Nathan Fielder 'Manipulative' Discourse Sparks Debate About Reality TV

Is Nathan Fielder manipulative? The Canadian comedian's latest show, The Rehearsal on HBO Max, is pushing boundaries and blowing people's minds, but is it any better than other reality TV shows like Love Island and Big Brother?

Over the past week, the TV star has been at the center of a Twitter controversy in which where fans have been discussing whether he manipulates and exploits people on his shows.

Fielder's Nathan for You series saw him plan outlandish strategies and parody business rhetoric, often at the expense of participants, and now the concept has graduated with The Rehearsal and earned an HBO budget. The show has been labeled "cruel and arrogant" by The New Yorker and "unhinged genius" by The Guardian.

The elaborate social experiment continues Fielder's obsession with human behavior while controlling and blurring the lines between reality and fantasy.

The Rehearsal
Canadian comedian Nathan Fielder's new TV series explores the lengths someone will go to reduce the uncertainties of everyday life, but it has sparked a Twitter debate about whether it is exploitative. HBO

Fielder creates elaborate simulations to help real people prepare for something they are nervous about doing in real life, such as a subject telling a friend they lied about their education, and a man confronting his brother about getting his inheritance.

All the while, Fielder has inserted himself into another simulation where he is living on a homestead with a woman to practice for parenthood.

The lengths that the show has gone to create these simulations have been blowing viewers' minds.

The show is genius, but is there a fine line between Fielder's methods and exploitation? And is it fair to use real people in this manner for entertainment? Twitter is divided, but Fielder's fan base is strong and his supporters love what he does.

"I'm sorry, it's just really funny that this website has given a free pass to almost all reality television, the most manipulative format in the history of human entertainment, and is coming down hard on *Nathan Fielder*," tweeted writer Joe Bernstein.

Comedian Ken Cheng wrote that "nathan fielder's the rehearsal is the most evil manipulative thing to have ever existed in the history of television. anyway now time to go watch love island, a show that drove several people to suicide."

Another user, Larry Swasey, joked: "I can say with 100% confidence that if Nathan Fielder was given enough time and money he would recreate the Truman Show with no hesitation."

Comedian Corinne Fisher said, "Imagine being anything but in awe of Nathan Fielder. Most of you shouldn't be allowed to consume art."

Another popular tweet reads: "nathan fielder is manipulative to the sort of people who agree to be on TV shows and that's OK."

Newsweek reached out to Fielder's representatives for comment.