“The Curse” demonstrates how What We Do in the Shadows perfectly balances an ongoing narrative with silly non sequitur

This series hasn’t hit a bump yet since it first got going. The way that it continues to tell the underlying story of Guillermo, the former butt of all jokes, becoming a full fledged vampire killer under his master’s noses, all while telling, at the same time, stories that are silly and mean nothing to the episodes before and after is just amazing to me. Neither bogs down the other… I want to know what is going to happen to Guillermo and, at the same time, I am more and entertained by the dumb antics of the vampire household.

Take “The Curse” for example. Nandor, looking at his email for the first time in a decade, is shocked and frightened to discover a chain letter warning him that he is cursed unless he forwards the message to ten other people. Being technologically illiterate and the product of an age of witchcraft and sorcery he, of course, believes that he is cursed without question and then ropes Nadia and Lazlo into his dilemma. Basically, they spend the entire episode trying to secure ten email addresses with the help of Colin Robinson (who knows that there is no curse, but plays along to feed on their misery).

It is a simple sitcom situation that is wholly ridiculous and completely hilarious and, yet, impacts nothing. It is self-contained and finished when the credits roll.

Guillermo, however, does not have the luxury of his problems being over. Since discovering that he is a descendant of Van Helsing and has innate vampire hunting talents, he is torn between his genetic need to destroy the creatures of the night and his sworn duty to serve his masters. The poor guy is living a dubious double life and the more he tries to choose his duty, the further he becomes entangled in his destiny to the point that he single-handedly wipes out a nest of vampires in this one episode.

I really enjoy the parallels that this type of narrative sets up. The vampires problems are superficial, rarely life-threatening, and are easily solved allowing them to move on to their next silly dilemma. Guillermo’s problems are ongoing, never rectified, and only get worse.

The vampires live a life of blissful ignorance while Guillermo lives in a world where problems aren’t solved in half an hour. It’s such a fun and interesting dynamic and is really serving this show.

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