In Showtime’s ‘The Curse,’ a mix of several things creates a captivating story that appalls the audience as much as it engages them. At the center of the story are Whitney and Asher Siegel, who are filming for their new show called ‘Flipanthropy,’ in which they flip houses to create sustainable versions of them. While the couple might be the face of the new reality show, they need someone to take care of the technicalities, and that’s where Benny Safdie’s Dougie Schecter comes in.
He has been brought on board to produce the show, and the Siegels want him to create the image that they want to project to the world. But Dougie knows better. He has worked in reality TV before and knows exactly where the true heart of ‘Flipanthropy’ lies. With the realism with which Safdie plays the character, the viewers are bound to wonder if he is based on a real person. SPOILERS AHEAD
Dougie Schecter Represents the Behind-the-Scenes of Reality Shows
‘The Curse’ is a fictional series created by Nathan Fields and Benny Safdie. Each character in the show, including Dougie Schecter, is fictional. However, the writers were inspired by real-life HGTV shows, their hosts, and the behind-the-scenes activities to create the Showtime series, in which Dougie brings Whitney and Asher in touch with the reality of their situation.
The Siegels are focused on making ‘Flipanthropy’ a show about their work and want everything in it to be real. They don’t want the conversation to turn toward their personal lives and are uncomfortable about opening that part of their lives to the world. However, Dougie points out that no matter how much reality they infuse the show with, they will have to do some scripting to enhance it. He also asks the couple to spill some beans about their relationship and get a bit more dramatic. Otherwise, their show will come off as an infomercial, which is not what the audience wants.
Dougie is ready to go to any lengths, even if it means sabotaging Whitney and Asher’s already tumultuous relationship, to get the much-needed drama in the show. He secretly films them, records them, and even pushes them to do things that would look good on camera, only to keep the camera rolling and record something untoward. His dedication to controlling the narrative in ‘Flipanthropy’ is reminiscent of the scripted nature of most reality shows. Even though they are supposed to be “real,” it is common knowledge that most reality shows are scripted, and all the drama, animosity, backstabbing, and whatnot are usually pre-planned to keep the audience entertained. For Dougie, too, entertainment is the ultimate goal.
Love to the Third Degree is a Play on Real Dating Shows
In explaining to the Siegels how a reality show can be real and scripted at the same time, Dougie shows them a clip from another show he made called ‘Love to the Third Degree.’ In it, a man keeps his face hidden, and a group of women compete for his love. None of them get to see his face, and they have to fall in love with his personality. His face will only be revealed in the final episode when the man has chosen a girl and marries her. Shockingly, the man in the clip turns out to be a burn victim.
Dougie points out how the show has used the concept of inner beauty over physical attraction to give the man a chance to get so many beautiful women fighting over him. Whitney is quick to point out that it feels more like a prank on the man, but she misses Dougie’s point. He doesn’t care whether or not the man finds love and what happens to him after the show. He knows that the audience would be more invested in the drama, and that’s what’s needed in ‘Flipanthropy’ too.
Speaking of drama and hidden identities, ‘Love to the Third Degree’ reminds the viewers of popular shows like ‘Love is Blind’ and ‘Married at First Sight,’ which have used the trick of not allowing couples to see each other before falling in love or getting married. ‘Love to the Third Degree’ also seems to borrow elements from another popular show called ‘The Bachelor.’ Considering how heavily the creators of ‘The Curse’ were influenced by reality shows while creating Whitney and Asher’s story, it makes sense that they used the abovementioned dating shows as a reference to create Dougie’s show.
Read More: Is Flipanthropy a Real TV Show?