American Horror Story: Pilot

It’s still too early to tell if American Horror Story, the new show from Glee co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, is going to be good or a messy pile of shit. After the pilot the only thing that can be said is that it’s definitely uninhibited in a latex gimp sort of way. The direction the gimp is going to take us down is still incoherent though, the show’s pace was a little too swift to allow any real storyline to reveal itself. I thought most of the bits that were supposed to be shocking were just silly – the downs girl says “you’re gonna die” hurrr, there’s a gimp suit in the attic hurrr – but overall it was a fun, disorientating pilot that delivered some mysteries right outta the gate. And screw it, I like mysteries.

The show begins in 1978, a downs girl is lamping outside an eerie Victorian House when some troublesome ginger twins walk up with baseball bats. I used to love tearing up abandoned houses with baseball bats – so immediately I can relate to the show. The downs girl warns the boys they’ll die if they go in the house. And they sure do. A gruesome death at that.

Jump to the present and our protagonists are moving in to the same Victorian home. Bostonites Ben and Vivien Harmon (Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton) are a couple determined to save their marriage after a ridiculous series of crises: Vivien had a miscarriage and then walked in on Ben cheating on her. Their daughter, Violet (Taissa Farmiga), is like Lydia Deetz without all the goth makeup. Their realtor informs them that some heinous shit has gone down in the house over the years, including the murder of a gay couple, women, and children.

The same day they move in, whatever evil entity haunts the house begins to make its moves; feeding off the sexual schism between Ben and Vivien and overall being a huge pervert. Some great secondary characters are introduced, most notably their elderly Southern-belle neighbor Constance, played with severe wickedness by Jessica Lange. Her daughter, the downs girl, is grown up now but still likes telling people they’re going to die. The maid, Moira, appears as an elderly woman to Vivien but when Ben sees her, she’s a naughty redhead in a skimpy maid’s costume. One of Ben’s patients, Tate, is a troubled youth who likes Kurt Cobain and may or may not exist.

Tate is never shown outside of the house – except for that little dream sequencey moment he has in his session – and that batshit basement bit was hinting at him being a hobgoblin or ghost. Also, when trying to warn the school that Tate’s a possible threat, Ben doesn’t have Tate’s SSN and the school can’t identify him. It’s safe to say that Moira the maid is a ghost. If her sexxxy shapeshifting wasn’t proof enough, Constance suggests that she’s killed Moira once before. So what’s with Constance? I don’t think she’s a ghost, but she’s definitely connected to the house. She explains to Vivien that she once had dreams of Hollywood stardom, but had to put those on the shelf. She could be connected through the former owner of the house: “the doctor to the stars.” The same careless doctor left behind a possessed gimp suit…

While I wasn’t crazy about the pilot of AHS, I had fun watching it. The production design was great and they did some unique things in its editing – like cutting during dialogue. And to be honest, with Breaking Bad ending this Sunday, there’s really nothing else on cable that I’m into. Fringe has been gradually dipping into mediocrity and Parks and Rec brings me a mere 24 minutes of pleasure a week. AHS is twisted and unpredictable enough to hold my interest for now. Let’s hope hings get more cohesive in episode 2.