays out in many of his interactions with others, and while it’s certainly more scripted than the rest of the show, it leads to genuine, human reactions, whether it’s the “no” from the mechanic or Stanford’s gratitude/uneasiness about Fielder’s painting of her.

And, if we’re talking genuine, human reactions that are also incredibly strange and unique, look no further than the entire exorcism plot and Stanford suddenly talking about being choked by a ghost in Switzerland. It’s only the comedic stylings of Nathan Fielder, paired with the simultaneously absurd and down-to-earth approach to the various situations, that can create something this hilarious and, quite simply, human.

…and strange, but in a good way.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-It says quite a bit about this show that I believe this is the weakest episode it’s produced, even if I really like it. The first season is just plain brilliant top to bottom, and with stuff like The Hunk, the rebate camping trip, and the haunted house, this show can rival any other on television. Seriously, it’s that funny. Watch the first season if you haven’t already; it’s all on Comedy Central’s site.

-Sue Stanford is the real ghost here.

-Hemorrhoid and small penis demons sound like assholes.

-Love Grogan’s stone face whenever Nathan denies his penchant for navigating the tricky, but ultimately satisfying, forest known as pornography.

-Check out ghostfreehomes.com, which is an actual site.

-Comedy Central’s really ramped it up recently, what with inventive shows like this, Review, and Broad City all dropping at around the same time. I haven’t seen the latter two, but I’ve heard great things.

Photo credit: Comedy Central, Nathan For You

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