I enjoy the crazy-ass, batshit, random elements of American Horror Story, but I wish they were used with a little more purpose and planning. Even if the entire mission statement is to be scary, the show forgets that fear is a product of anticipation and dread: if you just fling things at our screens willy-nilly, none of them are going to register as they should.
AMERICAN HORROR STORY
Like the proverbial dog to vomit, I just can't help but go back and slurp up the messy, disgusting, gloriously guilty pleasure that is American Horror Story.
'Twas the season finale, and throughout Murder House,
not a creature was living (except Ben the louse).
This critic was watching in doubtful suspense,
In hopes that this season would somehow make sense…
"Birth" follows in the example of last week's "Smoldering Children" by being…well, not bad, really. "Birth" has an actual structure (rare for this show), it ties its threads together logically and with purpose (ditto), and—by American Horror Story standards, at least—is downright tasteful and restrained. (Granted, a gigantic antichrist baby kills its mother on the way out of the womb—but, you know, tastefully.)
What American Horror Story really needs—apart from a more savvy and tyrannical script editor—is an exorcist.
American Horror Story makes it clear that what it's really horrified of is women.
"Fine, let's discuss the brain eating." I mean, how can I hate a show where that line is possible?
"Open House," written by co-creator Brad Falchuk, is by far the weakest episode of American Horror Story so far, and demonstrates the show's fundamental flaws all too clearly.
I guess it was inevitable. When you start a show at the absolute border of tastelessness, believability, and cable network standards, it's hard to keep upping the ante week after week. Yeah, yeah, raw brain. What have you done for me lately, American Horror Story?
Violet's in the kitchen, worryin' bout the 'sitch she's in:
Rubberman's behind her, but doesn't seem to mind her.
The man with the burned face, hands out, pissed off,
Wants for Ben to pay him off for knockin' little Hayden off…
Two gay ghosts; two ginger ghosts; two appearances by a homicidal Rubberman; one ex-mistress returned from the grave; one dead woman euthanizing her elderly mama; one woman with Down's syndrome getting struck by a car while wearing a "pretty-girl" costume; one burned man pounding on the door; one doctor sewing his dismembered baby back together with animal parts; and a sonogram so frightening it makes medical professionals faint. What can I say? It was a slow week at the old Murder House.
If you put a group of horny 12-year old boys in a room, kept them awake for three straight weeks on pixie sticks, Mountain Dew, and methamphetamines, showed them every horror movie ever made, and then asked them to free-associate a TV show, they still wouldn't come up with the turgid, tortured mess that is American Horror Story.
Stupidly pretentious, embarrassingly unrestrained, and chaotically unfocused, this is a basic cable Hell for good actors who have made bad choices. It's a fiasco, but it's kind of fascinating, and way, way more fun that it has any right to be.