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Filmmaker John Wilson has a practice not quite like anything else you’ve seen before. He captures reams of footage of mundane occurrences (usually around New York City, where he lives), and then edits it together with offbeat narration that constructs small stories about everyday life. The results are strange and difficult to describe, but often incredibly funny. For instance, in the most recent episode of his new HBO show How To with John Wilson, his voiceover about feeling overwhelmed in his personal life plays over a shot of a woman getting absolutely swarmed by pigeons in a park.
But this is no pure randomness. Wilson also provides surprising insights, connecting subjects you’d never consider by drawing on the observations he makes around the city. The new episode is all about the pervasive construction scaffolding all over buildings in NYC, and looks into the various ways that people live with these structures, their unintended hindrances (such as to people with disabilities), and their differing aesthetics. It’s this kind of thinking outside the box that makes this show a continual joy to watch.