& the slipper still fits

American Horror Story?

While I gush often and lengthy, dear reader, on my favorite costume movies and obsess about upcoming feature films, I rarely talk about my favorite (and rather off the wall) TV shows. Do you need to hear how much I love Parks and Rec? Or that I live for Modern Family nights? No, not really and I don't want to waste your time reading me gush about last night's episode. But today, I'm breaking my rule a little bit. And this counts as my Halloween post two weeks late.

Normally, I don't like scary anything. I'll admit it, I sleep with a light on after a particularly creepy Paranormal State; so American Horror Story -- the show heralded as the be-all to end-all of horror concepts, didn't sit too pretty with me. I was further spurred away by several reviews stating the show was nothing but shock horror and melodramatics for 51 and a half minutes. And so the premiere came and went and I went on watching something decidedly more cheerful.

For the last week though my Tumblr has been racked with graphics, quotes, and more, from American Horror Story (brain-child of Glee creator Brian Murphy and his crew), specifically for Tate and Violet's relationship. And I decided I had to figure out what was going on with this show. And after watching the last 6 episodes in 2 days, I think I need to talk about this whole concept of most horrifying horror ever. (Spoiler! I'm sleeping with the lights off tonight.)

The short version: Murphy is blasting to the audience that real horror happens in everyday life. The creepy, horrifying, ghost bit in AHS? Well that's just cake. I can say with confidence, if you watched an episode, the credits would scare you more than the whole episode AND you'd be shocked by the actions of "living" people more than the dead ones.

Here's the plot: Bostonians Vivian (Connie Britton) and Ben (Dylan McDermott) Harmon move with their daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga) to LA after Vivian (grieving from a late-term miscarriage) finds Ben in bed with one of his students, hoping that it will help their marriage. The house they move into though is haunted by tragic murders and very unruly ghosts. Once in the house, Vivian and Ben  continue to struggle in their marriage and Violet discovers more about herself than she thought possible when she falls in love with one of her father's patients (alright, so I think she falls for him...my. opinion.). 

Other than creeped out, I've only been horrified by the emotional tragedies which plague the Harmon family and the brazen, unapologetic nature of the living who surround them. Have there been a few shock moments? Yes. And they are more disgusting and gruesome than "horrifying". What the characters have done to themselves is much worse than those "shock" (and referential, ie Rosemary's Baby anyone?) moments. For example, the juxtaposition of a Frankenstein-like scientist who haunts the house's halls (infrequently) against Ben who leaves his pregnant wife for a week to be with his mistress who is having an abortion, really makes you wonder which one is more horrifying...

I don't want to give too much away, because that's just not ladylike,  but I do want to talk about Violet and Tate (Evan Peters) just a little, since its the reason I started watching. Murphy stated in an interview that Violet doesn't need to read Twilight since she's living it. He's set out to make the audience love Tate like they love Edward. I think here is the really provoking part of the horror story -- Murphy's out to prove the borderline emotionless acceptance of violence and horror by his audience. No matter what Tate has done (and I warn you, you won't like it) we're driven to still like him as a character and find him redeemable. Murphy's making a more poignant commentary on society by just having viewers watch the show than he's making with his characters.

See, we're waiting for a really big scare -- this scare we've been told to expect every week-- and when we don't get it, we're disappointed. When really, we should be horrified by Tate, horrified -- if not disgusted -- with Ben and Vivian, horrified by the denial these characters are living in considering their severe emotional problems. 

To be honest, I'm more shocked at myself for thinking the show isn't that scary, but just morose and sad. The above waxing philosophic  now over, Jessica Lang is a commanding force and Evan Peters refreshing. The actors are putting in a valiant effort with a rather disjointed storyline that, despite its expanded timeline, is singularly one-dimensional.

It's truly an ensemble cast, with a large number of ghosts infusing some -- dare I say -- comedy or emotional variety into the bitter plot line. There's no question it's a new take on the "family buys a haunted house" storyline, that's for sure. And maybe, even 6 episodes in, its just too early to see how horrifying American Horror Story will be. But I'll watching, at least for 1 more episode

Are you watching AHS? Do you have any ideas about what Murphy and his crew are doing? I'm interested to hear what others are thinking and hearing and saying about this white whale of a show.

American Horror Story airs Wednesday nights at 10PM on FX | Watch the first 5 episodes online