01x06 - Pretend Daddy

Episode transcripts for the TV show "The Rehearsal". Aired: July 15, 2022 - present.
American docu-comedy with Nathan Fielder helping ordinary people rehearse difficult conversations or life events through the use of sets and actors hired to recreate real situations.
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01x06 - Pretend Daddy

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Wow! Okay, okay, wait.
You have to wait

for everyone else to play too.

We... we only have
so many balloons.

Adam, would you do Daddy
a favor and get the root beer

from the kitchen for me?

- REMY AS ADAM, 6: Yeah.
- Thank you.

LIAM AS ADAM, 9: Got the root beer.

Oh! Thanks, Adam.

Happy Birthday.

Oh, yeah. Thanks.

Adam is the birthday boy.

This is your child,
he's Adam's friend.

And this
is Adam's birthday gift.

was turning nine and I realized

I hadn't thrown him
a single birthday party.

To save money
it was suggested

I use background actors
for all the party guests.

But I only remember
once they showed up

that union rules prohibit extras

- from speaking.
- How's, uh...

I guess they say gluten-free
is, like, healthier.

So... yeah.


Right. Uh, I'll...
I'll let you get back

to... Yeah.

I guess when
normal shows do stuff like this,

they add fake party chatter
in post-production.

But when the point
is to actually experience it

in the moment,
it doesn't quite work.

♪ Happy birthday to you ♪

You guys can...
You can clap. Yeah.

It wasn't the most
realistic party

but it saved us
over fifteen thousand dollars.

And most importantly, Adam,
seemed to be having a blast.

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Like he's mixing
the two together, you know,

like Christmas
and, like, Christmas trees

and Hanukkah.

that the six-year-old actors

were done,
one of the mothers requested

I unravel some of the stuff
her son had learned

during the rehearsal.

- He's the...
- Jesus is almighty.

Jesus is al...
You accept him as...

- Our savior.
- Our savior.

- Your savior.
- Our king.

He is the savior and the king.

And Judaism is just some,
like, pretend thing.

- Yeah.
- So, you're...

You should be excited
to be Christian

because you get to go heaven,
but I have to go to hell

as a Jew and so you should
not wanna be Jewish because,

uh, you'll suffer like me and...
And I'll, well, bur... burn.


With everything,
I was having to deal with

behind the scenes,
I was starting to feel

like I was constantly
being pulled away

from the experience
of fatherhood,

I was hoping to rehearse.

During the party,
there was one child actor

who played Adam at age six
that kept sneaking back

into the home
after the nine-year-old

had already taken over.

It was the end of his final day
and he was refusing to change

out of his Adam wardrobe.


Come on,
let's go change your clothes.

- I don't wanna leave.
- Aw, it's okay.

You wanna give him a hug?

You wanna hug and...
I could see... We'll see...

We'll see,
we're gonna come back

- and see him again.
- Yeah, yeah, I can see you.

Oh, it's okay.

- Give him a hug.
- It's okay. We'll see you again.

We'll see each other again.

His name was Remy.
And if I'm being honest,

out of all the kids
in this project,

I sort of got along
with him the most.

I'm here to see the doctor.

I'm Doctor Fart,
come have a seat.

Okay, thank you.

I assumed he was just having
a normal kid tantrum.

- Hey.
- I don't wanna leave.

Okay, but listen,
here's the thing,

we have to leave.

But then, his mom Amber
gave me some insight

as to what might be going on.

Now that he's getting older,
he sees other kids with dads

and at school, there's dads
picking up their kids,

and he's definitely wondering,
where's mine?

- Oh, really?
- Yeah.

It's really tough.

This morning, I was
explaining to him, "You know,

you're gonna be Adam today,
you're gonna have

a birthday party."
And, you know, he's like,

"Oh, is my pretend daddy
gonna be there?"

I said, "Yeah," and he goes,
"My pretend daddy loves me."

And I was like...

My heart literally broke
into a million pieces like...

even talking about it,

I could almost cry

just 'cause I feel bad for him

Um, yeah, it is what it is.

Are you gonna say bye?

- Bye, I don't wanna leave you.
- It's okay.

It's okay.
We'll see each other soon.

I'm sure, okay?


All right, guys.

