Christopher Nolan has praised Showtime's black comedy series "The Curse" and compared it to groundbreaking series like Twin Peaks.
The show follows a couple, Whitney and Asher, who star in a fictional HGTV show called "Fliplanthropy" and encounter various problems, including being cursed by a young child.
"The Curse" has been praised for its uniqueness and being unlike anything else currently on television.
Christopher Nolan has been praising Showtime’s acclaimed black comedy The Curse. The Oppenheimer director moderated a Q&A for the series and hosted the creators, Nathan Fielder (The Rehearsal) and Benny Safdie (Uncut Gems). Nolan was ecstatic, saying the show was “unlike anything” he had ever seen on television. Emma Stone has also been praised for portraying Whitney Siegel in the series.
Whitney and her husband, Asher (Fielder), star in a fictionalised HGTV show called Fliplanthropy. The couple are also trying to conceive a baby, and soon, they encounter all sorts of problems, including being cursed by a young child, which casts a pall over their marriage and personal lives. The Curse follows Asher and Whitney as they flip run-down houses into trendy properties for aspiring buyers for their television series. We also see how fame, money, and married life intertwine, offering a unique viewing experience that has impressed Christopher Nolan who compared the show to groundbreaking series such as Twin Peaks.
The Curse has been praised for being unique and unlike anything else currently on television. Nathan Fielder is known for pushing the envelope, as he did in shows like Comedy Central’s Nathan for You and HBO’s The Rehearsal. Both of these showcase Fielder’s self-deprecating humour, where he revels acting out in scenes filled with social awkwardness, like in The Curse when his character, Asher, donates a hundred dollar bill to a young girl only to grab it back from her once the cameras stop rolling for his television show.
These and other instances in the show either revile viewers or make them perk up and pay closer attention to these Andy Kaufman-like skits hinting at more significant social themes buried underneath the surface. Fielder questions human behaviour and shows viewers that such behaviour is often unpredictable and cannot be contrived as they are on typical television shows. He looks for the cringe factor in human interactions. Instead of avoiding it, he puts a pedal to the metal and slams directly into it, which, for many viewers like Nolan, makes for unique, avant-garde television.
The Curse takes a stab at reality television and satirises shows like HGTV’s Flip or Flop, starring Christina Hall and her former husband Tarek, whose marriage ended while Flip or Flop was high in the ratings. The couple’s personal lives and the show became enmeshed, and viewers were as interested in their personal lives as they were in the hit series, blurring the lines between reality television and reality outside of the contrivances of television. The Curse satirises these types of shows and their ethics whereby affluent property developers come into a neighbourhood and gentrify the area while claiming to be helping owners but displacing the rest of the neighbourhood instead.
Ryan Faughnder from the L.A. Times argues that the show’s premise highlights the exploitive nature of shows like Flip or Flop; this type of reality television often exploits lower-income residents and neighbourhoods. Faughner says that the show ‘skewers white guilt, virtue signalling, high-art pretentiousness, and reality T.V. contrivances.’ These dense and inflammatory themes are seamlessly expressed within The Curse, making it a show that toys with hot-button themes in a satirical fashion, which some viewers will enjoy while making others uncomfortable.
Nolan’s stamp of approval will raise the show’s profile considerably. The director might be looking to promote originality on the small screen to encourage streaming services such as HBO to keep promoting fresh and compelling content, especially at a time when streaming services like Paramount +, who owns Showtime, are looking to downsize original content, cancelling many underperforming series. The Curse slipped through the cancellations and showed that there is a niche market for unique, offbeat content that pushes the envelope.
What do you think about The Curse? Is Christopher Nolan Right about the show?
Whitney and Asher Siegel are a newlywed couple struggling to bring their vision for eco-conscious housing to the small community of Española, N.M. But their efforts are complicated by an alleged curse and an eccentrically flawed reality TV producer, Dougie, who sees opportunity in their story. As the series unfolds, the couple find themselves caught in a mysterious web of ethical and moral gray zones - all while trying to keep their relationship afloat and conceive a child.
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