Nathan For You
is a docu-reality comedy television series starring Canadian comedian Nathan Fielder. Fielder portrays a well-meaning business school graduate who offers to help struggling businesses with his (questionable) marketing ideas. These ideas run the gamut from "flawed" to "overly elaborate and insane." After a critically praised first season in early 2013, the show has been renewed for a second run of ten episodes, which debuted on July 1st 2014.
This show provides examples of:
- Adult Fear: Unimpressed by the usual ghosts and skeletons, Nathan makes a haunted house scarier by making visitors think they've contracted a deadly disease (complete with tense ambulance ride and hazmat suits).
- As Himself: Nathan Fielder, business school graduate, plays Nathan Fielder, business school graduate. Of course, Real Life Nathan is aware that his ideas are ridiculous, while Show Nathan believes in them 100%.
- Bad Bad Acting:
- The Bill Gates lookalike in "The Web". Here's an extended version.
- Nathan himself is absolutely terrible in his kissing scene.
- Bad Impressionists:
- One of the interviewees from the funeral home segment. "I am Sean Connery. I want a massage."
- The Bill Gates lookalike. For a guy who is paid to pretend to be Bill Gates, he sure can't pretend to know anything about computers.
- Brick Joke: In the episode about the gas station, one of the people Nathan meets is a proponent of alternative medicine who believes that drinking urine is beneficial. The conversation is mildly amusing, but given that the hikers are established to be weirdos with too much free time, it isn't that surprising. At the end of the episode, Nathan casually brings it up with the gas station owner, presumably expecting a funny, disgusted reaction. But to his (and the audience's) complete bewilderment, the owner has a very different response. (Note that Nathan very briefly breaks character at around 1:31.)
- Buxom Is Better: Simon, the security guard in "Clothing Store/Restaurant," certainly thinks so.
- The Comically Serious: No matter what craziness is unfolding, Nathan remains completely serious.
- Cringe Comedy: The show produces a lot of hilariously awkward moments, but not in a mean-spirited way.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Nathan makes the viral video crew sign non-disclosure agreements so that they won't reveal the hoax — under penalty of death.
- Gone Horribly Right: In one episode, Nathan stages footage of a pig rescuing a goat from a pond, hoping it will go viral and attract customers to a petting zoo. The video ended up becoming so popular that it was featured on news broadcasts around the world before the show aired.
- The Dumb Starbucks coffee shop also ended up attracting similar viral attention.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Nathan.
- Intentionally Awkward Title
- Parody: The premise and style of the series resemble those of feel-good, transformational reality shows like Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition and he gentler parts of Kitchen Nightmares.
- Parody Episode: "The Claw of Shame" (season one, episode seven) abandons the usual format, being more like a one-off David Blaine-esque daredevil special.
- Product Placement: Nathan sets up a blind date between a colleague and a reality show contestant, but contractual obligations mean that it has to happen at a Quizno's sandwich shop. During the date, a company branding rep suggests Quizno's-related conversation topics to the colleague through a hidden earpiece.
- Reality TV Show Mansion: In order to conquer his fear of talking to women, Nathan creates a fake Bachelor ripoff that includes a $5,000-a-day mansion and a host who isn't in on the joke.
- Refuge in Audacity: On the grounds that insult comedy is popular, Nathan encourages a caricature artist to produce extremely offensive drawings of his subjects.
- Running Gag: Whether it's the Claw of Shame, the lie detector (the "Mechanic" segment), or the asteroids (the fake movie "The Web"), if anything computer-related fails, it's because of Windows 95.
- Schmuck Bait: In order to teach teens not to vandalize property, Nathan puts up posters that are designed to be irresistible to anyone with a dirty mind and a Sharpie. He even adds a "Do not draw a penis on this poster" sticker for good measure.
- So Unfunny It's Funny: Even the ultra-deadpan Nathan can barely keep it together at the private detective's bizarre insult: "You're the wizard of loneliness!"
- Stylistic Suck: "The Web"
- Terrible Interviewees Montage: The funeral home episode features one of these. All of the candidates are hired.
- Turtle Power: Twice. First, a turtle goes on a job interview. Much later, for no apparent reason, Nathan uses a tiny one as a business card.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: One of the actors in the funeral home episode demonstrates a completely ridiculous "Canadian" accent. (When Nathan informs her that he is Canadian, she replies, "Oh... but you sound normal.")
- Writing Around Trademarks: Zig-zagged with his "Dumb Starbucks" stunt (which will presumably be in a Season 2 episode; much like the petting zoo video); an exact copy of a Starbucks shop, except everything (from menu items to the logo) is appended with the word "Dumb". He argues that it's actually an art gallery satirizing Starbucks, protected under fair use.
- Yet Another Baby Panda: The viral video becomes one of these.
- Zany Scheme: Most of Nathan's ideas belong to this category.