- Thank you.
- It's okay.

And after that,
I found myself struggling

to transfer my emotions
to the new Adam.

Hey, Dad. That party was so fun.
I got to see all my friends.

Oh. Glad you had a good time.

You're the best dad. I love you.

I love you too.

I'm gonna go back to playing.

- All right.
- Bye, Dad.


I had enrolled Adam
in a Jewish elementary school

to continue
his spiritual learning.

It made me feel like a good Jew.

Even though I knew the moment
I looked away

his real parents would pull up
and intercept him,

so they could take him
to his real school.

I planned several challenges
for myself

that I felt
a real parent might face.

So, at 4 p.m.,
when he was brought back

for me to pick up,
the actors were instructed

to launch into a scenario
I had scripted.

Hey, Adam. I'm having
a sleepover this weekend.

- You wanna come?
- Sure.

Well, you're not invited.

So how are you gonna come then?

Don't cry, Adam.

My hope
was that I could practice

counseling my child
through a complex

emotional experience,
an area where I fear

as a real father,
I may fall short.

I wanted to go
to that sleepover.

You really want to be friends
with those guys, huh?

Maybe next time
they ask you to hang out

you should just say no.


- You wanna practice that?
- Sure.

Hey, Adam, you want
to come to my sleepover?

No, thanks.


See now, they don't have
any power over you.


You're in control
because you don't want

anything from them.
You don't want their friendship.

But I was
starting to feel

like I was just solving
a puzzle of my own design.

Thanks, Dad.

No problem.

And instead
of being present with my son,

my mind was elsewhere.


I spent a week
with a child who had no dad,

pretending that I was his dad.

What's the guy's name
in the house?

Um, Daddy.

What did I think
was gonna happen?

I love you, Daddy.

- What did you say?
- I love you, Daddy.

Aw, I love you too, Adam.

His mom had reached out asking
if I wanted to come visit.

Maybe it was time to check in.


Hey, buddy.

- Come here.
- Okay.

- Look at that there.
- What is that?

That's you and that's me
at the birthday party.

That's me?

Yeah, and that's you... Me.

It was strange being

in a real child's home

after being in a fake one
for so long.

I wasn't used to
this level of detail.

Every object
was perfectly placed

but nothing was by design.
It was a work of art.

And it was just real life.


- Hey.
- Daddy.

- Yeah.
- Look, I made this at school.

- Aw.
- And also, I cut my...

- Hey, hey.
- What?

You don't have to call me daddy,
you can call me Nathan, okay?

No, don't be silly.

No, because we're just...
We're just playing daddy,

We're just pretending.

I don't want you to be "A than."
I want you to be Daddy.

Right, but we were
just pretending, right?

So, now we're back
to Remy and Nathan.

But also
I don't want you to be...

I don't want you to be Nathan.

Well, that's my name.

Has he been doing that?


I wondered about
that when we first started.

I was like...

...that's probably
like a really difficult role

for a child who really
doesn't have a dad

and he's just like
doesn't want it to not be real.

So, it's actually really sad.

- He's such a cool kid.
- Sorry. I'm, like,

don't even know why
I'm getting emotional I just...

- No.
- I love him to pieces.

So, like,
I hope this isn't affecting him.

But it was really cool,
and I know he, like loved it,

and he had, like a lot of fun.

- Yeah, he was so...
- And it's not like

I think anybody
did anything wrong.

It's just more
like my mind wondering.

Does he know what acting is?

Like, does he understand
that a little bit, or...

Hmm, I don't know.

I really don't, honestly.
I'm not sure.

Look what the bird give me.

- The bird gave you that?
- Yeah.

- What is that?
- Wow!

Can you listen to this?
This is very important, okay?

- Why?
- It's very important.

So, remember
how we are making a TV show?

...I'm Nathan, right?

- You know that?
- You... I don't want you

- to be Nathan.
- But honey, listen.

Yeah, but daddy... daddy...
When we were doing daddy,

that was pretend
because we were doing, um...

- We were making a show.
- We were playing.

- And it was... and it was fun.
- And acting.

And acting, and...

Do you remember when we were...
When we were being dinosaurs?

- Yeah.
- And right... chasing

- each other around as dinosaurs.
- Yeah.

