Sunday, December 8, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 40
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
AD ASTRA
AVENGERS: ENDGAME
BINGEABLE: Barry
BINGEABLE: CASA DE LAS FLORES
BINGEABLE: FLEABAG
BINGEABLE: GRACE AND FRANKIE
BINGEABLE: INTO THE DARK
BINGEABLE: NATHAN FOR YOU
BINGEABLE: RUSSIAN DOLL
BINGEABLE: STRANGER THINGS 3
BINGEABLE: THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
BINGEABLE: THE SINNER (SEASON 2)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: FRIENDS
BLAST FROM THE PAST: HOUSE
BLAST FROM THE PAST: LONE WOLF MCQUADE
BLAST FROM THE PAST: OLDBOY
BLAST FROM THE PAST: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE MATRIX
BLAST FROM THE PAST: UNDER SIEGE 2: DARK TERRITORY
BLAST FROM THE PAST: WILD AT HEART
BLAST FROM THE PAST: YOU’VE GOT MAIL
BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON
CHARLIE’S ANGELS
CRAWL
DARK WATERS
DOCTOR SLEEP
DOWNTON ABBEY
FORD V FERRARI
FROZEN II
GUILTY PLEASURE: THE HANGOVER
GUILTY PLEASURES: BARBIE LIFE IN THE DREAMHOUSE
HATEWATCH: CHOPPED
HATEWATCH: FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER’S MONSTER, FRANKENSTEIN
HATEWATCH: NAILED IT!
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
JOJO RABBIT
JOKER
LAST CHRISTMAS
MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL
MIDWAY
MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL
MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN
ONCE UPON A TIME … IN HOLLYWOOD
PLAYING WITH FIRE
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (EXTENDED CUT)
TERMINATOR: DARK FATE
THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
THE CURRENT WAR: DIRECTOR’S CUT
THE GOOD LIAR
THE LIGHTHOUSE
THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON
UNDERRATED: BATMAN BEGINS
UNDERRATED: INSOMNIA
UNDERRATED: SHUTTER ISLAND
UNDERRATED: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL
UNDERRATED: THE FALLING
YESTERDAY
ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP

BINGEABLE: NATHAN FOR YOU

PHOTO BY PHOTO COURTESY COMEDY CENTRAL

BINGEABLE: NATHAN FOR YOU


Where is it playing?: Amazon Prime, Hulu, Comedy Central

What's it rated?: TV-14

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

Halfway through the first episode of Nathan For You, my girlfriend stood up and walked away, pissed off at what we were watching. The show is clearly not for everybody, and there were times I felt guilty about how much enjoyment I found in a show that could easily be perceived as manipulative and mean-spirited. But among the hilarity and the guilt, the show captured genuine heartfelt moments about the nature of human companionship that you rarely see on TV, let alone on Comedy Central.

In Nathan For You, comedian Nathan Fielder plays a fictionalized version of himself, who travels to small businesses in Southern California and offers truly terrible and borderline illegal advice on how to boost their profits. Armed with a degree from one of the top business schools in Canada—which Nathan likes to remind viewers of in a voiceover at the beginning of each episode—he designs ridiculous schemes and somehow convinces business owners to follow along.

The series’ first episode starts off with a relatively tame idea. Nathan convinces the owner of a frozen yogurt shop to sell a poop-flavored yogurt as a public relations stunt, which is gross and weird, but not the most controversial idea. In the same episode, Nathan visits a pizza shop with an idea for a promotion where customers receive one free pizza if their order isn’t delivered within eight minutes. The only catch: The free pizza is small, like 1 inch small.

When the poor kid delivering the pizzas shows customers their bite-size prize, they aren’t amused. One customer basically threatens to physically harm the kid delivering the pizza—it was at this time that my girlfriend stormed away. It’s one thing for the pizza shop owner to look foolish agreeing to this plan, but another thing to subject this kid, who probably is making minimum wage, to deal with its effects. 

It’s these sorts of moments that made me uncomfortable watching the show, especially because it’s unclear how much the people involved know about what’s going on. Nathan approaches owners under the guise of a professional business consultant and not the host of a show, although they must know something’s awry when Nathan starts laying out his absurd ideas.

While his marketing proposals are ridiculous and silly, that’s not what generates the show’s humor. The best parts of the show focus on Nathan’s intense social awkwardness while trying to find human companionship and his complete lack of self-awareness when he fails. One of the many long-running arcs in the show is Nathan asking if business owners want to hang out sometime and the inevitable rejection he receives almost every time.

But there are instances where he does find the connection he’s constantly seeking, and it can be incredibly moving. One scheme involving a rebate for cheap gas ends with Nathan hiking to the top of a mountain where he camps out for a night with three total strangers.

Jarringly, the episode ends with the gas station owner awkwardly talking to Nathan about the benefits of drinking urine, as if reminding the viewers, this is Comedy Central after all. (Four seasons, 30 min. episodes) 

—Zac Ezzone




Weekly Poll
Guadalupe is in the midst of new development, but is that a good thing?

No. The new homes will expand the town too much and run the small-town vibe.
No. Commercial development will follow and destroy all the local businesses.
Yes. The town can't survive another economic downturn without more business and residents in town.
Yes, but the town has to steer development toward tourism and the hospitality industry.

| Poll Results