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Nathan For You “Souvenir Shop/ELAIFF” Review (2×02)

8 Jul

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Nathan For You isn’t built on lies borne out of malice, but rather awkward situations that have their foundations in some form of deception. These aren’t real situations, but they elicit very real reactions, and that’s the beauty of watching this show unfold. In “Souvenir Shop/ELAIFF”, Fielder continually builds upon one specific idea, and what we’re left with is a truly hilarious half hour of television.

That idea, of course, is the souvenir shop, which plays off of society’s obsession with celebrities, movies, and all things Hollywood. The allure of fame will oftentimes cloud our judgment, and one whiff of it will convince us that what we see in front of us is true…even if it isn’t. Fielder hires Ronnie Rodriguez to impersonate Johnny Depp and places a camera crew in front of La Fame, and people come pouring off the streets to catch a glimpse of what they’ve only ever seen on television. And, to actually have the chance to participate in a movie? They’ll sign up right away.

Here’s where Fielder begins to craft an even more elaborate plan, complete with “extras” having one job and one job only: to buy something from the store. This is now swimming out into the waters of fraud, as people are essentially being duped for their money; one of the most uncomfortable scenes involves Suzanne, the cute redhead, meeting “Johnny Depp” and slowly watching the 80 bucks she spent dwindle away. Money is precious, but being able to interact with fame itself is an experience that places you amongst a select few. Of course, you can see Suzanne unsure about the entire situation as she’s watching the Depp impersonator sign each and every object in the basket. What makes her so sympathetic here is that unlike, say, the women who signed up for “The Hunk” last season, she seems like someone who isn’t looking to grab attention. She’s excited to meet Johnny Depp, but a refund is still very much on her mind.

Fielder knows he’s toeing the fraud line here, so he expands on that idea in the second segment of the episode; it turns out to be the best decision ever, as the continual build-up of the increasingly elaborate plan churns out laughs aplenty. The ELAIFF is a hilarious idea in and of itself, but add to that a sparse amount of people in the audience, another great Fielder find with Bonnie and Clyde script supervisor Crayton Smith, and finally, the short films themselves. “Me Farting On Command” and “The Web” are my two favorite movies of the year thus far.

Finally, the show stays true to its prevalent thread of Nathan trying to find connection, and whereas last week, we saw him ask the mechanic if he wanted to hang out, this week, he asks Jessee–the girl he kissed/attempted to kiss–if she felt anything when they kissed. Once again, we are privy to someone becoming very uncomfortable as the scene progresses, and Nathan continues to poke and prod until the episode transitions to that final line: “And in that moment, I felt sorry for Jessee. To share a kiss with another human being and feel nothing? What a miserable way to live.”

Who do we really feel sorry for, though?

GRADE: A

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-For anyone wondering who the redhead is, here’s a tweet from a while back:

It’s one of the souvenirs signed by “Johnny Depp”!

-Weird spelling of “Jessee”, but apparently that’s what it is.

-Nice to see Judge Filosa back.

– “Crap, I have a girlfriend.” This is the one-liner I laughed the most at.

-Bill Gates uses Microsoft Asteroid 95. How fitting, considering we’ve seen Windows 95 jokes utilized a few times beforehand (Claw of Shame, last week’s premiere).

-Seriously, “The Web” is perfect. I think “Me Farting On Command” may have gotten robbed, though.

Photo credit: Comedy Central, Nathan For You

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One Response to “Nathan For You “Souvenir Shop/ELAIFF” Review (2×02)”

  1. Noah July 9, 2014 at 1:03 am #

    I had no idea that was the same judge! Really awesome episode this week.

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