The Curse (American TV series)

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The Curse
Created by
Written by
Directed by
Music by
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes10
Executive producers
  • Joshua Bachove
  • Inman Young
  • Mary Beth Minthorn[5]
Production locationNew Mexico
CinematographyMaceo Bishop[6]
  • Adam Locke-Norton
  • Stacy Moon
  • Benny Safdie
Running time38–69 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseNovember 12, 2023 (2023-11-12) –
present (present)

The Curse is an American satirical black comedy thriller television series created and written by Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie, and starring Emma Stone, Fielder, and Safdie. It was filmed from June to October 2022 and premiered on streaming and on-demand for all Showtime and Paramount+ with Showtime subscribers on November 10, 2023, before making its on-air debut on Showtime on November 12.[7][8] Its first three episodes premiered at the New York Film Festival on October 12, 2023.[9] The first season concluded on January 12, 2024, receiving critical acclaim.[10]

The series explores "How an alleged curse disturbs the relationship of a newly married couple as they try to conceive a child while co-starring on their problematic new HGTV show, Fliplanthropy."[11]

Cast and characters[edit]


  • Emma Stone as Whitney Siegel, Asher's wife and co-star of an HGTV show about passive homes
  • Nathan Fielder as Asher Siegel, Whitney's husband and co-star of the HGTV show
  • Benny Safdie as Dougie Schecter, the producer of the HGTV show and Asher's friend


  • Constance Shulman and Corbin Bernsen as Elizabeth and Paul, Whitney's slumlord parents
  • Hikmah Warsame as Nala, a young girl who curses Asher
  • Dahabo Ahmed as Hani, Nala's older sister
  • Christopher Calderon as Fernando, an economically struggling local employed by Whitney
  • Barkhad Abdi as Abshir, Nala and Hani's father
  • Gary Farmer as James Toledo, Governor of the San Pedro Pueblo
  • Nizhonniya Luxi Austin as Cara Durand, a Picuris Pueblo artist working with Whitney



