‘No Shoes Nation’ Adds a Level of ‘Creepy’ to ‘The Patient’; Kenny Chesney’s Response to the Hulu Series

The Patient character Sam Fortner (Domhnall Gleeson) might be homicidal, but he’s also a Kenny Chesney fan and member of “No Shoes Nation.” Sam’s love for the country music star plays a big part in episode 5 of the FX/Hulu series “Pastitsio.” Find out what The Patient viewers are saying about Sam being a fan and why Chesney allowed his music in the show.

[SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead for episode 5 of The Patient, “Pastitsio.”]

Sam Fortner (Domhnall Gleeson), a Kenny Chesney fan and member of 'No Shoes Nation,' in the FX Hulu series 'The Patient'
Domhnall Gleeson as Sam Fortner | Suzanne Tenner/FX

‘The Patient’ viewers find Sam’s love of Kenny Chesney ‘creepy’

Some viewers of The Patient are perplexed by Sam’s affinity for Chesney’s music. “The random Kenny Chesney subplot in The Patient really caught me off guard and made me laugh out loud,” said one viewer on Twitter. “Wouldn’t have pegged him as a fan.” 

Other’s think it adds another level of dimension to the story. “The most frightening part about Sam … isn’t that he’s a kidnapper or a murderer,” says one Twitter user. “It’s that he’s a self described Kenny Chesney fan and member of ‘No Shoes Nation.'”

Another tweet reads: “Observations from The Patient: 1. This guy is a FREAK but I could fix him [not gonna lie] 2. Steve Carell has a very nice profile 3. The cloud lamp is a top notch set design move; SO creepy 4. The ‘No Shoes Nation’ Kenny Chesney obsession is also A+ creepy detail 5. I don’t trust Elias.”

Kenny Chesney is ‘incredibly supportive’ of his music being used in ‘The Patient’ 

The Patient’s creators Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields explained Sam’s obsession with Chesney during the TCA Summer 2022 panel. “I think the great appeal of Kenny Chesney was, as you sort of see it come out in some of the later episodes, that he wasn’t just a great country artist, but he also had this No Shoes Nation,” Weisberg said (via Decider).

“So you could sort of see how Sam might be sort of a fan and follower of that in a way that, as Alan says, sort of gives him an alternate social world. And Kenny Chesney’s world of that is just more real and built out than almost any other artist we could think of.”

Joe Weisberg, TCA Panel

Weisberg’s history with country music also lent itself to including Chesney’s work in the series. Previously, Weisberg used to write country songs that he would beg friends to watch him perform in local bars.

Fields also said the country superstar “was incredibly generous and supportive” of his music being used in the series. “Obviously, it went to his people to examine the material, and it came back as a yes,” The Patient director Chris Long added. “They were incredibly supportive.”

‘No Shoes Nation’ comes up again in ‘The Patient’ Episode 5 ‘Pastitsio’ 

In FX’s Hulu series, Sam is holding his therapist, Alan Strauss (Steve Carell), hostage in the hopes Alan will fully heal him of his homicidal urges. Sam first mentions his affinity for Chesney’s music in “Company,” citing how his ex-wife used to go to concerts with him. Then, he explains what No Shoes Nation is. 

“Kenny Chesney’s community of fans,” Sam tells Alan in The Patient Episode 3. “I’ve been to 27 concerts and that’s not even a lot. My friend Shane — he’s gone to 78.” 

Sam (Domhnall Gleeson) sits with Alan (Steve Carell) for a basement therapy session in 'The Patient' Episode 5 'Pastitsio'
Domhnall Gleeson as Sam Fortner and Steve Carell as Alan Strauss in ‘Pastitsio’ | Suzanne Tenner/FX

“Pastitsio” opens with Sam blasting Chesney’s “Get Along” on his way to see his ex-wife and get an old chair back. Frustrated by his visit, Sam returns home and retreats to his bedroom. He listens to “I Go Back” and chats with fellow members of “No Shoes Nation,” but it’s not enough to quell his urges. In the end, Sam descends to the basement for a joint therapy session that ends with Elias'(Alex Rich) death. 

Watch The Patient weekly every Tuesday exclusively on Hulu.

RELATED: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Returns With Season 5 on Sept. 14: Episode Guide, Season 4 Recap, and More