The risky and gutsy thing about shows that have their central focus on awful people is that it’s very easy to lack the kind of cool factor that usually keeps the audience hooked on these characters. But if the priority is being unabashedly lifelike, a tale chronicling the drab courses of unlikeable people’s lives hardly has the space to cram the typical note of intrigue into it. Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie’s The Curse is fixated on and adamant about just one thing—not softening the blow. You’d most likely absolutely despise Whitney, Asher, and Dougie’s characters. But the same way you can’t put a filter over utterly obnoxious people’s appalling aura in real life, the main characters in The Curse don’t come with any comforting redeeming qualities that you can focus on. I guess it’s a take-it-or-leave-it scenario you’ve walked into. Because, from the looks of it, the Fielder-Safdie duo isn’t too keen on giving you any respite from the way the show very subtly causes your heart rate to rise out of sheer frustration.
What In The Hell Is Dougie Up To?
That’s one peculiar man, for sure. But who in The Curse isn’t carrying some baggage that makes them the kind of person anyone with any sense should steer clear of? From getting blueberry stains on Whitney’s squeaky clean couch to being an absolute mess through the focus group video fiasco, Dougie’s been nothing but unhelpful. Sure, he’s got his own battles—his own demons to keep inside the fragile cage he’s built for them. But how long before they completely take over? It could only have been a deafening siren screaming of an impending meltdown when we saw a crestfallen Dougie breaking down, lying to the man he doesn’t even like because any company would be better than his loneliness. Could we really foresee that he’d go on what has to have been a bender and wake up in the middle of nowhere with two empty cars, though? Not really. But then again, even Dougie doesn’t know who these cars belong to until he finds a very “ingeniously” hidden note he wrote to himself. So what if he’d taken away the keys from a couple of bratty teens and gotten them beers? He’s got a justification for all that. And believe me when I say that a part of him is fully aware of the gravity of the crime he’s committed. He’s just not the kind of person who’d accept something like that.
Could Nala Actually Cure People?
Well, what do you know? It’s the fierce little girl who’d cursed him for being a total nutcase whose house Asher ends up winning at the property auction, much to the dismay of Whitney, who’d kept a much smaller budget for it. But it’s another shot at playing White Knights for the couple. Only one of them is lying not just to their spouse about their true motivations but also to themselves. I’d leave it up to you to guess which one of the two I’m talking about here. But let’s just say that they’re the ones so obtuse about their financial limitations that they think they’re made of money in their pursuit of social good karma. Asher’s supremely uncomfortable in any social setting. What sets him apart is how much denial he covers up his anxiety with. Whitney, on the other hand, is so blind to her own hypocrisy—that’s all there’s to see when you look at her—that she doesn’t see how cringeworthy it is to forcefully recreate a sincere, adorable moment. Something that likely occurs once in a blue moon between the two. But it’s not just the fact that Whitney’s vicious dismissal of the feelings he wants validated makes Asher feel attacked. Sure, it’s far worse that Whitney can’t keep herself from poking at his open wound. It’s what Nala said to him that really sticks with this awkward man. The TikTok trend-originated curse evidently turned freakishly real and stole the chicken from Asher’s pasta. But who’s to believe this guy’s speculations? The only time Whitney could really scratch her evil itch and question a POC’s actions without being racist was when her hatred for Asher took the driver’s seat.
Does The Show Get Picked Up?
I guess that part of The Curse could’ve taken just about any turn and still would’ve been a sight to see. But it’s always more fun to put two oddlings in a situation they’re not at all fit for and watch them squirm. It’s concerning enough that the one guy from the focus group lending a few words in favor of the majorly hated Asher happens to not speak in support of the environmental aspect of the project. But when you put two and two together, it’s debates like these that change opinions. And the same effect might have nudged the producers to take a gamble on the odd show. The group’s happy though; judging by the frowny giggles Whitney communicates through, I doubt she’d risk the show by speaking her mind. Her only punching bag is obviously Asher. And even there, she’s mindful of not going so far that she loses it altogether. Being a superficial narcissist wouldn’t be as fun without a man with a truckload of issues constantly making space for passive-aggressive (mostly) battles. Why else would Whitney practically agree with the focus group’s flagrant opinion of her husband and ask him to take a class on humor? She tries to hide the stench of her own opinion with however many layers of lies she adds to her mortifyingly fake smile.
What Does The Future Look Like For Asher And Whitney?
While we crave realistic representations of people and their emotions on screen, what we usually get and convince ourselves of is hardly ever lifelike. The truth is, sometimes the representation of something good can be so cheesy that, being the envious cynics that we are, we don’t really believe in it. And when the same is applied to something or someone just plain awful, it’s as though we’re physically uncomfortable seeing something as garish as the reality we see everyday. The reason we keep on watching The Curse is simply because we’re addicted to the endearingly trainwreck-like quality that Asher and Whitney bring to the table. So deliciously awkward that you’d voluntarily hold yourself down from twitching in frustration as you couldn’t look away. There are times, though, when Whitney comes a little close to manipulating us with her utterly selfish concern for the local community. When a local woman drops by her mirror house to make her aware of one of her buyers’ ill-treatment of the people of the community, her wrath is almost sincere. It unsurprisingly gets diluted by her compulsion to be polite to the only ones who’ve ever given them any money for their nonsensical, passive homes. Is it only her image that Whitney tries to maintain by hiring Fernando as the block’s security guard when Barrier Coffee’s investors find it too big of a loss to stay open indefinitely? Maybe. But she might also be the kind of person who’s capable of just that much empathy and not a notch beyond. It’s hardly as bad as the condition that Asher finds himself in, though.
The Curse Episode 4’s ending sequence is jarringly cruel to the man who’d just been confronted by the fact that his denial isn’t shared by the man who used to bully him when they were a bunch of teens. There’s nothing worse than the anticipation of failure. And by the time Asher made a frighteningly embarrassing mess of himself by attempting wordless humor, you already knew that he was beyond hope in that regard. Here’s wishing we never have to hear this man’s inner monologues!