We’ve rehearsed writing this article thousands of times. It needs to be perfect. Every sentence has been designed to make you laugh at just the right amount. We tested several different versions of this article out on people to be sure they’d read to the very end, and this is the final draft. Hopefully, our tests prove to be useful.
In honor of The Rehearsal’s finale airing in just a few short hours—will Nathan Fielder stick the landing?—we’ve recreated a mock version of our office, drafted a trial list, and faked publishing a run-down of the most bizarre moments in the HBO show. You’re witnessing the real version: our list of the most gonzo moments of The Rehearsal on our real website, not ThriftyBoy.com.
The Rehearsal is one of the most convoluted, “blink and you’ll miss the whole thing” type of show to ever exist. Fielder, known for his dopey business series Nathan For You, allows random human beings to practice life’s biggest moments in a controlled space. In the first episode, a man rehearses telling his trivia friend about a big lie he’s been harboring for many years. Throughout the entire season, a woman is raising children over the course of a couple months—they “grow up” thanks to a flurry of child actors.
Babies aged into men. Grandpas had their diapers changed. Nathan Fielder learned how to make an acai bowl. The Rehearsal led to a whirlwind six weeks of smart humor—still, there was no shortage of discourse about The Fielder Method.
But we’ve been through it all together. And now, we’re going to play God and write our own Bible of The Rehearsal, piecing together the best of the best, the weirdest of the weird, and the most Nathan Fielder moments of all into one big textbook of Rehearsal greatness.
Episode 1: “Orange Juice, No Pulp”
Door City: What a way to start a show. Now, whenever I see a conglomerate of the same thing—everyone gets a G&T at the bar, I leave a handful of dishes drying on the counter—I am required to shout “*BLANK* CITY!” as if I were Nathan Fielder himself. The fact that this had been rehearsed, too? Genius. -Fletcher Peters
Trivia Questions: Nathan needs to find a way for Kor to win trivia, for some reason, so he acquires all of the answers. But Kor won’t cheat. He hints at the answers by planting random factoids around town: this building is tall, but it’s not as tall as the tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Another shooting? Thank the Chinese for gunpowder. -FP
Fake Tricia’s Interview with Real Tricia: To learn more about Tricia, Kor’s friend whose judgment he’s deeply afraid of, Nathan hires an actress to study Tricia’s behavior for the confrontation rehearsal. It’s some amazing hidden-camera work, with Tricia talking seemingly non-stop to the actress, who claims to be interviewing her for a blog. Nathan’s telling us that this woman is a narcissist, or at least one of those annoying friends who never lets you get a word in, and we should all fear her. -Allegra Frank
The Smash Cut Showing That Nathan Was Rehearsing the Reveal to Kor: After Nathan went to such lengths to make sure Kor wouldn’t lose trivia, derailing him from actually confronting Tricia about his lack of a master’s degree, he felt kinda bad. Maybe he should fess up to having contrived the part of the episode that was supposed to be totally real. He confesses to an off-screen Kor … only for a smash cut to reveal that it was actually not Kor, but an actor playing as Kor. Nathan’s rehearsal convinces him not to follow through on the real thing. -AF
Episode 2: “Scion”
Numbers, Numbers, Everywhere: Robbin sees numbers everywhere. After finding God when he crashes his Scion TC while going 100 mph, Robbin can’t stop thinking every number he sees is a sign. A license plate that reads 417 MVP? 88? These are angel numbers, guys. Having three mattresses in your bedroom? Well, three is a powerful number, I guess … ? And Angela is worth dating, Robbin says, because their numerological connection is strong. Also because he’s horny. -AF
Nathan Fielder Holds a Baby: This one made waves on the internet. When Angela ditches Adam to go on a date with Robbin, Nathan has no choice but to stay at home with the growing boy. He coddles the baby. He tosses it around. Let us live in this blissful moment forever. -FP
Robbin’s Apartment: Have you ever been in an apartment like this? One where you just want to kick everyone out and deep clean it for 10 hours straight? The fact that they’re out of mayo—and feel the need to comment on it—is so randomly hilarious. Thank goodness Nathan drove them home after Robbin enjoyed a toke from his nasty bong. -FP
Angela Dancing Around the Kitchen On Camera: Angela doesn’t do much actual parenting, it turns out. What she does a lot of is dancing around in the kitchen—she’s got moves! Like, legitimate moves. There are multiple times that we see footage from the camera installed in the kitchen where Angela is popping and locking, grooving, and feeling herself to the music we can’t hear. Even on her Instagram, she’s posted a few serious freestyles; the woman is legit. -AF
