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American Horror Story: Open House

"Every pregnant woman worries there's a little devil in them."

I sometimes wonder what Jessica Lange, Frances Conroy and Denis O'Hare all think about this show, in light of the scene where two of them stood around while Conroy's sexy doppelganger chewed a guy's penis off. Lange especially, as she's always been pretty vocal about her appearances in bad projects (check out the 'mother-in-law-from-hell' Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle Hush... or don't). American Horror Story isn't at all a bad show, but I don't think anybody can deny that it's a series that waves its shlock flag proudly. Seeing these esteemed actors perform scenes like that feels so arresting as a viewer, and you can almost imagine them asking "has it really come to this?"

It's a curious sensation, since so much of the pulpier elements of American Horror Story seem ripped right out of some late-night cable slasher movie. Yet the cast are made up of Emmy, Tony and Oscar winners. Heh. I don't know if it's a testament to Ryan Murphy's esteem, or more a reflection of the lack of roles for older actors. Sometimes I think this show could be so much more classy if the gory absurdity was omitted, but then we'd lose those attention-grabbing moments perfect for watercooler gossip the next day. It's a risky balancing act, but at least it provokes conversation, right?

Of the various subplots this week, it was probably the introduction of Constance's other son Beau that was the most affecting. Locked up in the attic like a monstrous version of Eric Stoltz in Mask, I felt a little guilty for at one point being squicked out by his deformation, assuming he was this show's resident inbred hillbilly ghost. It's after a while that you realize he's harmless and pretty darn scared himself, a real person hidden away to protect from prying eyes (which is obviously a questionable approach in itself). Poor Constance, though. You can almost understand why she wants things to remain the same at Murder House, so desperate to keep her family intact.

Open House was a lot more scattered than episodes in recent weeks, which was both a blessing and a curse. We got a ton of information about Larry, the Montgomery's and the mythology of the house; but the episode was lacking in anything hugely substantial from a character stand-point, working more as a bridge to further plotlines than as anything that really resonated. That's not to say I was unhappy. American Horror Story works on that level where literally every episode is fun and absorbing, and you're similarly eager to watch every additional week. But this felt a little filler-ish in certain areas.


- Why didn't we actually see FrankenGinsberg get all toothy during Nora's nursing? Considering this was an episode that saw Connie Britton flinging her vibrator around as well as the aforementioned pecker buffet, are we to assume that some things are just too sacred? Heh.

- Alexandra Breckenridge is pretty spectacular on this show with that breathy, languid delivery of dialogue straight out of a porno movie. Could you imagine if Moira Two were played in a completely different tone? She wouldn't be half as erotic (or creepy).

- Ghost Report: Larry wasn't responsible for the fire that killed his family, like we had presumed. Instead it was his wife who burned the house down after Larry announced he was leaving her for Constance. That's also the reason Larry wants to get closer to the house, to reignite their flame (sorry for that). Meanwhile, all the ghostly inhabitants of the house will presumably be destroyed and vanish forever if the house itself is torn down. Which is why Moira got a little teeth-happy with a skeezy property developer. Phew.


Vivien: We want to make sure everything's okay with the baby. You didn't see anything unusual... hooves or anything?

Marcy: A woman in my line can't be too careful. There are a lot of minority men in this city who would like nothing more than to ravage me on this counter-top.

Moira Two: As you can see, this room belongs to a sad, depressed teenager. But it has real potential. I'd paint it a deep, dark red; clear out all the furniture... and hang a sex swing.

Stan: The Montgomery murder-suicide was only the first of many to occur behind these bloody walls.
Marcy: Let's not put that in the listing.

Mr. Eskandarian: There are three reasons I deal with women. Sex, money or making me sandwiches.

Previously posted at Unwelcome Commentary.


  1. I didn't notice her name before, but Vivien's OBGYN is Dr. Hill, the name of Rosemary's first OBGYN in ROSEMARY'S BABY.

    I love the little bits the show throws in, calling back to classic films and TV series.

  2. Hmm. I have a lot of trouble imagining any Ryan Murphy show seeing anything as too sacred, especially this one. I suspect they're just drawing out showing us what FrankenGinsberg actually looks like.


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