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'Nathan for You' season 2 premiere recap: More absurd business advice

Season 2 | Episode 1 | “Mechanic/Realtor” | Aired July 1, 2014

Last night was the much-anticipated premiere of the second season of Nathan for You, a show whose premise is simple, but whose appeal is a bit more elusive. Nathan for You can be described as many things: a reality show, a prank show, a business development show and a surrealist comedy show. There’s the delightful social awkwardness of host and business consultant Nathan Fielder, which gives the viewer the delightful schadenfreude of seeing him try to connect with people; this seems to be his true goal in all of his interactions. Despite just wanting to be liked, Nathan has the awkward, deadpan, dry humor down to a science.

The first business Nathan tackles is G&Y Auto Repair (“I thought it said ‘gay auto shop,’” quips Nathan.) What do people look for in auto repair? Honesty. Nathan’s idea: Have auto mechanic Frank give estimates while hooked up to a polygraph machine.

First, Nathan has to find some reputable person to administer a polygraph. True to form, this gives Nathan more opportunity to be delightfully awkward and make everything about his own insecurities. Nathan hooks up to the polygraph machine to test it out first. After some innocent questions, John drops the bomb: “Have you ever watched pornography?”

Cue awkward seconds while Nathan mulls the question.

Nathan denies it, yet the polygraph catches him in a lie. Nathan, of course, insists there’s something wrong with his polygraph and finds another test administrator, John, to help him prove that there was something wrong with the first test. Of course, John declares “fail” immediately after Nathan denies watching pornography again. “Maybe because you are running Windows XP?” Nathan continues to challenge. John the polygraph administrator stands his ground that his equipment works, to Nathan’s shame. This is one of the hallmarks of the show that makes Nathan such a hilarious everyman—his ability to get sidetracked in his missions to prove his own points.

Nathan has Frank try out the system with customers, who seem generally pleased that they can tell Gary is not lying about their estimates. We see their reaction while Nathan watches them from an awkwardly close distance. (I would like to see B-roll of this show, where everyone must crack from being under Nathan’s awkward stare.)

Success! However, Nathan is never one to give up an opportunity to make things even more uncomfortable for himself. He has one last question for Frank: “Would you ever want to hang out with me socially?” I am sure you can guess Frank’s answer.

Nathan’s next client is Sue, an L.A. real estate agent. We can tell immediately that Sue is incredibly sweet, not to mention incredibly patient, with Nathan’s lack of social skills. Nathan’s idea for Sue: Target clients who believe in ghosts by assuring them that the houses she shows are 100 percent ghost-free. Nathan helps her rebrand by creating a new bus-stop sign for her:


In order to be truthful about their guarantee (Nathan, despite giving bizarre business advice, is always ethical), they hire a medium to tell them if Sue’s listings are haunted. It’s no surprise that a medium whom Nathan hired over the Internet is … strange. Ron declares that the house has an incubus: “a ghost that will have sex with you until you die.” He says this in the same manner he would to discuss the weather. Sue, always with a sweet disposition, tells a potential buyer that there’s a rapist ghost in the house, but not to worry, they’re getting an exorcist to come in next week.

Said exorcist is Brother Ron, who cleanses the master bedroom of the house by aggressively yelling around the room. He has to cleanse both Nathan and Sue as well. Always eager to throw himself into the fool’s role, Nathan admits he has hemorrhoids that—yes, according to Brother Ron—are because of a demon. Brother Ron also exorcises Sue of her back pain, which consists of almost climbing on top of her and screaming in her face. Sue falls into a rapturous state and Nathan asks if Brother Ron killed her. Nathan, of course, stands silently watching, opting to take a picture instead of intervening:

The house is now free of ghosts, so Nathan’s work is done. But not before he gives Sue a Titanic-style erotic picture of her that he painted. Sue, ever the nicest, tells him, “You’re just full of surprises.” Nathan exits awkwardly.

The rest of season 2 seems to be full of surprises as well, as this trailer for the rest of the season shows. I can’t wait until we get to see the evolution of Dumb Starbucks, which made headlines last year.

Nathan for You airs Tuesdays at 10:30/9:30C on Comedy Central.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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