Hi, peeps! So, let’s talk about this new bizarre show on the FX Network called “American Horror Story”, shall we? And no, it is not yet another Housewives Show or a show about peddling little kids in the pageant circuit. That stuff is just WAY to scary for this chick, that is fo’ sho’. We start this mystery show with an opening in 1978. A fantastic year for a lot of things. This was the year of the Susan B. Anthony dollar, the very first cell phone and the first test tube baby.
And craft stores everywhere scared the crap out of everyone with the new skull and bones wind chimes.
A little girl stands outside of a scary ivy covered house. she hurls a rock in the window and as she turns around, it is obvious she has Down’s. Two ginger boys come by and call her a freak and she tells them as they prepare to enter the house that they will die in there. They take their baseball bats inside the house and start bashing together light fixtures and mirrors. Your run of the mill destructive behavior. This is our first look inside the house but it doesn’t get too interesting until they find a wounded bleeding cat (rat? Possum?) on the floor and decide that is not creepy enough, so they venture into the basement. Here they find lots of really cool stuff floating in fluids. If “cool” is intestine-looking things and then this:
When pickles and okra just aren’t enough any more.
As they decide to get out of the stinky basement, we see a shadow behind them and then the boys get separated. When the one calls out for the other one, he gets no response. “Troy?” Yep, Troy is on the ground bleeding and we know the other one is not far behind him. What killed him? Whoever can stab an obnoxious tween in the throat so that he isn’t able to scream out wins the prize, but for now we are left in the proverbial dark. So…we can safely assume both ginger vandals are gone to that big reform school in the sky. True to the promise of the little girl, still standing outside.
And we jump to the present. We meet up in another horror situation–the examining room of an OB-GYN. We meet Vivien Harmon. In this brief scene, we learn that she has had some problems in the past, which involved a lot of blood and her doctor wants her on hormones. We learn that she’s not getting much pleasure from her husband, Ben, but can take care of herself in the department. Know who is not having a problem getting off? See, while Vivien is getting poked and prodded, her husband Ben is at home doing the same thing to someone else, but without that necessary medical license. See, he’s banging someone else in their bed. Nice. Vivien slices Ben in his arm with the knife she yielded against the mysterious intruder and well, things don’t look too promising for our main couples in the ol’ marriage department. So what do they decide to do? Pack up their car, including bitchy teen-age daughter (Violet) and lap dog and move cross country to Los Angeles to start their lives over.
Nothing can help me get over my infidelity with younger, hotter women than moving to a place where I just won’t be tempted. Let’s go to LA!
So now the house has been refurbished and this is where our troubled family is going to settle in. Because impending death heals all wounds. The realtor tells the group the house was built in 1920 by the doctor to the stars and she says the previous owners loved the house like a child and restored everything. Vivien asks, “Gay?” Realtor: “What do you think?”. Um, okay…Lots of people restore houses, but okay. Sarcastic realty lady continues in the kitchen when she asks if Vivien can cook and Ben pipes up that he bought his wife cooking lessons and the realtor says, “How romantic.” Realty lady is kind of a bitch. I think she should spend some time in the basement with the pickled ginger boys. Before that can happen, we get tons of exposition with Ben explaining he’s a psychiatrist and he wants to use the study at home for his office. He wants to spend more time with his family. Meanwhile the dog is barking at the basement door and Violet (bitchy teen-age daughter) goes to check it out. The basement has been cleaned up. Back at backstory central, Ben is explaining Vivien used to be a musician and the nosy realtor asks her why she quit being a cellist. Instead of telling her to STFU, Vivien starts peeling back wallpaper and remarking there is a mural underneath it. The realtor then says she has to tell them something due to full disclosure laws. Not only did the previous owners die in the house, it was a murder suicide.
And they were gay with the obvious gay decorating talents all gays have. I disclosed that right?
Violet returns from the basement to overhear the whole murder-suicide thing and asks where it happened. In the basement, of course. Violet says, let’s take it! And they move in. Vivien and Ben are getting to get settled in and we can tell there is a lot of bad tension between them. Vivien blows him off in a non-happy ending kind of way, but does tell him she appreciates that he is trying and she promises she is trying also. We jump ahead with Violet at school walking and smoking and immediately gets jumped on by a group of mean girls who yell at her about smoking in public places. Violet tries to defend herself, saying she is new and didn’t know about the rule, but head mean girl wants to go over the top about it and wants Violet to eat her own cigarette. Violet spits in her face and runs away. Ah, the carefree days of high school.
Back at the house, Vivien is peeling off the wallpaper in the music room when she is startled by a voice behind her. “You’re going to die in here.” Seems the little girl with Down’s from 1978 has grown up, but has not changed her warning to those in the house. Obviously, this scares the crap out of Vivien. “Who are you??” “What are you doing in here?” Jessica Lange (Constance) enters, calling out “Adelaide? Adelaide?”. Constance introduces herself as her neighbor and Addy is her daughter. Constance sends Addy on her way and tells Violet that girl is a monster, but she loves her. Constance tells her she came in the open backdoor and increases the creepy factor by about 1000, talking about her doggy day care across the street and being nosy about Violet’s things. Her kennel is mainly for purebreds, but “there is always room in my home for mongrels”. Yikes. Contstance also pockets something while Vivien’s back is turned. Hmmm…Constance does a little back story on herself. She’s from Virginia but came out to LA to be a movie star, but she wouldn’t do nudity and she wasn’t about to go there. So, she took “that little butterfly of a dream and put it in a jar on the shelf”.
I find that jarred dreams next to jarred baby heads really complete the whole shelf, don’t you think?
