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American Horror Story: Piggy Piggy

"Do you think I wanted a bloody Mexican ghost in my bathroom?"

In an episode that saw Connie Britton eating brains and Cam from Modern Family being terrified by the piggy man in the mirror, it was the kids that actually brought some levity to the proceedings. Opening with a horrible flashback sequence to the Westfield High massacre, this was an hour driven by Violet's gradual discovery of Tate's murderous rampage and her horror at her ever-present feelings for him. I'm not sure I totally buy that she'd still be into him, considering a) he's a multiple murderer, and b) he's dead; but the story is an interesting one.

Violet was also brought into the ghostly fold by Constance and a similarly campy psychic, played with gloriously nutty charm by Ryan Murphy regular Sarah Paulson. You can already see the route the show is headed, with Constance desperate for Tate to cross over to the other side and Violet's love for him preventing that from happening. Unlike a lot of the other craziness on offer, this particular story works well as a kind of metaphor for teenage angst. You really felt that ending, with Tate rescuing Violet from a near-fatal overdose: the turmoil created by somebody you can't help but have feelings for, despite knowing they're bad for you.

Everything else was pretty nuts tonight, especially the demon-baby hoodoo. Casting Connie Britton on this show continues to create comedy, as her naturalistic demeanor as an actress only makes the wingnuts she's paired with on-screen seem so much more crazy. Top of the heap this week was that wacko scene with the nurse proclaiming Vivien's unborn child a "beast" and an "abomination", telling her how she saw its devil hooves in the ultrasound. Hah! Everything's so overblown, and there's Connie Britton pulling that same "what the hell am I doing here?" expression...

As much as I love Eric Stonestreet, his subplot was a good example of the show having its cake and eating it too. It felt a lot like the writers randomly throwing horror stories at us for no distinct reason, and the ending felt too abrupt to truly work. There were obviously some neat moments, and the Pig-Man was reliably gross (if a little Saw-ish), but generally it didn't totally enamor me.

I've read a couple of articles recently in which Ben and Vivien were highlighted as the two weak links on this show, and I'm inclined to partly agree that they're certainly the least fascinating characters right now. But, generally, I'm intrigued by their subplots; even if they always look and feel so nutty compared to everything else. Piggy Piggy was a step down from last week, but this show is still crazily entertaining.


- No Denis O'Hare this week.

- Will Ben try and kill Officer Chestnut? There was something more than a little murderous about his facial expression while watching him and Vivien in the kitchen...

- Loved the '80s movie quality of Violet running through the basement and encountering all the ghosts, followed by the nu wave-ish pop music starting up.

- Ghost Report: Adelaide is happy that she crossed over, and never knew about Tate's school rampage. Moira is still hanging around, despite no longer cashing a paycheck from the Harmon's. We haven't seen her sexy doppelganger in a while, though. I miss her. Heh.


Derek: I'm broken! I didn't even get to the last "pig"!

Violet: Good people don't just have a bad day and start shooting people.
Teacher: Maybe he wasn't a good person.

Billie Dean: I used to be like you. Until I was 25 and out of the blue my cleaning lady shows up as I'm brushing my teeth. Except she's got no toilet brush or rubber gloves. She's naked and bloody. Her husband murdered her with an ice-pick.
Constance: It's hard to keep good help.

Billie Dean: All I wanted was to improve my tennis game and unseat Charlotte Whitney as president of my book club. But I was chosen. And when you're chosen, you either get with the program... or you go crazy.

Previously posted at Unwelcome Commentary.


  1. "She's naked and bloody. Her husband murdered her with an ice-pick."

    That's odd. THe cleaning lady had just gone through a horrible experience. So why would that make her show up at her employer's?

    I can see her haunting her husband or haunting the house where she was murdered. But her employer? When my wife kills me, I think the last place I'11 show up will be where I work!

  2. Eldritch, I think the story was told to highlight what it entails to be a Medium; it typically involves being tormented by ghosts because Mediums are usually the only ones that can see them and hear they're story.

    I liked this episode more than last week, and the opening sequence was very well-done, in a horrifying kind of way.

  3. I'm with, Mark. I thought tonight's episode was better than last week's, too. I found it emotionally effecting and, at times, quite draining. I disagree that Vivien is a weak link, however. Without her and Ben, the show would be laughable. We'd never believe any of it. For me, Connie Britton is the glue that keeps this show together. Great review, Max.

  4. "Eldritch, I think the story was told to highlight what it entails to be a Medium; it typically involves being tormented by ghosts because Mediums are usually the only ones that can see them and hear they're story."

    Yeah, I get it. Seeing ghosts proves she's a medium. The Mexican housekeeper just struck me as an odd ghost to appear to her.

    But, yes, the show is improving. It's much better now than the pure chaos of the pilot.

  5. I love Ben. He's such a conniving scumbag, I want his back story. Connie Britton is excellent as well, but its almost comical watching her taking the serious approach to her role as opposed to the "campyness" of Jessica Lange and the gay couple (the name escapes me, Quinto?).

    This was possibly my favorite episode so far. I want more answers and less set-up.

  6. The "abomination" is the dead son of the Dr. from the Halloween episode flashback. Creepy concept.

  7. This was quite the disturbing episode.

    The opening with the Columbine-like massacre was stark and disturbing and not easy to watch.

    The “Pigman” tale reminded me of Professor Pyg (a recent villain in Grant Morrison's BATMAN AND ROBIN run). When Pigman actually appeared in the shower, I choked on my Junior Mint. Both moments – the “Pigman” and Junior Mint – made me think of SEINFELD.

    I like that Merlin from another fantastic horror series – AMERICAN GOTHIC – was the psychic in this episode.

    Constance and Moira feeding Viven what they fed her was awesome and pretty much – particularly Viv eating the brain – right out of ROSEMARY’S BABY.

    Vivien = Rosemary Woodhouse
    Constance = Mini Castevet
    Moira = Laura-Louise

    All-around awesomeness on his show.


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