Comedy Central’s Nathan for You may have only lasted four seasons, but it left a huge impact. There’s never been a show quite like it. Sure, the concept of “experienced businessman helps struggling small business” might mirror that of Kitchen Nightmares. But Nathan Fielder’s schemes are so elaborate and bizarre, they are more akin to performance art than actual business plans. Below are five of our favorite Nathan for You segments.
Electronics store Speers TV is struggling to compete with Best Buy, whose price match policy seems designed specifically to obliterate small businesses. The policy states that Best Buy will match the prices of any local competitor; this prevents the little guys from selling cheaper items and taking business away from the corporate monolith.
To help Speers, Nathan decides to use Best Buy’s price match policy against them. He temporarily prices all TVs at Speers to be only $1. Then, he hires a parade of shoppers to buy up Best Buy’s TV inventory, using the price match policy to purchase each TV at $1 apiece. Ideally, he would then raise Speers’s TV prices and sell off Best Buy’s merchandise whilst their inventory is depleted.
Of course, things aren’t that simple: Best Buy refuses to price match Speers’s $1 TVs. What follows is Nathan’s heroic attempt to sue Best Buy, filled with so many hilarious twists and turns that we’re shocked it all fits into a ~20 minute episode.
A coffee shop called the Helio Cafe is in a similar predicament to that of Speers TV. Its business is being taken by a major corporation, in this case Starbucks. To help the neighborhood coffee shop, Nathan proposes a rebranding of the Helio Cafe as Dumb Starbucks, a parody of Starbucks (and the first “parody business” to exist).
With a sign and logo resembling that of Starbucks, Nathan hopes that customers will be fooled into buying coffee at what was formerly known as the Helio Cafe, believing it to be a real Starbucks. After the less than open-minded owner of cafe drops out of the scheme, Nathan himself moves forward with the idea.
Watching the real-life rise of Dumb Starbucks is nothing short of awe-inspiring. It was Nathan’s first plan to gain widespread attention outside the show. Unfortunately, Dumb Starbucks closed due to Nathan not getting the proper permits to sell food items. Even more unfortunate is the fact that the Helio Cafe is also now closed. Perhaps the owner should have listened to Nathan.
Let’s face it: gas is ridiculously overpriced. This is as true now as it was in 2013, when the “Gas Station” segment first aired. In order to help Sevan Gas Station attract more customers, Nathan suggests the owner price gas at $1.75 per gallon… after rebate. Of course, sitting next to the price tag, the “after rebate” sign is so small that the average customer isn’t able to see it. Soon, hordes of people flood to Sevan, desperate for cheap gas.
In order to get the rebate, customers must accompany Nathan to a nearby mountain, then solve a series of riddles that will lead them to the rebate paperwork. This process is so convoluted and time-consuming that most reluctantly just pay full price for their gas. However, a few dedicated cheapskates actually follow Nathan to the mountain.
What follows are some genuinely heartwarming bonding sequences between Nathan and the customers, as they share their life stories whilst camping throughout the night. They never do get the rebate though.
Bouquet Plaza Liquor is struggling to stay afloat. In order to save the business, Nathan suggests that owner Nabil Khalil tap into a new market: minors. Of course, he isn’t advocating for teens to walk out of Bouquet Plaza with booze; however, he points out that it technically isn’t illegal for them to own it.
He begins marketing Bouquet Plaza as the liquor store “that sells alcohol to minors.” When teens flock to the store, they are shocked to learn that any alcohol they purchase is put on layaway until they turn 21.
The upside is that Nathan has furnished a corner of the store to look like a basement, complete with childish posters that read “rock music” and “snowboarding.” The teens are allowed to pose for photos with their purchased drinks here, giving off the illusion that they are at a “cool party.”
As an ex-pizza delivery boy I am extremely proud to say that I just acquired a *slice* of TV history… a tiny pizza box from the first episode of Nathan For You. Thank you @heyjustin and @nathanfielder https://t.co/5QYVezPBJZ pic.twitter.com/i3yBBR5KpX— Sam Spina (@Spinadoodles) April 27, 2018
The series’s first segment contains one of most devilish schemes ever portrayed on Nathan for You. Honestly, we can totally understand why some customers were enraged by it. In order to help a pizzeria attract more customers, Nathan devises a new deal for delivery: if the customer’s pizza is not delivered within six (yes, six) minutes, they will receive a second pizza for free.
Obviously, it would be impossible to make even one six-minute delivery, and the business can’t just be giving away pizzas for free, can it? Well, the size of the pizza isn’t specified in the guarantee. The free pizzas customers receive are only one-inch big. And while recipients are certainly enraged, it doesn’t change the fact that the pizzeria made big money off of Nathan’s scheme.
For fans of Nathan for You, what are your favorite segments? Let us know in the comments!