For our first Friday culture chat, we talk about the new cringe-drama-comedy show The Curse, which dropped on Paramount Plus today. Nathan Fielder and Emma Stone play a couple who are making a problematic reality TV show, Flipanthropy, whose goal is to “ethically gentrify” an American neighbourhood. When they’re cursed by a child, their lives are turned upside down. Lilah’s joined by FT columnist Stephen Bush and assistant arts editor Rebecca Watson to talk about the show and how prestige TV is changing comedy. Why are we laughing less, and cringing more? And why is comedy so complicated right now?


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Links (all FT links get you past the paywall):

The Curse can be streamed on Paramount Plus and Showtime in the US from November 10. It airs on Paramount Plus in the UK from November 11

– The other shows we discussed are Nathan For You (2013-2017) and The Rehearsal (2022)

– Look out for the FT’s review of The Curse. TV critic Dan Einav’s review of The Rehearsal is here:

– Rebecca Watson’s novel is called Little Scratch. She’s on X at @rebeccawhatsun

– Stephen Bush’s daily UK politics newsletter is called Inside Politics. You can trial it for free here. He’s on X at @stephenkb

– Stephen recommended, as films where children act like children, the new British film Scrapper and the 2021 Belgian film Playground. Rebecca added the 2022 film Aftersun

– Lilah recommended the comedian Rachel Kaly


Special FT subscription offers for Life and Art podcast listeners, from 50% off a digital subscription to a $1/£1/€1 trial, are here:


Original music by Metaphor Music. Mixing and sound design by Breen Turner and Sam Giovinco.

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