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Spoiler Alert: American Horror Story, too much gore

14 December 2011 By Tracy Schmelter, Columnist One Comment

Earlier this semester, I wrote about ABC’s new show “Once Upon a Time” and claimed that it was the most confusing show I had ever watched.

That was before I was introduced to Ryan Murphy’s newest show, “American Horror Story.”  Between the multiple plots, flashbacks and trying to figure out which characters are dead and which are alive, I need Wikipedia on my side to help sort some things out.

Murphy is the Golden Globe-winning creator of the series “Nip/Tuck,” a show about plastic surgery stories that are based on real cases.  But what Murphy is most famous for is a little show called “Glee” that he co-created with Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan.  Murphy created “American Horror Story” with the idea that he had created a fun, cute show with happy endings (“Glee”) and wanted to make the complete opposite to show another side to his personality.

“American Horror Story” starts with introducing the audience to the Harmon family – Vivien, her husband Ben and their daughter Violet.  Vivien recently went through a traumatic miscarriage in which she had to deliver her dead baby.  After Vivien finds Ben is having an affair with one of his students, the family moves from Boston to Los Angeles.

Violet is a spunky high schooler who gets into a fight with three girls from her new school on the first day of classes.  This was the first moment I knew this town is full of nut jobs.  The girl who attacks Violet ends her conversation with “he did cocaine off my nipples” and tells Violet she can’t smoke on campus.  Violet apologizes, explaining she’s new, and drops her cigarette on the ground to extinguish it.  Suddenly getting all crazy-bitch on her, the girl picks up the cigarette butt and forcibly tries to shove it into Violet’s mouth screaming, “Eat it!”

This show could thrive on its own with this delightfully dysfunctional family, but we are quickly introduced to a whole new slew of crazy characters that seem to gravitate toward their new home: the “murder house” in the neighborhood, nicknamed for all of the previous owners’ deaths.

First, we meet Adelaide, the neighbor from next door who has Down syndrome and enjoys wandering into the murder house unexpectedly if any doors are unlocked. Adelaide’s mother, Constance, comes in to claim her daughter very casually and makes herself at home.  While slightly humorous and a touch flamboyant floozy, Constance gives off very strange vibes and you can’t help but feel you need to keep an eye on her.

Next enters Moira, the maid of the house for decades, who advises the new owners to also hire her.  It’s time for another demonstration of how strange this show is, as Moira is shown as a feeble, elderly woman when speaking with Vivien, but is a scantily clad seductress who is a doppleganger for Evan Rachel Wood (but with red hair) when seen from Ben’s perspective.

Normally I am not a fan of horror, blood or freaky neighbors, which this show is chockfull of. But I’m willing to give it a chance, since there’s something about it that reminds me of “True Blood.”

I’ve made it through the first three episodes OK, but I can only take so much of people getting chopped in half, poisonous cupcakes, and being in the dark about who is actually alive and who is trying to cope with the fact that they’re dead (reminiscent of the film “The Passengers,” starring Anne Hathaway).

You can find these episodes online with a little digging around Google.

So while I’m as eager as other viewers to see if Vivien is birthing the antichrist, I’m more curious about what goes on in Ryan Murphy’s head.


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