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Nathan For You “Pet Store/Maid Service” Review (2×03)

16 Jul

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“There’s nothing wrong with being a fucking nerd.”

Nathan Fielder’s deadpan is a thing of beauty. The mock seriousness he brings to every interaction is one of the main reasons for the awkward tension that results and the genuine reactions that slip out, and in “Pet Store/Maid Service”, we continue to see that technique being utilized. However, there are two stand out moments–or sequence of moments–that portray a Nathan Fielder we haven’t really seen before.

Those moments have to do with the wonderful (and diverse, too, as Fielder wants you to know) focus group assembled in the back of a moving truck, there to be strapped down while moving and to give Nathan tips on how to be a more likeable guy. These tips–wear a V-neck, smile, use hand gestures–lead to artificiality as we’ve never seen before, and it’s truly uncomfortable watching Fielder smile and attempt to be as open as possible. He says it helps him feel better about himself and that’s true, but it also highlights an insecurity that applies to the focus group as well. That’s exemplified by the group’s behavior after Nathan’s called a goober; the group immediately attempts to avoid any accusations and to place the blame on everyone but themselves.

And here, we see the other moment I mentioned. Nathan borders on anger for the first time, and although we know that most of it is Fielder the actor, we can easily see Fielder the character getting frustrated in that moment. It’s like the scene with Brian Wolfe beforehand, in which Nathan’s facade crumbles because the PI just can’t let go of the fact that Nathan probably couldn’t catch a football. Nathan the character’s inner monologue has been replaced by the focus group, but here, reality hits.

We also see Fielder continuing to bring up the topic of relationships throughout, first with Candy–oh, that neck grab, that gesture before he leaves…gloriously awkward–of the cleaning company and later with Jim the homeowner. The cleaning is boiled down to six (in reality, eight, which is still impressive) minutes, and Fielder is able to dig a bit into Jim’s relationship status in those eight minutes. “Yada yada yada, she married her ex-boyfriend, and I’m in LA training dogs,” Jim says. Nathan the character sees a bit of Jim in himself, and he later attempts to play matchmaker to try and find some kind of personal satisfaction.

The aspect of the episode I haven’t mentioned yet is Pet Mania’s large gravestone ad, made possible by the death of Nathan’s card-playing, ladybug-sexing fly, Buzz. Once again, Fielder’s pushing the limits of social acceptability, but in the end, it all comes down to a question of money: $2000, to be exact. It’s a hilarious story in general that kicks off the episode nicely, and fittingly, Nathan’s relationship with a fly seems to be stronger than his relationship with any human.

GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Nathan throwing Buzz’s coffin into the grave: perfect.

– “GO!” *Maids slowly shuffle off bus*

– “I used a weak handshake to establish that I’m not a threat.”

-Nice to see Solomon back, and his eulogy for buzz is very touching. He flies no more, indeed, because he’s dead and in the ground.

Photo credit: Comedy Central, Nathan For You

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