Episode 3: “Gold Digger”
Fake Grandpa: Three episodes in, this is when I realized The Rehearsal was smarter than me. Hiring a fake grandpa to raise the stakes for a man in the midst of trying to get his own grandfather’s will? Making him change his diaper? I had the pleasure of speaking with the actor who played the fake Grandpa in Episode 3, and our conversation was just as delightful as his presence on the show. -FP
Digitally Aging Mirrors: I can already hear my grandmother watching this episode (as if she would): “Can they get these for me, but instead, they reverse my age?” I do wonder what Angela thought of these mirrors. -FP
Patrick’s Casual Anti-Semitism: When Patrick is rehearsing for his convo with his brother, he abruptly mentions that his girlfriend is a” Jew about money.” “You know how the Jews are,” he says. So how can his girlfriend be a gold digger? We immediately see Canadian Jew Nathan shooting confused daggers at Patrick, processing what he’s saying. When Nathan asks him to maybe cool it with the Jew talk, Patrick assures him that’s how he and his brother would talk. Well, Nathan can’t argue with that; verisimilitude is part of the process. -AF
Episode 4: “The Fielder Method”
Practice Makes Perfect: This is probably my favorite part of The Rehearsal thus far. As Nathan teaches his Fielder Method students to become actors, he throws them a talent show celebration to strut their new findings in the world. A newly-trained mechanic fixes a car out of thin air. But the best is someone who shadowed a security guard. They stand, guarding the room, completely immobile, in order to prove they’ve learned how to act. -FP
Acai Mix-Up: In this same bout of Fielder Method training, Nathan doesn’t understand what an acai bowl is. “Acai,” he questions. “Acai,” responds the man working at an acai bowl store. “Acai?” Nathan responds. “Acai!” This goes on for a bit, and they do it all over again with Nathan’s second staged Fielder Method group. I’m going to get an acai bowl now. -FP
“You’re a Disaster My Guy”: All that work away with the Fielder Method kids means it’s been nine years since Nathan last saw Adam, per the accelerated timeline of the rehearsal. The actor playing Adam is super chill about not seeing his dad for so long, but that’s not gonna work. So Nathan tells him to actually … be terrible! Be angry! His dad is a deadbeat! Cut to: Nathan and Angela confronting Adam for his intense drug use and shitty teen behavior. Angela’s been there for her son, at least. But Nathan? “You’re a disaster, my guy,” Adam spits. It’s searing and an amazing verbal bitch-slap. -AF
Nathan Fully Inhabiting the Life of Thomas to Better Understand Him: Nathan doesn’t like that one student, Thomas, isn’t fully devoting himself to the Fielder Method. To understand why, he … becomes Thomas, participating in a simulation of his own classes. Nathan wears a nice jean jacket and sockless sneakers, and his brown wig is more Justin Bieber than LA actor. It’s amazing to watch him spiral into his Thomas cosplay, to the point of moving into a simulated version of the fake apartment he made Thomas move into, to better inhabit his mark. Also, Nathan discovers he really likes it when the HBO cameras look at him-as-Thomas. Vanity! -AF
Episode 5: “Apocalypto”
Angela’s Actress: You might not have noticed that this actress was actually a trained member of the Fielder Method group. Perhaps the Fielder Method works. In fact, it seems it may even be better than most prestigious acting programs around the world—take that, Juilliard—because Fake Angela is a BEAST. Get this woman an Emmy! -FP
Miriam (And the Quick Turn Against Her): Oh, Miriam. We loved you until we didn’t. The fans ate Miriam up until that final controversial statement about Israel, and the reactions were priceless. -FP
Dr. Fart: Nathan and the replacement baby Adam make an Oscar-worthy short film about Dr. Fart (Adam) diagnosing a patient (Nathan) with cancer, which can only be cured by eating poop. Nathan slowly, painfully eats a melty chocolate bar on camera for an excruciatingly long time. Adam loves it! And hey, it turns out that Dr. Fart’s prescription did get rid of Nathan’s cancer. But watching Nathan eat fake poop on handy-cam footage while Angela watches is just amazingly uncomfortable. -AF
Angela Loving Apocalypto: Nathan tries to defuse a fight with Angela about religion by asking her what her favorite movie is. Angela loves Apocalypto and all the work of Mel Gibson. It’s almost like she didn’t just talk about how she doesn’t respect Judaism and will not permit any of Nathan’s religion in Adam’s life … ???? Somehow, Angela missed all that “Mel Gibson is an antisemite” controversy way back when. Probably because Google is controlled by the devil, so she never looked Mel Gibson up. -AF