We weren't
really dinosaurs, right?

We were just playing
and having fun, right?

Yeah, I also wanna...

I really be punching
the dinosaur.

Yeah, um,
and that's kind of like

when we were doing...
When we were doing

Daddy and Adam.

That was just play
like dinosaurs.

But... But in... in...
But in real life,

you're Remy and I'm Nathan,
and we're just friends, right?

- We're just friends.
- Right?

Does that make sense?

And so, um, what do friends do?


No, friends hang out
and have a fun time

and then they go do
their own life,

and then they'll talk,
you know, and like,

hang out sometimes
and it's fun, right?

So, it's... If you don't...

No, you have to call me Nathan.

- Come here. I need to tell you.
- Call me Nathan.

This is very important, Remy.

Come on, listen to me.

Listen to me.

That is not your daddy.

That's not your daddy.
That's our friend Nathan.

And you are Remy
and you're not Adam.

And we were
just playing pretend.



Aw, thank you.

- What?
- I wanna stay with...

- Yeah.
- But...

Bye... bye, Nathan.

Good, okay.

- I still love Nathan.
- I know.

That's okay,
you can still love him

and he can be your friend.


So, did you see
that guy Max again?


How'd that go?

- Amazing.
- Yeah?

They invited me to something,
I said no.

So, they just walked away.


- Guess your advice did work.
- Good.

You know
I'm not your real dad, right?

Wait, what?

Like... you know,
I'm not actually your dad.

- Oh, yeah.
- Okay.

- Like we're just acting.
- Yeah.

- You know that right?
- Yeah, yeah.

And you understand
what that means?

- Yes.
- Okay.

Do you have a dad?

- Yes.
- Okay.

Sorry. I didn't mean to...

- insult you.
- No, I don't... It's fine.

You're just...
You're a good actor.

- It's fine.
- So I... So you can't tell,

- you know?
- Oh.

I just wanted to be sure.


Do you feel like, I'm like,
believable as a dad, like...

I mean,
you're a great scene partner.

- Good.
- Yeah.

What on earth was I doing?

Everything about this rehearsal
just felt so trivial now.

Maybe the best use
of my resources

at this point
would be to figure out

what I could have done

- What did you say?
- I love you, daddy.

Aw, I love you too, Adam.

To live these moments again.

And see
if there was a better path.

I'm Doctor Fart,
come have a seat.

Kinda hear how he talks.

After all, how can you
move on from a mistake

if you don't even know
what you could have done

to avoid it.

- What did you say?
- I love you, Daddy.

- Oh.
- Oh.

Um, refer to me as Nathan,
please. Is that okay?

Yeah, okay.

I tried experimenting
with a slightly colder demeanor.

Okay. You don't need
to hold my hand

- you're a big boy now. Okay?
- Okay.

To see
if it could have helped prevent

a bond being formed.

Okay, let's not just...
Just let's play the game.

We can still have fun.
We don't need to hug.

Daddy, can you read me
a bedtime story?

Aren't you...

Aren't you old enough
to read by yourself?

But all this
forced detachment felt like

it was defeating the purpose
of rehearsing being a parent.

All right, maybe a quick one.

Perhaps I could have
avoided these issues,

if I used older kids
to play the younger ones.

- I love you, Daddy.
- Oh.

- What did you say?
- I said I love you, Daddy.

Aw, I love you too, Adam.

Then I could have
been just as affectionate

and caring towards them
and they would

never get confused.


If their performance
was good enough,

maybe I could have looked past
any visual inconsistencies.


It's not hard
to be in the moment

with a great actor.

♪ There's my sleepy baby ♪

♪ You're my sleepy boy ♪

But even though
I gave it my best,

something about this
just didn't sit right.

- Goodnight, Adam.
- Goodnight, Daddy.

And I found myself
constantly distracted

by the thought
that I was living

with a fully grown man.

And removing humans
from the equation entirely

proved to be just as weird.

Aw, I love you too, Adam.

Well, if there was nothing

I could have
done differently with the kids,

maybe I could have changed
my approach with the parents.

- Amber.
- Amber.

Good to meet you.
Okay, come on in.

- Nice to meet you.
- Yeah.

What could I have said?

Um, maybe, um...

