clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

‘The Curse’s second episode speaks to trying to belong in a place that doesn’t want you

As they wait for news about Flipanthropy, Asher, Whitney, and Dougie all go through some different mode of struggle.

Richard Foreman Jr./A24/Paramount+ with SHOWTIME

There’s a busyness to the first episode of The Curse that keeps the uneasy nature of the show moving from a reality television perspective and a more personal aspect of these characters with blindspots. “Pressure’s Looking Good So Far” meets Whitney, Asher, and Dougie in limbo. HGTV hasn’t picked up Flipanthropy yet, and everyone has their own thing to conquer regarding the episode. Some aspects are more action-oriented (and intentionally hilarious), and others are inner turmoil. Writer Carrie Kemper interjects themes of secrets and some subtexts about appropriation and the qualities of those participating in such activities.

For Asher, it’s trying to get that damn security footage from Whistling River Casino. It’s been weeks, and he has provided Monica with nothing, so in a last stitch Nathan Fielder-esque manner, Asher moves for a hail mary. As aloof as he may seem, Asher has adjusted the casino to help revenue – such as circadian lighting and wristbands so people never have to leave the gaming floor. It’s another way where his character has actively prayed on people. I don’t know how a kids' zone inside a casino would play. Could you imagine the McDonald's ballpit equivalent inside a space with gratuitous gambling and smoking happening? Neither could the boss.

Ridiculous as it was, Asher got into the office he needed, and his previous jokester nature with Bill gave him an opening to download the security footage. The Gatorade felt like something ripped out of The Rehearsal, and Fielder feels at home here. There’s no guarantee that Asher will get what he wants in the many gigabytes of storage he just downloaded. That plot point is to be continued.

Richard Foreman Jr./A24/Paramount+ with SHOWTIME

Whitney is not having such a great time throughout the second episode. To back it up a little bit, she finds out she’s pregnant, and that’s a bit of good news. For one, Asher is excited, but there’s a bit of hesitation on Whit’s part (we’ll come back to that in a bit). For much of “Pressure’s Looking Good So Far,” Whitney is trying to be a good ally or putting up the look of being on and failing. Every one of her modes of outreach is predicated on getting acceptance or being a means to get to where she’s going. Whitney rarely stops to listen and tries to be a genuine friend to people in the community she has supplanted herself within.

With the San Pedro Pueblo Governor, James (Gary Farmer), their discussions are about getting him to this gallery, showing off a person Whitney is supposedly friends with. She and Asher have a bunch of Cara Durand’s (Nizhonniya Austin) paintings in their household, and from there, the idea of getting her on as a consultant on the series is born. Nothing gives the impression of admiring someone’s work and trying to understand their viewpoint. This is even more apparent in Cara’s performance piece. The eating of the turkey and Cara screaming harkens back to Thanksgiving and the proclamation of Native Americans having their land seized from them.

Richard Foreman Jr./A24/Paramount+ with SHOWTIME

It’s basic, yet Whitney cannot see the forest from the trees. It’s why James shrugs it off because he is of that world. Whitney tries to interpret another of Cara’s art pieces and misses the point entirely. It’s immense overcompensation. Cara is an artist that Whitney can’t be.

You feel sorry for her because she’s a character that wants friends, but doesn’t know the way to be one. The bird flying into her mirrored house is a metaphor. The plagiarism allegations against her house designs mirror what Flipanthropy is doing to this town. If anything, her only companion is Asher, who only makes things more complicated than they should be. The news of their baby and unfortunate diagnosis comes with a hint of Whitney’s past. There are things she’s keeping from Asher, and I’m not particularly sure why. Nevertheless, there’s something to keep an eye on.

While team Siegel needs this show for their reputation, Dougie is trying to escape his past. He stays in Santa Fe and doesn’t return to New York because there’s nothing for him there. It stems from the sad fact that he lost his wife in a car accident, possibly due to him driving under the influence. It’s not something he takes responsibility for. His date had a right to feel apprehensive about getting into the car with him. However, pulling over and walking the rest of the way was right.

This gives an extra layer to Dougie. He gives off a jerk, sleazeball vibe in the first episode. But underneath all that, he’s trying to belong after a mistake he made. Essentially, everybody is striving to be someone in the place where they stick out like a sore thumb. Maybe that’s ‘The Curse” in all of this.

Give Me The Green Light

  • There’s a 100% chance HGTV picks that show up, right?
  • Take a look at Doug Aitken’s designs. It’s hard to deny some overlap exists.
  • Poor Bill. He has no idea what Asher is up to. Even if nothing comes of this “investigation,” their “friendship” will never be the same.