SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read if you haven’t watched “The Rehearsal” series finale, titled “Pretend Daddy.”
“I started to feel like I was solving a puzzle of my own design,” Nathan Fielder said in “The Rehearsal” Season 1 finale. He drops off his fake son in a Jewish school. Behind him is the real mother of the child, who immediately picks him up to take him to his real school.
Nathan wants feel as if dropping his child off at Jewish school to make him feel like a “good Jew”, an insecurity stemming from an issue with his former co-parent, Angela, for whom the whole simulation was built to the origin. But Nathan is now the subject of his own rehearsal, raising Adam – played by dozens of child actors of varying ages – all on his own. At the start of the series, he was Willy Wonka. Now he’s Charlie Bucket.
Back to school is the type of gag we’ve seen throughout the HBO series, i.e. Nathan covers his fake house in fake snow to simulate winter or hires a fake postman to retrieve Angela’s fake mail. Nathan repeatedly battles convoluted and seemingly minor issues with inconvenient and absurd solutions for comedy’s sake. But in this episode, he uncovers the harrowing consequences of blurring the lines between reality and fantasy when one of the child actors, 6-year-old Remy, is unable to untie Nathan from dad.
On his last day on set, Remy refuses to change his “Adam wardrobe”, crying that he doesn’t want to leave rehearsal. After trying to console the young boy, Nathan has a conversation with his mother, who tells him, “He sees other kids with daddies…and he’s really like, ‘Where’s mine?’ »
Later, Nathan visits Remy at his real house to hang out and try to gently explain that they’re just friends and that he’s just a “pretend daddy”.
“I don’t want you to be Nathan,” Remy says, and Nathan realizes the young boy might not understand the intricacies of acting.
When Nathan returns to his fake home with his fake son (now played by 9-year-old Liam), he struggles to emotionally engage with the simulation. For the first time in the entire series, he breaks character.
“You know I’m not your real father, right?” We’re just playing, you know that, right? Nathan asks Liam. “Do you have a father?”
“Yeah,” Liam replies, to which Nathan replies, “Do you feel like I’m credible as a father?” »
Then Liam, in what is sort of the show’s most heartbreaking line, says, “I mean, you’re a great scene partner.”
In this brief, poignant moment, it seems like Nathan might finally get some air, realizing the harm his experience has caused his subjects — and, perhaps, himself. But instead, he dives deeper into the illusion, turning Liam into Remy into Adam in order to rehearse his own rehearsal.
“Maybe the best use of my resources at this point would be to figure out what I could have done differently,” Nathan says in voiceover as he analyzes footage of his scenes with Remy like a quarterback might. study cinema. He returns to his tough conversation with Remy, but with actors. This time he repeats.
Afterwards, Nathan adopts the full Fielder method, transforming into Remy’s mother in an effort to fully understand the other side of “The Rehearsal”. Instead of directly participating in the simulation, Nathan is in the control room, with Episode 4’s Fake Nathan (Alexander Leiss) replacing him inside the house. It’s endless theatrical Russian doll, as Nathan once again fakes his conversation with Remy – this time, as his mother.
In a disturbing final scene, Nathan (playing Remy’s mother) explains to Liam (playing Remy) that Leiss (playing Nathan) is not his father, but rather a “pretend dad”. It is an exact replica of an earlier scene.
“Maybe we shouldn’t have done this show. It’s a weird thing for a little kid to be on. But you know what? Mom’s not perfect. She makes mistakes too,” Nathan says to Liam, who is holding back fake tears.
“It’s okay if you’re confused. It’s okay if you’re sad. Because no matter what you’re going through, we got each other,” Nathan continues. “And I will always be there for you, because I am your father.”
“Wait, I thought you were my mother,” Liam says in a whisper, breaking character to remind Nathan of his role.
“No,” Nathan replies, almost viciously. “I am your father.”
And after a while, Liam, playing Remy, smiles and goes to hug Nathan, lost in the puzzle of his own design.
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