AHS: American Humour Story or American Horror, Sorry

I thought I’ve had it with Ryan Murphy after the end of ‘AHS: Asylum.’ That finale left me with a permanent trauma, made me lose my faith in mankind and even left me speechless. Briefly. I promised myself I don’t ever want to hear about it again but then I heard the third season will take place in New Orleans and it will have Angela Bassett and Cathy Bates in it. Well, who could resist? I didn’t and now I’m starting to be sorry.

It started relatively well, then it got funny, and then it got funnier. Halfway through the season I’m sure these people don’t know what they’re doing, and because of this, they’re overdoing whatever it is. Seriously, the eyeballs at LaLaurie’s Halloween party were not scary, they were ridiculous. The same goes for Frankenkyle and don’t even get me started on the “zombies”. No, actually let’s talk about the zombies because they are, to date, the most ridiculous thing in the season. First, if you can’t get Greg Nicotero’s team to do your zombie make-up, you’d better think twice abut having zombies at all. Second, if you decide to risk it nevertheless (with ‘The Walking Dead’ showing as well? Very brave.), make a bit of effort to be plausible: a hundred-year-old corpse cannot have eyes, you know? Or skin. Or anything but bones, especially in New Orleans. And then there was the chainsaw which gave the term ‘cliché’ a whole new derogatory connotation, as if it didn’t have enough of those already.

Here is the place for somebody to say “But they’re making fun of themselves and the horror genre!” Well, thanks for this valuable input, somebody. I’m utterly convinced Murphy and co are not making fun of themselves and the genre for a very simple reason – parody does not mix well with drama. It actually doesn’t mix with drama at all, and there’s no way you can say there isn’t any drama in the season. Rather lame, for the most part, but neither Fiona’s terminal cancer, nor Kordelia’s desperate attempts to get pregnant can be seen as a parody of anything. Not to mention Kyle’s final scene with his dear old mum. Now that made my blood freeze with disgust and sympathy for the poor guy. This is not self-parody. I’m generously willing to accept that the chainsaw and only the chainsaw was a sort of wink to the audience but that’s as far as I would go.

Another thing before I go on to praise the cast. I’m hearing the theme of the season is resurrection. That’s fine but does it necessarily mean that we have to see as many resurrections as there possibly can be? I’d rather not, you know, and I could especially do without Madison. She’s not the next supreme, so why bring her back? For her looks? Fine, fine, I don’t care either way.

Now, although I’m obviously disappointed with the plot and its execution, my expectations for a blow-out performance by the two new star additions to the regular (and starting to get boring, what with Denis O’Hare AGAIN the lapdog of Jessica Lange) cast were perfectly fulfilled. Cathy Bates is traditionally brilliant and I very much want to point out that Angela Bassett’s scenes in full voodoo queen mode are the only ones that are indeed impressive and scary. She steals the show. The young ones are all sweet darlings, I love each and every one of them, but, unfortunately, none of them is standing out, much as I wanted to say so. And Jessica Lange? She’s playing the same role she has played since season one – a deeply conflicted former belle who’s mourning her youth and repenting for her sins, while committing new ones in the process. She’s brilliant, of course, but one and the same role for three seasons? Enough is enough.

And it all started so well: a mind-blowing performance by then-newbie Evan Peters, a very promising Taissa Farmiga, an all-round great cast and a plot that actually scares the whatever out of you. I was actually scared to move in my bed after watching the first season, I didn’t dare turn on this side or that, I just lay on my back scanning the darkness for Tadeus. That was a great play on horror clichés. This now is nowhere near it. Sad, really, but a good laugh when you switch your point of view and take it in as an essentially humorous show with some elements of (misplaced, like the scene with the dead baby) drama.


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