Friday, November 11, 2011

My Take on American Horror Story

Please stop reading if you have not watched through the 11/9/11 episode

If I could sit Ryan Murphy down and ask him one question about American Horror Story it would be "Is this a joke?" Now that may initially sound like I'm bashing the show which I am not. I have tuned it to the first six episodes and only hated two of them. The other four I enjoyed. The problem is that I enjoyed them in the same way I used like to sometimes go to the horror section of a video store and pick out a movie like 3 On A Meat Hook. It's not like it's a "good" movie but it's a campy and fun way to spend some time. The only problem for me and AHS is that I didn't go rent those type of movies every week. I guess my opinion of what makes a good horror is a mixture of drama, tension and shock. American Horror Story seems to only be aiming for shock. In this latest episode (11/9/11 - Piggy Piggy) I challenge anyone to watch that episode and tell me anything that happened that had to do with a plot. The whole episode seemed to just lead up to Connie Britton eating some raw brains. It's a shame too because I thought the first scene of the episode with Tate's school shooting was awesome. Even though we were pretty much told what happens in this scene last episode, it was edge of your seat stuff. But then it went down hill from there (can you tell this is one of the two episodes I hated?).

I think my biggest worry going in to the series was that I don't trust Ryan Murphy. I'm not ashamed to admit I gave Glee a shot. While they are two wildly different shows the both seem to have the same issue. In Glee, they'll fore go any semblance of a plot just to get the characters to a point where they can sing a specific song they have the rights to. I watched probably 8 episodes and there were only slight traces of any arcs. They seemed to interested in doing tribute episodes or having guest stars that the show catered to them more than the characters they "developed." In American Horror Story I feel something similar is happening. I feel the writers just have the actors moving around to screen not to further their own development or story, but to get some sort of shocking visual. And he also wrote the screenplay to the 2nd worst Book to Movie adaptation I've ever seen in Running With Scissors (The Firm is #1). So he has strikes against him

Connie Britton is way too good for this show. Taissa Farmiga (Vera's sister...just kidding. I don't think there was a single thing I read leading up to the show that didn't say that. It's not like Vera Farmiga is A list or anything.) is a good find too. I find her to be very good and probably the most interesting living character on the show.

Maybe it's just my own limitation. Maybe I have to try to look at this show a different way. During the course of typing this I think I figured out what my issue is so far. It's that there aren't any rules established yet with maybe the exception of if you die on the property you are bound to the house or something. If I'm watching something with vampires I like to know what kills them. In Buffy, vampires couldn't go out during the day. In Twilight, Edward can go out during the day but he sparkles like a beautiful diamond. In some zombie movies they can track by sight, sound or scent in others it could be only one or two senses. I have a feeling the AHS writing team is never going establish many concrete rules so they can do what ever they want with out the internet continuity police coming after them and so they have no limitation on who or what they can pair up for a gruesome scene and I guess I find that lazy.

All that being said, it is hitting .667 for me. I do like it, but my fear is that they've thrown so much stuff at us early that I don't have faith in the writers to keep it up. And most of the stuff I wrote above is all speculation based on that lack of trust. But we're only six episodes in so I really hope I'm wrong because there really isn't anything else like it on television.


  1. That's interesting - I actually thought the first scene sucked. Devoid of any drama at all...But I liked the episode. I like the guest spots too for some reason. I though Eric Stonestreet was great and it was a cool way to deal with his character. I actually have the same concerns about the rules (which were really exposed during the first Halloween episode), but right now the shock value, casting, and acting are winning me over.

  2. And it's winning me over as well in the sense that it's still appointment television for me. It's Wednesday night which means I'm probably not going to bed tonight without having seen the new episode. My concerns are largely based in projection the future of the show.