TV: American Horror Story 1.1

Three scary TV shows are premiering this month: Bedlam (Saturdays on BBC America starting 10/1), American Horror Story (Wednesdays on FX starting 10/5) and season two of The Walking Dead (Sundays on AMC starting 10/16). Every week I’ll post recaps shortly after each new episode airs. They’ll be a little different than my movie posts. I’m assuming anyone who’s reading the recaps either has already seen the episode or isn’t planning to watch. That is to say, *SPOILERS AHEAD.*

Of the two new scary shows launching this month, I was most excited about AHS. It’s gotten a ton of press on the heels of a massive ad blitz and FX is fast becoming one of my favorite networks. If you haven’t already, you should really check out Sons of Anarchy, Justified, Archer and, of course, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. But can they do horror? Let’s find out!

We start in 1978. A little girl with Down’s Syndrome is playing in front of a big, busted house. Along comes a pair of nasty red-headed twins bent on smashing shit. They pause to ridicule the girl, which makes me sad. She tells them they’ll die in there, which makes me happy. They break the place up a bit and make their way down to the cellar, where someone has been busy canning baby heads and other gruesome stuff. Guess you can’t be too prepared. One calls the other a shithead – god I love cable – and then they die. Was that a ghost in a nightie? Moving on.

Vivian (Connie Britton) is at her gyno’s office, where she reports that her period has returned to normal and she has no problem getting aroused, at least when she’s alone. Zing! The doc starts what I’m sure will become a larger theme, comparing her body to a house that needs foundation work. He offers her some meds that somehow will make her better, but the main selling point in his mind is they’ll make her feel ten years younger. Do they make those in men’s sizes? After that we get a flashback of Viv catching hubby Ben (Dylan McDermott) banging someone else. 

Viv, Ben and daughter Violet drive to their new home in L.A., a restored version of that huge house from the beginning. Ben’s clearly trying to get back in Viv’s good graces but she recoils at his touch. Ben’s a psychiatrist, and plans on seeing patients at home. Sounds like the ideal environment to bring unstable people into. The broker tells them she’s required to disclose that the previous owners died there – the ol’ murder-suicide. That’s enough to get Violet on board. We like her.

The girl from the opening – Adelaide – comes back, all grown up, and says Viv and her family are gonna die in that house too. So far Addy is batting .1000, so things do not look good for the fam. Then again, maybe she means they’ll all die there a hundred years from now. Tricky little minx.

Hey look, it’s Jessica Lange as Constance, Addy’s mom. She makes a really horrible wish-I-had-an-abortion joke before referring to her daughter as “the mongoloid”, which comes off as edgy and terrible as it sounds. Also, Connie’s a klepto! To be fair, she gave Viv a pretty little box of sage to get rid of the bad memories in the house; surely that’s worth some silverware. Viv sparks it up, waves it around the house and is startled to discover… a full body bondage suit hanging in attic, which Ben throws out. You’re not even gonna see if it fits? Or better yet, make the best Goodwill donation EVER.

Clearly time is passing pretty quickly because the next thing we know, Ben is in the middle of a session with Tate, a troubled teen, and it doesn’t seem like it’s their first meeting. Take wants to kill people at school and he seems to have a pretty specific plan. He likes cutting. Lucky for him Violent happens to be cutting herself just down the hall. This was meant to be.

Next we meet Moira, an old-timey housekeeper played by Frances “Mrs. Fisher” Conroy. She has a glass eye or something. She worked for the previous owners, and expects she’ll continue working for the current ones. Great little exchange here when Viv asks, “Do you ever get tired cleaning other people’s messes?” Moira matter-of-factly replies, “We’re women; it’s what we do. I just get paid.” There’s a prostitution vs. marriage joke in there somewhere but I’m not up to it.

Ben comes home and – ha! – he sees a Moira as a super sexy 20-year-old in a French maid costume. We officially have a paranormal comedy of errors in the making.

After Moira/Moira leaves, Ben almost gets Viv to consent to a little sexy time but she shuts him down again. I’m gonna give Ben the benefit of the doubt here and assume it’s been a really long time since his affair and he’s justified in his impatience. Otherwise I’ll have to go with my gut and deem him a sleazy prick who needs to sleep on the couch until she’s good and goddamn ready.

As Tate (who scribbles the word “Taint” on the blackboard, so that is what I will call him from now on) and Violet get closer, much to Ben’s dismay, we learn that Viv had a miscarriage AT SEVEN MONTHS. Yowza. Connie’s joke was more cruel than she knew.

And right after that, well, I believe the maid is masturbating. Having caught a glimpse of that scene, Ben, now fully naked for the second time this episode, rubs one out himself before bursting into tears. I usually finish the same way.

Connie and Addy come back and we learn that Addy sees dead people, specifically the two punks from the opening scene. She tells Viv and Ben they’re gonna die (again) and Viv wigs out, shaking her and telling her she has to stop. Connie plays it off and even apologizes when stupid Addy gets herself bit by Viv’s dog through no fault of her own. I’m just about to write Connie off as comeuppance fodder when she pauses at the doorway on her way out and instantly shift gears, vowing through tears of rage, “You touch my kid one more time and I will break your goddamn arm.” Wow, that was cool.

Sexy Moira goes feather dusting in Ben’s study and starts a little strip tease. Ben is powerless to resist so I’m guessing he’s got a little sex addiction thing going on. Before things go too far, Violet spies them from the hallway. Delightfully, when they turn around, instead of sexy maid, Ben appears straddled by France Conroy.

That seems to spur Ben to confront Viv over their non-sex-having and they fight. Then fuck. Now that Viv is open for business, Ben apparently has license to show up at their bedroom door wearing the bondage suit. And ziiiiiiip…they boink. Unfortunately, the next shot reveals that Ben is actually still downstairs, holding his hand over the stove. Definitely some command issues going on here with fire, which is later confirmed by a creepy half-burned dude played by Denis O’Hare (Russell Fucking Edgington!) who decades ago killed his whole family in that house.

Taint and Violet set up a plan to scare the mean girl who’s been bullying Violet at school. They lure her into the basement with the promise of drugs – sure, whatever – and she’s attacked by some kind of demon that seems to have been called forth by Taint, or maybe is Taint. Taint Taint Taint.

Connie snags the diamond earrings she’d been admiring from Viv’s jewelery box, which prompts a confrontation with old Moira. Connie clearly knows Moira is really two Moiras and tells her to back off, finishing with, “Don’t make me kill you again.” I’m loving this show but I’m starting to worry the sheer number of threads their pulling is gonna spiral into a Lost situation, where it eventually becomes impossible to satisfyingly resolve all of them. Now will somebody PLEASE tell me what those fucking numbers meant?

And then we get the coda, where we learn that Viv is fucking preggers. What the shit. Like I said, time is moving pretty quickly here so maybe this particular family will just die at the end of the season so a new one can move in and continue the story. Even if they live, at the very least I’m looking forward to the scene when the baby comes. “Sir, I don’t believe this baby is yours.” “What! Why not?” “Because it’s black. And vinyl.”

One Response to “TV: American Horror Story 1.1”

  1. […] American Horror Story Episode 1.1 – If you have sex with a man made of latex, do you still need to use a condom? […]

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