Seven years ago, the world was introduced to the insane, overly dramatic and off-the-wall television series that is Ryan Murphy’s ‘American Horror Story.’ I say all of this lovingly because while I spend most of my time screaming, cackling and trying not to throw up all over my friends on the couch beside me (mostly due to the gore, but partially due to the sometimes-terrible writing), I absolutely love this show. The opening seasons brought that bone-chilling terror and sense of unease to television that you often can’t find apart from select Hollywood horror films.
Though the series has arguably declined in quality as the years have progressed, it’s hard to stop watching if you’ve been a fan since the beginning. This unwavering loyalty partially stems from the known fact that Murphy will eventually tie every season together, but if we’re being honest, most of the loyalty stems from the known fact that braving a season means getting to stare at Evan Peters over the course of several weeks (the only exception being Roanoke, but we need not talk about that).
‘American Horror Story’ has found its appeal from its strange settings and outlandish scenarios. The series has done a remarkable job at grounding itself within the fears that have been passed down and shared by people for generations. We’ve encountered murderous spirits, serial killers and arguably one of, if not the most terrifying clowns ever seen. However, this new season brings us something different, and instead of grounding us in a world unknown, this new season, ‘Cult,’ grounds us in the 2016 presidential election of present-day America.
Before I get to the meat of this article, I want to make a few disclaimers. First and foremost, this article will contain spoilers, so if you haven’t yet seen the premiere episode and wish to watch it on your own, please stop reading now. If you have watched the episode and are choosing to stick with me, understand that this article is composed entirely of my opinions and initial reactions to this week’s episode. I’m not telling you what to think, I’m simply telling you what I think. Let’s get started.
The episode’s opening montage of the 2016 presidential campaign season needs to be addressed, as it made me uncomfortable. First, I did not turn on FX just so I could re-live the misery that was the entire campaign season. Second, this season’s entire theme just feels completely unnecessary, but I digress. Though I hated hearing all of this again, I was quite fond of watching the back-and-forth montage of Sarah Paulson & co. crying over the results and yelling at one another for voting for Jill Stein/not voting at all and blue-haired Evan Peters screaming of happiness and literally humping his television. I think it really painted the perfect picture of what America looked like on election night, which was funny at first, and then sad. I was honestly just sad. All of this was then followed by Evan Peters’ character throwing cheese puffs in a blender, which he then applied to his face with liquid eyeliner, making his Trump impersonation one of the better ones I’ve seen to date. Evan Peters as Cheetos-faced Trump? Amazing.
The next thing we need to talk about here is the clowns. So, Twisty is back and I am shook. Sarah Paulson’s son is caught reading Twisty comics (hard pass) and this freakish clown cult has come out of the void and begun terrorizing the people of this Michigan town in which our story takes place. We first experience this weird cult when Sarah Paulson’s character decides that she must go grocery shopping alone. At night. In an empty grocery store. So, of course, she walks in and the employee, a one-armed Trump supporter, puts on his MAGA hat, further increasing Sarah Paulson’s anxiety levels, and essentially opens the door so that all hell can break loose. Clowns are everywhere and Sarah Paulson’s only method of defense is picking up Rosé bottles and hurling them at the clowns (it was later told that she was seen yelling in the aisles throwing bottles of Rosé around and honestly? same). When she finally decides to leave the store, she runs into her Prius and calls her wife, only to then see a clown in the back of her car, causing her to slam on her gas pedal and fly straight first into a lamppost. Awesome. Of course, when she gets home, the police say no one was there, her wife essentially calls her crazy, therefore setting up this weird tension between them for the rest of the episode because Sarah Paulson is losing her mind and her wife is unsupportive. My theory? Her wife has something to do with these clowns that are supposedly not real, but we’ll see.
Of course, the clowns end up riding into the neighborhood of Sarah Paulson & co. when she and her wife are both gone. Her son sees them and he freaks out and tells his baby sitter (Billie Lourd). Of course, Billie being a soulless human being, takes him over to the neighbor’s house (the same people with Sarah Paulson and her wife on election night) so that he can essentially watch them be stabbed to death by a pack of clowns. Awesome. Well, this was ruled as a murder-suicide by Colton Haynes (who played the detective) and no one believes the boy or his mother that there are murderous clowns on the loose, who are, as I am now theorizing, killing off the town liberals.
Another quick connection we need to discuss is that of Peters and Lourd. They’re both soulless, blue-haired human beings who are terrorizing the people of Michigan in their own way. I think they’re siblings but I’m not yet sure. All I know is that though they both fall on different sides of the political spectrum, they seem to be working together to tear this town apart.
So, what I want to know is: Will the clowns stop fornicating in public? Will Twisty make an appearance? Will my love for Evan Peters ever end?
And that’s what you missed on, “Glee!” Oh sorry, wrong show.
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