Nathan Fielder Keeps on Trollin’

As a big fan of Nathan For You I was concerned that the show’s satirical shtick would wear off fast. But three seasons in, nothing seems to be stopping the show’s mastermind, Nathan Fielder.

click to enlarge One of many hilariously awkward moments on Nathan For You
One of many hilariously awkward moments on Nathan For You

As a big fan of Nathan For You (10 p.m. Thursdays, Comedy Central), I was concerned that the show’s satirical shtick would wear off fast — between its prominence on Comedy Central and social media chatter when it wasn’t on the air, surely people would catch on. But three seasons in, nothing seems to be stopping the show’s mastermind, Nathan Fielder.

Last season featured the most widely covered social experiment — Fielder opened a coffee shop called Dumb Starbucks, claiming fair use law protected it as a parody. The shop and Fielder made headlines well before the episode even aired. But by keeping his outlandish strategies fresh, Fielder has been able to continue trolling us all.

In fact, one of this season’s ventures — creating a gym-free fitness craze that entices people to pay to do physical labor for a moving company as a way to workout — was picked up by numerous news outlets, despite being a completely fabricated story. So either Fielder is smart

enough to keep up the jig or we’re dumb enough to keep going along with everything we read or see on TV.

Of course, there’s more to the show than “tricking” entrepreneurs and management into employing terrible — or at least ridiculous — business practices. Fielder’s crack-proof deadpan, his balance between arrogance and self-deprecation and the savoring of awkward moments with camera shots that linger just too long all place the show in a league of its own, somewhere between Tim & Eric and Bar Rescue.

This week, Fielder helps a travel agent target elderly clientele and a hotel cater to families (specifically, parents who travel with kids and want to have discreet sex).

WEDNESDAY 18

Empire (9 p.m., Fox) – Lucious releases a song by Freda that throws shade at Hakeem, who responds by challenging her to a rap battle. Vivica A. Fox guest-stars as Cookie’s sister, Candace.

Modern Family (9 p.m., ABC) – When word gets around that Phil is selling an amazing house, each family member plots to sneak in and check it out — unbeknownst to one another. Elsewhere, Gloria steals everyone’s IDs to surprise the family with a trip to Miami.

Black-ish (9:30 p.m., ABC) – Dre takes the boys to see his lifetime barber — which he sees as a rite of passage — and he’s crushed

when Junior asks someone else to cut his hair. 

The League (10 p.m., FXX) – Rafi and Dirty Randy get animated — literally.

THURSDAY 19

Lip Sync Battle (10 p.m., Spike) – In this

hour-long advertisement for The Night Before

holiday special, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anthony Mackie and Seth Rogen hit the stage.

FRIDAY 20

Jessica Jones (Series Premiere, Netflix) – Krysten Ritter stars as the eponymous superhero-turned-detective in this anticipated Marvel thriller.

The Knick (10 p.m., Cinemax) – Bertie takes charge at Mount Sinai, Thackery looks into hypnosis and Cornelia continues to probe into Speight’s mysterious death.

SATURDAY 21

Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – Matthew McConaughey hosts; Adele performs.

SUNDAY 22

Trevor Noah: Lost in Translation (Premiere, 10 p.m., Comedy Central) – The new Daily Show host’s one-hour comedy special.

MONDAY 23

Fargo (10 p.m., FX) – Hank and Lou go to Fargo to investigate; Floyd is called away while Bear questions the loyalty of another Gerhardt. Elsewhere, “The King of Breakfast” pays Betsy and Molly a visit. Fun fact: If you Google “king of breakfast,” you get a bunch of Walt Jr. memes. 


CONTACT JAC KERN: [email protected] or @jackern


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