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Nathan Fielder’s ‘The Curse’ is uncomfortably good

The Curse Screenshot from ‘The Curse’ trailer | SHOWTIME

Welcome to Española!

Known for his awkward, dry humor, Nathan Fielder’s latest project, “The Curse,” a parody of home renovation shows, aired its first episode on Showtime on Oct. 10. Anyone familiar with Fielder’s work should expect what seems like an uncomfortable acid trip.

The project stars “La La Land” actress Emma Stone, as well as Ben Safdie, who directed A24’s “Uncut Gems” and starred in “Good Time” and most recently in “Oppenheimer” this past summer.

Fielder is most known for his show “Nathan For You,” which aired on Comedy Central, and most recently, Max’s “The Rehearsal,” both of which had moments that could make any viewer squirm.

Fielder and Stone play Asher and Whitney, a couple starring in an eco-friendly HGTV series looking to help the community of Española, New Mexico. Safdie portrays Dougie, a hipster producer willing to do anything to film a good shot.

The awkwardness begins within the first five minutes of the episode when, halfway through an interview, Dougie pours water droplets and blows menthol into an elderly woman’s eyes to achieve the “right emotion” for the camera because she’s not showing enough.

But don’t worry, Dougie was surprisingly nice enough to grab a new bottle instead of using his backwashed one.

The move is off-putting enough to make viewers turn off their television, but it’s too entertaining to look away. Even Asher and Whitney unpleasantly watch as they urge Dougie to stop.

If that wasn’t uncomfortable enough, just wait for the episode’s halfway mark.

Throughout the episode, viewers are left sitting uncomfortably while watching intimate scenes between Fielder and Stone. Yet, it’s hard to stop watching, which is precisely what Fielder wants to achieve.

While filming for the HGTV show, Dougie is willing to compromise Asher and Whitney’s relationship for the sake of filming good content for viewers. After putting Asher in a compromised position for the camera, a young girl places a curse on Asher after he hands her a $100 bill and then snatches it back because they were “just getting a shot.”

After being cursed, the show’s tone takes a shift. It’s not stated, but viewers can sense the change. 

There seems to be growing tension between Asher and Whitney, all while Dougie appears to be looking forward to using their problems as content to drive the HGTV series.

“The Curse” was created by Fielder and Safdie and was produced by A24, a production company known for their abstract and trippy films, making it a perfect collaboration between the three.

Scoring 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, “The Curse” has already reeled in positive reviews, which is nothing new for a project by Fielder.

For those looking to sit through an hour of discomfort, subsequent episodes of “The Curse” will air on Paramount+ on Fridays at midnight or on Showtime on Sundays at 10 p.m.

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