ENTERTAINMENT The essay: let's talk about the "Fielder method"

The essay: let’s talk about the “Fielder method”


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This post contains spoilers for Essay.

What is it Essay? because it is Nathan Fielder doing this to himself? What is the ultimate goal, other than Fielder having been entertained by how much he can trick people into doing his weird bidding? These are questions that have scratched the critically acclaimed HBO series, fueling endless cycles of discourse and inspiring conspiracy theories that the entire show is fake.

But in the field of reality, there are two opposite positions: Fielder is a manipulative idiot whose schtick is irredeemable, or he is a comedic genius whose social experiments reveal more than we can imagine about the human condition. In the show’s fourth episode, titled “The Fielder Method,” the show’s astute creator takes a fascinating step to dispel the earlier stance, tackling the moral conundrum at the heart of his bizarre creation.

In the episode, which aired Friday night, Fielder continues the parenting project with angela But then he decides to go on a side quest, opening an acting school in Los Angeles where he can train actors in the “Fielder Method,” that is, teaching them how to do the obsessive acting work his show requires, hoping they’ll he can actually hire them for Essay.

Fielder asks his actors to stalk a random person, dubbed their “principal,” so they can learn how to become them. He even arranges for his actors to work on their lead’s work, so they can be fully immersed in the character. It’s absurd but surprisingly charming, due to the fact that the actors, a singularly thick-skinned bunch compared to the ordinary people who normally end up on the show, are game for this kind of ridiculata. It’s craft, in a way!

However, one actor, a man named Thomas, is uncomfortable with it all. To understand Thomas’s hesitation, Fielder takes a very Fielderian approach: turning Thomas into its school, reorganizing the first Fielder Method class and hiring an actor to play himself, Nathan. Being in Thomas’s shoes is revealing (or “revealing” since it’s never clear what’s real and what’s fake). Like Thomas, Fielder “realizes” that the school’s premise is confusing and worries that the class is being filmed. “Wait, what is this show?” Fielder as Thomas thinks to himself. “Is this a show about an acting class? Am I supposed to be acting? Something doesn’t make sense. If you’re training actors for a show, why would you be filming the training?

He continues, fretting to himself when a producer (also a contract actor, according to the show’s credits) rushes the students into signing an agreement form to be on the show. There’s a knowing quality to the scene, with Fielder stepping into the shoes of people he’s played with in both. Essay and his previous series, Nathan for you. (Some participants of the latter show have said openly they felt manipulated by Fielder.) Fielder-as-Thomas finally signs the form due to peer pressure. The scene, highly staged and all too fleeting, is perhaps the closest the gardener has come to acknowledging how disorienting his demands are for the normal people who enter his world.

Of course, that window of introspection quickly closes when Fielder decides he needs to go one step further and live in Thomas’s house. He has the real Thomas move into a replica of his principal’s apartment, with two actors hired to play his principal’s roommates. (One of some what the fuck moments that remind you that this show is a living hallucination.) Thomas is apparently unaware that Fielder plans to move into his apartment, assuming Fielder wants his keys just so he can get his mail and water his plants while he’s gone. Now, unless you’re in the country who thinks this whole show is staged (it’s possible!), it’s hard not to feel bad for Thomas once you see Fielder treat his residence like it’s just another scenery.

It is reminiscent of the apparent hoax from the first episode of Essayin which Fielder has crew members pose as gas company employees and enter kor skeete apartment, all so they can secretly map out their house and recreate it in a warehouse. wildly creepy! But… is it real?

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