Thursday, November 10, 2011
American Horror Story
Is this NOT the creepiest thing that's been on TV in a looong while?
I'm officially considering myself a passive fan of the show. I've watched every episode since its launch... and I'm still a little torn on the show.
When I sit down and watch TV, I want to be entertained. I want to laugh or feel excited or feel compelled or feel like I've learned something.
After every episode of AHS, I just kinda feel icky. And I don't know yet if that's a bad thing or a good thing.
If you're un-initiated to the world of American Horror Story, here's the scoop without any big spoilers: Dysfunctional family moves into creepy house where a seemingly infinite number of former residents have died tragically, angrily, and/or murder-ily -- and clearly, they've got a score to settle with the living still.
Ryan Murphy is the brains behind this show -- the same dude who brings us "Glee" every week. But AHS is clearly the anti-Glee. There are no morality plays in AHS - every character seems deeply flawed and there's really no rooting to be done for any of them... and that's where I start to have problems with AHS.
For as much as I love the tone of the show (DARK AS HELL), the cinematography (DARK AS HELL), and the slowly unveiling plotlines (DARK AS HELL), I have a reeeally hard time investing in these characters because there's never any kind of redemption at hand. The creepiness is mad fun, but only if you as a watcher have genuine interest in the survival of the lead characters.
Thus far, it's just been nothing but darkness and death and despair behind every corner. After a while it stops being compelling and just ends up being torture porn. We need to FEEL for the family that bought this house... we need to see them occasionally WIN every once in a while. Let's see them put their heads together and dispatch one or more of the former tenants to the netherworld... we need to understand why on Earth they don't just run from the house screaming and find a nice, safe apartment elsewhere.
Instead, it's just basically 60 minutes of watching some people we don't care about slowly get tortured, and that's not fun, it's just kinda disturbing in an un-fun way. If Murphy were to add a little humanity to the family, then we'd feel emotionally invested in the storyline. Until then, it's little more than curiosity making me watch.
That said, tonight's episode -- focusing on the family's sullen daughter and her on/off love affair (SPOILER ALERT) with one of her dad's patients -- was a step in the right direction... especially when it's revealed (BIGGER SPOILER ALERT) that her boyfriend Tate is actually the ghost of a Columbine-esque school shooter. The crux of the episode was the daughter (played brilliantly by Taissa Farmiga) grappling with her affections towards someone capable of something so heinous -- let alone someone capable of being, well, dead.
I'm still fascinated by this show, so I'll continue to watch it, ickiness aside... but jeez, I hope they lighten it up at some point just long enough for us to catch our breath and start actually CARING about whether or not (HUGE SPOILER) Mom is really carrying a hoofen-foot devil baby.
I want to like this show... it's ambience is enchanting and Murphy's crafted an astonishingly creepy world without having to rely on pure scare tactics... but just occasionally give me something TO like, k?
What do you guys think about AHS?