WATCHING: American Horror Story

3 Nov

Watching: American Horror Story
Why you should be watching: ????

 

(Photo Credit)

 

From Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, the minds behind Nip/Tuck and Glee, the FX show American Horror Story is honestly one hot clustermess. However, that’s not to say its not a good clustermess. I first decided to tune into the show when I heard about the cast. Dylan McDermott has proven himself to be extremely attractive a fantastic actor on many occasions, and Connie Britton (who was TOTALLY stiffed at the 2011 Emmy Awards, but I’ll try not to be too mad about it. But seriously. A couple of years as The Good Wife trumps five amazing seasons as Tami Taylor? Okay, sure. Rant over.) can do no wrong in my eyes. And you guys already know how I feel about super-awesome Denis O’Hare and, of course, Jessica Lange. So I thought I’d give it a try.

The show is off the rails, to be honest. Billed as a “psychosexual thriller” and a horror, both by name and content, it seems a little impossible. If you ask me, the beauty of the horror movie is that there are two hours or so to build fear and suspense and at some point—it has to give. The point is that it must end. How do you keep an audience strung along and scared week after week after week?

To be honest, I don’t know that American Horror Story is keeping me scared, but it is keeping me interested. I’ll try not to be too spoilerish for people who haven’t seen the first few episodes and might want to tune in. The show opens with two boys in the 1970s who venture into an abandoned house in an Los Angeles neighborhood, despite the warning of a little girl with Down’s Syndrome who insists they’re going to “die in there.” They do, massacred by something in the basement of the house. Cut to present-day Boston where Connie Britton’s Vivian Harmon is being examined by a doctor, post-miscarriage. She heads home after the appointment to find her husband, Ben, played by Dylan McDermott, in bed with another woman. Then, there’s a very creepy title sequence showing images of fetuses in jars and creepy pictures of babies.

The four members of the Harmon family (Ben, Vivian, their teenaged daughter Violet, and dog Halleigh) uproot and move cross-country to, of course, the very same house those boys were killed in, and almost immediately the strangeness of the house begins to act on the family.

In almost all of the episodes so far, we’ve been shown some weird glimpse into the house’s past which includes all the murder, mayhem and bad energy one might expect of a house in a horror show (it still sounds weird.) Add to that people who appear to shift ages, who are definitely dead and the freakshow bizarre-o-land thing down in the basement, and I’m not entirely sure what the heck is going on here, as far as horror stories go. However, they do have a ton of material to work with, I’ll give them that.

Otherwise, the show is basically about the struggle of two people trying to keep their family together, and where people with ulterior motives invade someone’s life in any regular drama, ghosts (or something) do the same on American Horror Story.

As for why writers should be watching American Horror Story, I honestly can’t point to any specifics. But I will say this: the show is super-compelling. Besides the interesting familial drama, the mystery of the house and the buzz around the show (can a horror television show be done?) all make it good viewing. I’m waiting to see whether or not the show’s strange and crazy pieces can be pieced together in a decent pay-off with the fans before I decided what to take away from it. But, I just plain enjoy it, and they’ve got me tuning in!

But I want to know, as writers, what is your opinion on the show? Are you taking anything from it? Do you think its getting press for its strangeness, or because it is actually good? (or because it’s from the Glee guys?) As viewers, are they keeping your attention? Are they scaring you? Watch the show and get in on the talk about it on Twitter with the hashtag #ahsfx. Drop a comment and let me know!

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