“Chili Shop; Massage Parlor” – Nathan for You review


Chad White

Nathan For You
“Chili Shop; Massage Parlor”
Season 4, Episode 2

Wart pride!

Nathan For You has to be the most inventive show on television. Every episode has some unique identifier with the host’s business ventures. There are, however, points where it breaks into absurdist territory. Nathan’s ideas are so wacky that any normal person would have to say no to whatever he suggests. Yet these businesses that reach out to the show are so deep in the red, they’re willing to try anything. Nathan’s essentially a business version of Jon Taffer and Gordon Ramsey. Although his version of yelling is awkward pauses.

This week, Nathan ventures to a chili shop where he suggests the owner wear a plastic body suit to shuttle and sell the chunky soup to hockey fans at a local stadium. It’s outlandish but the owner has no other choice. Obstacles of course enter the frame like having to gel Nathan up with a heat resistant product in order to protect himself from hot chili or cutting holes in the suit for going to the restroom (which NEVER comes up by the way). Moments like this capture Nathan For You’s real sense of wtf-ability.

Oddly enough, Nathan continues his upward trajectory into cartoon territory with the second segment involving a massage parlor. For this business, they want to upsell visitors by telling them the lower tier massages are going to be done by persons with warts. Twice this week – and for the second time in two weeks – Nathan hires people from Craigslist to do weird acts. For the chili shop, it was getting a guy’s measurements for the dimensions of the chili costume. The massage parlor would eventually employ two people stricken with warts. And good God are the two hired hands strange. One is a holistic-style man who believes a machine can send out good vibes and the other is simply kooky. Beyond the new hires, the parlor needs to be recognized as a wart hiring operation. Nathan’s logical next step is to get a city councilman to endorse the project. He tricks a councilperson to attend a banquet dedicated to a fake charity (“CityWarts”), hires Miss California 2013 to host, and uses a photo op as a way to get an “endorsement.” The hoops Nathan foes through to get plans into actions is eerily intricate.

One thing Nathan does this week stands out. The massage parlor owner finds his idea too out there (who could blame her) to which Nathan responds, “I'm paying you for it so why do you care?” Phrasing it as such changes the dynamic of the show. Nathan and his crew are paying for this. Should the business owners not have a say in the direction of the plan? Do they need to? This is an interesting topic no one will ever discuss.

Should you watch “Chili Shop; Massage Parlor?”

In one of Nathan For You’s most devious plans to date, the show excels. Watch it.