It’s really hard not to scare me. Horror movies and stories are my crutch, I am lured in by them but terrified by them all the same. That being said, shouldn’t something called American Horror Story scare me, just a little? Sure Twisty the Clown gives a good scare, but they utilize him the least.

Instead I find myself rolling my eyes at every new scene that continues to display that the AHS team needs some new writers and story lines. I can’t speak for the whole season, but this first episode of season 4 is not only disappointing, but pushing me to quit the show for this season.

Below there are spoilers, beware!

7. Horrible, horrible accents

I don’t think this is an unpopular opinion. Jessica Lange’s German accent grates the way a bad Southern accent from a non-US production does. Kathy Bates, the great actress she is, sports an unidentifiable accent. Thankfully it seems only these two have been tacked with horrible voices, but they are also the main characters, so we’ll have to suffer through a whole season of it. Oh, and Lange sings.

6. Less freaks, too much Jessica Lange

I’m not quiet about my dislike of Jessica Lange. I’m sure as a person, and an actress outside of AHS she’s great, but as a part of the show? She’s a regurgitated character that spends more time hearing her own voice than acting.

Maybe those Emmys are getting to Ryan Murphy’s head, but this is not good writing. A show deemed Freakshow should center 100% around the said ‘freaks’, not a relatively average self-absorbed old woman who wants to be a starlet. Her and her cliché’d storyline can go back to the hole from whence they were birthed.

5. Sexual, not scary

I knew when they revealed the title theme that this show would be less scary and more sexual. AHS has relied on sex selling their show before. From whore-nuns to death-by-vagina, they throw around sex to sell their show off and I’m not buying. Contemporary horror is known to have a touch of sensuality, but this is a hard hitting punch in the face. I want psychological terror, I want fear without some kink in the background. I doubt I’ll get it, but it’s really starting to get old.

4. Cheap and callous plot devices

I am sick to death of using rape as a cheap plot device to move a story forward. The subject alone makes me uncomfortable, because it is rarely not used in a titillating manner. It should impact you, it shouldn’t be thrown in as a way to band-aid plots. Throughout the seasons, it has been used in a worse way each season.

Last season it was Madison being gang raped and Zoe murdering someone with rape, the one before that it was Lana at the hands of Bloody Face and the Monsignor, the one before that it was Vivien by Tate. Each time it is more titillation than purpose. Also, calling the girl a “monster” after blackmailing her with a video of her own rape is a disturbing message for a character that is not only a main character but one that is adored in the writing room.

3. Underusing Twisty

I will give them this, Twisty is perfectly terrifying. I’m not even scared of clowns, and I was covering my eyes at some scenes. The sad thing is, instead of centering a story around Twisty, we get brief clips of him stabbing endlessly into someone and then it’s back to Lange and the Gang. Instead of later giving him just one episode of story, and some gimmick for the rest of the season, how about he kills Elsa and we get him as the main character? Two birds, one stone.

2. Offensive

Like I said before, this show is getting more and more offensive. Yes, yes, you’re going to say, “This is suppose to be offensive. It’s horror! Someone will always be offended.” No. I give artistic license a good perimeter. Offensive can sometimes illustrate a point that it couldn’t in real life.

But when you are tossing around words like freak and monster over and over again, it’s either the heaviest handed of plots or just offensive, or both? An episode of TV shouldn’t make me frown this much, and yet this one did. Not a frown of “oh my god, I wonder what is behind that door”, but rather a frown of, “Really? They let this pass?”

1. Overused two-dimensional character roles

The only way to solve this problem is to recast. Recast soon, or even better right now. Have Twisty kill off Bette and Dot, Elsa, Jimmy, and Gloria and every other star that’s been around for more than two seasons.

I don’t know if it’s the poor writing (I’m guessing it is) or the poor acting (it’s some of that too), but doesn’t it feel like these people are playing the same characters over and over again? Jimmy is the charming boy who is murderous. Elsa is the old blonde who craves fame. The tropes feel reused and uninspiring. Stop making a woman either a conniving bitch or a simple flower. Stop making guys murderous rapists or perverted mama’s boys.

The problem with the opening episode is that it fails to show us anything new. It gives us the same old tone as it did before, making me believe it will be more ridiculous and outrageous, than scary.

If Alfred Hitchcock can make something as simple as birds terrify me, then you should be able to do something great with the clowns. Drop the antics and the sexually charged storylines. Simplify. The more you tack on the tackier it gets.

