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Nathan For You “Taxi Service/Hot Dog Stand” Review (2×07)

13 Aug

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“I’m not weird. I’m normal.”

There’s a common thread that constantly pops up in episodes of Nathan For You: the fact that while it’s all ostensibly about the business plan, the character Fielder’s crafted may perhaps be the driving force behind his actions. For, a lot of time is spent attempting to make not only the business better, but also the person in charge of that business better; Fielder the character is out to impart both his business and moral expertise to the people he comes across in his field of work, and in doing so, we see that he has to constantly defend his own normalcy and his own character.

That’s not to say it’s all about him; rather, this is all a result of his perpetual sense of loneliness, of his need for human connection and the awkward ways he goes about trying to find it. He wants to be seen as ‘normal’, and he’ll either distance himself or get closer in order to further that self-image, to emphasize his own virtues and to defend his own actions. He walks away from the taxi business plan because he and Andy don’t “see eye to eye as human beings”, for example, and it’s interesting to see how when for the first time, someone is more into a plan than he is, he decides to shut it down. The business side of things is the bridge connecting the two, but when one jumps off the bridge and takes the plunge, the other is left holding onto something he can’t control.

Nathan tells Andy that he let the money eye consume the baby eye (what a strange sentence), and it’s akin to how he tells Jonathan–the guy who lies to cut in line at Pink’s–that he let the lying side of him consume the cool guy side. Nathan’s in the driver’s seat, the one who’s helping others, the one who’s imparting wisdom, and he throws himself into this plan while utilizing the same idea that, to him, justified him walking away from Andy. He’s the normal one, he believes, and when Jonathan calls him out on his weirdness at the end, he gets defensive.

Of course, this all sounds more critical of Nathan the character than it should be. The fact of the matter is that someone like Jonathan is clearly in the wrong here and that an obstetrician would be willing to dress up like a mechanic and put on a faux Brooklyn accent for the cameras. Fielder tests his clients and pushes them to limits at which their actions are simultaneously plausible and absolutely absurd, and he inserts his own persona in order to delve deeper.

This week, he does just that with Jonathan, one of the show’s best finds. Initially, Nathan wants to sink the ship and have sharks devour the guy–a bit out of character, I might add, but it’s worth it just for the visual–but he informs us that his legal department told him he couldn’t do that. What we do see happen, though, is him dropping a curtain in order to reveal four people who were cut in line by Jonathan earlier; some of them are pissed, and an argument ensues in which things get surprisingly out of hand. We don’t normally see people get angry in this show, but here, things naturally escalate, and it’s what Fielder does best: take things to higher and higher levels without losing what makes each interaction genuine.

Just know that if you cross him, you’ll get shocked by a pack of gum.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-I wouldn’t be surprised if Nathan knew beforehand that the student midwife was from Brooklyn. I’d like to believe it was just a coincidence, though. Whatever it was, it gave us this line: “I’m from Brooklyn. I’d rather have a pizza. I don’t know about that, but…what happens if she needs one of those epidural things?”

– “I was surprised they had cold feet.”

-This episode needs a scene of Nathan talking to his legal department.

Nathan: Would we be able to unload all the people from the boat, except for Jonathan? And then sink the boat? Preferably, he would then remain on the boat until he, you know, is bitten in half by sharks. That way, he could maybe learn his lesson, and those sharks would have something to chew on for the remainder of the day?

Lawyer: No, you can’t do that.

– “Bad secrets?” Nathan’s conversation topics are the best.

-[strange giggle]

-Nathan finds a lot of strange people.

-To be honest, the taxi segment is probably one of the weakest segments of the show.

-Three left in the season, which is disappointing considering I could spend hours and hours watching this show.

Photo credit: Comedy Central, Nathan For You

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