The Curse: Land of Enchantment
November 18, 2023 4:45 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Newly married couple Whitney and Asher Siegel set out to make a show.

This is the series premiere. Showtime's description of 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, New Mexico. But their efforts are complicated when an eccentrically flawed reality TV producer, Dougie, 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.
posted by snofoam (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I really liked this, and admired how it wrongfoots the viewer. Take the conversation between Asher and his stepfather. The dialogue is comedic, albeit in a cringe comedy way. However, there’s this ominous piano on the soundtrack which makes it feel unsettling—I expected the stepfather to do something horrible at any moment. I found myself tense throughout the episode without being able to articulate why. The camera work really adds to that, always peeking through windows at a distance.

I feel sorry for anyone who decided to watch this in mixed company.

Emma Stone has some of the best face-acting skills around. She ha an amazing way of keeping a smile plastered on as the rest of her face starts losing control.
posted by kaisemic at 11:18 AM on November 18, 2023 [3 favorites]

I like how it pulls together some of the elements of Nathan's other shows, but in something that is clearly scripted and fictional, but still a take on reality TV. Also, absolutely the music and camerawork really ratchet up the tension on some of the silly or absurd scenes.
posted by snofoam at 12:02 PM on November 18, 2023 [1 favorite]

That red and white drive-in restaurant place, where Asher was outside on his phone near the beginning, has been there for more than forty years and when I was a teen with family going fishing, we'd regularly stop there for their green chile on our way up north.

There's a lot I could say about Española and how white people think about it, particularly wealthy white Santa Feans, but the show is already saying it. Although, I should say that I'm ambivalent about the show using this real place, which is really like that, because ... it's uncomfortably meta?

Over the course of my life, I've watched Santa Fe and the surrounding area gentrify and push many people out of their homes, people whose family have literally lived in the area for several hundred years.

I can't really handle cringe in general and this extra-strength variety is, I think, too much for me. I thought I'd be okay with it because if there's anyone I want to see ridiculed, it's exactly these kinds of white people. I'm unsure if I'll watch the next episode, though, despite the many reasons I'm interested in the show.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:35 AM on November 19, 2023 [3 favorites]

I think I can handle this, though I tapped out of Fielder's HBO project about halfway through. It would be easier if the show was a little meaner, I think. It's sad enough that it can't be uproariously funny. The Safdie writing (not directing) credit is interesting because the tense bits really remind me of Safdie Bros movies.
posted by grandiloquiet at 3:53 PM on November 22, 2023 [1 favorite]

All I can think watching Fielder in this is "Evil Mike Birbiglia" and that makes it really enjoyable for some reason.
posted by M Edward at 12:24 PM on December 8, 2023

c o n f e s s i o n   t i m e

so i’m wired up weird and react to horror like other people react to comedy — i have to consciously keep this under control, because it is way awkward when everyone around me is screaming because the thing onscreen is scary and I’m guffawing because omg the writers for this are such diabolical bastards they are putting those fuckers through hell this is hilarious.

okay so also though i react to cringe comedy like other people react to horror. like there were parts of this episode where i had to put my hand over my face and peek through my fingers, literally i did this, this show is obviously a masterpiece but slash and i cannot look directly at it for too long lest the terror burn through my wholeass soul.

so anyway i bring this up because the thing with the music cues is genius. finally, finally, a show with cringe comedy dna where the music actually matches how i feel inside when i watch it. now all i need is a horror movie where yakety sax plays while the characters have murderations happen to them
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 9:02 PM on December 18, 2023 [6 favorites]

Can't wait to binge this later this week.
posted by rhizome at 8:01 PM on January 15

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