No.Title [12]Directed byWritten by [13]Original air date [12]U.S. viewers
1"Land of Enchantment"Nathan FielderNathan Fielder & Benny SafdieNovember 12, 2023 (2023-11-12)0.058[14]
Married couple Whitney and Asher Siegel work on the pilot for their Española, New Mexico-based HGTV show Fliplanthropy, which aims to use their property development company to help locals but is criticized for gentrifying the area. Asher snaps at interviewer Monica Perez when she brings up Whitney's parents Paul and Elizabeth's reputation as slumlords, and Perez agrees to not air the interview if he gives her proof of corruption on the gaming control board of his previous employer, the Whistling River Casino. Paul gives Asher advice on dealing with his micropenis. Asher is irritated to find chicken missing from his meal kit, and during sex, he roleplays being cuckolded while masturbating Whitney. Asher's friend and Fliplanthropy producer Dougie Schecter has him give a hundred dollars to Nala, a young street vendor, for B-roll, who "curses" him when he takes it back. Whitney sees the footage and demands he give her the money. He cannot find her at a nearby homeless shelter and gives the money to a nearby single mother, telling Whitney that Nala lifted the curse after he paid her.
2"Pressure's Looking Good So Far"David Zellner & Nathan ZellnerStory by : Nathan Fielder & Benny Safdie & Carrie Kemper
Teleplay by : Carrie Kemper
November 19, 2023 (2023-11-19)0.045[14]
Asher clumsily infiltrates a Whistling River office and covertly downloads footage from pit boss Bill's computer. While on a date, Dougie tells the story of how his wife was killed in a drunk driving incident, though he denies responsibility due to being under the legal limit. He tests his blood alcohol content while driving his date home and realizes he is over the limit, walking her the rest of the way. Whitney attends Pueblo artist Cara Durand's gallery, but is bothered by a performance piece where Cara screams after Whitney eats a piece of turkey cut for her, then asks "why did you do that?" The Siegels are delighted to learn that Whitney is pregnant, but quickly discover that it is ectopic.
3"Questa Lane"David Zellner & Nathan ZellnerNathan Fielder & Benny SafdieNovember 26, 2023 (2023-11-26)0.033[14]
Asher is bothered by a focus group's negative assessment of him during a pilot screening. He finds Nala and her family squatting in a recently purchased property, and he and Whitney agree to waive their rent for a year. Nala mentions cursing him as part of a TikTok trend, and Asher becomes paranoid when she explains she wished for the chicken to go missing from his dinner. One of the show's sponsors pulls out and leaves one of its subjects, Fernando, out of the job the Siegels promised him. Whitney employs him as security for their clothing store. Whitney and Asher share a humorous moment when her sweater gets stuck and he is forced to tear it off, but Whitney's attempt to recreate it on camera for Instagram prove dry and Asher is distracted with worries about the curse. They argue about her supposed lack of support and accuse each other of racism before deciding to go to bed.
4"Under the Big Tree"David Zellner & Nathan ZellnerNathan Fielder & Benny SafdieDecember 3, 2023 (2023-12-03)N/A
Dougie awakens in a field and learns that Fliplanthropy has been picked up for a full season. He finds the keys to his car and the two abandoned ones next to him buried and drives to one of the addresses written on his hand, learning that he bought alcohol for the teen living there and his friends but withheld their keys to prevent an accident. He admits to Asher his fear that he may be cursed. One of the Siegels' homebuyers plans to install a gas stove, which violates the house's passive certification, and Asher unsuccessfully tries to steal the house's induction range. Whitney presses Asher to take a corporate comedy class, where he is the only one in a group exercise to not make anyone laugh.
5"It's a Good Day"Nathan FielderNathan Fielder & Benny SafdieDecember 10, 2023 (2023-12-10)0.015[14]
Whitney lashes out at a couple who want to violate the passive certification by installing air conditioning and refuse to sign their support for Pueblo land rights, causing them to quit the show. Cara is brought in to pose as a buyer, but is intentionally disruptive and forms a rapport with Dougie. Fernando stops and calls the police on a shoplifter at the clothing store, and Whitney has the cashier charge her credit card for stolen items to prevent future police attention. Her parents come to say hello and she lashes out at them when they ask to have Paul's birthday party on one of the properties. Asher suggests contacting a previous prospective buyer, who Whitney is mistrustful of because of a Blue Lives Matter sticker on his car. He surprises her by being interested in passive housing and supportive of the Pueblo, and she later is cold with Asher after selling to the man.
6"The Fire Burns On"Nathan FielderNathan Fielder & Benny SafdieDecember 17, 2023 (2023-12-17)0.027[14]
