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'Nathan for You' recap: Nathan is still the wizard of loneliness

Season 2 | Episode 3 | “Pet Store/Maid Service” | Aired July 15, 2014

When a show has a good thing going, there’s no need to fix it. Only  three episodes into the third season of Nathan for You, a very clear pattern to his comedy has emerged. The formula, if you will, is: [Find a business, pitch a crazy idea] + [The idea becomes bigger than what Nathan imagined, so he has to scramble to do other things to support it] + [Watch people react to his marketing plan] + [Nathan tries to make a social connection to the person he is helping, but is ultimately rejected by them] = [We have an awesome show].

The thing is, I could watch this formula over and over again. It works because of Nathan Fielder’s reactions and responses. Obviously, the show is heavily edited to get the best parts, but I just can’t get enough of Fielder making a far-out suggestion and then his awkward stare at someone as he awaits a reaction. Which he does when he suggests to a pet store owner that she advertise her business in a pet cemetery. Nathan has to get a pet and make sure it dies, so he adopts a fly named Buzz, who, of course, he becomes attached to. After calling in a rabbi to lead the funeral, the three-ton, $7,000 gravestone is revealed, with the name and address of the pet store. It’s garish, it’s ridiculous and it’s hilarious, especially because it says, “Mention this gravestone and get 15 percent off.”

Nathan identifies another business problem: People feel awkward when their maids take all day to clean their houses. His idea: Hire 40 maids at once, and they should be able to clean a house in six minutes. The director of the service arranges a bus for 40 of her employees to show up at a willing participant’s house—he’s a middle-aged divorced man. Nathan talks relationships with the man during the six minutes the maids are cleaning.


Success! The house was cleaned as planned. Of course, unable to leave any situation without making it worse, Nathan announces to the maids that the owner of the house is single. Of course. The director of the maid service is happy, and as predicted, Nathan asks her out. Alas, she is married, and Nathan does a good job of saving face, but man, you really start to feel bad for the guy. Will he ever find love? Or at least someone to hang out with, you know, socially?

In the third story of the show, Nathan aims become more confident onscreen, so he hires a focus group to follow him in a van to give him advice. Nathan starts acting like Guy Fieri, mugging to the camera and practically shouting everything. It’s actually quite disconcerting for those of us that have come to know and love the awkward, socially deprived Nathan. I’d imagine these shots, located in a store and a spa, were from other pranks filmed but ultimately not used. The focus group encourages him to get new clothes—specifically a deep V-neck and a blazer.


In a great callback, Nathan goes to visit Brian, the private detective featured last season, to try to win him over. Nathan’s confidence deflates when Brian calls him a goober, a nerd, and the original “Wizard of Loneliness.” It’s way harsh, but expected from the show. How can it continue if Nathan wins the war with his own self-esteem?

The show always creates continued attention after it airs, and Jessie, the actress from The Web, and star of the greatest kissing scenes ever …


… favorited my tweet about the show. We chatted a bit, and she confirms her ignorance of what she was really a part of:

Nathan also did a Reddit AMA this week, and answered many questions “in character” and many honestly. When asked how they are able to “trick” businesses into agreeing to his tactics, he answered:

The people that appear comfortable with this are usually the ones we end up involving in the show—those that seem open to an experience or adventure that’s different from their day-to-day life. Often in the casting process we’ll encounter business owners that have lots of specific questions about the show and exactly what we’re planning to do with them. Because going into a shoot, we don’t want participants knowing any of that or that it’s a comedy show (as this would take away from them acting naturally); we usually end up avoiding these more controlling/protective personality types, as the chances they’re going to get very upset by an experience they aren’t prepared for is much higher. And the goal is never to get people upset.

I hope it doesn’t become harder for Nathan to continue the show now that more people know he is never serious, as I could watch this brilliant formula for many more seasons to come.

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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