American Horror Story, season 2

Alright.  Despite the way the last one ended[1], I’m watching the first episode of the second season.  Bunch of the same actors; after the open, it looks like they’re going with a period piece.  The location for this season is an asylum–initially a tuberculosis sanitarium, turned into an asylum for the criminally insane run by the Catholic church. Given how they handled psychiatric help in the last season, I am the antithesis of optimistic.  (Credits do feature Clea Duvall, who I am glad to see, but I’m not sure that’s enough.)

Okay.  The light of my life refers to Mad Men as being a show that boils down to “look at these primitive savages, see how savage and primitive they are”.   I think there’s more to Mad Men than that.  Watching this episode, I am not yet sure I am seeing more than that here.

The woman running the asylum is vomitous.  The doctor brought in to run the medical side of things is arguably worse.  We’ve seen five patients talk so far, and the characterisation is… thin.  Particularly for the three who haven’t proclaimed their innocence.

Common elements in our protagonists: relationships deemed socially unacceptable and kept secret.  The self-proclaimed innocent murderer was a white man married to a black woman[2]; the reporter is a woman with a girlfriend.  Hmh, even Sister Jude, the woman running the asylum, is a nun lusting after her monsignor.

Betting that the doctor is either operating on patients to turn them into a strange new species or grinding them up to feed them to wolves.  Probably the strange new species thing.  There’s a real Nazi eugenicist vibe off him when he’s talking about creating new species.

(Flashback to the contemporary open!  That’s kind of cool.  I hope they make it out.)

Right, so, both the religious figures and the scientific figures are sources of horror.  The reporter’s been incarcerated; her girlfriend Wendy’s being blackmailed into cosigning the recommendation that she be committed with the threat of revealing the fact that she’s a lesbian (she’s a third-grade schoolteacher); and of course no-one that we’re invited to feel any sympathy for is actually insane.  Kit Walker was either possessed or framed by aliens (seriously, the doctor pulled a little metal bug out of him that then got up and ran away), and Lana Winters was locked up because Sister Jude figures she can get away with it.  Grace (the woman who warns Kit that the other inmates will rat him out if he turns off the Muzak in the common room[3]) claims she’s not crazy, and it says a lot about the show that given that she’s white, attractive, and accused of murdering her family (kind of like Kit!) that I am inclined to buy it.

There’s also Shelley.  She’s been diagnosed with nymphomania, which (1) given the time period is a diagnosis I am looking at with a great deal of suspicion, and (2) does make me wonder how she ended up in an asylum for the criminally insane.

Everyone else?  The people who we presume are actually mentally ill?  They’re scary decorations.  The first one we meet is a woman suffering from microcephaly who, we are told, drowned her sister’s baby and cut off his ears.  And there’s poor grooming, twitching, throwing around bodily waste…

So we’ve got a show set in an asylum, where all but three and two-halves (the Monsignor and Wendy) of the characters are patients, and we still can’t actually get a protagonist who’s mentally ill?  I mean, I knew it was too much to hope for, I just hate being reminded of that fact.


[1] In a fest of Biblical Roanoke magic spell therapy-is-all-lies and women-are-baby-crazy shit that had me earnestly explaining to the dog that if she ever meets a therapist like the one in the TV show she should bite him and she would be a good dog for doing it.

[2] She died.  Horribly. Probably.

[3] He’ll get five more blows with a cane, they’ll get a piece of candy.

American Horror Story, the embarrassment

Sitting down to watch episode eleven of AHS, and the psychic has just explained about the draw of the house.  The words “paramagnetic force” and “physics” were involved.  And…

I don’t think I have ever heard a more mood-breaking description of the dry-cell battery of evil.  And I have heard some really bad ones.  (And read them, but for the sake of the discussion, those are also covered in this complaint.)  It was …embarrassing.  And the description of the Roanoke colony, and the banishment curse, and… gah. Continue reading “American Horror Story, the embarrassment”

AHS again

Alright.  Caught episodes 7 and 8 of American Horror story a couple of days ago, and taken together I’m actually really annoyed with the way the story is going.  Spoilers follow.

First off, I know part of this might be annoyance over Tate being written as such a villain and so heavily coded as a rapist.  I liked him.  Yes, there was the shortcut through my consideration that the trope “mentally ill person wanting to get better” does if it’s done at all well, but justified or not, sourced in misjudgement or not, I liked him.  And he was monstrously cruel, and that it was in such a cowardly way upset me even more.  He’s hanging around Nora, and he takes her shaken comment as a reason to go killing and– the sheer abdication of resposibility, I mean I get it, but–

Agh.  Dammit.