Whitney finds a cut of a Fliplanthropy episode uninteresting, so she and Dougie scheme to play up Asher's awkwardness and insert conflict between him and Whitney. He approves her idea of changing the title to Green Queen. While filming at a firehouse, Asher finds raw chicken in the bathroom sink and believes Dougie is pranking him, though surveillance footage reveal that he was not responsible. While trying to sabotage Dougie's budding relationship with Cara, Whitney sees in their texts that she is interested in a statue that offensively depicts an Indigenous caricature. Asher innocently asks Nala to guess how many screws he is hiding in his hand and she guesses them correctly, though she becomes upset when he squeezes his hand so hard he cuts it with the nails.
7"Self-Exclusion"Nathan FielderNathan Fielder & Benny SafdieDecember 24, 2023 (2023-12-24)0.022[14]
Nala tries to curse her school bully to fall off the climbing rope during gym class and is ignored by her teacher when she complains about her negative treatment. Whitney buys the statue and gives it to Cara, missing the point of her art being that she steals and repurposes racist products. Cara agrees to keep working on Green Queen when Whitney offers to hire her as a "consultant" for Indigenous depiction, and Whitney confesses her uncertainty with her marriage while filming with Dougie. Asher is kicked out of his class when the instructor pressures him to make a joke about his penis, which offends several students. Perez airs her story about Whistling River, where Asher is seen in the footage laughing over the board taking a woman's winnings, which he and Whitney argue about. Nala's bully trips and injures herself on the playground.
8"Down and Dirty"Nathan FielderStory by : Nathan Fielder & Benny Safdie & Carrie Kemper
Teleplay by : Nathan Fielder & Benny Safdie
December 31, 2023 (2023-12-31)0.025[14]
Fernando confronts the Siegels on the increased petty crime Whitney's no-police policy has brought to Española, leaving Whitney disgusted when Asher weakly tries to stand up for her. He bumps into Bill in public, who ignores him. After Dougie presses Asher about his cuckold fetish on camera, they go out to dinner and drive to Nala's, where Dougie pleads with her to curse him when they are alone. As he starts to cry, a scared Nala calls for her father Abshir and Asher drags Dougie out. They argue as Dougie drives Asher home, and after Asher brings up Dougie's dead wife, Dougie curses him. Whitney and Cara attend an art gallery and Whitney decides to film in the house, staging a conversation where she praises Cara's art. When asked, Cara explains that her turkey piece was her cutting off bits of her Pueblo identity and giving it away, and later throws out the statue when she arrives home.
9"Young Hearts"Nathan FielderNathan Fielder & Benny SafdieJanuary 7, 2024 (2024-01-07)0.034[14]
An HGTV representative requests that the Siegels's marriage be shown positively, so Whitney takes Asher bowling. He runs into Bill, who explains he ignored him after believing he leaked to the press, though now believes it was someone else. Wanting to impress Whitney, Asher proudly declares himself the leaker. A Green Queen crew member is fired when he leaves a distasteful note on Whitney's car after his friend's relative is evicted from her parents' building. She confronts her parents, who point out the man was a bad tenant, and she takes their money without any issue. She and Asher watch a cut of a Green Queen episode, where she comments on him holding her back from her dreams. Shaken, he admits that he never gave Nala the money and that he is the real curse, tearfully promising to improve as she looks at him in stunned silence.
10"Green Queen"Nathan FielderNathan Fielder & Benny SafdieJanuary 14, 2024 (2024-01-14)0.040[14]
Some time later, Whitney is heavily pregnant and has stopped taking money from her parents, while her and Asher's marriage has improved. Green Queen has been renewed for a second season despite its middling reception. As a gift to Whitney, Asher gives an uninterested Abshir ownership of the property. The next morning, Asher wakes up to find himself stuck on the ceiling, as if gravity has reversed for him. Before they can figure out how to get him down, Whitney goes into labor. Her doula helps Asher out of the house, but loses his grip and gets him stuck on a tree branch. After the doula drives Whitney to the hospital, Dougie arrives and believes Asher is trying to avoid being a father. As Dougie films Asher panicking, the fire department attempts to get him down by cutting the branch off with a chainsaw, ignoring his pleas to stop. Asher is sent flying upwards, eventually dying as he floats through space in the fetal position. At the same time, Whitney undergoes a caesarean section and holds her son while Dougie remorsefully weeps over Asher. As he explains the situation to the police, onlookers recognize Asher from TV and assume the incident was a stunt.



