Nathan Fielder found himself being labeled a sex symbol following the release of the 2022 HBO docu-comedy The Rehearsal – and his new series The Curse capitalises on that in the most Fielder way possible.
That’s right: The Canadian comedian gets hot and heavy with co-star Emma Stone in an extremely unsexy and bizarre manner.
The new series, streaming locally on Paramount Plus, follows newlyweds Asher (Fielder) and Whitney (Stone) Siegel as they launch their new home renovation show Flipanthropy, which has received backlash due to their textbook gentrification of a town in New Mexico.
The Siegels are awkward and stiff in their interactions with each other and have polar opposite approaches to their fame. Whitney maintains an open and collected demeanour in the public eye despite the harsh accusations, while Asher demands respect. Then, there’s their trusted producer Dougie Schecter, played by Benny Safdie, who co-wrote the series with Fielder.
Schecter wants nothing more than to see the show’s success because that’ll accumulate in job security and a big paycheck for himself, but he often clashes with Whitney, who refuses to stoop to tabloid fodder and making their personal lives a focus on their show.
So, the dynamic between the three is complicated, and tensions are high among the couple. Halfway through Episode 1, titled “Land of Enchantment,” the two visit Whitney’s parents and have a squabble over Whitney talking to her parents about Asher’s supposed micropenis.
“I mentioned it to my mum when we first started dating and that’s it,” Whitney explains to Asher as they drive home. But when Asher continues to press on the subject, the truth gets revealed. “They brought up us having kids and I said it’s not an urgent priority right now, so he maybe thought that’s why we’re not having sex that much,” she says, referring to her father.
Asher is appalled that she told her parents about their sex life. “It’s interesting that he thinks it’s me who’s putting on the brakes,” Asher says, revealing the sexual tension in their relationship. “In case you’re wondering, your dad’s d**k is smaller than mine,” he counterpoints.
The two laugh off the argument on their drive and arrive home. While unpacking their grocery order, Whitney puts the moves on Asher. As the couple flirts, Whitney bites her lip and orders Asher to “put the rest of the food away,” to which he responds, “and then we can f**k?”
At this point, the vibe is super weird and for the .2 seconds that the scene fades to black, you’ll likely think, nothing is actually going to happen, right?
Well, you’d be wrong. The next scene opens with Asher, fully clothed, using a sex toy on his wife, while she feigns having sex with another man. Asher stares intensely at his wife, who’s seemingly wearing nothing but a thin gray tank top, and asks, “Steven, can I join too?” Whitney tells him, “He says ‘no, not yet,’” in reference to her imaginary lover’s wishes.
“Can you ask Steven if I can watch?” Asher says to his wife.
She tells him, “He says you can listen but he doesn’t want to see your face,” while writhing on the bed. Asher continues to use the toy on Whitney while narrating his actions as both of their grunting grows louder. “Tell him I’m looking away,” he says.
The camera cuts to Asher kneeling on the floor of the bed. Then, when Whitney tells him that it’s “his turn,” he says he’d rather watch her with Steven and she loudly chants the imaginary guy’s name.
Well, that certainly wasn’t PG! And while it’s nothing new for Stone, who stars in the upcoming explicit movie Poor Things, Fielder has always held a rather chaste persona as he played into his exaggerated social awkwardness.
While Nathan for You sometimes ventured into sex territory, such as with the soundproof sex box and naked magician skits, it was always done with the intent to troll; whereas The Curse is a real show, with a real unfolding narrative, and that was, within the universe of the series, a genuine sex scene.
As shown in the premiere episode, The Siegels have plenty of marital issues that are bound to grow in severity as the series develops, but sex may not be one of them, as they both seemed to enjoy their awkward romp — more so than those viewing between their fingers.
The Curse streams locally on Paramount Plus. This article was originally published on Decider and appears here with permission.