TV Review of ‘American Horror Story’ Season Premiere on FX

by on October 6, 2011

in Entertainment, tv reviews

American Horror Story premiered last night on FX.  The cast includes Connie Britton, fresh off of Friday Night Lights, Dylan McDermott (Dark Blue, The Practice), Taissa Farmiga, Jessica Lange and a few others in what seems to promise a horror story laced with sexual overtones. (There are light spoilers following in this TV Review.)

'American Horror Story' logo

Upfront Warning: I know you’re all responsible adults and such, but if you DVR’d American Horror Story and have young kids, you will be answering all kinds of questions if this is on when/if they’re around.  So beware!

The story in American Horror Story is about a troubled couple Ben & Vivien Harmon (Britton & McDermott) who move to Los Angeles.  Their troubles seem two-fold at best.  They lost a child at birth and in addition, she catches hubby “pile driving” someone in their bed.  Oh, and then, they move into a haunted house.  Just peachy!

Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton and Taissa Farmiga in 'American Horror Story'

They move from Boston for a fresh start and end up buying a wonderfully cheap Los Angeles Victorian for on the cheap.  Of course, they’re warned about what happened to the previous occupants, a murder-suicide.  And that’s where the fun begins.  Their neighbor (Lange) has a  daughter, Adelaide (Jamie Brewer), with Down Syndrome, who can’t seem to stay out of their house.

Husband Ben (McDermott) is a psychiatrist who keeps his office in his house and can’t keep “it” in his pants.  He also has what appears to be a psycho patient, Tate, played by Evan Peters (Kick-Ass, TV: One Tree Hill, Invasion), who befriends their daughter.  (I love his tee shirt…  “Normal People Scare Me” I think is what it said.)

Then there’s the maid.  It’s not that the family went looking for a maid, but rather, the old maid showed up in the kitchen, explaining to Vivien that she works at the house.  It didn’t seem as if the family had a choice, but she offers tidbits of advice to Vivien about how to care for the old home.  This endears her to the wife and the family decides to go ahead and hire her.

Frances Conroy in 'American Horror Story'

Therein lies one of the biggest problems for the family already.  To Vivien, the maid appears to be an old hag older woman.  But to Ben, well, she’s played by excessively sexy hot Alexandra Breckenridge, who pretty much looks like the atypical french maid fantasy most men would ponder about.  A red head no less.

'Alexandra Breckenridge' in American Horror Story

First Up, The Sexual References

Early reviews suggested lots of sensual, sexual plot thorns.  For the first 30 minutes I was wondering what they meant, but the last 40 minutes of the show pretty much synced up with the warnings.

The moral majority are going to have a hissy fit about the amount of references and deeds with sex and masturbation.

My only suggestion to those folks is that if ya don’t like it, quit watching.  And I’m thinking from the way the premiere episode went, don’t come back.  Unless of course, you want to watch, then fulfill your moralistic expectations later, but that’s a conflicting statement if you ask me!  LOL.

American Horror Story Is Interesting

There’s a lot of the s*t word tossed around and such and there were many plots tossed out for us to watch for if we continue to watch the show.

From the Southern Belle neighbor (Lange) who threatens to kill the maid… again, to the Down Syndrome daughter who seems to know more about the house than anyone else does, well, there are some neighbors no one needs.

Ben obviously has sexual issues, meaning he can’t get enough.  He’s already been in trouble for banging the friend, and then when he catches the maid (looking sexy to him) playing with herself, he runs off naked (We saw lots of McDermott butt) to have his way with himself because he can’t handle the tension.

The issues are further complicated when the young maid comes on to him, but when Ben’s daughter catches them, all she see’s is Dad and the old maid.  Oh, this will make for a fascinating set of plot twists, that’s for sure.

And then there’s Ben telling his wife how she constantly surprises him.  In reference to hiring the scantily clad French maid, and she says something to the effect that she brings a certain comfort to the home, meaning the grandmotherly maid she hired.  Talk about mixed signals.

Then there’s the budding relationship between daughter and psycho patient Tate.  Interesting, as his point of view about killing everything that bugs him could influence her perspectives on things.

There’s ghosts, a rubber sex suit that Ben had thrown out earlier, but later shows up and “does” Vivien, who thinks it’s Ben.  (I can’t say for sure it’s not, but I’m pretty sure it’s not.)

Monsters in the basement.  Interesting ones, that’s for sure.  And a cute little dog that barks at the basement door.  (I had a dog that use to bark at our basement door.  That did me no good.)

The suspense was above average, the frights were satisfying but something felt familiar.  With all the players set in motion during the 71-minute season premiere, it felt like Desperate Housewives gone dark!  I saw potential for that and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it’s there.

There’s that and the show feeling like a mini-HBO with all the sexual references, where FX is pushing the boundaries for nighttime TV shows!

The series was created and directed by Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck, Glee; Eat Pray Love) and David Semel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson’s Creek, House, My Own Worst Enemy, No Ordinary Family, Person of Interest) while writing credits go to Murphy and Brad Falchuk (Earth: Final Conflict, Nip/Tuck, Glee).

Despite the conflicting (but none-the-less, awesome) past credits of this creative team, from Sci-fi to musical teen angst, I would never have actually guessed that this somber, and enticing pace that American Horror Story exuded, would have come from these guys, but it does.  It has a certain cinematic feel that pulls you from the feel of a TV show and feels a bit like a movie.

Now whether they can weather all the criticism I expect they’ll probably get from the more prudish folks of society, and keep the various plots moving forward with a fresh representation will be something to be seen.  I think it probably will because this entire creative team has done so rather successfully in the past and I don’t see how these twisted minds can’t make this work too.

FYI: 3.2 million tuned into the season premiere of American Horror Story!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Bruce Simmons October 27, 2011 at 11:41 am

Ah, point taken.

Alex October 27, 2011 at 7:05 am

you missed my point…..”for on the cheap” makes no sense. “On the cheap” would make sense.

Bruce Simmons October 26, 2011 at 9:34 pm

LOL, yea Alex. I remember they noted that the house was at half the value of like houses in the area because of what it was or some such detail! So it was cheaper than neighboring houses.

Alex October 26, 2011 at 9:27 pm

They move from Boston for a fresh start and end up buying a wonderfully cheap Los Angeles Victorian for on the cheap.

for on the cheap?

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