It doesn’t feel like hyperbole or even a matter of opinion to call “The Rehearsal” one of the most original, off-the-wall shows to debut in years. The proof lies in how difficult it can be to describe: it has elements of a reality show, but not a single variable is left to chance; it’s darkly funny, but also deeply sad; and, five episodes in, it remains unclear whether the audience is in on the joke, or if we’re the butt of it.
If you’re not caught up, “The Rehearsal” is the second series from “Nathan For You” creator/director/star Nathan Fielder. The HBO series is built around a deceptively simple premise: Fielder wants to help people (who responded to his ominous Craigslist ad) prepare for important moments by rehearsing them to perfection. He does this by measures of escalating absurdity – constructing a full-size model of the location where the moment is scheduled to take place (the show’s budget is anyone’s guess), hiring actors to impersonate the other people involved, and going undercover with elaborate disguises. Sometimes, Fielder even rehearses for the rehearsals.
The rehearsal to end all rehearsals – which starts out as a side project and quickly becomes the show’s centerpiece – involves Angela, a woman who wants to role play motherhood before she actually commits. Here, Fielder goes full “Truman Show,” creating a controlled environment where time moves differently, so that Angela can experience raising a child (that is, child actors) from infancy to adulthood over the course of a few months. Things get more complicated when Fielder decides to participate in the simulation himself, as a co-parent.
How will it all end? If you plan on tuning in to this Friday’s finale, here’s what you need to know.
Where can I watch “The Rehearsal”?
“The Rehearsal” airs simultaneously on HBO and HBO Max.
When does Episode 6 of “The Rehearsal” air?
Episode 6, titled “Pretend Daddy,” airs on Friday, Aug. 19 at 11 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. PT. The episode will air again at 12:35 a.m.
“Pretend Daddy” is the season 1 finale of “The Rehearsal.”
Where did “The Rehearsal” Episode 5 leave off?
Spoiler alert! For a quick recap, Episode 5 (titled “Apocalypto” after the Mel Gibson movie) saw mounting tensions between Nathan and Angela over their religious and moral values. (Angela is a devout Christian and Nathan is Jewish). After a visit from Nathan’s parents, he decides to go behind Angela’s back to give their “child” Adam an interfaith upbringing, taking him to a Jewish tutor named Miriam. Miriam comes over to the house and accuses Angela of being antisemitic; Angela calls Nathan out for his frequent lies.
Later, while reviewing surveillance footage, Nathan learns that Angela drops the act when he isn’t around, acknowledging that “Adam” is really an actor and abandoning her agreed-upon duties. He readies himself for a confrontation with her by rehearsing with an actress, who as “Angela” gives a harsh but powerful speech that ends with her saying he doesn’t know how to feel. In real life, the confrontation isn’t so dramatic. Angela decides to leave the show, and Nathan celebrates Hanukkah with Adam and Miriam.
Has “The Rehearsal” been renewed for a second season?
HBO renewed “The Rehearsal” for Season 2 on Friday, Aug. 19 — hours before the Season 1 finale debut.
Where can I watch “Nathan For You”?
All four seasons of “Nathan For You” are available to stream on HBO Max, Hulu, Paramount+, Paramount+ on Prime Video and Hoopla. You can also purchase episodes on Apple TV, Prime Video, Vudu, Microsoft Store and Google Play. The series, which Fielder also wrote, directed and starred in, ran on Comedy Central from 2013 to 2017.