The Curse was given the green-light by Showtime in February 2020. It was created and written by Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie.[11] Safdie stated the series "started out as a 30-minute comedy and became an hour-long comedy-drama".[2]

According to a December 2023 interview with IndieWire, an interaction Fielder had shortly after moving to Los Angeles helped inspire the show's premise: a woman on the street asked Fielder for money, and when he replied he didn't have any, she declared "I curse you". Bothered by her words, he withdrew cash from an ATM, returned to the woman, and gave her twenty dollars, prompting her to declare the curse lifted.[15] According to Fielder, "I don't believe in that stuff, but I can't get those things out of my head. Sometimes if someone says something to you, even conversationally, where you feel like you messed up something, it can linger in your mind and grow and consume you. Then we just started riffing on that idea, like, 'Wouldn't it be interesting if that vibe was hanging over an entire show?'"[15]


In December 2020, Emma Stone joined the cast of the series.[16] In July 2022, Corbin Bernsen, Barkhad Abdi and Constance Shulman joined the cast.[17]


Principal photography took place in Santa Fe and Española, New Mexico, from June to early October 2022.[18]


The original score for the series was composed and performed by frequent Safdie collaborator Daniel Lopatin and John Medeski.[19][20] Additionally, the music of Alice Coltrane is featured heavily in the series. [10]

Themes and analysis[edit]

The show deals with subjects such as the artifice of reality television, gentrification, cultural appropriation, white privilege, Native American rights, sustainable capitalism, Judaism, pathological altruism, virtue signalling, marriage, and parenthood.[21][22][23][24]


Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 94% of 71 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8.5/10. The website's consensus reads: "A wickedly uncomfortable marriage of sensibilities between Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie, with a masterful Emma Stone tying everything together, The Curse will make viewers cackle and squirm in equal measure."[25] On Metacritic, the series has a weighted average score of 76 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[26]

The Curse was named among the best TV shows of 2023 by Entertainment Weekly, IndieWire, Elle, Time, The A.V. Club, and The New Yorker.[27][28][29][30][31][32]

Director Christopher Nolan described The Curse as "an incredible show" and likened it to Twin Peaks, The Prisoner, and The Singing Detective as "genuinely [having] no precedence" in television.[33]


Accolades for The Curse
Award Date of ceremony Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Golden Globe Awards January 7, 2024 Best Actress – Television Series Drama Emma Stone Nominated [34]
Independent Spirit Awards February 25, 2024 Best Supporting Performance in a New Scripted Series Benny Safdie Nominated [35]
Writers Guild of America Awards April 14, 2024 Drama Series Carmen Christopher, Nathan Fielder, Alex Huggins, Carrie Kemper, Benny Safdie Nominated [36]


In a January 2024 interview, Safdie addressed the possibility of a second season, saying, "It's not off the table. There are ideas, but it's definitely too premature to put them out into the world."[37]


