Thursday, November 29, 2012

American Horror Story implodes again

After a solid start to their sophomore season, FX’s horror hit ‘American Horror Story’ derailed again Wednesday night.
I know, I shouldn’t be surprised – the same thing happened the first season.

The show started with a lot of promise, is sucked viewers in, then it completely went off the rails  and ended the first season in a fiery wreck that killed, well, just about everyone.

The anthology series started their ‘Asylum’ leg off with an appropriately dark and depressing season premiere that introduced us to some genuinely eerie characters (Dr. Arden, Sister Jude) and a handful of characters that were interesting enough to keep us tuning in (Lana, Kit, Dr. Thredson).

As a whole, it was better than the first season – and it hung on to its quality for a lot longer.

In the end, though, it fell apart as easily as the first season did.

What went wrong?

I blame show creator Ryan Murphy. He is notorious for this. He did the same thing with ‘Glee’ and Nip/Tuck.’ Murphy is ultimately one of those guys that invents something great by throwing a lot of weird stuff on the screen – and then he inevitably ruins it because he doesn’t know when to stop. He throws anything he can possibly think of at the wall and then, essentially sees what sticks.

‘Asylum’ was doing fine with their monstrous Nazi doctor and his “creations,” their slutty nun and her drinking problem, the newly possessed nun and her suddenly foul mouth and the murder mystery at the center of the show.

I felt the “alien abduction” angle was too absurd for the show to survive, but I kept tuning in, thinking they had to be going somewhere with it.

Let’s talk about Wednesday’s episode – there are obviously going to be spoilers people, so turn away now if you haven’t seen it yet.

We open up with Dr. Thredson raping Lana in his little dungeon. The weight of the scene was not lost on me. Actor Zachary Quinto is gay in real life. He was playing a straight man (read: serial killer) raping the woman that he now saw as his mother figure. Oh, and she’s a lesbian.

Lana ultimately fights back and escapes, only to be picked up by a creepy guy on the road who blows his own brains out while driving in a car with Lana. He did this within minutes of meeting Lana (literally minutes), thus landing her back at the asylum.

And viewers are supposed to buy that?

Kit attacks his attorney (love you Don Stark) and races back to the asylum – managing to sidestep Dr. Alden’s monsters – and stumbles on Grace within a few seconds. She takes a bullet for him and dies, but not before we see that one of Dr. Alden’s monsters has entered the facility.

The fact that no one had seen one of Dr. Alden’s monsters – except for Shelley – is dumbfounding to me. They’re supposedly all over the place.

My biggest problem, though, is Francis Conroy’s new “angel of death.”

First off, the wing extension is ridiculous. Second, turning asylum into a religious battleground for creatures of time past does not make me more interested. Instead, I can’t figure out why Murphy ever thought this was a good idea.

He had a ton of good ideas: Dr. Alden being a Nazi doctor, Sister Jude being the town bike, Lana being locked up for lesbianism, Kit being framed, that little murderous girl getting advice from Sister Mary Eunice, Anne Frank getting a lobotomy, etc.

At first, the good outweighed the bad – and there were problems from the beginning, even if they were sleight.

Now, though, the bad clearly outweighs the good.

I will watch the remainder of this season – mostly because it won’t last too long – but FX would be smart to wrest control of this show away from Murphy before he utterly destroys it.

What do you think? What is the real problem with ‘American Horror Story’?


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