Home #Hwoodtimes “The Rehearsal” Review: A Mind-Bending Journey Away from Reality

“The Rehearsal” Review: A Mind-Bending Journey Away from Reality

By: Julia Peterson

Los Angeles, CA, (The Hollywood Times) 7/1/2023- “The Rehearsal”, starring, directed, and written by Nathan Fielder, takes viewers on a bizarre yet intriguing exploration into the “Nathan for You” creator mental breakdown and explorations. Although the show does not focus on mental health, this six-episode show manages to leave its audience questioning their own sanity. Approved and funded by HBO (MAX), Fielder invites us to witness the rehearsals of various life moments, aiming to help himself and others prepare for the actual realities they are afraid to face.

The season starts with helping Kor Skeete, the first participant, in rehearsing the confession of a twelve-year-long lie about having a master’s degree to a close friend. Remarkably, before meeting Skeete in person, Nathan himself rehearses with a lookalike actor mimicking Skeete’s mannerism. This unconventional approach sets the tone for the rest of the series. The rehearsal took place in a meticulously reconstructed bar, specially funded generously by HBO, which eerily mirrors the real venue where the truth will be revealed. The level of detail even extends to the actor playing Skeete’s friend, who receives notes and insight through the crew’s thorough stalking efforts. Despite some hiccups, the rehearsal was successful, displaying the desired outcome Nathan strives for with his participants. However, beneath the surface, we begin to wonder if Nathan himself is escaping reality or if we are unwittingly being drawn into his meticulously crafted funhouse.

Screenshot Courtesy of HBO

In episode two, we are introduced to Angela, another participant who becomes central to the remaining episodes. Angela’s ambitious rehearsal involves role-playing being a parent, from infancy to the child’s eighteenth birthday. Fielder and his crew spared no expense in making Angela’s ideal reality come to life. They rented an entire dream house for Angela to live in, complete with actors portraying her growing children at various stages of childhood to adulthood. The intricacies of child labor laws are carefully followed, with occasional substitutions of child actors with dolls and the unwavering support of their parents.  This multi-episode rehearsal unfolds with Angela, a devout Christian, losing a potential baby daddy and finding a replacement in none other than Fielder himself, the fake father who steps up to the role. The marriage and parenting journey they embark upon becomes a captivating spectacle for viewers, simultaneously raising questions and eliciting shock and disbelief.

Nathan Fielder and Angela with their ‘child’ in The Rehearsal. © 2020 HBO

The show dives further through the marriage of Angela and Fielder as they raise their child with conflicting religions and world views. An issue that many married couples do experience in real life. This invoked hard and difficult conversations that were filmed for our leisure. Reality television quality if it wasn’t so awkward and strange. The show, although keeping some themes throughout the episodes bounces between Fielder rehearsing everything under the sun not for the actual plot of the show but just because he wanted to and could again this man is completely funded by HBO.

K. Todd Freeman in The Rehearsal. Emmy material (Photo: HBO)

“The Rehearsal” is a mind-bending show that leaves audiences questioning their own mental state. HBO and Nathan Fielder owe us an explanation on the meaning behind this show as we struggle to understand the enigmatic experience we have just consumed. Despite the bewilderment, we eagerly anticipate the next installment, with Season Two of “The Rehearsal” already confirmed by the madman himself and HBO. So, let us rehearse patience as we eagerly wait for the release date. Stay tuned, and remember, therapy is for everyone. Yes, Mr. Fielder, I am looking at you.

Video Link: (HBO)

The Rehearsal | Official Trailer | HBO