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Is “The Curse” Based on Chip and Joanna Gaines? Here’s the Deal

THE CURSE, from left: Nathan Fielder, Emma Stone, Tessa Mentus, Land of Enchantment', (Season 1, ep. 101, aired Nov. 12, 2023). photo: Richard Foreman Jr. / Showtime / Courtesy Everett Collection

Showtime’s “The Curse” stars Emma Stone and Nathan Fielder as two newlyweds who attempt to launch a house-flipping HGTV series in the town of Española, NM. However, their show, and their efforts to start a family, become complicated by the presence of what might just be a curse.

The premise might sound a bit absurd, but it also may ring a few bells if you’ve ever seen any of television’s many, many house-flipping and home renovation shows. From HGTV’s “Flip or Flop” and “Property Brothers” to Netflix’s “Tiny House Nation” and “Dream Home Makeover,” it’s clear the public has a never-ending appetite for renovation and real-estate-related television. Meanwhile, Stone and Fielder’s characters themselves might bring to mind another famous couple in the televised home improvement business — Chip and Joanna Gaines, who cohosted the HGTV show “Fixer Upper” from 2013 to 2018. From there, they launched their own media company called Magnolia and debuted their own cable channel in 2020. They’re still very active, and in June, they took on a new challenge and renovated a giant dilapidated castle.

The couple have also garnered some criticism here and there over the years for various reasons. “Fixer Upper” never included any same-sex couples or queer people at all, and the Gainses were also criticized in 2016 for appearing in a video with their pastor Jimmy Seibert of the Antioch International Movement of Churches, who was openly against gay marriage and supported conversion therapy. They also paid $40,000 to the EPA due to improper handling of lead paint in 2017. And not all of their home renovation shows have actually made homeowners happy, according to reports. In 2022, a show on their network called “Home Work” was removed from the air after homeowners complained of shoddy work. The Gainses denied they had ever exploited clients in any way, and reps for the couple did not immediately reply to POPSUGAR’s request for comment.

Still, all things considered, “The Curse” is definitely not based on a true story, and it seems like Stone and Fielder’s characters will face far more chaos and disaster than Chip and Joanna ever have, if the trailer for the series is anything to go by. Still, the show does seem poised to touch on very real fears about gentrification, exploitation, and the harm done by many seemingly altruistic ventures that are really only completed for the camera’s sake.

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