The Curse 2023 / Death by cringe, courtesy of Nathan Fielder and Emma Stone’s awful people


That The Curse is squirm-inducingly awkward won’t be news to anyone who’s watched a Nathan Fielder show before, but TV’s king of cringe digs his heels in on that approach here. The Curse chronicles the making of another show: HGTV’s inelegantly named “Flipanthropy,” which follows Fielder’s Asher and wife Whitney Siegel (Emma Stone) as they perform (the operative word) good deeds in a struggling New Mexico town. Flipanthropy is also a means through which the well-to-do white couple can shill the eco-friendly homes they’re gentrifying the town with — a galling conflict of interest that plays as a running satire of TV. 

The uneasy tension between what the Siegels say they want to do versus what they actually do is the heart of the show. In true Fielder fashion, their hypocrisy is revealed through excruciatingly awkward, tortuously long scenes takes, such as the one that gives the show its title (the socially inept Asher angers a little girl, who puts a curse on him). This scene is also an example of the insane left takes The Curse constantly takes, which speak to Fielder’s ability to make his shows feel like they’re falling apart all while building to towering complexity. Suffice it to say, there’s nothing else like this on TV.

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