It remains to be seen if I will continue this season, but so far, I am bored and I wish that the tone of the promotional trailers resounded more clearly in the execution of the show.

22 thoughts on “7 Things Very Wrong With American Horror Story: Freakshow”

  1. Yeah I really wanted to enjoy this, and I actually am a Jessica Lange fan usually. I just felt like they tried to make it too shocking without the substance to hold up the shock. And I’m no shrinking violet, and even I was uncomfortable with the level/type/amount of sex in this episode. My husband hated how loud the background music was. We will give it one more shot, but if it’s more of the same, I doubt we will finish the season.

  2. In an interview, Ryan Murphy has said Kathy Bates’ character has a Baltimore accent for that time. He said that’s where her character is from, and back then, the accents were more heavy.

  3. I was enjoying this article as I’m sadly not enjoying this season of AHS, but when I got to the “offensive” bit I had to roll my eyes. You seem to be saying you’re offended by their use of words like “freak” and “monster”, ignoring the fact that those are time-period appropriate words to be using.

    Also, your #4 objection: I will never understand why people seem to think rape is off-limits as a plot device yet we have no objection to the same treatment (an act to move the plot forward or motivate certain characters) of murder, torture, betrayal, and so on. Rape isn’t special. It’s just another violent crime. Furthermore, your comment about “a disturbing message” – you do realize it’s meant to be disturbing, yes? The characters played by Jessica Lange are ALWAYS twisted. That doesn’t mean she isn’t also adored. Good character doesn’t equal good person.

    1. Contrary to murder and torture, which despite what TV will tell you is not commonplace in real life, rape is a lot more common than most people think and therefore a closer subject to an audience. We don’t all know someone who was murdered and tortured, most people know someone who was raped.

      And yes, if it was disturbing on a level of horror, it would have been fine, but the fact that they rely solely on sex in order to be disturbing is problematic writing.

      And Jessica Lange’s characters aren’t bad characters, they’re just all the same character. A good character doesn’t equal a good actress or good writing.

  4. Well it’s episode 8 and this article foresaw the progress of the show, only it didn’t predict how much worse it would get. I’m not sure why I still watch except that I do fast forward quite often, especially through the ludicrous song an dance scenes. What were the writers thinking?

  5. Your fuckin stupid, its a great show get off your critique high-horse and stop being a pessimistic bitch, monster freak cunt.

  6. Great review. If this show tries to convince me that Jessica Lange is some sort of sex icon I might actually shoot myself.

    1. Jessica Lange is wonderful! She’s actually a lot more of a “sex icon” than other young actors like Emma Roberts and Taissa Farmiga.

    2. Meh. I’m not into people 5 times my age but I can see how she has some sex appeal for her age. I do agree it’s overbearing, but I feel like the show was written mostly for female viewers.

  7. LOL! You’re watching a show called Freakshow and you’re butthurt because of their lax usage of freak and monster?

    This article took a nose dive.

  8. Ok. So i can agree with some of this but the rest is total bull. 1. The accent is a clear Baltimore accent from Kathy Bates. You wouldn’t know because you’re not from here but she stated many times she used a baltimore accent and its very clear. 2. It’s in no way offensive. The words they use in the show are relevant to the time period. In the 50s it was OK to speak like that. And I have to disagree with you about Lange. Her acting is amazing and she deserves all the fame she gets. Also. The writing is great, and idk if you know this but ahs is a drama, its not all supposed to be horror.

  9. Hate to break it to you but looks like the new Hotel season will also be featuring a ton of sex…sex sells we learned this over and over.

  10. I’m so happy to see that somebody else doesn’t like Jessica Lange in the show! Every part that she had I would find myself fast forwarding, she rambles on about the same thing for 10 minutes and makes me want to watch something else. I’m excited that they have gaga this season-hoping this season turns out better!

  11. THIS!All of this. I thought I would love the show as it seemed just my sort of thing, but I have to say that I was thoroughly disappointed for the reasons above.

  12. Are you kidding? I’m German, and the German accent is on point! That German sentence she said in the first episode had me actually believing she was German, it was so perfect. If I’m not really listening, I sometimes actually think she’s speaking German.

  13. The over use of Lange I agree with. Twisty was a more interesting and compelling character.
    As for offensive- what the ever-loving-f**k was that part with the little girl asking a ‘hermaphrodite’ (i’m aware intersex wasn’t a word in the 50s) if she’s really a woman? Shock value? Considering they have a transgender who is male as a female on the show. Uh.. lol?

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