Season 1, Episode 4, “The Fielder’s Method”

Nathan Fielder in The Trial

Nathan Fielder in Attempt
Picture: Courtesy of HBO

Can you ever be authentic if you are crippled by your own self-awareness?

Although I ask myself the same question every day, I write it down today because I was wondering when I finished the fourth episode of Nathan Fielder’s genre-negative series Attempt. Ostensibly, the non-fiction show is framed as follows Nathan for you creator / star because it helps “ordinary people” practice key moments in their lives (for example, difficult sibling conversations or trivia, parenting challenges). But with each episode, this provocative assumption (who wouldn’t want coaching and a fully-fledged production team to help test every turn that a complicated discussion with a loved one can take?) Turned into something very important? more ambitious. But also something much more tricky.

Honestly, it was the whole time. After introducing us to Kor, whom Fielder ultimately helped, the show revealed that the way his host got so nailed that the first interaction with this willing participant was that he hired an actor and tested him over and over to the point of exhaustion. . Namely, while the rehearsals on the show would be focused on people who would like help due to the type of production budget HBO can affordit was already clear conceit itself Attempt it was, in no small part, the result of how Fielder himself wanted to live his life. As someone who often spends sleepless nights reliving the stupid things I said while out and about with my friends (“Oh god, I really should have said X instead …. Inhave to think of me now! “), I understand Fielder’s momentumand his desire to stretch such a comfortable blanket to experience on his different guests.

But practicing in real life just isn’t, well, practical. After all, any simulation will necessarily be a worse copy. It can never be true by definition. This can only bring you closer. And Fielder thinks his rehearsals are as genuine as possible – which requires a certain degree of plot that necessarily pushes him into ethically obscure territory. This is someone who is setting up a fake acting school in Los Angeles, where he encourages future actors to harass people in order to better impersonate them, and who without a trace of irony (I guess? a concert where you could ruin someone’s life if you make a mistake.

This whole scene and the questions it raises they are also on Fielder’s mind. That is why he organizes not a rehearsal, but a recreationn this first grade so that he can better understand the many fears of his students. Here he joins once again this exercise of living as acting that he has been making up all the time. ABOUTOnly this time he is not just a participant. He became an actor. Actually Thomas. I admit seeing Fielder wearing a wig(!) made me laugh. But not as loudly as when Fielder and Thomas later share the following exchange after the aspiring actor confesses to Fielder why he is struggling with his assignment:

“I don’t like to lie to people,” says Thomas.

And then, in the most ruthless way possible, Fielder replies, “No, neither am I.”

This is such a moment that seems so absurd that I couldn’t help myself, but I doubled up. But in that laughter I recognized the bait and the switch Attempt we are still drawn. Because I believe Fielder when he says he doesn’t like to lie. Only he knows it’s a necessary part of his job. Even his mission.

Nathan Fielder in The Trial

Nathan Fielder in Attempt
Picture: Courtesy of HBO

But all this experiment in which he tried to be Thomas in order to better understand himself and his class, It struck me that I had gone too far in all this premise. It’s getting harder and harder to follow this nested doll with a proposal, but one thing remains clear: is an exploration of Nathan Fielder’s own madness method. This makes the choice to transform Adam’s own adolescence / personality when he returns to Eagle Creek easier to understand. It wasn’t an exercise in Angela’s service anymore. ANDNow he would remain fully at the service of Fielder’s own interests. I reluctantly try to include words like “selfishness” and “solipsism” in these choices, but when you organize a fake opiate overdose to better capture how a teenage child would react if the father figure disappeared for years, because that is the story you have experienced, you have to think about where it is all going.

What can you say: I can’t be the only one horrified by this episode, right? And terrified of the way Fielder must realize how terrifying he is meeting. Which brings me back to the self-awareness question that still plagues me. In all these “trials,ā€¯However, Fielder can never get out of his head. H.reaches for emotional truth (in himself, what he demands from his actors, and thus from his participants), but it seems to be forever beyond his reach. Is that why he feels so much more comfortable on these “rehearsals” when he himself is on them? Are we getting to the point where the fakes around him cease to be bullets and risk becoming reality? Is he intentionally trying to drive us crazy by reminding us how performative our daily lives are?? Guess we’ll find out next week.

Stray observations

  • “Did you make cocaine ?!” it may be a segment line. Put your hands down.
  • I liked the visual flourish on the end of the episode (slide crossing) and the love that Fielder held a teenage actor playing Adam coming out of the slide (“Is this?”) and breaking any version of truthfulness the fantasy transformation might have created. We are finally in Brechtian territory.
  • I am fascinated by the subject Attempt, I’m just as intrigued by its own logistics. For example, I was wondering how Fielder & Co. they came to use Eagle Creek, Oregon as their home base. What was it about this community that fit so well with these various trials? Fielder notes that Eagle Creek had much to offer just to show us John Wilson-style images of two characters: a makeshift one that reads “We have eggs now” (above another that reads “BROWN EGGS”) and a more professional-looking advertisement “Buildings on a Pole”. Likewise – and especially during this truly WTF OD – I was wondering how much control Fielder was. We have seen how much he is in his hands …did he know there was an overdose? (Was Angela?) And if so, what purpose did it serve?
  • I’m still curious that the denim jacket Thomas is wearing on our first day at Nathan’s workshop has an image of a plump on the back. a cat with the words “Eat Me” above it. I don’t know what to do with this information other than noticing how clearly it is framed. ANDhard to miss-bbut it’s also hard to understand. ANDfor a fictional show, I would point out how this might tell us something about Thomas, but honestly I don’t know what I would say about such a choice of costumes, other than that it helps with further embarrassment us about who Thomas is as an individual. (Also again, I want a full interview with many of the actors who participated in the show – either as them in the class or as performers in the actual rehearsals, because …I have questions!)
  • By the way: I agree with Fielder, actors can be very intimidating. Also, Barry return when?
  • Once again, I am asking everyone to watch Synekdoche, New York. And I’ll stop suggesting that to you when I stop writing How Kaufman-esque! in my notes after each episode.

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