Friday, October 7

Criticism of the series ‘The trials’ on HBO: chance and fiction

Nathan Fielder is the creator of ‘The Trials’.

Reality and fiction feed off each other in this recommendable experimental proposal that flees from labels. It is the enjoyable current series that “everyone” talks about

Borja Crespo

It is often said that reality is stranger than fiction, but we can make different readings of this popular phrase, as it suits us. Fiction is ahead, in many aspects, of reality, there is science fiction, but it is true that reality ends up surpassing fiction given the nature of the human being, contradictory, expansive, unpredictable and restless. The boundaries between reality and fiction can disappear, subtly merging. We are capable of manipulating reality and «fictionalizing» it as we please, as creators or interactive spectators. Starting from this premise, adding another fact that also characterizes our species, the absurd behavior that we often flaunt, we can situate ‘The Trials’, one of the latest sensations in streaming entertainment. Premiering last weekend on HBO Max, this original series has been the talk of the towns of connoisseurs, prescribers and artists with a voice on social networks. That is to say, it has been “on everyone’s lips”, although that “everyone” is always debatable: we know that Twitter is a bubble (the enthusiasm for some premieres does not usually translate into box office success or the most applauded titles are welcomed with joy by the general public). Objectively, it is a bold and unprecedented production, which moves between comedy, experimentation, reality and drama, with a peculiar packaging that is completely disconcerting, emphasizing the attractive approach: leave nothing in our lives to chance.

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Nathan Fielder is the lord and master of this striking format. He is the absolute creator, writer, producer and presenter, read a true showrunner. His resume has allowed him to build a project whose pitch, the presentation of the proposal for sale, had to be fascinating. The show, despite what it might seem from a simple reading of its synopsis, is quite expensive to produce. Let us imagine that we do not want to leave anything to its fate in our existence, in such a way that we try all the possibilities that may arise when faced with an important issue. In the initial installment of ‘Essays’, the guest protagonist wants to confess a lie to a good friend with whom he does not want to end badly. So that everything runs smoothly, Nathan and his team analyze every detail in a kind of real multiverse, which is not, because they build, for example, the pub where they are going to meet to drop the bomb. They build an exact replica of the bar in a lost industrial warehouse, with a sickly meticulousness so that the recreations are as credible as possible. The hidden cameras are witness to what finally happens, but… how far does the planning go? The surprise is maximum.

In ‘The essays’ the reality of the guest is molded, but also our perception of it. As spectators, we are part of the show. The simulation also affects us when we see the final montage, precisely mixing reality and fiction to the point of paroxysm, with documentary images and scenes defended by actors. The result generates a curious restlessness that nourishes the psychologist that we all carry inside. An error can distort everything imagined, or open another door to perception. We are facing a recommendable bet that avoids corsets and labels in pursuit of entertainment and reflection. Can we rehearse our relationships with other human beings and exceptional life moments? Are we capable of training ourselves to shine in conversations and study the consequences of our decisions in advance? Having everything under control can be disturbing. For this reason, and many more, this costly delirium, with several layers of meaning, will give a lot to talk about, which plays with the possibility of maneuvering before a series of catastrophic misfortunes and turning them around. Thanks to these types of initiatives, which only a video-on-demand platform seems to want to promote, stimulating television is still possible.

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‘The Trials’ is available on HBO Max.


The trailer for ‘The Trials’.

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