Day Seventy-Five: Nathan for You

by Tom Noonan

The best show on the air right now is Comedy Central’s Nathan for You.  In the show’s fifth episode, creator and star Nathan Fielder successfully pulled back the sanitizing curtain of reality TV to give us all the stuff that’s usually edited out.  Masking his sarcasm in sincerity, Mr. Fielder was a revelation, embodying the complicated and confused relationship we all have (or most of us have) with shows like The Bachelor, that false feeling of superiority we gain by watching these surreal experiences packaged as “real”, setting out to prove that nothing on TV is ever presented without a great deal of post-production tinkering (including, of course, his own show).

By creating a fake reality show within a pseudo-reality show, Mr. Fielder seems to have successfully created the genre of post-modern reality television, a genre that, if it ever catches on, will mark the complete evisceration of institutions like his muse, The Bachelor. The show’s conceit may limit its growth, but right now everything is burning bright enough for none of that to matter.  Don’t miss it.