In this article, you will get all information regarding Season 1, Episode 4, “The Fielder Method” – TheHitc
Can you ever be authentic when you’re paralyzed by your own self-esteem?
As I ask myself that very question any day, I’m writing it down today because I asked myself as I finished the fourth episode of Nathan Fielder’s cross-genre series The sample. The non-fiction program is said to be structured as follows Nathan for you Creator/Star for helping “normal people” rehearse crucial moments in their lives (e.g. difficult conversations with siblings or trivia friends, the challenges of parenthood). Only that provocative premise (who doesn’t want coaching and a full-fledged production team to help you test every kind of turn a complicated discussion with a loved one might take?) has blossomed into something big with every subsequent installment more ambitious. But also something much more insidious.
To be fair, that was there all along. After introducing us to Kor, whom Fielder eventually helped, the show revealed that the way its host had so succinctly summed up that first interaction with this willing contestant was because he hired an actor and that had beta tested back and forth to exhaustion. Namely, while rehearsals on the show focused on people eager to be helped by the nature of the production budget HBO can afford itit was already the very vanity of clear The sample was in no small part a result of how Fielder himself wished he could live his life. As someone who often spends sleepless nights reliving idiotic things I said while out with friends (“Oh god, I really should have said X instead…. Wnow they must think of me!”) I understand Fielder’s impulse – and his desire to provide such a comfort blanket of an experience to his various guests.
But practicing for real life just isn’t practical. After all, each simulation will inevitably be a smaller copy. By definition, it can never be the real thing. It can only approach. And Fielder seems striving to make his rehearsals as authentic as possible – which requires a certain level of mythical creatures that inevitably pushes him into ethically murky terrain. This is someone who starts a fake acting school in Los Angeles, where he encourages aspiring actors to stalk people in order to better impersonate them, and who, without a hint of irony (I think? Or is he such a good actor? ) tells the class that this is the kind of performance where you could ruin someone’s life if you get it wrong.
This whole scene and the questions it raises are also on Fielder’s mind. That’s why he doesn’t set up a rehearsal, but a recreationn this first grade so that he can better understand the many concerns of his students. Here he is, once again, slipping into that life-as-acting exercise he’s been dreaming up all along. OOnly this time he is not only a participant. He has become an actor. Indeed Thomas. I admit the sight of Fielder in a wig(!) made me laugh. But not as loudly as later in the episode when Fielder and Thomas have the following exchange after the aspiring actor confesses to Fielder why he’s struggling with his assignment:
“I don’t like lying to people,” says Thomas.
And then Fielder replies as dryly as possible with the following: “No, neither me nor.”
It’s the kind of moment that feels so absurd I couldn’t help but double down. but in that laughter I recognized the bait and switch The sample always attracts us. Because I believe Fielder when he says he doesn’t like to lie. Only he knows that it is a necessary part of his work. Even his mission.
But this whole experiment of trying to become Thomas to better understand himself and his own class, I thought this whole premise was going too far. It’s getting harder and harder to keep track of this nesting doll of a proposal, but one thing is still clear: TThis is an exploration of Nathan Fielder’s own method of insanity. This makes the decision to reshape Adam’s own coming of age/personality when he returns to Eagle Creek all the easier to understand. This is no longer an exercise in Angela’s service. IShe will now remain entirely at the service of Fielder’s own interests. I hesitate to attach words like “egoism” and “solipsism” to these decisions, But when you’re orchestrating a fake opiate overdose to better capture how a teenager would react if a father figure was gone for years, because that’s the story as you experienced it, you have to wonder where it’s all going.
That’s all to say: I can’t be the only one horrified by this episode, can I? And terrified, too, by the way Fielder must be aware of how terrifying he comes across. This brings me back to the question of self-confidence that has always plagued me. With all these “rehearsals” there is so much investment in authenticity that‘ but Fielder never gets out of his head. HHe strives for emotional truthfulness (within himself, as he demands of his actors, and therefore of his participants), but it seems like it’s forever out of reach for him. Is that why he feels so much more comfortable in these “rehearsals” when he is there himself? Are we building to a point where the false around him ceases to be crutches and risks becoming the real? Is he intentionally trying to drive us insane by reminding us how performative our everyday life is?? Guess we’ll find out next week.
- “You did cocaine?!” may be the line of the episode. hands down
- I loved the visual boost the most End of the episode (the slide transition) and I love that Fielder lets the teenage actor playing Adam step out of the slide (“Is that?”) and break any version of the veracity that this fantasy transformation could have produced. After all, we are moving in Brechtian territory here.
- As much as I am fascinated by the thematic concerns of The sample, I am just as fascinated by their own logistics. For example, I was wondering how Fielder & Co. came to use Eagle Creek, Oregon as their home base. What was it about this fellowship that made it so well suited to these different rehearsals? Fielder notes that Eagle Creek had a lot to offer just to show us, in a John Wilson-esque flourish, images of two signs: a makeshift one that reads “We have eggs now” (above another that reads “BROWN EGGS) and a more professional looking advert for Pole Buildings. Similarly — and especially during that truly WTF OD moment — I kept wondering just how much control Fielder was in. We’ve seen how handy it is, so…Did he know the overdose would happen? (Did Angela?) And if so, what purpose did it serve?
- I’m still obsessing over the fact that the denim jacket Thomas wears on his first day at Nathan’s workshop has an image of a fluffy on the back Cat with the words “Eat Me” emblazoned on it. I don’t know what to do with this information other than note how prominently it’s boxed. It is hard to miss – bbut also difficult to understand. Ia fictional show, I’d point out how it might tell us something about Thomas, but honestly I don’t know what I would say about such a costume choice other than that it helps continue to amaze us about who Thomas is as an individual. (Also, I’d like to re-do a full interview with the many actors who took part in the show – either as themselves during those classes or as performers at the actual rehearsals because…I have questions!)
- Aside: I agree with Fielder, actors can be very intimidating. Likewise, barry crossing when?
- I ask you all again to watch Synecdoche, New York. And I’ll stop suggesting this to you when I stop writing How Kaufman-esque! in my notes after each episode.
https://www.avclub.com/the-rehearsal-review-season-1-episode-4-the-fielder-1849315317 Season 1, Episode 4, “The Fielder Method”
Season 1, Episode 4, “The Fielder Method” – TheHitc
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