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 (4 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

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

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

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 [1 favorite]

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