It’s only been two episodes, and more than their individual and shared tone-deaf delusions about being social workers, what really catches your attention is what makes Whitney and Asher work as a couple. Although “working” is a tricky word to describe their odd marriage with. The Curse is just as much a show about the Siegels’ relationship as it is about the way they go about their privileged lives, fooling themselves and trying to fool the people around them. The Curse Episode 2 slowly inches toward decluttering their messy headspaces and arranging their disturbingly organic detachment from what afflicts real people in their very real, messed-up world.
What’s Dougie’s Deal?
Considering the fantastic pilot that Nathan Fielder’s show opened with, it’s really no surprise that I’ve already started expecting it to meet certain standards that make for a truly good show. While Dougie’s introduction was rather brutal and unsparing in the cold, hard truths it told us about him, there was no way that the Fielder-Safdie team was going to leave a character as important as him one-dimensional. What’s even more hard-hitting about the unexplored depths that allow us a more intrusive peek at Dougie are the real-life parallels you can draw. How many men do you know of who’d go on a blind date and condescend their way through a conversation that would ensure there’s no second date? But I guess not all of them would be as haunted as Dougie is by a tragedy of their own doing. And even fewer of them would try to bargain with the rabid guilt of killing their wives in a car accident caused by inebriation. Is justifying it at all a reassurance that Dougie has gotten his life in order and will never repeat the same mistakes again? His personal breathalyzer, beeping to warn him as he drives his date home, says otherwise.
Why Is Whitney Trying To Woo Cara Durand?
Authenticity and a convincing narrative to support their repetitive claim that they’re doing it all for the community aren’t things that come easy to the likes of Whitney and Asher. The latter is more of an awkward, fumbling fool, while the former, despite her laughable lack of self-awareness, is only a more polished version of the same. But Whitney happens to be more calculative than her impulsive husband. So calculative that the Governor of the San Pedro Pueblo might just be dismissing her obvious ignorance about Native culture as something justifiable and helping her utterly selfish agenda. It’s all a part of the game. The game that makes it crucial for Whitney to have a face like Cara Durand, a celebrated Native artist, distracts the concerned parties from the rampant exploitation being carried out under the banner of benevolence. But no amount of meals bought with condescension and no amount of mindless appropriation of her art that Whitney tries to pass off as admiration does anything to fool Cara. The artist can see right through the gauche attempts made at sweeping her off her feet. The disapproval and justified annoyance on her face is unabashedly critical of the woman who’s so devoid of self-respect or even a hint of shame that she’d blatantly deny ripping off Doug Aitken. But Whitney is someone who’d delete comments and sweep all the criticism under the rug as long as she could delude herself into thinking what she does makes a difference. What more can we expect from the likes of her?
Does Asher Get The Security Footage?
Appeasing Monica and getting her to drop the story about what a nonsensical, arrogant bully he really is proves to be a rather difficult task for Asher. There’s no surprise there, of course. There’s only so much he can achieve with his nervous promises that bear no fruit and giving out information about the Whistling River Casino that’s already accessible to the public. He has to pull his weight this time. Even if it means going back to his old workplace and making an absolute joke of himself trying to push the children’s arcade idea to the reluctant boss. And boy, is it uncomfortable to see him crumble under pressure when the last shot at getting into the security room looks more and more impossible! With each hasty step Bill takes to walk him out of the establishment, Asher’s crushing desperation gets more and more obvious until it takes the form of a very embarrassing session of Bill being forced to watch a “funny” fail video. A willfully spilled bottle of Gatorade and Asher acting like a coked-up monkey later, the security footage is acquired by the man looking to turn his old workplace into dust. If you ask me, Asher should’ve been kicked out of the premises the second he laughed hysterically at the joke hanging on the wall.
What Does Whitney Learn About Her Pregnancy?
If you’ve ever seen a spookier pregnancy reveal scene in any film or show, please let me know in the comments below. Because I for one, especially in a show like The Curse, did not see it coming. And while I am pleasantly surprised by the unpredictable territories the show tends to frequent from time to time, it’s something that I’ve already started expecting from The Curse, which happens to have one of the most original narratives I’ve come across in a while. Chances are, it’d only take but a moment for the pregnancy horror to creep in. For now, we have to make do with Whitney using it as an excuse to justify how royally she’s botched up the meeting with Cara. Maybe hormones were at play. But considering the kind of person we’ve come to know this privileged White woman with a painfully obnoxious savior complex as Whitney would’ve made a fool of herself in front of Cara even if she wasn’t pregnant. But this scene is groundbreaking for multiple reasons. It’s when the writing reflects the maker’s understanding of or even their own emotional intelligence that a show gets far more engaging to watch. What else can it be, if not emotional intelligence, that inspires dialogues communicating not just a multitude of thoughts, but something the two characters are hopelessly aware of but are too afraid to ever bring up? It is as though time takes a pause and gives these two a minute to gather their bearings and come up with words to hide their real feelings.
Whitney’s lie is, understandably, more convincing than Asher’s. A woman who doesn’t want a child breaks the news of her pregnancy to her husband who’s so terrified of that very truth that he comes up with very vocal, very fervid reassurances for himself. But Whitney isn’t doing so well either. At least not according to her experience inside Cara’s performance art tent that scares the bejeesus out of her and a raging spiral of self-doubt and insecurities sucks her into itself. Does that mean she would change her ways? She doesn’t even bother following the one rule to show an ounce of respect to the artist and blabbers on about her experience with the Governor and her clueless but at the very least polite husband. It’s practically karma that stands her up uncomfortably close to Cara and her friends as they add the last few notes to their to-do lists for the day. And Whitney is invisible. Is it a relief that she feels when the USG is the bearer of the news that wrecks Asher? Never getting to experience fatherhood might have been what Asher was cursed within the parking lot.
Considering the performers at their disposal, The Curse could’ve taken the easier road and left the communication of cryptic honesties up to what their faces say when they’re not talking. But evidently, judging by the ending, the makers here prefer outdoing themselves within the span of just one episode. What made the restaurant scene one of the most impressively communicative ones I’ve ever seen is what the ending sequence is gifted with–but in a perplexingly more unambiguous form. They’re grieving, yes. But we know what’s consuming Whitney’s mind far more than her failed pregnancy. She’s got to come up with a new design that can’t be tagged plagiarized. And, Asher? Well, when’s he turned down a free serving of something completely unrelated that he convinces himself is for his benefit? Dougie replacing his alcoholism with gambling doesn’t scream good news about the prospect of the show either. But Asher and Whitney have got bigger fish to fry anyway.