Tag Archives: ryan murphy

judgement call: american horror story

American Horror Story premiered last night to the delight of horror/thriller/Ryan Murphy buffs everywhere. I went into the episode never really wondering what the show was about, because the promo art and trailers, along with the promise of a less glee-ful Ryan Murphy were enough for me. Maybe that was a mistake, as I spent the whole episode asking questions they had no intention of revealing in a pilot.

We start the evening in 1978, with two little red-haired, braced twins and a little psychic girl who informs them that going into the house will kill them. I believed her as that Hitchcockian background music played; however, the ginger snaps were less convinced and trashed the house until they were ultimately killed by either Fester Adams or a grown baby hybrid person type of thing (I was clearly confused by what attacked them). With it properly illustrated that this house is haunted, we jumped forward to the present.

Vivien (Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights) returns to a presumably empty home, hears noises and immediately calls 911. The helpful dispatcher says, “Are you sure it’s not a member of your family?” I realize this was done to establish for viewers that no one was home, but c’mon, that can’t be the first thing you ask…unless you’re hoping the crazy ax murderer in the house finds her while she’s answering your pointless questions. I digress. She catches her husband, Ben (Dylan McDermott, The Practice) mid-thrust into one of his 21-year old students…and shortly after, they are relocating.

This is where all of the shows assured creepiness kicks in and we see that the Harmon family is moving into the same house where the twins were slashed-and-dashed. The couple’s daughter Violet hits the trifecta for conveying teen angst: she is a cutter, listens to moody music (Morrissey) and has a style made popular by Seattle in the 90s. Of course new school transitions are never easy, so the faux-Mean Girls crew let her know how unwelcome she was at their school. While watching these girls, I thought to myself, “Hey…isn’t Mean Girl #3 Kendra from Buffy? And didn’t she also have teen roles in Saved By the Bell: The New Class, Dawson’s Creek AND Save the Last Dance? So hasn’t she been playing a teen for over a decade now?” Fortunately all of that was only relevant to my imaginary “no more than four high-school roles per actor” rule.

Back to the story….the family has moved in, met their new housekeeper Moira (Frances Conroy and Alex Breckenridge ), as well as their strange neighbor Constance (Jessica Lange, Cape Fear) and her Addy (the psychic girl from 1978). So far, we’ve seen eerie flashes and that Ben sees a young housekeeper while, everyone else sees a slightly older version. Moira, as the younger model, attempts to seduce Ben, which ends in a sad, shameful masturbation scene complete with tears. This could have something to do with his infidelity or as we later learn, the fact that him and Vivien haven’t been physically intimate in over a year due to their miscarriage.

Intimacy doesn’t seem to be a problem for Ben’s new patient, Tate (Evan Peters, Invasion), as he instantly cozies up to Violet and even helps her with the bullying. His methods and the crazy scene in the basement let us know that he’s also a part of whatever is going on in the house. Ben may not know that, but he sees how disturbed Tate is and desperately wants to keep him away from Violet, which is EXACTLY how you push them together.

Larry Harvey (Denis O’Hare, True Blood), the man with half a face and brain cancer, approaches Ben to inform him that he also once lived in the house and that he heard voices and killed his whole family. Ben, of course, doesn’t believe this…but he has to realize that he’s also hearing things. Or maybe not…what would the fun be in a character in a horror story actually listening to the clues they’re given at the beginning and moving away from their haunted home?

The night ends with a confrontation between Constance and Moira. In this brief exchange we learn that Moira is a seasoned “professional” or at least a little bit slutty, Constance steals jewelry and has killed Moira before. So essentially we learned that these two know each other, without many clues on how, as well as whether or not they’re on the same side or even what side that might be!

I kept noticing a subtle baby-theme throughout the episode, which could be nothing, but between the miscarriage, baby parts in jars and baby pictures/clothing in the intro it also could be something big. Also, Viven had sex with a man (ghost…demon….Ben…Tate…whatever/whoever that was) in a sexual leather bondage outfit and now she’s preggo, so there’s another baby!

So with all that happened, I was left wondering why/how the house is messing with them, but also who is messing with us? Are we being tricked into liking a hopeless gimmick with little/no payoff, or are we seeing the groundwork for a show that really is “none of what you expect”. The “WTF is happening?!” element is what will bring many viewers back next week…maybe then more of what we’re watching will make a sliver of sense.

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glee reborn?

 

The executives behind Glee didn’t take a summer break with the cast,  they were putting twelve potential cast members through summer school. The Glee Project (aired on the Oxygen cable channel) was a competition to find the new class of the FOX show. I honestly couldn’t watch the show faithfully because of my loyalty to the original cast – call me old-fashioned – but I did follow up on the contestants and their personalities to theorize how the new members would mesh with the current crop.

The competitors were given themed performances every week to see how well they could adapt to both singing and acting. Every week the best performer was given “one-on-one” coaching from a different member of the Glee cast.

My personal favorite contestant was Cameron Mitchell. Aside from the obvious dancing prowess, Cameron had the personality and the look for a solid new character. When he left the competition because some physical interactions didn’t sit well with his moral standards it confused and upset his fans and Glee creator/judge Ryan Murphy. (But seriously, who walks away from Glee?!). In doing this, Cameron saved (eventual winner) Damian McGinty from getting cut that week and keeping him in the competition.

Larsen, Newell, McGinty, Pearce

The finale consisted of four competitors : the Irishman Damian McGinty, the indie rocker Samuel Larsen, a Kurt/Mercedes hybrid in Alex Newell, and the snarky Lindsay Pearce. The judges decided that Larsen and McGinty were the overall winners and would get featured in seven-episode-arcs during the upcoming season. Newell and Pearce didn’t leave empty-handed though. Murphy decided that he didn’t want to completely sever ties with the other two characters and gave them two guest star appearances as well.

Going into this season of Glee I already knew that my little “Gleek”-ing heart was going to be crushed by the finale due to some departures from the originals. I doubt that the new talent will make me forget that my world is being crushed but hopefully they are mediocre enough to at least numb the pain.

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american horror story promo


American Horror Story, a new FX show by Glee co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, somehow flew under the radar for shows we’re excited to see in the fall season. I’m a Gleek, but I’ve always been drawn to the darker side of Murphy’s creations (i.e., every season of Nip/Tuck). The first look video that was posted this week was trippy enough to draw my attention, but the marketing poster really drew me in. Watch it and if you’re like me you’ll definitely check this show out when it premieres on Wednesday, Oct. 5

 

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