How To with John Wilson

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How To with John Wilson
Genre
Created byJohn Wilson
Written by
Directed byJohn Wilson
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes18
Production
Executive producers
Producer
  • Brendan McHugh
Production locationNew York City
EditorAdam Locke-Norton
Running time25–37 minutes
Production companies
Original release
NetworkHBO
ReleaseOctober 23, 2020 (2020-10-23) –
September 1, 2023 (2023-09-01)

How To with John Wilson is an American television comedy docuseries created by filmmaker John Wilson.[4] The series, executive produced by Nathan Fielder, Michael Koman and Clark Reinking, was ordered by HBO.[5] It premiered on October 23, 2020.[6]

On December 9, 2020, HBO renewed the series for a second season, which premiered on November 26, 2021.[7][8] In February 2022, the series was renewed for a third season.[1] In May 2023, HBO announced it would premiere on July 28 and be the final season. Wilson said he had decided it would be the last one.[9]

Premise

John Wilson attempts to give advice while dealing with his own personal issues. The 25-minute episodes, framed as tutorials and filmed mainly on the streets of New York City, cover topics from small talk to scaffolding.

Each episode is narrated in a second-person perspective, and features numerous shots edited together from hours of B-roll. There is often a road trip, convention or memoir component.[10]

While each episode initially focuses on its title topic, in the course of his investigation, Wilson meets people and strikes up conversations that lead in unpredictable and diverse directions. For example, the episode "How to Improve Your Memory" ends up featuring a conference on the Mandela effect in Ketchum, Idaho.[11]

Production

Wilson explained to Variety his process of making the show:

I try to draft very rough scripts of what might happen in an episode, and then we give it to production and put a plan in action to shoot it—and every single script is rewritten from the ground up by the time we're done in the edit. So much of the rewriting has to happen in the edit, because we're now writing to these shots that we never could have predicted that we would have, and they're always so much better than the stuff that we roughly conceived.[12]

Episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
16October 23, 2020 (2020-10-23)November 27, 2020 (2020-11-27)
26November 26, 2021 (2021-11-26)December 31, 2021 (2021-12-31)
36July 28, 2023 (2023-07-28)September 1, 2023 (2023-09-01)

Season 1 (2020)

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title [2]Directed by [2]Written by [2]Original air date [2]U.S. viewers
(millions)
11"How To Make Small Talk"John WilsonJohn WilsonOctober 23, 2020 (2020-10-23)0.187[13]
John divulges a few surefire methods of encouraging small talk with absolute strangers. In an attempt at solitude, he tries to not to form meaningful relationships during MTV Spring Break in Cancún, but ends up making an acquaintance nevertheless.
22"How To Put Up Scaffolding"John WilsonJohn Wilson, Michael Koman and Alice GregoryOctober 30, 2020 (2020-10-30)0.352[14]
The legacy of Grace Gold (who was killed by falling masonry) and the need for facade inspection in New York City is the focus of this episode. John attends a convention in New Orleans and is disturbed by the lack of scaffolding around 1301 Canal Street but less so at its subsequent collapse.
33"How To Improve Your Memory"John WilsonJohn Wilson, Michael Koman and Alice GregoryNovember 6, 2020 (2020-11-06)0.288[15]
While out grocery shopping, John meets a man whose interest lies in the Mandela effect and false memories, especially relating to brand names and logos.
44"How To Cover Your Furniture"John WilsonJohn Wilson, Michael Koman and Alice GregoryNovember 13, 2020 (2020-11-13)0.273[16]
In an attempt to make his furniture impermeable to his cat, John ends up exploring covers for all things, including foreskin restoration. He concludes that covers (of any kind) give you only an illusion of control.
55"How To Split the Check"John WilsonJohn Wilson, Michael Koman and Alice GregoryNovember 20, 2020 (2020-11-20)0.231[17]
John explores the politics, pitfalls and strategies employed when it comes to splitting the check after a meal with friends. At an annual gathering of referees, John is disappointed to find it's not the model of fairness and egalitarianism that he imagined.
66"How To Cook the Perfect Risotto"John WilsonJohn Wilson, Michael Koman and Alice GregoryNovember 27, 2020 (2020-11-27)0.083[18]
John attempts to cook the perfect risotto for his landlady as a mark of appreciation. But on the journey to perfection, he witnesses the first outbreaks of COVID-19 and finds it difficult to procure all the ingredients for his fifth attempt and with self-isolation now the order of the day, things become even harder.