Or should I have done
something different

on that day we said goodbye.

It's okay.


Hey, what... what can I do?
What do you want?

I don't wanna leave.

Well, we can say...
We can say goodbye.

You wanna give him a hug?


So, maybe it was Angela.

That was so much fun, right?

If she had never left,

maybe that would
have made all the difference.

You have to be good
and listen to your mom, okay?

She was so good
with the kids.

Thank you.


And with a fake mom
in the house the whole time,

maybe he would have known
it was all pretend.

You see.

But what could
I have done differently

to make her stay?


I can make it better.
I can... um...

Things can improve.
I can improve.

I just feel like,
we're just going back in circles

and that's never gonna change.

I'll just take my tea.

But what could I have said?

What could I have done?

No, don't go.

That's all you have to say?



Well then,
I'll just take my tea.

Why do I always end up here?

Well, I... I can change.
I can... I can try to.

I mean,
I can't change 180 but...

I can change
in small ways, for sure.

Well then,
I think you've made your choice.

I'll get my tea.

- I'm sorry, I am who I am.
- And I am who I am.


I'll just get my tea.

How does
this keep happening to me?

What else can you do
when you're trying your best?

- Okay.
- Well...

I'll just take my tea.

I just wanted to apologize
for suggesting that...

you aren't taking
this seriously.

Uh. You were navigating it
as best as you could and...

So, I'm sorry.

I'm... I was the problem,
not you.

I appreciate you saying that.

All is forgiven.

Really? Just like that?

Um, well, there's a scripture
that talks about forgiving

someone seven times.

But Jesus says the new teaching
is, I tell you, um,

seven... 70 times seven.

- Um...
- Is that 77 times seven.

And then Peter came up
to him and said, "Lord,

how often shall my brother
sin against me

and I forgive him?"

"As many as seven times."
And then Jesus said,

"I do not say to you
seven times,

but 70 times seven."

So, it's like
if we have to forgive

our neighbor that much,
and we have to love ourselves

like we love our neighbor,
then we also have

to forgive ourselves that much.

All right.

- Hey.
- Hi, guys.

Hi, Remy.
Do you remember Liam?

- Yeah.
- He's an actor, too.

He played Adam also.
He was at the birthday party,

you switched with him.

- Mm-hmm.
- You remember him?


Three, two, one go.

- No, no!
- Oh.


Forgiving yourself
sounds so easy and nice.

Watch out.

But how does a person
actually do that?

He called me Nathan
when I came in.

Yeah. Totally. Mm-hmm.

- So, what do you think?
- I think he's...

accepted it and he's kind
of like, chill with it.

He gets...
He doesn't think I'm his...

Yeah, he... he gets it for sure.

- You think so?
- Yeah.

I think that he will be okay.
I do. I think he'll be okay.

How do you
convince yourself of that?

I didn't convince myself.
I'm just gonna make sure

he's okay, so he is
and I just know.

Like I just know. Like,
I don't know how to explain it.

It's something you won't know
until you like have a kid

if you do.

What did you see in his face
that makes you so sure?


It's just one of those things,
I don't know, you just know.



You strong, boy.

Could it be
that the path to forgiveness

lies in someone else's eyes?

Where'd you get that sweatshirt?


- Oh.
- Yeah.

- It's nice.
- Thank you.


What's your name again?


- Nathan.
- Yeah.

He is crazy.

I just want to call you daddy.

- We're not going back to that.
- No, no, Nathan.

That doesn't worry you?
What just happened.

No. No.


Bye. See you later.

My TV friends are leaving.

Yes, they are.

You may never be able
to change what happened.

But maybe
with a new perspective,

you could try
to change yourself.

- Did you get enough?
- Yeah, I think so.

Okay, good. Buckle up.


- Yeah, Mom.
- Hey,

you wanna record that
TV show audition now, baba?

- What do you think?
- Hmm, yeah.

Yeah? Okay. Come on.

Hi. I'm Remy. I live in Oregon.
And I have so many toys

that are in my room.
Like, one, I have a...

I have a Gru plushie. I really
like to sleep with him...

That's our house there.
We're gonna be right there, huh?


- Cool, huh?
- Mm-hmm.

- Hey, Amber.
- Hi.

- And you must be Remy.
- Yes.

