Nathan for You
|Nathan for You|
|Created by||Nathan Fielder
|Directed by||Nathan Fielder|
|Theme music composer||Two Steps From Hell|
|Opening theme||"Heart of Courage"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||24 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||21 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Abso Lutely Productions|
|Original network||Comedy Central|
|Picture format||1080i (16:9 HDTV)|
|Original release||February 28, 2013– present|
Nathan for You is an American docu-reality comedy television series starring comedian Nathan Fielder. The series was co-created by Fielder and premiered on February 28, 2013 on the American cable television network Comedy Central. In the series, Fielder plays an off-kilter version of himself, who tries to use his business background and life experiences to help struggling companies and people, frequently offering them outlandish strategies.
The series centers on Nathan Fielder, portrayed by his real-life namesake, a business graduate and consultant whose aim is to help struggling businesses. His marketing proposals are often outlandish and elaborate. One of the show's long-running story arcs concern Fielder and his social awkwardness. Throughout episodes, his confidence is eroded as his ideas fail. In the show's first season, Fielder is unaware people do not enjoy his company. The character is based in Fielder's real life, and his own struggles with social anxiety; he has noted that he did not want the character to "feel like a comedy character" but one that delivers the "most authentic moments from myself."
Nathan for You was created by comedian Nathan Fielder and writer Michael Koman. The show evolved out of segments on the Canadian news satire series This Hour Has 22 Minutes titled "Nathan On Your Side," wherein Fielder played a consumer advocate. The show was greenlit following the cancellation of Jon Benjamin Has a Van, which Fielder also wrote and starred in. Part of the series' inspiration came from Fielder's fascination with the subprime mortgage crisis, and how he found that it was rooted in "these personal moments between people where someone senses something's wrong, but they don't want to speak up."
Marketing ideas are developed in myriad ways; often, Fielder and the writing team will come up with an idea specifically for the business, while other times concepts are formed in a completely unrelated way. Ideas can be thrown out if they are deemed not visually interesting or engaging for viewers. As a result, the show's writing process involves "a lot of guessing and testing," according to Fielder. Episodes are constantly re-written based on the interactions they receive. Sometimes, episodes are shot over the course of six months. Fielder called the show's process "a very inefficient way of making TV."
The series premiere garnered 354,000 viewers, improving in its second episode to 570,000. A special Sneak Peek episode that aired on March 13, 2013 after an episode of Workaholics further increased viewership, ending up at 615,000. The following episode, airing on March 14, had 428,000 viewers. The next week on March 21, ratings further took a dip, landing at 394,000 viewers. On April 26, 2013, Comedy Central renewed the series for a second season of 8 episodes. On July 27, 2015 Fielder announced via twitter that Season 3 will premiere on October 15, 2015. On December 10, 2015, Variety announced that Comedy Central had picked up the show for a fourth season.
Several stunts performed for the series have garnered attention from the mainstream media. One in particular occurred even before the series premiered.
Petting Zoo Hero
In the second episode of season one, Fielder and the show's crew attempted to boost the popularity of a California petting zoo by turning one of their pigs into a celebrity through the filming of a hoax video of the pig (actually a trained stand-in pig following a plastic course placed beneath the surface) rescuing a goat who was stuck in a pond. The video, "Pig rescues baby goat"  was uploaded to YouTube in September 2012, where it succeeded well beyond the show's expectations, receiving over nine million views and getting played on various national news broadcasts, including the NBC Nightly News. The hoax was finally revealed in February 2013, before the series premiered.
Over the weekend of February 7, 2014, a coffee shop known as "Dumb Starbucks" opened in Los Feliz. The shop heavily resembled those of the chain Starbucks and used a modified version of its logo, the names of all of its products were prefixed with "Dumb", and the shop also offered CDs of "Dumb Jazz Standards" and "Dumb Nora Jones [sic] Duets". The shop argued that it was actually an art gallery for "legal reasons", because "by adding the word 'dumb' we are technically 'making fun' of Starbucks, which allows us to use their trademarks under a law known as 'fair use.'" After attracting a large lineup of curious attendees over the weekend, it was speculated that the store was a hoax connected to a television program; on the following Monday, a press conference held at Dumb Starbucks revealed that the store was a Nathan for You stunt. Before the stunt was revealed, some attendees thought that the shop had been created by Banksy.
