Wednesday, October 22, 2014

American Horror Story Freakshow - A No-Go

I was really hoping I would love this season of American Horror Story but I don't think I am interested in watching any more of it.

I have watched all three seasons to this point, and while there were some moments I really loved and was thrilled with, there were also some points in each season where I was ready to throw in the towel.  I stuck it out even when I hated the season (Asylum) thinking it would get better, but Freakshow already has exhibited signs of veering into "I can't be bothered to waste my life watching this" territory.

The first season was a "classic" hanted house story.  I was really engaged by the daughter's story and enjoyed Tessa Farmiga in the role.  I also thought Zachary Quinto was great fun as half of the gay couple who had their own ties to the house.  However, there were so many story lines by the end that everything was a jumble and I wasn't as excited as I was in the beginning.  I always think the show suffers when it follows too many paths.  Freakshow has at least seven independent storylines and we're just getting started.  This is bad.

The second season "Asylum" was a cold start for me.  I didn't really care much about the story line and only stuck around knowing one of my favorite actors Chloe Sevigny was in the mix.  It didn't pick up for me until three quarters of the way through when Zachary Quinto saved the day again and gave me a reason to be interested.  After the episode in his apartment I stopped caring again and I honestly don't know how the season ended.   I have already stopped caring about Michael Chiklis's character on Freakshow after twenty minutes of screen time.  No bueno.

Coven was probably the season I watched  with the most anticipation, although at times the scenes went so far into gorey gross out territory they made me physically ill.  Sometimes the campiness was completely supplanted by a weird shocking torture porn vibe that didn't sit well with me.  On several occasions I found myself sitting in front of the television wondering why I was watching the show, but I wanted to know how they would neatly tie it up and who the new supreme would be.  Honestly I can't remember, so it was a huge waste of hours of my time.  The torture porn vibe is back this season.  Not cool.

I don't care for the new season for several reasons.  The first is simple.  I don't like clowns.  I did as a kid.  I had a whole collection of clown dolls and figurines.  Then I became a teeneager and I read a Stephen King novel called It.  That was enough to put me off clowns for good.

Even putting my distaste for clowns aside, this season is very upsetting.  There are dozens of reasons but here are my three biggest pet peeves so far (and we''re only two episodes in)

1.  The actors cast this season who owe their physical characteristics to genetics rather than makeup are only spectacle.  I find this depressing on many levels.  So far prosthetic makeup and digitally enhanced actors have won nearly all of the storylines and screen time.  It's a huge waste of potential and it isn't the reason I wanted to watch.   Mat Fraser, the actor who plays Paul the illustrated "seal" is the reason I tuned in.  I saw an interview with him on how hard he works to be taken seriously as an actor and how this was a tremendous opportunity for him.  He was charming, warm, witty and hilarious.  He made me forget my worry over scary killer clowns.  His primary use so far is window dressing and I don't see this changing.

2.  Kathy Bates has an accent.  When I'm not wondering what she's saying I'm wondering why on earth an acting choice could bother me so much that it makes me want to scream.  If the actor playing her son had the same accent I wouldn't have made it through the first episode.  It is confusing and maddening, and the only purpose I can see it serving is to make my choice of giving up on this season easier.

3.  The musical numbers are insane.  It feels like I'm watching Glee on acid.  I can't see why a period piece throws itself into the future whenever someone picks up a microphone.  Jessica Lange is the worst David Bowie impersonator in the history of time and Sarah Paulson is no Fiona Apple.  According to Ryan Murphey there are "about five" of these freaky anachronistic jumps into the future of music.  I don't want to waste my time watching another one.  I'm sure the people scouring the internet for clips of Jessica Lange covering Lana del Rey think I'm nuts but it deals the deal of changing AHS from a must watch to a whatever in two short episodes.  I won't lose any sleep over it.  (Except I already have thanks to that damn clown.)

I hope if you're watching you're enjoying it.  Tell me if it redeems itself.  At the moment the prospects seem bleak.

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