Season 2 (2021)

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title [3]Directed by [3]Written by [3]Original air date [3]U.S. viewers
(millions)
71"How To Invest in Real Estate"John WilsonJohn Wilson, Michael Koman, Alice Gregory, Susan Orlean, and Conner O'MalleyNovember 26, 2021 (2021-11-26)0.118[19]
John is offered to the chance to buy the house as his landlady is moving to Las Vegas. He decides to go window shopping around New York City to see what else is on offer. The prospect of becoming a landlord himself to meet the mortgage payments has John worried about the responsibility.
82"How To Appreciate Wine"John WilsonJohn Wilson, Michael Koman, Susan Orlean, and Conner O'MalleyDecember 3, 2021 (2021-12-03)0.068[20]
John ponders how to select the "right" wine as a way of fitting in and becoming an "insider". He recounts his close encounter with NXIVM and Keith Raniere while in an a cappella group at college, his only previous attempt at joining a club. After bluffing his way into the house of the CEO of Bang Energy drinks, John finally feels at home.
93"How To Find a Spot"John WilsonJohn Wilson, Michael Koman, Alice Gregory, Susan Orlean, and Conner O'MalleyDecember 10, 2021 (2021-12-10)0.079[21]
Parking, the bane of every New York City driver's existence, is the subject on John's mind, particularly the inventive ways to secure and retain a spot, such as the weekly 90-minute shuffle on New York City neighborhood streets to allow the street cleaning department to do its thing.
104"How To Throw Out Your Batteries"John WilsonJohn Wilson, Michael Koman, Alice Gregory, Susan Orlean, and Conner O'MalleyDecember 17, 2021 (2021-12-17)0.069[22]
What starts with a dilemma about the best way to get rid of spent batteries turns into John dispensing advice on how to dispose of the many items that New Yorkers are unsure of how to get rid of and a deep dive into why we sometimes find it hard to throw out even the most useless items.
115"How To Remember Your Dreams"John WilsonJohn Wilson, Michael Koman, Susan Orlean, and Conner O'MalleyDecember 24, 2021 (2021-12-24)0.049[23]
Attempting to more clearly remember his dreams after waking, John tries a few strategies, including keeping a dream journal, culminating in making one particular dream a reality. In an attempt at avoiding bringing his subconscious into the real world, he also delves into his multiple appearances on Court TV as a means of confronting reality head-on and staying grounded.
126"How To Be Spontaneous"John WilsonJohn Wilson, Michael Koman, Alice Gregory, Susan Orlean, and Conner O'MalleyDecember 31, 2021 (2021-12-31)0.114[24]
John postulates that lack of planning means living in a constant state of exciting discovery. He points out that much of what appears to be spontaneous has in fact been meticulously planned beforehand, and in reality when you are truly spontaneous, you end up doing the second-best version of what you are trying to achieve or find places unexpectedly closed. An impulsive trip to see his former landlady in Las Vegas results in things not going as expected.

Season 3 (2023)

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title [25]Directed by [26]Written by [27]Original air date [25]
131"How To Find a Public Restroom"John WilsonJohn Wilson and Michael KomanJuly 28, 2023 (2023-07-28)
With the demise of public restrooms in public parks and the subway since the 1970s, relieving oneself has become a challenge when out and about in New York City. John visits The Hole, which isn't connected to the city's sewage system, and with his own toilet out of action, embarks on a quest to use bathrooms on private property, culminating in a trip to some underground nuclear bunkers.
142"How To Clean Your Ears"John WilsonJohn Wilson and Michael KomanAugust 4, 2023 (2023-08-04)
Having had the wax professionally removed from his ears, John is overwhelmed by his now acute hearing. He talks to fellow New Yorkers about noise pollution but soon discovers they are annoyed by almost everything. A road trip to Green Bank ensues where John witnesses the radio telescope being cleaned and meets some of the local electro-sensitive residents.
153"How To Work Out"John WilsonJohn Wilson and Michael KomanAugust 11, 2023 (2023-08-11)
In an effort to look better, John considers becoming a member of a gym. Getting a 'before' photograph proves to be the first challenge. He finds the perfect metaphor in a giant pumpkin contest, namely, the masculine urge to grow, but in a healthy way.
164"How To Watch the Game"John WilsonJohn Wilson, Michael Koman and Allie VitiAugust 18, 2023 (2023-08-18)
John explores how to become part of a sports fraternity, his complete lack of knowledge and interest being the only hurdles. Focusing on more niche interests, his interest is piqued at a vacuum cleaner collector's convention.
175"How To Watch Birds"John WilsonJohn Wilson and Michael KomanAugust 25, 2023 (2023-08-25)
The story of a violation of birdwatching ethics catches John's imagination while investigating the past-time of birding. John considers making a documentary that relies on established facts, but even those come under scrutiny.
186"How To Track Your Package"John WilsonJohn Wilson and Michael KomanSeptember 1, 2023 (2023-09-01)
When a non-delivery of a package occurs, couriers come under John's scrutiny. He decides to follow a shipment of organs to Arizona and witness for himself best practice in action. While there he stumbles on Alcor celebrating its 50th year of operation. Back at home, a postcard is delivered over 20 years after it had been posted.