Don’t know what they’re going to do with him now.  Suppose I will be interested to watch; it this a turning point in the presentation of the character?  Meant to be just a speed bump?  What?


John noticed Ben being drawn to the house; I blinked past it, but he’s right.  He got shot and he doesn’t leave the house.  I understand wanting to stay with Violet, but he got shot.  Even if the writers are not up on exactly how weird this reaction to a gunshot is[1], it does not seem like Ben would skip getting checked out.  And he’s always coming by, always stopping over; yes, he works there, but if he tried I’m guessing he could find some other place to see people.

The house does seem to have a fondness for medical professionals.  Even when it was a sorority, it was a sorority whose members all seemed to be nurses.  Leads me to wonder if there’s any intent there, or if there’s simply a groove worn into reality that has things keep slipping back to the same patterns, an echo of the way the house preserves things.

[1] Was looking up gunshot wounds at one point.  One accidental shooting where the bullet “went right through” took sixteen months to heal up.  No, sure, get a bandage and go lie down, that’ll fix it…

American Horror Story episode 9

…..aaaaand Ben just became unspeakable.

Given that about five minutes ago Constance turned into one of the more likeable characters on the show, and she hasn’t changed much, this should indicate that the bar is currently set really bloody low.  There was a moment where I really felt for Moira, which I don’t usually when she’s been seen by Ben.


It’s touching on the obsessed-over ideals of fame and love pretty well.  Really well, actually.

We haven’t seen Violet yet, and only seen Tate for thirty seconds.  And I’m feeling sorry for Hayden; I want to smack her,  and I think she’s seeing things with a warped perspective, but I’m feeling sorry for her.

Right.  Working on finishing up the second half of my reaction to the last two episodes.  I think Constance might end up dropping back down to Ben levels of–

Oh holy fucking hell, yay Moira, yay, I am going to keep watching now.

(Even if they are dragging in something in by the heels that makes me hope the writers are screwing around, because in terms of plausibility it’s reminding me of the opening to Deep Blue Sea where the sharks attacked a ship because red wine was spilt into the water.  And you know, it’s red stuff spilling through the water!  That’s what sets them off, right?)

Annoying Horror Story.

Alright.  Caught episodes 7 and 8 of American Horror story a couple of days ago, and taken together I’m actually really annoyed with the way the story is going.  My reasons are split up into a couple of posts, just because the rant about one particular issue was getting a bit long. Continue reading “Annoying Horror Story.”

Back to the secrets of houses, and the horror therein.

Finally catching up with American Horror Story.  Not tonight’s episode, but last week’s.  Nonetheless, spoiler break, since I have no idea if anyone else is lagging as much as I am.  (Apparently it’s being broadcast later in some places?)

I am rather pleased with how the reveal about Tate was handled over the last few episodes. Continue reading “Back to the secrets of houses, and the horror therein.”

Madness and the pet monster.

“I really need your help. I don’t want to be like this. I want to be a good person.”

Right, well, Tate has just gained a ridiculous amount of sympathy from me.  I have been there.  I mean, I haven’t nearly chewed anyone’s face off to make a point or defend my crush, but I have been there.  (Yes, more American Horror Story, although no spoilers this time.)

Knowing that there’s something wrong, but that even then the mind you use to understand that truth is off.  And knowing isn’t enough to fix it, thinking about it isn’t enough to fix it, wanting it isn’t enough, trying isn’t enough…

It’s hell, and there is no-one I’d wish that on. Continue reading “Madness and the pet monster.”

The nature of the beast.

Yep, more American Horror Story; thoughts which mostly revolve around the second episode, although bits of the third might creep in.  Watched them back to back.

I really think I should just give up on defining Constance and Addy.  I don’t think they’ve died–the interactions with others and the very prosaic baking scene kind of killed that theory for me–but the way Constance especially shows up inside the house at the oddest moments is seriously uncanny.  And given the end of the “Home Invasion” episode and her discussion with Tate and Moira, she pretty clearly knows what they are and is dealing with it jest fahn, as George Stark would say in a rather heavy Southern accent.

(Constance was the source of one of two “oh right, that’s what this reminds me of” moments this episode, too.  Blanche.  She’s so very much Blanche from A Streetcar Named Desire.)  And I think that’s about as far as I can get without spoilers, so ahoy the cut. Continue reading “The nature of the beast.”