We're so excited to have
you guys be a part of this.

Uh, let me introduce you
the director, right?

It's a very unique project.

- Okay.
- Come inside.

Do you guys have
Hungry Hungry Hippos?

We sure do.

All right, so, uh...

Sort of free form. We won't be
sticking to a script.

- Okay.
- Uh, but of course,

anything that happens
inside the home will be sure

- to clear with you beforehand.
- Okay, great.

Um, do you want me anywhere...

Uh, well, uh...

Yeah, you're... you're free
to watch everything here

- at the monitors.
- Okay.

- Thanks.
- Okay. Yeah.

- Let me... I have to go.
- Yeah, I'll see you.

So, how are you today, Adam?

Good. I'm good.

What have you been doing?

Just tidying up your room?

He's kind of a weird dude, huh?

Uh, can I get you some soda
or sparkling water?

- Oh, I'm okay.
- You sure?

- Thank you. Yeah, thank you.
- Okay.

Right. Well, let me know
if you need anything.

Sure, thank you so much.

Do I get to see Daddy tomorrow?

- You do. Does that sound good?
- Yeah.

You know he's your pretend daddy
though, right?

No, not... Don't, baba.

Not on your nose.
No, no, no.

This is...
This is gonna hurt you.

Okay, you want some food?
Are you hungry?

- How was work today?
- Good. Just busy.


While you were at work today,
he kept asking to see his dad.

- Oh.
- Do you know what's that about?

Yeah, that's just the TV show
he's been doing.

I told you about that, Mom.

Oh, right.

Do you think he's a little young
to be getting into acting?

No, he's...
He's having a lot of fun.

I just worry
about him sometimes.

I love you, Daddy.

- What did you say?
- I love you, Daddy.

Aw, I love you too, Adam.

And what's...

They said you're gonna have
a birthday party soon, huh?

Oh. Is my daddy gonna be there?

Yeah, he's your pretend daddy,

- Okay.
- Okay.

My pretend daddy loves me.

- Come on in. Let's go.
- Okay.

- What's wrong? You sad?
- You want a hug?

You want to give him a hug?

- No.
- I could... will see you.

We gotta go, okay?
We can't stay here.

- It's okay.
- I don't wanna leave. I don't...

You know
Mommy has to go.

You give him a hug. Say goodbye.


I mean, it's just complicated
because he's now seeing kids

at school
and they have their dads

and he's kind of wondering
where's his.

You know. And so...

it's just new to him.
New concept.

I get it.

I hope it's okay.

Yeah. Are you okay?

Yeah, yeah. I'm okay.


But I don't want you
to be Nathan.

- I want you to be daddy.
- Right.

But we are
just pretending, right?

And now, we're back
to Remy and Nathan, okay?

I don't want...
I don't want you to be...

I want him to be daddy.

It's okay. It's okay.

He said
he wasn't my daddy anymore.

I'm sorry, baba.
That must've been very hard

for you to hear.

Why did he say he was my daddy?

I know. That man didn't mean
to confuse you, honey.

He just didn't know
what he was doing.

You know, he...

He's not that different
from you.

He's just figuring stuff out
and messing up along the way.

Maybe we shouldn't have done
that show, huh?

It's like
a weird little weird thing

for a little kid
to be a part of.

But you know what?

Mommy's not perfect, okay?

She makes mistakes too.
And you're gonna make mistakes.

Look at me, baba.
You know what.

I think it's a good thing
that you're sad.

Because it shows
that you have a heart.

It shows that you can feel
and you can love,

and you can put your trust
in others.

Is that a smile I see?

Is that another thing
you're feeling there?

A smile.

How do you feel
if tickle monster att*cks you?



life's better was surprises.

I mean, some things you want
to be prepared for,

but you know what I mean.

Oh, no, you got me!
Tickle monster got me now.

What the heck?

That's weird.

But you know what?
It's okay if you get confused.

It's okay if you get sad

because no matter
what you experience,

we have each other.

And I'm always gonna be here
for you, okay?

'Cause I'm your dad.

I... Wait,
I thought you were my mom.


I'm your dad.

Good boy. You wanna go play now?

- Yeah, let's go.
- Okay, let's go play.

Let's go.
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