The Curse Episode 1 Recap: The Land of Enchantment

Image Credit: John Paul Lopez/A24/Paramount+ with Showtime

Showtime’s ‘The Curse’ is the latest entry in the kind of shows that push the boundary of storytelling and deliver a story that is unusual, entertaining, and just as bizarre as it feels real. At the center of it is a couple who is trying to save the world “one kilowatt at a time” by making eco-friendly homes, themselves living in a passive house. But they have several challenges on the personal and professional front, both sides often being intertwined with each other. The first episode sets the stage for the story that is expected to take the audience down a very weird path, but one that doesn’t seem so unreal either. SPOILERS AHEAD

Whitney and Asher Make a Show

Image Credit: Richard Foreman Jr./A24/Paramount+ with SHOWTIME.

Whitney and Asher Siegel are in the business of flipping houses. However, it is different than what other people do because they flip houses into eco-friendly versions. They know that they are adding to the issue of gentrification, which raises the prices in the area, making it difficult for the locals to stick around in the locality they have spent their entire lives in. Because they can’t completely uproot the problem, they try to make up for it by offering job opportunities to locals or helping them cover the difference in their rent.

All of this sounds like a great job done, and one can only see Whitney and Asher as philanthropists who are dedicated to serving the community of Española, New Mexico. This is what the couple wants the world to know, which is why they have brought in Dougie Schecter, Asher’s friend from college, to make a show about their life. The show is titled ‘Flipanthropy,’ quite a fitting name for Whitney and Asher aim to do, but there’s a problem.

The Siegels are more interested in getting their work out into the world, to be known for creating eco-friendly homes, and to have their image developed that way. Dougie, however, is concerned about the fact that in its current form, the show doesn’t feel like something the audience would want to tune in to. If things go according to the couple, ‘Flipanthropy’ would just become an infomercial. What the audience need is drama, and Dougie is ready to get that however he can.

Asher is Cursed by a Girl

Image Credit: Richard Foreman Jr./A24/Paramount+ with SHOWTIME.

While it’s a reality show, Dougie knows that things often have to be staged for dramatic effect. The Siegels don’t understand why he needs the mother of the subject to cry tears of joy, even if she doesn’t quite feel that way, or why he needs a certain thing to be said a certain way, but for the director, it’s all about creating something that the audience doesn’t get bored out of their wits for. In one such attempt, he asks Asher to give some money to a young girl in the parking lot selling a six-pack. He wants to shoot a scene that will make Asher come across as a philanthropist, but his real desire is to use it as an excuse to keep the camera rolling so that he can record the things that the Siegels didn’t agree to.

What Dougie doesn’t know is that Asher doesn’t have anything less than a 100-dollar bill. He gives it to the girl when the scene is being shot but then takes it back when he thinks the camera is not rolling. He tries to give her 20 dollars, but he upsets the girl, and she threatens to curse him if he doesn’t give her the money back. He doesn’t, and she says, “I curse you.” Asher is a bit taken aback, but he doesn’t take it seriously. He tries to get 20 dollars, but by the time he gets it, the girl is gone.

What Asher’s Actions Mean for His and Whitney’s Future

Image Credit: Richard Foreman Jr./A24/Paramount+ with SHOWTIME.

Whatever the Siegels want to be shown in the reality show, it becomes clear soon enough that things are not as squeaky clean for them as they want the world to see. They say that they are trying to help the community, and everything that they do is in service of that, but a little digging by a reporter shows that their work is quite superficial. They’ve recently flipped a coffee house and claimed that all employees in the place are going to be locals. But clearly, that’s not the case.

The reporter brings up some other things, especially about Whitney’s parents, who are called “slum lords,” and other things for their strict eviction policies. When she is asked whether she would do anything to help the people who are living in the buildings owned by her parents, she tries to dodge the question, and Asher makes it worse by verbally attacking the interviewer. They try to make up for it by giving the reporter another story to focus on, but it doesn’t look like things are going to work out for them.

Apart from their professional life, things have been rather turbulent in their personal life, too. Whitney’s parents want them to have children now, but she is not ready for it. It is also revealed that they don’t have sex quite as often, and when they do, it’s not conventional. Whitney is also unsure about Dougie and his approach towards the show. This is why, when she discovers that Asher has been cursed by a young girl, she becomes even more agitated. She is disappointed in her husband for acting that way, wondering why he needed to get the money back when he could have just given it away.

Asher doesn’t take the curse seriously, but Whitney does. She asks him to find the girl and give her the money. He goes back, but as expected, the girl is nowhere to be seen. So, he gives the money to someone else and comes back home to tell Whitney that he did what she asked. This is, of course, a lie, which will be caught in due time. But the curse thing will hang over the couple, and we can only expect turbulent times ahead for them.

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