TV

The Curse: What Living in an Eco-Friendly House is Really Like


Passive, energy efficient, and occasionally bird-killing housing isn’t just a creation for Showtime’s The Curse.

L-R: Emma Stone as Whitney and Alexander Poncio as Vic in The Curse, episode 4, season 1, streaming on Paramount+ with SHOWTIME, 2023.
Photo: Richard Foreman Jr. | A24 | Paramount+ with SHOWTIME

This article contains spoilers for The Curse through episode 5.

The morning after I moved into my house, I heard a thud on the back patio. And then another. And another. Three little birds were on my doorstep, but definitely not in a chilled-out Bob Marley way. They were dead. And it felt like an auspicious beginning to my family’s life in our new space. 

Immediately, my mind went to The Curse, the Showtime series that follows newlyweds Asher (Nathan Fielder) and Whitney Siegel (Emma Stone), two self-styled do-good house flippers on a mission to turn old houses into passive homes. The homes are constructed to be completely energy efficient, with minimal heating or cooling systems, relying mostly on sturdy construction and extra insulation to create a thermos-like climate on the inside. The outside of the homes are Kusama-like mirrors, a design choice that might look interesting but, as a representative from a passive housing consortium emphasizes, completely unnecessary for the energy-efficient certification of the home. The mirrors also attract birds. 

In the second episode of The Curse, Whitney is waiting for the completion of a blow test (we’ll get to that) when a small bird slams into the side of one of her mirrored masterpieces and dies. She sighs, acknowledging that this has happened before, and starts to brainstorm alternative options to set her architectural apparitions apart. 

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