On the axis of cringe comedy, Nathan Fielder’s work on TV series Nathan For You ranks somewhere between Sasha Baron Cohen and Covering Your Eyes and Ears to Escape the Vicarious Embarrassment. But Lila Shapiro’s profile, coming just ahead of Fielder’s return to television, attempts to peel back the layers of artifice between man and world.
As the series progresses, the line between Fielder’s life and work blurs, until he finds himself at the center of his own experiment. At times, he seems to question the wisdom of manipulating people the way he does. When the teacher likens him to Willy Wonka, he looks disturbed. “Isn’t he the bad guy?” he asks.