‘Monsters Among Us’: Recap of ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’

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Not to sound like a total prude, but I think there’s a reason they say you should wait until the third date before introducing some sexytime to a relationship. It has nothing to do with being chaste or austere or anything Charlotte York would say. But waiting builds intrigue and anticipation for future bedroom fun, doesn’t it? There’s excitement in just flirting, in letting the butterflies flutter before releasing them into the wild… so to speak.

The fourth season of American Horror Story premiered last week and we were introduced to the Freak Show. Aaaand I think we just slept with Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk on the first date, guys. It had nothing to do with us, don’t worry! They put out pretty easily. (And what? We’re supposed to just not give in? Who has that kind of willpower.)

While I enjoyed the always fabulous production design, the cinematography (split screens! and DUTCH ANGLES! I’VE MISSED YOU!) and being introduced to our new cast of characters, I feel like I know too much too soon. Elsa Mars disintegrated into a wretch with serious delusions of grandeur in just a short hour and a half. Jessica Lange is such a confident, controlling, fucking bad ass bitch and I want to see her like that! At least Sister Jude and Fiona sustained that persona until the last third of the respective seasons before the inevitable disintegration. In just the first hour we already know Elsa Mars is a talentless wannabe with a penchant for blue eyeshadow. (even in the fifties… just… no.) I kinda wish we had time to build to that.

We also already know that Bette and Dot killed their mom. We already established Jimmy Darling prostitutes himself and his, erm, useful deformity. (DID I CALL IT OR WHAT?!) He hates being labeled a freak and hates what he does for a living, though he does seem to enjoy getting those ladies off. He and the other freaks are sick of being called freaks and then they killed a guy and stabbed him a lot and I’m pretty sure they’re going to kill again.

I mean, really. Can we go on two more dates before everything is let loose? The only thing we’re unsure of is Twisty the Clown, who is played by Norm SonofaGunderson, a fact that I think makes him even more terrifying. All we know is that he likes to stab people and imprison children in the creepiest trailer ever. His motives are a mystery at this point, since that giant toothed grin mask prevents him from speaking, though I’m willing to bet the poor fool simply wants an audience. The young girl behind a cage tried to appeal to his better nature after he fucked up a balloon animal, which unfortunately for her served only to piss him off more. (Even a nutso doesn’t like to be condescended to.) And when Twisty walked up on the other freaks stabbing the already dead cop, it seemed like he found a home full of twisted kindred spirits. Invited or not, I think Twisty is going to shack up in one of those tents for a while.

We got off to an alright start with this premiere. It lacked the excitement of premieres past, but I’m thinking that this season may crescendo rather than fizzle out. Judging by the teaser clips after the episode, Bette and Dot may actually be the headliner the freak show needs to get an audience again. If that’s the case, I’m quite excited to see the cast fill out with the tri-tittied lady and the strong man and others. So Ryan and Brad may be an easy lay, we may already know most of what they have to offer, but I’m holding out hope that they’ll surprise us after a few more dates.

Random notes:
– Ethel Darling. Accent. WHAT. Edna Turnblad, anyone?
– Speaking of Ethel, the moment with her and Elsa seemed to ooze tension, right? I think there’s more to that relationship where Ethel is concerned.
– One of my favorite moments in the episode was the long shot of Bette and Dot walking. The awkward, bumbling walk is a helpful physicalization of an oddly shaped body.
– I’m not sure I appreciate so much morality so soon. What was with the weird orgy opium rape with Meryl Streep’s daughter?
– The song. Ugh. I can’t. I’m not sure my belief can be suspended that much. I need time to figure out how and if that is going to work, since it doesn’t seem like this is the last time travel song we’ll hear.
– Also, did they get the idea for the show from that song? “Is there life on mars?” Elsa Mars? “Freak show?” A little on the nose.

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