‘American Horror Story: Hotel’: Tv Review


American Horror Story, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s exhausting anthology series, has, almost since its inception, cleverly found a way to immunize itself against criticism. Sure, sure, you can complain about how nothing in its second season, Asylum, made any damn sense. Or you can bitch plenty about Freak Show, the fourth iteration, being a dull disappointment. But if you go much deeper than that, if you actually take issue with some of the things that American Horror Story says, well then, you’re being a humorless square, someone who just refuses to lớn see Murphy’s (and Falchuk’s) campy, queeny gay sensibility for the arch, transgressive genius it is.

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To which I say pffffft, as loud as I can. I may be a humorless square, a traitor lớn my camp-loving gay brothers and sisters, but so be it. As demonstrated in the first episode of the show’s fifth installment, Hotel, American Horror Story is garbage. Not trash. Trash can be fun. Garbage. Something we need to bag up và throw away, or flush and forget. Always a juvenile, antisocial show, A.H.S. reached what I hope is its nadir with the Hotel premiere, a confusingly paced, self-indulgent episode that managed to lớn offend in myriad ways.

Let’s cut to lớn the chase: when Max Greenfield, cutie patootie from New GirlVeronica Mars, first swished onto the screen, bleached blond and practically voguing, I was naïvely excited. I was curious to lớn see Greenfield’s attempt at playing what I assume was meant khổng lồ be a gay man, because he’s funny & seems like a good guy. I trusted that, even if he were playing extremes, he wouldn’t be a jerk about it. Oh, how foolish I was. Because before I knew it, there was Greenfield, aping the bitchy swish, getting anally raped by some sort of zombie quái vật wearing a metal spike strap-on. This sequence went on & on và on, graphically, while a baby-doll goth Sarah Paulson cooed in Greenfield’s ear.

After that scene, I took to lớn Twitter, as one does, khổng lồ complain that the scene was basically treated as a joke, because isn’t gay rape so funny. Immediately someone responded that, um, the scene wasn’t meant lớn be funny, khổng lồ which I say pfffffft again. If the scene, và the whole episode, wasn’t meant to be at least amusing, then why cast Greenfield, a comedic actor, to lớn play a Brant brother–type only to quickly punish him with a horrific—and, again, incredibly graphic, given that it aired on basic cable!—rape? Everything on American Horror Story at this point is played at the very least for camp value; the days of Murder House seriousness, or Asylum pathos, were firmly gone by, say, the time Evan Peters’s Lobster Boy whored out his claw in Freak Show.

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Which, on principle, is fine. Who doesn’t love the idea of a sordid, wicked, gay horror anthology series? That sounds great! I wish that existed! What we have instead is a show where Ryan Murphy can indulge his fantasies about hairless, pouting pretty boys, while punishing or otherwise marginalizing limp-wristers and cross-dressers, & where he and Falchuk can yuk it up together over a kitchen-sink style of Grand Guignolia that uses excess lớn mask its ineptitude. If there were anything resembling wit behind American Horror Story’s grotesquerie, I’d feel very different about that dreadful scene. But at this point it’s impossible to lớn see any value in the show’s lurid shocks.

I liked Lady Gaga, sure. Và it is fun seeing actors lượt thích Denis O’Hare & Chloë Sevigny goofing around on TV. And Matt Bomer is cute, as is Evan Peters, & the long các mục of same-y white guys who’ve been dragooned into this debacle. But it’s just not enough. The wildly unnecessary rape aside, last night’s episode was astoundingly bad, jumping erratically between about nine different plot threads, arbitrarily slowing down và speeding up in such a way that it was impossible to lớn stay focused on whatever the hell was happening. Và why should we care about any of this stuff, any of these people, anyway? American Horror Story is cheap, poseur nihilism masquerading as risqué taboo flouting. It’s a joke, one we’ve heard too many times và has been told far better elsewhere.

The series has done a lot for a troupe of fantastic actors, many of them women otherwise frustratingly ignored by Hollywood. And, sure, I’ll concede that it has, in its way, been a source of visibility for gay people and stuff. And American Horror Story Twitter is fun for the most part! But yeesh, last night’s episode sank lớn new depths. It’s time lớn set free all these wonderful actors so they can go bởi worthier things. Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk (who’s blithely promised more awfulness to come) have snickered long enough. Let’s take this garbage out to the curb.

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