Reception

Critical response

How To with John Wilson has received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a score of 100% with an average rating of 7.8/10 based on 26 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads: "Surprising, thoughtful, and superbly strange, How To with John Wilson's blend of documentary styles comes together to create a singularly delightful experience."[28] On Metacritic, the first season has a weighted average score of 84 out of 100, based on 7 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[29]

Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter wrote How To with John Wilson is "funny, sad, and, in the end, shockingly profound."[30] Steve Greene of IndieWire gave the series a positive review of an A−, saying it has "a hint of darkness and a wealth of empathy."[31]

The second season received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a score of 100% with an average rating of 9/10 based on 7 reviews.[32] On Metacritic, the season has a weighted average score of 92 out of 100, based on 4 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[33]

The third season received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a score of 100% with an average rating of 9.4/10 based on 14 reviews.[34] On Metacritic, the season has a weighted average score of 93 out of 100, based on 9 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[35]

Accolades

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2021 American Cinema Editors Best Edited Non-Scripted Series Adam Locke-Norton Nominated [36]
Gotham Awards Breakthrough Nonfiction Series Nathan Fielder, Michael Koman, Clark Reinking, and John Wilson Nominated [37]
Cinema Eye Honors Outstanding Anthology Series Nathan Fielder, Michael Koman, Clark Reinking, and John Wilson Nominated [38][39]
Outstanding Broadcast Editing Adam Locke-Norton Won
2022 TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in News and Information How To with John Wilson Nominated [40][41]
Writers Guild of America Awards Best Comedy/Variety – Sketch Series Alice Gregory, Michael Koman, Conner O'Malley, Susan Orlean, and John Wilson Nominated [42]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program John Wilson, Michael Koman, Susan Orlean, and Conner O'Malley (for "How To Appreciate Wine") Nominated [43]
Cinema Eye Honours Outstanding Anthology Series Nathan Fielder, Michael Koman, Clark Reinking and John Wilson Won [44]
Outstanding Broadcast Editing Adam Locke-Norton Nominated

