Tuesday, November 11, 2014

American Horror Story: Freak Show, Episode 5

Well, Edward Bore-Drake has come and gone, taking with him the world's saddest swamp clown. The only real question that remains is: Did he take the parts of the show worth watching with him? This is why we leave such things to the nanobots, they aren't distracted by shiny things, three-breasted women, or a pristine pair of tighty-whiteys. They only score the facts.
  • Brushing aside a cohort's concern about committing a murder, Take 1: "Accidents happen all the time!" = -2pts
  • Brushing aside a cohort's concern about committing a murder, Take 2: "People run away from the circus all the time!" = +4pts (For artful use of the word "from" in that argument.)
  • Dandy's shock and horror at the site of a dead Patti Label not fooling Mumsie one bit. If Frances Conroy has a super power, it's seeing through terrible acting. = +3pts
  • While reading the palms of someone called "lobster boy," missing the opportunity to predict that his future appears to be "full of cracks." = -5pts
  • Slagging television to tout the glory of film when your biggest credit to date has been a Nazi snuff film where you lost both your legs. = -2pts
  • Pulling a coin from behind the ear of a little person who has participated in the ritual stabbing of a local police officer. = -2pts
  • Trying to kiss every woman who says, "You're a nice guy." = -5pts
  • Musical numbers with no music. = +2pts
  • Musical numbers with no music and a crowd throwing popcorn. = +4pts (For reading our minds.)
  • Suffering from a terminal illness while listening to your son's father's three-breasted lover tell her doctor about how your son probably poked "something loose" in her vagina with his lobster hands. = -3pts
  • Turning a dead black servant into an opportunity to build that tulip mausoleum you've always wanted. = (In, the '50s = +10pts; In 2014 = -20pts) -10pts
  • Steal my spotlight once, shame on you. Steal my spotlight twice, shame on me. Steal my spotlight thrice, you need to stop buying me spotlights because I clearly can't hold on to them. = -3pts
  • Working out in your playroom in your tighty-whiteys. = +3pts
  • Yelling "There are no other guys but me!" in a gay bar where there are a lot of guys around. = -2pts
  • Watching the stripper with the dreamiest eyes from Magic Mike reinvent the black knight scene from Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail. = +5pts
  • Yelling at the guy you are dismembering because his refusal to die, "makes you feel bad." = +5pts
Episode Score = -5pts
Season Score = +16pts

Apparently when you run a show called American Horror Story, it's much easier to come up with new concepts/settings when you've eliminated the need to create any likable characters whatsoever. It's a sad state for a show when the nicest character you can point to is an old doctor who apparently doesn't have an ounce of prejudice in his body. But this also helps to illustrate how necessary those kinds of characters are in horror. Watching Michael Chiklis pulverize adorable Doctor Jupiter's fingers was far more horrific than anything the swamp clown did the last two episodes. At this point the show should probably consider changing its name to American Assholes, because that's been the gist of this season: Assholes being stabby assholes to each other.

We would like to remind the readers that as AHS tanked its way into Real Housewives territory last season, Frances Conroy's Grace Coddington-like performance became the most interesting/enjoyable thing of the season. This time around, she's had to elevate her game even earlier and should be given special thanks for her efforts. Watching her chalk up Dandy's homicidal tendencies to "inbreeding," or turn a daughter's inquiry into the location of her mother into a confession about the child-rearing strategies of the uber-privileged has been awe-inspiring. So thank you, Frances Conroy. You remain the bright twisted lantern in this otherwise dreary swamp full of snakes.  

Score Technician: Sean McConnell

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