The first episode of American Horror Story left me feeling uncomfortable. Was it enjoyable or not? I can’t honestly tell but it did keep me hooked for the hour. It had its freaky moments, which isn’t surprising given it’s from team Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk who brought us Nip/Tuck, a show that liked to push the boundaries of taste. Oddly enough these guys are also behind Glee
Husband and wife Ben (Dylan McDermott) and Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton) move to the west coast, running from Ben’s infidelity and the trauma of a miscarriage. They choose a seriously looking creepy, Victorian house whose former owners died in a murder suicide. This little tidbit about the house’s history is what seals teenage daughter Violet’s (Taissa Farmiga) approval. She’s a self-harmer and seems to have modelled herself on Winona Ryder’s misfit character Lydia in Beetlejuice. We soon meet the housekeeper who appears as a young temptress to the father but an older maid (Frances Conroy from Six Feet Under) to everyone else. The nosy neighbour Constance is played by Jessica Lange, an ageing Southern Belle whose performance had me wondering if she had just stepped out of an insane asylum. Is she evil or crazy or both? Adelaide (Jamie Brewer), her daughter who has Down’s Syndrome has a strange affinity to the house. Despite all the past horror that occurred in it, the building has never harmed her.
This show definitely has the shock factor going for it. Sex scene with a ghost? Check. Female masturbation? Check. Male masturbation? Check.
The second episode settled down thankfully and got to the story telling. I still have no respect for Ben who lies to his wife yet again while he goes off to Boston to stay with the student he knocked up while she prepares for an abortion. The united mother and daughter front presented by Vivien and Violet against the home invasion was impressive. Constance locking Adelaide in a closet where all four walls are lined with mirrors was horrible to watch and underlines her perverse personality.
This tv show is not for the faint-hearted. It kept my interest and I’ll be tuning into episode three. ***
I didn’t think I would like the show, but I do. Though, it’s a bit weird to “like” something so horrible, isn’t it? I should say I’m curious about it and engaged with some of the characters, despite awful things happening.
I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but the conflict between Ben and the female characters is chilling. Despite being a therapist or whatever, Ben doesn’t have a CLUE about women. Every time his wife gets upset or emotional, he tells her she’s “being crazy,” and he actually blames her for his affair. (If a woman had written this series, she’d be accused of being a man-hater, based on Ben’s character!) There’s a recent episode where the student girl is back in his life unexpectedly, and she screams repeatedly that she’s a person and that she matters and her feelings matter. All the while, he yells at her to stop being crazy, of course. To just go along with what he wants and get over it and make his life easier.
Moreso than the horrific murder scenes, that type of conflict is horrifying, because it is all too real.
I wonder if the blonde boy wears contact lenses to make his brown eyes darker, or if they just look like that. That kid freaks me out! But I want him to be a good guy. I like him, despite him having done awful things, perhaps because he shows such compassion toward Violet. And what great casting! I could go on, but I should get back to work. 🙂
I really disklike the character Ben too and he does not get any better as the episodes go on. Have you seen the Halloween shows yet? I was on the edge of my seat watching them. The first episode of this show freaked me out but I’m glad I gave it a chance. American Horror Story is creepy, intelligent and has some great characters, particularly Violet, her boyfriend Tate and the Southern Belle Constance. I’ll keep watching.