Thursday, December 22, 2011

American Horror Story goes out with a big, fat whimper

(Note: There are going to be spoilers in this. You’ve been warned – so go whine about spoilers some place else.)

‘American Horror Story’ was touted as the new “it” show of the season.

It was supposed to shock us.

It was supposed to gross us out.

It was supposed to make us sit down and really think about life themes.

Well, it officially shocked me last night – but not for the right reasons.

I’ve already expounded on why FX’s freshman horror series was a mixed bag this season in a previous post. 

After last night’s season finale, however, I’m upgrading it to full on disaster.

The show started out with a decent hook and premise. It was a little slow getting into the mythology, but it was still interesting. Then, starting around the third episode and lasting for about the next four episodes, it really started to find its groove.

The acting became better (Dylan McDermott not withstanding). The stories were intriguing. Jessica Lange was chewing scenery left and right. Things were looking good for the show.

Then, right about the time oldest daughter Violet offed herself, there was a shift in the tone of the series.
Executive Producer Ryan Murphy has made a name for himself on television by being one of those guys that starts great series (Nip/Tuck, Glee) and then lets them turn into truly awful shows (both the aforementioned shows fall into this category as well). Well, it didn’t even take an entire season for him to help tank ‘American Horror Story.’

Within a few episodes time we had the reveal that Violet had killed herself and the mother, Vivien (played by the wonderful Connie Britton) died in a bloody child birth scene, along with one of the twins she was carrying.

So everyone was ready for a season finale that would pit McDermott’s Ben against Lange’s Constance in a battle for the surviving baby. That’s what the promos suggest anyway.

So what did we get? McDermott is killed by his vengeful mistress and a few other ghosts in the house within the first 15 minutes or so, Constance steals the baby and, wait for it, . . . nothing.

Forget the fact that none of the characters in this show acted in any way, shape or form that would suggest they had any modicum of common sense. For them all to turn into moronic lumps, though, well that is just really lame.

In a short amount of time after the death of Ben, another family (this time Hispanic) moves into the house, announce they want to try for a baby and essentially force Ben, Vivien, Violet and a few other friendly ghosts to terrify them out of the house before the abode can claim more victims.

Then, we get some happy family Christmas scenes with the ghosts reclaiming their dead baby from the nut job in the basement and decorating a Christmas tree together. Sounds totally feasible for a family that has hated each other for the entire season and not settled any of their issues (that’s sarcasm, in case you didn’t notice).

To be fair, not everything about the episode was crap. There was a strong scene between the wonderful Evan Peters’ Tate and Ben about whether or not Tate is psychotic (I think his pyromaniac tendencies, penchant for killing and the fact that he raped his girlfriend’s mother should have been hints for him, but I digress). Then, at the end of the episode, we find out the surviving baby – at the tender age of three – is a little bloodthirsty himself and likes to off his nannies and then rock in a chair while leaving bloody hand prints all over the house.

In the end, though, the entire final episode was an anticlimactic disappointment.

Now we already know that ‘American Horror Story’ has been picked up for a second season, so I’m curious how this is going to go.

There’s been no formal announcement, but Internet chatter says that the show is moving to an entirely different haunted house next season (reportedly, the house this season was filmed in has been put on the market). If they actually do it, that’s an interesting premise, but I’m not sure it’s entirely feasible.

People have already become attached to the central family – even though they’re now all dead. On the flip side, though, the writers have kind of cornered themselves. There are only a few questions that haven’t been answered from the first season, the biggies being what is with the monster baby in the basement, why can’t the ghosts move on and is the surviving twin really the Antichrist?

Either way, ‘American Horror Story’ was an interesting experiment but I think it will ultimately end up like the rest of Murphy’s creations – a one season wonder.


Blogger fefifo said...

watching the entire season I found the posession that was reveasled was causing these deaths, other than some of the ghosts through the people that lived there and that ultimatly died in the house, this would perhaps unravel and emerge as the main story and where the American horror story would lead us over time in the next season and said posession used Tate as a catalyst for the house or the posessed part of whatever it is?? to impregnate Viv and use one of the offspring for its own evil doing antichrist? which would also be part of the next season.
But a most fine piece of work and kept me a happy viewer roll on next season!!!
You got to admit the family put up with alot to live in that house evan when it was glareingly creepy that it was not a safe place! HOHOHO!!!
pls excuse my spelling.

December 22, 2011 at 3:40 PM 
Blogger Amanda Lee said...

They actually never talked about possession. The house didn't make these people evil. There were actually good and bad ghosts in the house -- and the way you were in life affected how you were in death essentially. If you were a good and bad person -- like the homosexual couple -- then you were good and bad ghosts.

As for Tate, I loved the character and the actor but he was not made to do things by the house. He did bad things because he wanted to.

December 23, 2011 at 1:55 PM 

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