Home Featured "The Curse" Demolishes the HGTV Fantasy

"The Curse" Demolishes the HGTV Fantasy

"The Curse" Demolishes the HGTV Fantasy

In the satirical new Showtime series, the home improvement format serves as a springboard to explore sticky truths often glossed over by the genre.

Home improvement television operates from a place of fantasy, where even those of us trapped by financial woes or negligent landlords can play dress-up in others’ whims and desires. Will that new kitchen help tidy up this lonely bachelor’s life, eventually attracting his new soulmate? That’s his fantasy, and watching his home transform, it becomes ours, too.

The Curse, a new 10-episode Showtime series, dwells in the familiar space of HGTVesque fantasy, mixed with the particular brand of cringe-worthy black comedy star and cocreator Nathan Fielder is known for. The show follows newlyweds Whitney and Asher Siegel (Emma Stone and Fielder) as they embark on Fliplanthropy: a pilot reality series about ‘flipping’ Española, a struggling New Mexico town, into a revitalized, eco-conscious community by building a series of energy-efficient houses that emphasize the ‘triple bottom line’ (“people, profit, planet”), which they’re documenting with the help of producer Dougie (played by cocreator Benny Safdie). While the episodes are packed with mercilessly awkward—and…

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