The second episode of Nathan Fielder’s The Rehearsal, titled “Scion,” applied Fielder’s absurd premise to a situation that most people will eventually find themselves in: having a child.
Like Episode 1 (“Orange Juice, No Pulp”) Fielder uses the concept of “rehearsing” a life event to help Angela decide if she’s ready to have kids. While the events of the rehearsal are different, the lengths that Fielder goes to are similar. He hires a swarm of child actors and their parents to pretend to be Angela’s baby and even tries to find Angela a rehearsal husband. But it doesn’t end there.
“Scion” opens with an absurd scene of baby-napping. It’s not revealed until after that that this wild stunt is part of the rehearsal. With hiring child actors, there are lots of strict laws dealing with the amount of time they can be in front of the camera, as well as matters of the ethics of using babies as part of the show. That’s why Nathan Fielder switches the babies out so frequently and uses a robot baby at night. It’s a lot of effort for Fielder, his crew, and even the parents who must be constantly asked about any updates on the show. Rather than just using a robot baby for the entire rehearsal, Fielder leans into the absurdity of employing multiple children at a time and switching them out without Angela’s knowledge.
Aside from the small army of babies and children brought onto the show for Angela’s rehearsal, she is adamant about another aspect of raising a child. She wants a husband, but she wants her husband to have similar religious values as her own. Enter Robin, a man Angela meets online and in person. While it seems like a good match at first, Fielder’s one-on-one time with Robin reveals that his views on pre-marital sex are much different from Angela’s.
As the episode proceeds, Nathan Fielder begins to contemplate his own feelings regarding starting a family. There are many reasons to have children, such as continuing one’s legacy or having a child to experience life with. At a point during “Scion,” Angela is getting ready to leave for a date with Robin, only to be questioned by Fielder about if she found a babysitter. She didn’t, so Fielder breaks the rules and decides that he’ll stay and watch “her” baby himself. This experience is vital for Fielder, as he falls in love with the idea of having his own child.
The lines between Fielder as the director and Fielder as a potential father continue to cross throughout the episode. After Robin leaves, unable to handle a single night with the robot baby, Fielder hesitantly brings up a solution for Angela. Fielder asks Angela if she would be alright with him co-parenting the baby — no romantic relationship needed. She agrees, and the episode ends.
Fielder touches on very human ideas in this episode of The Rehearsal. The desire for a family is a core element of this episode of the comedy series, as the entire “rehearsal” is staged to allow a single woman to see whether she’s ready to start her own family. Nathan Fielder’s interest in taking part in his own experiment demonstrates how deep this desire goes. While this experiment was not started for him, he realizes very quickly that it’s something he’s interested in. The rehearsal is now growing to include the director himself as Fielder is now also “rehearsing” parenthood alongside Angela.
“Scion” is only the first part of this rehearsal. Episode 3 of The Rehearsal, “Gold Digger,” shows Nathan Fielder embracing his new role on the show. As typical with Fielder’s absurdist brand of humor, this rehearsal continues to escalate in its dramatics before concluding with the end of the experiment. That’s the Fielder way.
The Rehearsal is now streaming on HBO Max.