References

  1. ^ a b Hailu, Selome (February 8, 2022). "'How to With John Wilson' Renewed for Season 3 at HBO". Variety. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e "HBO Docu-Comedy Series "How to with John Wilson" Debuts October 23". WarnerMedia. October 2, 2020. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Season Two of HBO Docu-Comedy Series "How to with John Wilson" Debuts November 26" (Press release). HBO. November 10, 2021. Retrieved November 11, 2021 – via The Futon Critic.
  4. ^ "John Wilson". Filmmaker Magazine. July 25, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  5. ^ Otterson, Joe (August 12, 2019). "Nathan Fielder Sets HBO Overall Deal, Docu-Series and Comedy Pilot (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  6. ^ "New Docu-Comedy Series "How to with John Wilson" Debuts October 23". The Futon Critic. September 2, 2020. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  7. ^ Porter, Rick (December 9, 2020). "'How To With John Wilson' Renewed for Second Season on HBO". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  8. ^ Grobar, Matt (September 16, 2021). "'How To With John Wilson': HBO Sets Premiere Date For Comedy Series' Second Season". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  9. ^ Campione, Katie (May 25, 2023). "'How To With John Wilson' To End With Season 3; HBO Sets July Premiere Date". Deadline. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  10. ^ Fusselman, Amy (July 27, 2023). "How to Walk Around New York". The Believer. Retrieved May 21, 2024.
  11. ^ Knibbs, Kate (November 18, 2020). "How to With John Wilson Is the Year's Best Nature Documentary". Wired. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  12. ^ Framke, Caroline (January 14, 2022). "John Wilson on the Spontaneity of Filming 'How To' and Why New York Is the Perfect City for the Docuseries". Variety. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  13. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (October 26, 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Friday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 10.23.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on October 26, 2020. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  14. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (November 2, 2020). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Friday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 10.30.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on November 2, 2020. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  15. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (November 9, 2020). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Friday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.6.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on November 9, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  16. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (November 16, 2020). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Friday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.13.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  17. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (November 23, 2020). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Friday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.20.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on November 23, 2020. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  18. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (December 1, 2020). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Friday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.27.2020". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on December 1, 2020. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  19. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (November 30, 2021). "ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Friday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.26.2021 Updated". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  20. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (December 6, 2021). "ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Friday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 12.3.2021 Updated". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved December 6, 2021.
  21. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (December 13, 2021). "ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Friday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 12.10.2021 Updated". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved December 13, 2021.
  22. ^ Salem, Mitch (December 20, 2021). "ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Friday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 12.17.2021 Updated". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  23. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (December 28, 2021). "ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Friday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 12.24.2021 Updated". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  24. ^ Salem, Mitch (January 4, 2022). "ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Friday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 12.31.2021 Updated". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  25. ^ a b "Shows A-Z - How To with John Wilson on HBO". The Futon Critic. Retrieved July 10, 2023.
  26. ^ "Third And Final Season Of The HBO Original Docu-Comedy Series HOW TO WITH JOHN WILSON Debuts July 28" (Press release). Warner Media. May 25, 2023. Retrieved July 10, 2023.
  27. ^ "How To with John Wilson - WGA Directory". Writers Guild of America West. Retrieved July 10, 2023.
  28. ^ "How To with John Wilson: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  29. ^ "How to with John Wilson: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  30. ^ Fienberg, Daniel (October 22, 2020). "'How To With John Wilson': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  31. ^ Greene, Steve (October 23, 2020). "'How To with John Wilson' Review: A Sweet Primer on Humanity and the Magic of Small Moments". IndieWire. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  32. ^ "How To with John Wilson: Season 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 19, 2023.
  33. ^ "How to with John Wilson: Season 2". Metacritic. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  34. ^ "How To with John Wilson: Season 3". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 31, 2023.
  35. ^ "How to with John Wilson: Season 3". Metacritic. Retrieved July 29, 2023.
  36. ^ Hipes, Patrick (April 17, 2021). "ACE Eddie Awards: 'Trial Of The Chicago 7', 'Palm Springs', 'Soul' Top Film Winners; 'Ted Lasso', 'Queen's Gambit' Score In TV – Full Winners List". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  37. ^ Lattanzio, Ryan (November 30, 2021). "Gotham Awards: 'The Lost Daughter' Wins Top Prize — See the Full List of Winners". IndieWire. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  38. ^ Thompson, Anne (October 20, 2021). "Cinema Eye Honors Nominees: 'American Utopia' and 'City So Real' Top Broadcast Categories". IndieWire. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  39. ^ Pond, Steve (March 1, 2022). "'Flee' Wins Top Prize at Cinema Eye Honors for Documentaries". The Wrap. Retrieved March 21, 2022.
  40. ^ Longeretta, Emily (June 16, 2022). "'Abbott Elementary' Leads 2022 TCA Awards Nominations: Full List". Variety. Retrieved June 17, 2022.
  41. ^ Hailu, Selome (August 6, 2022). "'Abbott Elementary' Tops 2022 TCA Awards". Variety. Retrieved August 6, 2022.
  42. ^ Hipes, Patrick (January 13, 2022). "WGA Awards TV Nominations: 'Yellowjackets', 'Hacks', 'Loki', 'Only Murders In The Building' Join Usual Suspects On List". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
  43. ^ Moreau, Jordan (July 12, 2022). "Emmys 2022: Complete Nominations List". Variety. Retrieved July 12, 2022.
  44. ^ Carey, Matthew (October 20, 2022). "Cinema Eye Honors: 'Four Hours At The Capitol,' 'The Beatles: Get Back' Lead First Round Of Nominations For Documentary Awards Show". Deadline. Retrieved October 20, 2022.

External links