Curse, the new series premiering this weekend on Showtime and Paramount+ with Showtime, is an epic masterpiece of cringe comedy — 10 weekly episodes of gripping discomfort, pain and despair. Whether you laugh or not, it hardly matters. Actually you will, but your knees will be undamaged and there won’t be a lot of giggles, snorts or laughter filling the empty air of your room. The laughter here doesn’t sound far from a death rattle. I feel like I’m not selling the show very well. So for now, let’s pile on the superlatives and say it Curse is unsparing, daring, endlessly fascinating, completely unusual and encouragingly original. Better?
Asher and Whitney Siegel (Nathan Fielder and Emma Stone) are an ambitious, smart, but oddly clueless couple: They’re in Española, N.Mex., filming the pilot episode of what they hope will be a new HGTV series with them as hosts.
Emma Stone and Nathan Fielder are husband and wife house flippers Curse: ‘What could go wrong?’
Working title: Fliplanthropy. The concept: They will build and sell eco-friendly mirror-clad homes (starting price: more than $800,000) while also finding new homes and jobs for minority residents who are (unfortunately) destined to be displaced by the rise in property values caused by the Siegels’ construction project.
Whitney is overly sensitive to the native culture of the area, but also somewhat condescending. Asher is sticky, grumpy and bulky. It always looks like it’s wilting in the sun, like escarole thrown into a pan.
Their producer, Dougie (Benny Safdie), previously came up with the creepy Bachelor knockoff (see the clip), and he is immensely proud of it. He has long wet hair, parted in the middle, which after trimming gives him the impression of a failed Apostle or Al Yankovic. He’s disgusting.
Safdie and Fielder are co-creators Curse, and both are experts in discomfort. Safdie directed (with brother Josh) Adam Sandler’s excruciatingly intense 2019 film. Uncut gems. Fielder is best known for his squirm-inducing streaks Probe. It’s hard to imagine what they must be like together when they go somewhere and work together — do they give each other goosebumps and then end up? If they directed Lord of the Ringsthere would be nothing but Golom.
Fielder and Stone: Who will rise from the wreckage?.
a24/paramount+; show time
Emma Stone and Nathan Fielder are breaking down walls in the first place Curse
I guess I still haven’t convinced you that this show is worth your time. You might think you could just look again Ted Lasso. Hannah Waddingham is so dashing and charming!
On which Safdie and Fielder created Curse, at least on a surface level, it’s a sharp, irrepressible satire of white privilege and guilt (Whitney constantly has to distance herself from her parents, who are widely regarded as slum lords). It is also an expert parody of reality shows and their dishonesty. But Curse it’s actually an uncomfortably intimate and nuanced portrait of Siegel’s crumbling marriage.
It’s as if director Albert Brooks directed Jon & Kate Plus 8. (Brooks is the subject of an excellent new documentary about Max, Albert Brooks: Defending His Lifelaunch November 11.)
The Siegels must constantly remove obstacles that appear on their planned path to success. One of those obstacles is, as the title suggests, a curse. John is thrown by an irate little girl, Nala (Hikmah Warsame), after he tries to back off with a generous gesture — he gives her $100 — filmed as extra footage for the series. Nala may actually have a supernatural power, though it mostly manifests itself in terms of the chicken mysteriously missing from John’s pasta dinner.
Emma Stone and Nathan Fielder in ‘The Curse’.
The curse might be one of the reasons the Siegels are starting to drift apart. On the other hand, the real problem may be that Whitney, played by Stone with an extremely subtle palette of hostility and slyness, realizes that she’s the one who has the presence of a true HGTV star in front of the cameras. But our sympathies – to the extent that we sincerely sympathize with anyone on Curse– keep changing. Asher’s feelings run deeper than you’d expect, so deep you almost wish he was shallow. Even Dougie proved vulnerable.
None of this will prepare you Curse ending, which is thrillingly funny but absolutely terrifying. It will make you rethink the whole series, and maybe even make you wonder if you caught your own reflection in one of Siegel’s mirror houses.
By now you must be dying to watch it Curse. Is it?
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The first episode of The Curse launches Friday on Paramount+ with Showtime and premieres on Showtime Sunday at 10:00 p.m.
Links: The Curse PEOPLE Review: Emma Stone and Nathan Fielder Star in a Wild and Disturbing New Series – Tekmonk Bio, The Curse PEOPLE Review: Emma Stone and Nathan Fielder Star in a Wild and Disturbing New Series – Kungfutv, The Curse PEOPLE Review: Emma Stone and Nathan Fielder Star in a Wild and Disturbing New Series – Hot News