Comedy Central

With a show as good as Nathan for You, it’s hard not to feel a little bit spoiled. The last two episodes, in particular, have been incredibly intricate and detailed, and both to led to hilarious conclusions. So, when we get an episode like “Computer Repair/Psychic,” it’s hard to know exactly what to do with it. In 2013, we would have thought this was amazing, but with so many great episodes in this show’s belt, an episode that strictly follows the show’s formula by the numbers can’t help but be a tad underwhelming.

That’s not say there isn’t anything to like here, though. Both stories have plenty of hilarious moments. In the first segment, Nathan attempts to help Herman, a computer technician whose business has fallen on hard times. He theorizes that people are shy to bring their PCs in for repair because they fear their privacy being violated, particularly when it comes to nude pictures. His plan? Create the first all-asexual computer repair shop! The best bit here comes from Herman, who is way too honest for his own good. He straight-up says that there’s no way he’d look at private pictures while fixing PCs because, well, he masturbates plenty at home! He manages to out-awkward Nathan here, and the reaction is priceless.

We get an amusing bit where Nathan screens for asexual people by showing them “sexy” pictures, and seeing if their heart rate increases. He settles on the two who were the least affected by it, and we’re in business. Whenever Nathan tries to explain the concept of the asexual repair shop, he ends up making the customers far more uncomfortable than they were when they walked in. Still, the plan is ultimately a success; his asexual repair team fixes a computer, and the customer is left satisfied. Unfortunately, the plot is left rather abruptly to make way for the second story line. It would have been interesting to see if the repair shop has any sustained success with Nathan’s plan, but there’s other business to handle, and it’s left alone.

Our second customer is a psychic named Dora, whose business is down lately. Nathan concocts a plan to save her business by targeting ads at one person: Maria Garcia. The twist is that there are over a thousand women with that name in the Los Angeles area, so all of them would think they are being individually targeted. It’s a clever idea, and one can only guess how much business Dora gets from it. For now, however, we’re focused on one individual Maria Garcia, who leaves Dora’s reading underwhelmed. Rather than cut his losses and focus on any of the other Marias who come in for readings, he focuses all of his energy on changing her mind. How? By making her fall in love.

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This is where we meet Salomon, an employee on the show who is perpetually lovesick. Nathan tries to turn him into Maria’s dream guy, while giving him some dating advice along the way. The pick-up artist technique of “negging” is alluded to as Nathan advises him to say she’s “so dumb,” but it’s not quite as malicious as actually PUAs often make it out to be, because in this case, it’s more gentle teasing than anything else. What makes this work is the adorable awkwardness of Salomon, who appears entirely innocent the whole time. It’s hard not to wish he could get dating advice from someone who actually has his best interests in mind.

Salomon meets Maria after Nathan has him pose as a make-up artist for a documentary about psychics he’d previously claimed Dora was supposed to be part of. Their encounter is awkward, and is only slightly aided when they bond over a mutual interest in movies. Still, Maria does agree to hang out with him, even if she doesn’t want to call it a date. For Nathan, this counts as a victory. This is a common theme of his show; as long as he technically succeeds, that means he succeeds, even if it’s the most hollow victory imaginable. What’s frustrating is that all the other Maria Garcias who gave Dora business are mentioned simply as an afterthought. As fun as Salomon’s awkwardness was, it might have been more interesting to see Dora deal with the influx of business from people who all have the same name.

The problem with two-story episodes like this one is that neither story feels entirely complete. The asexual computer repair shop ended too soon, choosing to view one happy customer as proof that the idea worked. Likewise, the psychic story didn’t have quite enough time to breathe. Had it been an episode-length arc, we could have seen Nathan attempt to set up Salomon with Maria, while also keeping tabs on the growth of the business. So, why does this episode still get a relatively high grade? Because it’s Nathan For You, which means it was still hilarious, and it still had moments where I blurted out “haha are you kidding me?!” at my television. When a TV show can give you an utterly perfunctory episode and still give you multiple belly laughs, that’s how you know it’s one of the best show’s around. That being said, tonight’s by-the—numbers affair left me even more excited for what surprises next week’s two-part season finale might hold.

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Stray observations

  • We see several naked pictures of Nathan, which he tells us are “strictly for his doctor.”
  • SEXUAL INTRUDER ALERT
  • “So, instead of thinking about sex, you think about Aquaman?”
  • Salomon and Maria definitely never actually hung out, right? She was just turning him down gently, I’m guessing.

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