All posts tagged: glimmers of his personal life

How to Understand ‘How to With John Wilson’

How to Understand ‘How to With John Wilson’

Any time I try to recommend How to With John Wilson to someone who has never heard of the show, I struggle to figure out where to begin. HBO markets it as a docuseries by the filmmaker John Wilson in which he explores the idiosyncratic behavior of New York City’s wackiest residents. But calling it a “docuseries” feels wrong; yes, the program relies on footage and interviews Wilson has collected from wandering through the city, but the material is also presented comedically. And it’s not quite “about” anything: Sometimes an episode will meander from one topic to another so much so that by the end of the half hour, you barely remember where you started. Describing Wilson himself can be difficult too. He’s ostensibly the show’s star, yet he rarely appears on camera. Instead, he narrates everything the audience sees, using the second-person perspective to refer to his own experiences. (When the building he lives in went through a gut renovation, for instance, he observed that the construction “quickly turned your apartment into one of …