Episode two tackles parenting in another hilarious simulation. A ground-breaking premise that explores some truly unique character studies as Nathan Fielder blurs the lines between fact and fiction even further.
This recap of the HBO series The Rehearsal season 1, episode 2, “Scion,” contains spoilers. You can check out all of our coverage of this show by clicking these words
Nathan Fielder’s ground-breaking experiment continues in episode two, in which the comedian focuses on one of the most life-changing events of all – having a baby! In “Scion”, Nathan Fielder constructs the most elaborate rehearsal yet, in truly awe-inspiring fashion, going full Charlie Kaufman. This is the mother of all simulations and one that again produces some touching moments, along with the downright hilarious. The treats just keep on coming in this HBO series.
The Rehearsal season 1, episode 2 recap
Episode two opens with Nathan Fielder staring at a monitor filled with an array of CCTV screens. He’s watching live footage of a woman care for a baby. She places a hat on the baby’s head and he panics, demanding a hat right away. Another mother and child are next to him, ready for a switch over. The two babies are swapped in dramatic, covert style, making for a tense introduction to Fielder’s crazy new setup. What has he got in store for us this week then?
The Canadian comedian narrates over this live household footage, stating that nothing can prepare you for becoming a parent (I wholeheartedly agree sir!), but most people don’t have the resources to hire dozens of child actors to create a round the clock simulation of parenthood. Nathan Fielder you are not wrong there. And that is exactly what he’s done. It’s an insanely clever premise that fills this thirty minute instalment.
Nathan Fielder has provided singleton and forty-four-year-old Angela with the ultimate simulation of parenthood, giving her the opportunity to test-run the scenario to see if she would like to one day become a parent herself. She will be raising a child from the age of zero to eighteen in two, intense months of filming. Each week, the baby will grow three years older, with each age group having multiple child actors to fulfil the role due to labor laws.
Angela is a very particular individual though, who has planned her life out to the nth degree, and she has her own set of demands. These ideas work more as a fantasy than a reality, but Nathan Fielder and his team happily accommodate, relocating to rural Oregon, where they rent a large house and some land for the project. Angela cares for the baby, which is switched every four hours. At night they are replaced with a robot baby that simulates night time behaviors. Nathan Fielder hasn’t left a single stone unturned. They even simulate the adoption process.
Realizing that the project is missing a father figure, Nathan Fielder sends Angela on a montage of dates and she connects most with a fellow religious man named Robin. Later, we discover that Robin is obsessed with numbers, smokes weed and frequently partakes in unsafe sex – not exactly role model material. He agrees to be a part of the process, but is tested to his limits on the first night and bails straight away when the baby will not stop crying. Nathan Fielder himself asks to step in as the dad from this point onwards, and again those lines continue to blur with Fielder eager to engage in the project, harkening back to Louis Theroux’s similar style of involvement.
The second installment ends with Nathan Fielder calling all the parents of the child actors to inform them that he will be co-parenting from now on. He follows a flowchart conversation, asking for verbal consent from the parents. It highlights his OCD-like eye for detail and the behind-the-scenes monotony of the experiment. “Scion” allows for some great character studies that lead to more unbeatable comedy. Nathan Fielder really has tapped into something special here and I hope the subsequent episodes explore this concept in more depth.
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