“How to Appreciate Wine” (How to With John Wilson, S02E02)

The comedy television show How to With John Wilson, streaming on HBO Max, stars the titular John Wilson (or his voice, at least) as he narrates an exaggerated version of his day-to-day life. Though John’s narration isn’t always comedic on its own, it’s meant to highlight the authentically odd moments he encounters around New York City (and occasionally beyond) and the mix of the two creates the show’s one-of-a-kind punchlines.

The show stands alone in its singularity, and it’s is best explained by John himself:

The trailer for season 2 of How to With John Wilson.

A dry comedy delivered in video essay form, the show rewards attentive viewing; in its two short seasons, the program has made me gasp and giggle multiple times, which are the highest marks I can give to any piece of media.

For fans of the sublimely absurd television show Nathan For You, a similar tone is conveyed in How to, in no small part because Nathan Fielder himself is a producer on John’s show. Nathan’s influence is especially evident during the captivating moments John creates when interacting with passionately odd people, and to be a fan of one show probably means to enjoy both.

While grocery shopping, John meets a persistent analyst of the Mandela Effect.

As for the serialization of How to, outside of John occasionally mentioning his evolving relationship with his landlord, the show can be viewed in any order. In light of this, my recommendation for an entry point into the series is S02E02, titled “How to Appreciate Wine”. In the episode, John begins by declaring his aspiration to become a connoisseur of wine, which then takes him down many surprising paths, including a tour of a factory that specializes in scented bowling balls, crashing a baby shower hosted at the private residence of an energy drink CEO, and a shocking revelation of an encounter with a convicted cult leader during a college a cappella event years ago (I’ll withhold the identity to preserve the surprise). In How to With John Wilson, expect the unexpected.

Ultimately, the best sales pitch for the show is that each episode is less than a half hour long, so the commitment is minimal. Anyone who gets a kick out of people-watching will want to see the moments John captures with his camera, and anyone who doesn’t care about people-watching will change their tune after an episode. The world is weird, and all that’s left is for us to bask in it.

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