Nathan Fielder didn’t mess around on this week’s Nathan For You. Three businesses, three ridiculous schemes, one half hour of programming. Let’s do this.
As has been illustrated time and time again, Fielder is fully willing to deceive consumers in some of the most amoral, and often illegal, ways possible. Of all those “really good grades” he got in business school, ethics wasn’t one of them. If there’s a loophole, not only will Fielder take it, he’ll base his whole business plan around it.
Such was the case when Fielder suggests that an L.A. area liquor store advertise selling booze to minors. What the wannabe underage drinkers aren’t aware of, though, is that they can’t actually leave the store with the liquor. They own it, but the store will keep it in the back until the buyer turns 21, when they can come back and claim their purchase. If the kids feel cheated? Yep, no refunds.
Even though Fielder’s ideas are stupid, he executes all of his plans with reckless abandon, totally blind to of any of the roadblocks he is certain to encounter. If he runs into trouble, well then he’ll just cook up another even more ridiculous scheme to get himself out of it (see: “Souvenir Store/E.L.A.I.F.F.”). So of course it’s not enough for Fielder to center a business plan around selling alcohol to minors, he has to try to get sponsorship from the area Little League. When the fundraiser politely declines despite his offer of a free bottle of gin for every player, Fielder tries to pass her a bribe, causing her to lose her patience and show him the door. Set up an awkward situation, and if it isn’t awkward enough, try to bribe a kindly youth league baseball fundraiser.
After hiring a teen actor to spread the word around the local high school, which may have been the funniest part of the segment, a few curious teens wander in and fall prey to the scam. Never mind the certainty that they’d tell everyone the store’s advertisement is a hoax, Fielder helped the store owner tap into that precious underage market for a day, and a day is better than nothing. Mission accomplished.
Fielder then moves on to a pest control service whose owner is eager to land a hotel contract. Sometimes Fielder’s subjects are indifferent or amused by the idea of getting business help on TV show, but sometimes they seem genuinely eager and enthusiastic about getting their business out of a rut. You sympathize with them, and then you see Fielder’s shit-eating grin as he details his terrible idea and the sympathy turns to pity. Just as the character Fielder plays has no moral boundaries, Fielder himself never seems to have any problem exploiting the hope of the business owners who agree to hear him out.
Javier, the owner of the pest control service, is one such overly enthusiastic business owner, and you can’t help but feel sorry for him as he tries to rationalize Fielder’s idea to sell the business to hotels by going undercover as hotel award delivery boys to hide their true identity of pest exterminators. They don’t want to alarm the guests, after all. It might be Fielder’s most elaborate scheme yet, involving costumes, an oversized “Hotel with the Least Bed Bugs” award, a Chinese New Year parade dragon and a blind man whose cane is actually a pesticide deployment device. The cast of Ocean’s 11 couldn’t have cooked up a plan more over-the-top and multi-faceted.
It works, I guess, and all that’s left is the general manager’s signature on the contract. He does’t want to sign, of course, so Fielder convinces him that his signature is just for the cameras, only to point out a part of the fine print that explains that the contract is enforceable even though Fielder said it wasn’t. Diabolical. The hotel manager is pissed, but Javier is thrilled, which is all that matters.
Lastly, Fielder tries to help a struggling car wash by getting birds to shit on cars around the neighborhood. This is easier said than done (…actually that’s not that easily said, either) and it ends up with Fielder hiring a bird wrangler to put chickens and a peacock (larger, more frequent droppings) on a limb hanging over a residential street. Fielder then springs into action, delaying cars so that they have to idle under the limb for long enough to get some windshield action. Miraculously this actually works.
Throughout the entire segment, however, the car wash owner seemed delighted by Fielder’s plan. There was no apprehension or awkwardness. This means Fielder needs to create some before all’s said and done, so he not only asks to be named employee of the month, he wants to get a $200 gift certificate instead of the usual $25 one that is usually handed out as a prize…Actually, make that cash. It’s about time Fielder got some money back for his efforts. He’s put enough in the registers of Los Angeles’ small businesses.