Nathan For You
Season 3, Episode 5
It’s episodes like “Smokers Allowed” that really dive into Nathan For You’s absurdist nature. Things appear to be straightforward, for the most part, when Nathan introduces himself to a business owner. Whatever problem the business is having seems to be fixed within the first few minutes of an episode. But Nathan then has a realization that he could further capitalize on his idea. This happened most recently in the season premiere – “Electronic Store” – when Nathan continued to add barriers to his initial plan. These moments are always logical, even if they sound insane, and play well with the rest of the ho-hum first act. Tonight’s episode did everything right when it came to making sure the plan went off without a hitch while also escalating in a ludicrous manner.
“Smokers Allowed” gave Nathan a chance to work his creative side as he turns a simple loophole into a full on stage production. The previous plan was to attract smokers into a bar by using an “audience” as the scapegoat in order to insure the entire act was taken as a play. The ladies Nathan goats into coming seem to enjoy the atmosphere, probably taking the entire “play” as a performance piece and not just some random bar. Speaking of which, these ladies managed to stomach the full eighty-minute run time. They were crazy, sure, but it must’ve taken some real focus I guess. So Nathan takes it upon himself to make the bar a full production. He hires transcribers to write the entirety of the dialogue from the night. Then, he hires actors that look like the bar patrons. Of course, with this being a stage play, he auditions them at first. He even gives the owner of the bar a chance to pay her role but she ultimately loses out to someone Nathan felt better for the part. It must be noted the careful crafting here with little things like Nathan wanting the transcribers to be comfortable so he brings them apple juice or the way he really tries to like the bartender’s audition.
The real action isn’t the play itself as one would think; it’s the practicing beforehand. He rents a church for the cast to practice their parts in but finds that the two leads are having trouble connecting. Nathan opens up his heart and puts himself in the lead seat to show the male lead how to act. This results in the most tense couple of minutes in the show’s history as Nathan forces the female actress to continually tell him she loves him. “You have tears in your eyes” she tells him during the awkward exchange. Moments like these that have Nathan trying to find love are always satisfying but this one was perfectly executed, particularly on the host’s part, that put the show’s full awkwardness on display.
The final plan comes together and Nathan expands the audience to seven full members complete with a full, high priced bar. The play goes off without a hitch but the bartender doesn’t want to follow through.
Should you watch “Smokers Allowed?”
If not just to see things spiral out of control, you should totally watch this for the bit parts alone. Nathan once again is able to take a simple idea and make it something extremely unnecessary. “Smokers Allowed” is textbook Nathan For You. And that’s a good thing.