Friday, December 30, 2011

An early fresh start and American Horror Story

It has been a while since I posted. A lot has happened in the latter part of this year, including an annoying ailment that prevented me from eating any sweets or cakes but did not prevent me from making them so it's no excuse really. In better news however I finally Mastered Science..... it turns out it's not about food, annoyingly enough! This time last year I made all sorts of resolutions including multiple ones relating to this blog. This year I am making just 4 resolutions but each has a detailed plan with small goals and objectives that can be easily reached. The most relevant resolution for this post relates to this blog where I am determined to improve my blogging skills and's hoping for the best and starting how I intend to continue.

American Horror Story

I heard a small amount of hype surrounding AHS before and after it started, mostly on Ellen but I'm sure it received more attention but I hadn't seen it. However almost every promotional piece I saw seemed to be promoting the show on the basis of the frequency that one can see Dylan McDermot's back-side in the nip, and while I will admit that his fantastic physique (the man is fifty unbelievably!) is appealing, there is a great deal more going for this show.

There are a number of interesting and unique elements to this show. Firstly there are only twelve episodes in season 1. This is more common in British series and although it is unfortunate that the season is so short, it makes me think that they spent a great deal of time on each episode and focused on overall storyline rather than making 22/24 episodes which more often than not feel exactly like the one before (not naming any names- Lie to me, What?? who said that?) Another interesting element is that this show is co-written by Ryan Murphy who brought us such horrific thrillers as.......
his back catalog consists of upbeat shows such as Glee and Popular and the screenplay for Eat/Pray/Love and the dramatic Nip/Tuck. This show taught me a great deal about Ryan Murphy, primarily that he has somehow managed to change MSG into a form that can be transmitted through the small screen directly to the optic nerve and the result is television crack. I experienced this phenomenon while watching 'Glee,' week after week I found myself returning despite the fact that I have never managed to watch an entire episode without needing a shot of insulin afterwards. AHS is similar, I wasn't even sure if I liked it at all for the first few episodes but each week I came running back wanting more.

The basic plot (no spoilers) basically follows a family who have moved from Boston to LA to escape their troubles and move into a beautiful historic mansion, only to find that they are being haunted by more than their past. As already mentioned Dylan McDermot plays the (frequently naked) husband struggling to balance his past, his hopes and dreams for the future and his ever present weaknesses. Connie Britton plays the long suffering wife who genuinely wants to move on with her life and be a good mother and wife but is struggling to forget, which mirrors the ghostly characters who cannot ever leave their pasts. Taissa Farmiga plays the classic teenage daughter; depressed, disenfranchised by parents who know nothing, and yet desperately seeking love and acceptance without wanting to ask. She has relatively little acting experience and yet every scene she is in she manages to convey the message and the emotion of the experience without losing any of her 'too cool for this,' attitude. There is one scene in the later episodes where she has a personal revelation and I must say she played this scene very well, the whole scene stuck with me for days afterwards, which is a rare occurrence. The various characters that the family encounter (living and dead) are each individually important to the plot and this show includes powerful performances by Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Frances Conroy  and Jamie Brewer to name but a few.

Suffice is to say I thoroughly enjoy this show. It is very dark and unrelenting at times in it's exploration of the nastier elements of life, and death. The introduction music alone would dissuade those who are easily disgusted with images of body parts in jars and eerie music that hits all the combination of notes that make your skin crawl. However if you are in any way interested in the creepy and addictive I would strongly suggest looking for this show. Well worth a watch, just not when you're home alone ;)

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