Sunday, October 12, 2014

'American Horror Story: Freak Show,' S04E01: 'Monsters Among Us' [SPOILERS]

Good gawddamn, Ryan Murphy...


First things first — Ryan Murphy oversold the scariness of Twisty the Clown in the pre-premiere promos for the new season of American Horror Story. Is he scary? Oh yeah. Super-scary and super-creepy. But Murphy said he was honestly worried that someone would have a heart attack when he was first introduced. 

Not so much.

I suppose if you have terminal coulrophobia, it could be bad. But Twisty the Clown is not the worst real-life monster to ever slash the screen. That said, I am a bit concerned about what's under those lovely chompers. And I'm sure his backstory will be just... special.

But other than the music mix being way too loud (I needed closed captions when we were in that '50s diner with rockabilly blaring on the jukebox) and the constant bugs-and-peepers soundtrack (I get it, it's South Florida, it's all crickets and frogs and shit, but c'mon, maybe a little silence once in a while?), I don't have too many complaints. 

Things are setting up nicely for a season in which I'm hopeful there will be no supernatural elements. There's the obvious 'us-versus-them' trope happening between the freaks and the town, and I wonder if the show will parallel that with the early seeds of the civil rights movement, since we're situated in the Deep South once again this year. Angela Bassett's introduction next week as the only black member of the troupe could be an inroad toward that end. 

And it goes without saying that I'm anxiously anticipating Strongman Vic Mackey forming his own Freak Show Strike Team, unless he's not down with Jimmy Darling's plan.... which is.... um.... killing anyone who won't let him live out his dream of shocking desperate housewives in the open? 

Jimmy was shaping up as a great character until THE BIG SPEECH at the end. Too much too soon, with clunky dialogue to boot. Hopefully they dial back Overarching Message Deliveryman Jimmy and focus on Specialty Gigolo Jimmy.

Kathy Bates and her beard and her Baltimore hick accent are all great. Those of you who think it's a Pittsburgh accent are on the right trail.... the Appalachian trail, to be specific. Having grown up here, the Yinzer dialect isn't quite as Ed-Sullivanish as Ethel Darling's talk of the Tattler sisters being given a new "haeoom" at the freak show.

I like the idea of the carnival simultaneously repulsing some Jupiter residents, like the farmer's wife and the police detective, while drawing in others like the candy-striper, who escapes her boring life and discovers the joys of opium and blowing people with hirsutism.

More to come....

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