  1. ^ Bui, Hoai-Tran (November 6, 2023). "The Curse Pushes Past the Limits of Reality". Inverse. Retrieved November 10, 2023.
  2. ^ a b Guy, Zoe (October 13, 2023). "Nathan Fielder Can Put Out Fires With His Smile". Vulture. Retrieved November 10, 2023.
  3. ^ Berman, Judy (November 6, 2023). "The Curse Is a Brain-Breaking Revelation Even If You Already Know Nathan Fielder's Schtick". Time. Retrieved November 25, 2023.
  4. ^ Travers, Ben (November 6, 2023). "'The Curse' Is an Exquisite, Excruciating Black Comic Wonder". IndieWire. Retrieved November 10, 2023.
  5. ^ "The Curse". Film Festival Cologne. Retrieved October 29, 2023.
  6. ^ "Maceo Bishop Resume" (PDF). Retrieved October 29, 2023.
  7. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (December 10, 2020). "Emma Stone to Star in Showtime Comedy Series From the Safdie Brothers". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  8. ^ Bergeson, Samantha (September 26, 2023). "A24 Series 'The Curse' with Emma Stone, Nathan Fielder, and Benny Safdie Sets Release Date". IndieWire. Retrieved September 26, 2023.
  9. ^ Tingley, Anna (October 13, 2023). "Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie's TV Show 'The Curse' Makes History at New York Film Festival: 'Everything About It Screams Cinema to Me'". Variety. Retrieved October 13, 2023.
  10. ^ a b Poniewozik, James (January 12, 2024). "'The Curse' Ending: What Just Happened?". The New York Times. Retrieved January 15, 2024.
  11. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (February 18, 2020). "Showtime Orders 'The Curse' Comedy Pilot From the Safdie Brothers & Nathan Fielder". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
  12. ^ a b "Shows A-Z – curse, the on showtime". The Futon Critic. Retrieved October 13, 2023.
  13. ^ "The Curse – WGA Directory". Writers Guild of America West. Retrieved October 13, 2023.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The Curse: Season One Ratings". TV Series Finale. November 15, 2023. Retrieved November 15, 2023.
  15. ^ a b Travers, Ben (December 4, 2023). "Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie Nearly Talked Themselves Out of Making 'The Curse'". IndieWire. Retrieved January 13, 2024.
  16. ^ White, Peter (December 10, 2020). "Emma Stone To Star In Comedy Series 'The Curse' From Nathan Fielder & Safdie Brothers For Showtime". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  17. ^ Otterson, Joe (July 7, 2022). "Showtime Comedy Series 'The Curse' Casts Corbin Bernsen, Barkhad Abdi, Constance Shulman (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  18. ^ Vitu, Teya (January 3, 2023). "New Showtime comedy series finishes filming in Santa Fe". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Archived from the original on January 4, 2023. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
  19. ^ Buckley, Nick (June 28, 2023). "This musician is finding inspiration in AI's 'dumb' moment". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved July 22, 2023.
  20. ^ Breihan, Tom (January 18, 2023). "Oneohtrix Point Never & John Medeski Are Scoring Nathan Fielder & Benny Safdie's The Curse". Stereogum. Retrieved November 21, 2023.
  21. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (January 12, 2024). "'The Curse' Finale Is Bonkers and Deeply Frustrating". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 12, 2024.
  22. ^ McFarland, Melanie (November 19, 2023). ""The Curse," HGTV and the curb appeal of gentrification". Salon. Retrieved January 12, 2024.
  23. ^ Kang, Inkoo (November 11, 2023). ""The Curse" Holds a Mirror Up to Marriage". The New Yorker. Retrieved January 12, 2024.
  24. ^ Frick, Evelyn (November 13, 2023). "Showtime's 'The Curse' Gives Us Nathan Fielder, Emma Stone and Judaism". Hey Alma. Retrieved January 12, 2024.
  25. ^ "The Curse: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  26. ^ "The Curse: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved November 28, 2023.
  27. ^ Baldwin, Kristen (December 8, 2023). "The 10 best TV shows of 2023 (and 3 worst)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 9, 2023.
  28. ^ Travers, Ben (December 1, 2023). "The Best TV Shows of 2023". IndieWire. Retrieved December 9, 2023.
  29. ^ "The Best TV Shows of 2023". Elle. December 4, 2023. Retrieved December 9, 2023.
  30. ^ Berman, Judy (November 30, 2023). "The 10 Best TV Shows of 2023". Time. Retrieved December 9, 2023.
  31. ^ Lowery, Tim (December 5, 2023). "The 30 best TV shows of 2023: The Curse". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 9, 2023.
  32. ^ Kang, Inkoo (December 10, 2023). "The Best TV Shows of 2023". The New Yorker. Retrieved December 10, 2023.
  33. ^ The Curse Q&A with Nathan Fielder & Benny Safdie Moderated by Christopher Nolan. Showtime. January 25, 2024. Retrieved January 26, 2024 – via YouTube.
  34. ^ Lang, Brent; Shanfeld, Ethan (December 11, 2023). "Golden Globes 2024: Full Nominations List". Variety. Retrieved January 8, 2024.
  35. ^ McArdle, Tommy (December 5, 2023). "May December, Anne Hathaway, Teyana Taylor and More Score 2024 Independent Spirit Awards Nominations". People. Retrieved January 27, 2024.
  36. ^ Lewis, Hilary (February 21, 2024). "WGA Awards: 'Air,' 'Barbie,' 'Oppenheimer,' 'May December' Among Film Screenplay Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 27, 2024.
  37. ^ Shanfeld, Ethan (January 4, 2024). "Benny Breaks Out: The Safdie Brother on Going Solo, Making You Squirm With 'The Curse' and What He Learned From Christopher Nolan and PTA". Variety. Retrieved January 4, 2024.

External links[edit]