Episode three of the show's third season focused on Nathan's attempt to help a struggling moving company by providing the business with free labor. The plan involved the creation and marketing of an original fitness routine called "The Movement", which would emphasize the lifting of household objects (namely boxes and furniture) for exercise, and preclude the need for practitioners to go to a gym or health club. Nathan would then lure interested parties into working for the moving company by leading them to believe they were simply exercising. Marketing for "The Movement" involved a ghost-written book, which subsequently made it on to the Amazon best-seller list, and several television appearances by the "inventor" and public face of the routine, bodybuilder Jack Garborino.
An appearance in the eighth episode of the show's first season by private investigator Brian Wolfe led to Wolfe getting his own reality series on Investigation Discovery, Cry Wolfe. This was referenced on Nathan for You on the eighth episode of the second season, when Nathan tried to get a similar reality TV deal for a security guard who had also appeared in season one.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||8||February 28, 2013||April 18, 2013|
|2||8||July 1, 2014||August 19, 2014|
|3||8||October 15, 2015||December 10, 2015|
Nathan for You has received critical acclaim. Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times dubbed it "the television series with the most incisive take on the 21st-century economy," praising Fielder for "illuminating the relationship between the economy and absurdity." John Thorp of The Guardian called its central conceit "genius," finding it "functions as a razor-sharp satire of commercialism, with a surprising undercurrent of genuine pathos." Willa Paskin of Slate found it "brilliant, fascinating, and uncomfortable."
- "Comedy Central Sets Mid-Season Schedule Featuring New Series And Specials And The Return Of Network Favorites" (Press release). Comedy Central. December 11, 2012. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- John Thorp (October 15, 2015). "Nathan For You: finding the comedy in awkward commercialism". The Guardian. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
- Alex Wong (October 14, 2015). "Get Ready for the Weirdest—and Most Personal—Season of Nathan For You Yet". GQ. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
- Libby Hill (October 15, 2015). "Nathan Fielder finds the laughs by tapping his most awkward, clueless self". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
- Aaron Frank (April 11, 2013). "'Nathan For You': Inside Comedy Central's Absurdist Prank Factory". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
- "Thursday's Cable Ratings: 'Swamp People' Tops Third Consecutive Week". The Futon Critic. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- "Thursday's Cable Ratings: No Stopping 'Swamp People' on History". The Futon Critic. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- "Wednesday's Cable Ratings: 'Duck Dynasty' Remains Unstoppable for A&E". The Futon Critic. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- The Futon Critic Staff (March 15, 2013). "Thursday's Cable Ratings: 'Swamp People' Continues Its Reign for History". The Futon Critic. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- The Futon Critic Staff (March 22, 2013). "Thursday's Cable Ratings: 'Swamp People' Holds Off NCAA Onslaught". The Futon Critic. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- "Comedy Central Renews 'Nathan For You' & 'The Jeselnik Offensive' For 2nd Seasons". Deadline Hollywood. April 26, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
- nathanfielder (July 27, 2015). "Nathan for You returns on Oct 15" (Tweet). Retrieved November 30, 2015.
- Variety (December 10, 2015). "Comedy Central Gives Fourth-Season Nod To ‘Nathan For You’". Variety. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
- jebdogrpm. (2012, September 19). "Pig rescues baby goat" [Video file]. Retrieved fromPig rescues baby goat, retrieved 2015-10-16
- Itzkoff, Dave (February 26, 2013). "Really Cute, but Totally Faked". The New York Times.
- "Dumb Starbucks: Comedy Central star Nathan Fielder behind faux cafe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- "Dumb Starbucks: Is LA 'parody' coffee shop performance art, TV stunt or a legal dispute waiting to happen?". The Independent. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- Teti, John. "Nathan For You: “Dumb Starbucks”". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
- Hughes, William (30 October 2015). "The book from an episode of Nathan For You is an Amazon best seller". The A.V. Club.
- Alston, Joshua (30 October 2015). "In “The Movement,” Nathan Fielder continues his journey down the left-hand path". The A.V. Club.
- Teti, John (August 19, 2014). "Nathan For You: “Toy Company/Movie Theatre”". A. V. Club.
- Neil Genzlinger (October 13, 2015). "‘Nathan for You,’ on Comedy Central, Mixes Absurdity and Economics". The New York Times. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
- Willa Paskin (October 16, 2015). "Insanity Defense". Slate. Retrieved October 29, 2015.