Review by Camden Ferrell
It is this writer’s humble opinion that Nathan for You is one of the greatest achievements in recent television. Born from the vision and distinct cringe comedy style of Nathan Fielder, that show left a great cultural void when it aired its final episode in 2017. Now, Nathan Fielder’s long-awaited return to television is finally here. The Rehearsal is his new series that utilizes his trademark style of comedy and applies it to a new and exciting format that is just as hilarious as you’d expect.
In his new show, Nathan once again helps individuals. However, instead of helping struggling businesses, he helps individuals prepare and rehearse for big moments in their life. When you’re living in an unpredictable world, Nathan wonders why anything should be left to chance. Through elaborate and convoluted set ups in the vein of his previous work, Nathan tries his best to consider every possibility of human interaction through these rehearsals. This is a great premise that it seems only Fielder could pull off so effortlessly. It perfectly matches the style of show he is known for, and it’s one that pushes his limits as an artist.
Written and directed entirely by Fielder, it is clear that his brief hiatus from television has not hindered his immense talent for comedy and entertainment. He still has an immaculate and distinct sense of comedic timing unlike anyone else working today, and this show is bound to make everyone laugh in one way or another. It’s awkward, cringe, and uncomfortable, and it’s exactly what we’ve been missing from Fielder for years.
In addition to writing and directing the series, Fielder also stars in the series as he conducts the titular rehearsals. He is as endearingly dry as ever, and his performance and improvisation make the show so continuously hilarious. Like his previous work, he is able to find a lot of real individuals to be the subject of his show. And to no one’s surprise, Fielder has once again found some truly bizarre and eccentric individuals who are entertaining and puzzling more than anything.
What makes Fielder’s comedies so captivating is how beneath their humorous surface, they ultimately try and understand the human experience and the capacity for empathy in an unforgiving world. His new show probably dives into these ideas more than Nathan for You. For fans of the show, this is more reminiscent of Finding Frances as opposed to the rest of the series. It substitutes some comedy for more meaningful ideas, and it works more than it doesn’t.
The Rehearsal features the same reliable Nathan Fielder humor, but it will surprise you with how it broadens his horizons as a creator. There are some moments that are truly hilarious, and there are other’s that are shockingly emotional and show a deeper and more profound side to everyone’s favorite Wizard of Loneliness.
The Rehearsal premieres on July 15 on HBO Max. 5 of the 6 episodes are reviewed.
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