What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Nathan for You is a satire on business-mentoring shows that contains a fair amount of coarse language, such as the bleeped cursing of irate customers. Jokes may also target iffy subjects such as penis size or a frozen yogurt flavored to taste like feces. Nathan For You occasionally contains racial humor as well: a caricature artist depicts an Asian subject wearing a coolie hat with a giant camera around his neck and big buck teeth. All that said, the show is so absurd and silly that none of this comes off as particularly insulting to adults, who understand that the sheer offensiveness of someone blurting out they're a child molester is what makes the joke funny.
What's the story?
As the opening sequence tells us, Nathan Fielder graduated from a Canadian business school with "really good grades" (as the camera shows us a transcript riddled with Bs and Cs), and now he's taking his business acumen and using it to inject success into struggling businesses helmed by real people. Nathan's "help" often takes odd shapes (such as when he advises a gas station owner to launch a rebate program with a form that must be dropped off atop a remote mountaintop), but everyone's laughing by the time the end credits roll.
Is it any good?
If the deadpan absurdity of shows like The Colbert Report is what cracks you up, Nathan For You is, well, for you. Fielder has a killingly dry delivery and is fearless about presenting ridiculous and bizarre business ideas to company owners, who aren't quite sure how to react. Customers are similarly nonplussed: Fielder advises a pizza shop to advertise "free pizza" with every late delivery and then sets an impossibly short delivery window of eight minutes. So every customer gets a free pizza...that's a couple of inches in size. Annoyed customers curse Fielder out; we all laugh.
It's all uncomfortable laughter, of course, as we're essentially watching people who aren't in on the joke. But some of the gags are so silly that it's impossible not to find them childishly amusing. Fielder decides to conduct a series of job interviews in which he wears an earpiece and says only what various consultants advise him to say. His consultants: a seven-year-old boy, a "jerk," and a turtle. "Do you like skateboarding?" the seven-year-old instructs Fielder to ask, interrupting a serious interview question about his job experience. Funny stuff.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Why doesn't Nathan Fielder smile when he makes jokes? Is it hard to tell when he's joking and when he's not? Do you know any other comics or shows that take this tack of remaining completely deadpan while making jokes?
Watch the kind of show Nathan for You is mocking: Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, for example, or Tabatha Takes Over. How is Nathan for You like these shows in pacing, characterization, dialogue, etc.? How are these shows different?
Why do you think business owners agree to appear on this show? Are they in on the joke? Is it OK to laugh at people who are being pranked? When does a prank go too far?
Is the viewer supposed to sympathize with the business owners who are "helped" on Nathan For You? What in the way owners are presented brings you to this conclusion?