The First Reviews For Nathan Fielder’s New Show ‘The Rehearsal’ Are Calling It A ‘Masterpiece Of Awkward Chaos”

Nathan Fielder surprised his fans last week by dropping a trailer for his new HBO series, The Rehearsal, which clearly takes the hilarious cringe comedy of Nathan For You to a whole new level. In a nutshell, Fielder helps people “prepare for life’s biggest moments” by subjecting them to a simulation of his own overly-elaborate making. Essentially, they can “rehearse” for an uncomfortable conversation and/or life-changing decision. However, thanks to Fielder’s machinations, any wrong move can result in awkwardly devastating (but also kind of hilarious) results.

Again, it’s a natural extension of Fielder’s hit series, Nathan For You, only now the stakes are much, much higher than coming up with outlandish small business schemes. The good news is that Fielder appears to have nailed the execution as the first reviews for The Rehearsal are overwhelmingly positive when they’re not outright heralding the show as a “masterpiece.”

You can check out what the critics are saying below:

Ben Travers, IndieWire:

Fielder’s personal investment in each outcome elevates the series even higher. His initial motivation and what he discovers within the hysterical, emotional rehearsals — the joyful satisfactions and existential fears — provide an eye-opening through-line that makes “The Rehearsal” as addictive as it is endearing.

Daniel D’Addario, Variety:

The closest comparison might be “Synecdoche, New York,” the 2008 Charlie Kaufman film that, like “The Rehearsal,” treats life as a performance that can be perfected. And, like Kaufman’s film, “The Rehearsal” has an anarchic heart throbbing beneath a rigorous exterior — meaning that even the viewer who feels the project losing its way can admire Fielder’s abilities to establish lines for himself, and then to scribble outside them.

Robert Ham, Consequence:

There aren’t many shows, especially in the comedy world, taking the chances that The Rehearsal does. Nor are they lucky enough to be led by someone like Fielder, a comic visionary who has, once again, turned a parody of reality TV into a brilliant dissection of human nature.

Dave Nemetz, TVLine:

The heavy-duty scenario planning that Fielder undertakes to stage these rehearsals is both highly absurd and genuinely jaw-dropping. He dabbled in longer-form stunts on Nathan For You like in Season 4’s super-sized “Finding Frances,” but this is on a completely different level.

Nick Schager, The Daily Beast:

Nathan Fielder is the undisputed king of cringe comedy, and The Rehearsal is a masterpiece of awkward chaos that plays as both an extension and expansion of his heralded Comedy Central series Nathan for You.

Ross Bonaime, Collider:

By mixing the natural insanity of real life and the unbelievable resources at his disposal, there’s no early way of knowing which direction Fielder is going. Yet this is also the most expansive version of Fielder’s comedic vision we’ve ever seen, as if HBO gave him the independence and money to do whatever he wants. If there’s an easy way to do something, Fielder avoids it, instead attempting the most hare-brained, over-the-top solution to a problem.

Keith Phipps, TV Guide:

Fielder may be a man sitting in an offshoot of an elaborate alternate reality of his own creation, but as he sips a soda alone at the bar, he also looks like a man trying to use that alternate reality to figure out something about the real world. It’s that impulse that makes The Rehearsal much more than a prank show.

Lex Briscuso, /Film:

A smart and savvy introspective reali-comedy that challenges our hearts and minds as it prepares us for life’s most monumental eventualities. The show is a bit of surreal genius that reinvents our world as only Nathan Fielder can, with a dash of cringe, a touch of embarrassment, and an unexpectedly heavy dose of purity and heart.

The Rehearsal premieres July 15 on HBO.