Orange Juice, No Pulp
Episode 1 of The Rehearsal Season 1 begins with a man named Kor Skeet inviting Nathan Fielder (Nathan for You) into his home.
Kor is a 50-year-old teacher and trivia lover who responded to an ad Nathan put out on Craigslist. He needs to rehearse a particular scenario. Years ago, he told his trivia teammates he had a master’s degree so they wouldn’t see him as inferior. Now, one of his friends keeps sending him jobs that require a master’s degree, and he’s running out of excuses.
Nathan soon reveals to Kor that their entire conversation up to this point has already happened for Nathan dozens of times. He rehearsed it in a recreation of Kor’s home with an actor playing Kor.
And that is exactly what he’s going to do for Kor, who is worried that one of his trivia friends will have a violent reaction to his confession. But Nathan is up to the challenge of preparing him to face this mystery friend.
Nathan plans a day trip for them to endear himself to Kor and get him to open up. They go skeet shooting and swimming. Unbeknownst to Kor, Nathan has already rehearsed these activities. He even arranged beforehand for their guns to be loaded with blanks, so they could bond over how bad they both are at shooting.
Later, Kor shares the name of his friend: Tricia, a blogger for “Cheap Chick in the City.” Nathan hires an actress to portray Tricia, but the doppelgänger first needs to meet her and study her.
So, Nathan creates his own blog, “Thrifty Boy,” and hires Tricia to write an article for him. She accepts, but she doesn’t know she’s interviewing an actress.
Once the actress has the info she needs, Kor comes up with a plan to confess to Tricia. He insists he has to confess to her publicly in case she freaks out, so he invites her to a trivia event.
Nathan then creates a perfect replica of the bar where the trivia event is going to take place. Kor and the actress start rehearsing there, but Kor gets too distracted when he doesn’t know the fake trivia answers.
Hoping to keep Kor from getting too distracted during his real confession, Nathan comes up with a (questionable) plan. He manages to get the trivia answers from the bar manager. He then utilizes casual walks with Kor to casually mention the answers in conversation.
After several rehearsals, the night arrives. Kor orders a drink for Tricia, like rehearsed. She complains about her day, as expected. But Kor sticks to his script and cheers her up pretty well. Next, it’s time for trivia.
Kor does spectacularly well at trivia, as Nathan planned. But when the opportunity presents itself for him to confess, he stalls for several minutes.
He eventually spits it out–how he lied about having a master’s degree. He explains to Tricia that he felt inferior in the trivia group. She takes it surprisingly well. He tells her their friendship means a great deal and that he doesn’t want to continue lying to her. She tells him he’s brave for telling her.
And instead of moving on with the conversation like he initially wanted, Kor continues to talk to Tricia for the next hour about things he’s never told her.
Later, Nathan confesses to an actor playing Kor about telling him the trivia answers. He apologizes, but the actor reacts poorly, saying he’s ruined the whole thing for him. “You’re an awful, awful person.”
“I think you’re a great guy,” Nathan responds. We don’t see how his real interaction with Kor plays out, if it ever does. The episode ends with Nathan sitting in the fake bar, talking to the bartender actress.
The Episode Review
“There’s something strange about entering a space that’s indistinguishable from another. In moments, you can forget where you are.”
The Rehearsal is a uniquely bizarre concept for a reality show/docu-comedy. In it, Nathan Fielder helps people rehearse key events in their lives by setting up elaborate models (complete with actors) in which to practice future possible scenarios.
The premier episode, featuring the dramatic confession of trivia lover Kor Skeet, is consistently funny and surprisingly touching. Fielder’s approach to hosting the show–though fairly straightforward in theory–is unpredictable. Though every minute detail is rehearsed, no one can ever truly guess what’s going to happen–not viewers, not Kor… and probably not even Fielder.
The Rehearsal is a show that’s hard to pin down. But if you like absurdist comedy and insightful social experiments, this series is definitely for you.