At first I wasn’t sure if I loved or hated Proof.
It’s part-Truman showpart-Big Brother and partially absolute pyscho-stalker.
But I found myself frequently yelling at my TV screen: “Get out! Go out! GO OUT!”
The further it went on (I’ve now seen three episodes) the further I went down the rabbit hole.
Proofby comedian Nathan Fielder, is one of the most bizarre TV concepts I’ve seen in a long time.
According to the publicity release, Fielder (Nathan for you, How to do with John Wilson), “explore how far a man will go to reduce the uncertainties of everyday life. With a construction crew, a legion of actors, and seemingly unlimited resources, Fielder empowers everyday people to prepare for life’s big moments by “trying them on” in painstakingly crafted simulations of his own design. When a single misstep could shatter your entire world, why leave life to chance?
So, before your important job interview, or breakup conversation you’re planning on having, or telling someone you cheated on them (for example), you can rehearse it all in an elaborate playtime with actors and fake set to get ready to every possible outcome and mostly to orchestrate the outcome you truly desire.
In episode one, we meet Corr, a TV trivia geek who once lied about having a master’s degree in order to impress his new pub quiz friends. He’s decided that he really wants to “confess,” but he’s worried about how to tell her and is especially fearful that he’ll be a deal breaker for a friend.
Fielder, who even rehearsed his own encounter with Corr (stalker alert?), convinces him to participate in his crazy experiment with the help of actors and a meticulously reconstructed pub set. The attention to detail is scary… right down to the floating balloon stuck in the ceiling. The actors will play pub staff, drinkers and his curious friend. But there are also some decidedly underhanded reality tactics employed that Corr is unaware of.
In the second episode we meet Angela, a thirty-year-old deeply Christian who wants to “feel” what it could be like to raise a child. What? Parents agree to have their own babies and children become child actors for this experiment, where Angela is transferred to a farm to practice life with a child, with cameras filming everything. I couldn’t help but wonder what those same child actors were thinking when a crew member climbed through the window to swap them after 4-hour shifts. Nightmares!
Morally, ethically, you will often be torn apart by choices.
But here is where the series takes a turn, with the displacement of Fielder’s own participation, prompting me to reflect…. AND Proof a case study about the participant or the producer? Or both?
Either way, I’m hooked and now I can’t look away.
Not sure if these participants are on the spectrum or have drifted away from a Louis Theroux casting call, but Fielder is a nerdy but engaging host in a show that Foxtel calls a “comedy series.” Absolutely not, Jose. It’s so much more than that.
I haven’t gotten to what it is yet, but I’m glued trying to find out.
The Rehearsal airs Sundays at 9:30 p.m. on FOX Showcase.