Snapshots: Nathan For You

He graduated from one of Canada’s top business schools with really good grades

Sort of a hybrid between Just For Laughs and Mythbusters, Nathan For You is one of the most binge-able, innovative reality shows in recent memory. In each episode, Nathan Fielder plays a deadpan anti-social entrepreneur who offers ‘advice’ to struggling businesses. The advice ranges from patently stupid (a clothing store allows attractive customers to shoplift one item); to intriguing (a car mechanic hooks himself up to a lie detector to prove to customers he’s honest); to downright offensive (a pet store advertising its services via a giant ad on an animal’s gravestone).

Not only are his schemes needlessly elaborate, they’re often hilarious. There are a few genuinely uncomfortable moments where the joke goes too far, but by the third season, he hits his stride, and there’s very little sense of ‘actual people are being hurt by his bad advice’. More often than not, they just roll with it out of sheer curiosity – like my favorite gag, where he convinces a maid service to send forty maids to clean one house. The business owners are usually too polite to say no, so they agree to test his idea for the cameras.

Although it does have a story arc, a finale, and delightfully endearing recurring characters, the real magic of the show is seeing what hairbrained schemes he comes up with next. So I’m not sure it’ll have much rewatch value now that I know how each scheme plays out. But I also can’t remember the last show that I binge-watched in an entire weekend, so that’s something… All four seasons are on Hulu, so if you need a new show to watch, and you’re giving Disney money anyways, might as well consume something worthwhile.