She then calls her own daughter a mongoloid and Vivien has had about enough. She politely attempts to rid herself of Constance and Constance takes the hint. She leaves a housewarming gift of sage, which when burned will help get rid of bad juju. Constance has one last dig and says she’s glad Viv’s getting rid of the wallpaper. “I thought those people were supposed to be stylish”. Wow. That was a whole scene of crazy. And I loved it.
As Vivien burns the sage, walking around the house with no lights on. She finds a door to the attic so of course, let’s go up there by myself with no flashlight and only some smelly sage with me! She screams when she finds what at first glance is a guy dressed all in black hovering in the corner of the outfit. Ben hears her scream and runs up there. Upon further investigation, they realize it is not a man, but a rubber/leather full body harness type outfit, allegedly (*blush*) for bondage type sexual activities. Violet then joins them and they all assume the previous owners were into some kinky stuff. You know why they thought that?? Because they were GAY and when they weren’t decorating and being fabulous, they were into bondage—obviously. We then see Ben throwing away the costumes.
Next scene is Ben and his patient, young Tate, a teen-aged boy who has fantasies about killing his classmates. He envisions himself in a full face tattoo/make up walking in high school. Ben asks him in these fantasies if he’s killing people who targeted him, but Tate responds he kills people he likes. Tate tells Ben he had a bad childhood. While he’s talking about blood, we see a quick shot to Violet trying to slit her wrists. Back to Tate and Ben, Tate is telling Ben his mom is a cocksucker. Literally. And his dad left him alone with her. After telling the world is a filthy place and a G-D horror show, the session must be over because we then see Tate (who apparently doesn’t get escorted out?), walking in on Violet who is still messing with the razor blades on her arm. He tells her she’s doing it wrong. If she really wants to kill herself, she needs to cut vertically. And also? Lock the bathroom door while she’s doing it.
Hi, I’m the psychopath who just told your Dad I want to kill a bunch of teen-agers. I guess I’m healed now because he’s letting me wander around your house freely. Toodles!
At night. Ben walks around naked (oh hell, yeah!) and while it is apparent he is sleep walking, we hear voices that we assume he can hear also. He lights a big ass fire in the fireplace (without any kind of firestarters??? Oh, it must be gas) and then Viv comes down to check on him. “Am I in a dream?”, he says. “No!”, we shout, “It is a G-D nightmare! Pay more for a smaller house, you cheap bastard!”.
Viv is hanging sheets on a clothesline when a red-haired older women comes waltzing in the backyard. With all the money they saved on the house of death, a fairly simple alarm system would be quite the investment, don’t you think? The woman introduces herself as Moira, the housekeeper. Moira questions Vivien on why she’s hanging the sheets instead of using the electric dryer and Viv explains she doesn’t like all the chemicals. Moira glosses over this and tells her she works Monday through Thursday and what holidays she works. Viv interrupts her by saying she doesn’t need a housekeeper. Moira smiles, one gray eye twinkling and asks her what she’s using on her wood floors. Murphy’s Oil Soap, Viv replies. Wrong answer! They talk some more and Moira talks her way into the house for a cup of coffee. Over a tasty cup of Jo, Moira tells Viv she’s been the housekeeper there for a lot of the previous owners. In fact, she found the bodies of the last two. When Viv presses for some gossip on the murder/suicide, Moira just tells her they were always fighting. Moira was the one cleaned up the whole mess. Viv asks her if she ever gets tired of cleaning up other people’s messes. Moira’s response: “It is women. It is what we do.” Moira is soft spoken and has a nice direct way about her. I’m sure there is nothing at all creepy about her. Hmm. Ben comes in and Viv introduces Moira and holy crap—this is where it gets interesting. You see, when Viv sees Moira, she sees an older woman in a conservative housekeeping outfit. But when Ben sees her, she’s young and hot and wearing that typical French Maid type get up. Therefore, Ben is absolutely shocked that Viv would hire her, seeing as he has a wandering…um…little Ben.
I’ll polish the floors and the stairwell…
And of course, your husband’s knob…
Ben is obviously thrilled by the new housekeeper, but when she leaves he tries to make a move on his wife, but Vivien pushes him back. He tells her that one of these days, she’s going to have to forgive him.
Back with Ben and his patient, Tate. Ben discovers Tate has not been taking his medicine and calls him out on lying. Ben tells Tate that if he is serious about what he wants to do his classmates, he’s going to have to report him to the police. Tate asks him if he can get better and Ben tells him, “Everybody can get better”. Ben tells him he thinks Tate is scared of rejection. Tate tells him he didn’t take the meds because he was afraid it would affect his sex life. Listening in to this is young Violet. Because there is nothing at all wrong with a completely non-confidential psychiatry appointment, am I right??
We see Ben and Violet talking about their suicide attempt scars and talking about how LA and her high school sucks. Tate asks Violet why they moved out there and she fills him in on the whole Mom-caught-Dad-in-the-act thing. As they’re talking, Tate writes the word “Taint” on her chalkboard. Violet continues her story, saying her Mom had a violent miscarriage, with the baby being born dead at seven months old and they had to have a very macabre funeral. They talk about music and then Ben barges in and tells Tate he must leave. Gee, Ben, maybe if you made sure the guy actually left the house after his open door session, this wouldn’t be an issue. Tate exits angrily.
We get another mostly naked Ben charging out of the bathroom, calling out, “Babe, have you seen my razor blades?” Hey, Ben, your emo daughter has been hanging out with your psychotic patient. I’m no Holmes, but you may want to check her bedroom, right? He (sadly) wraps the towel around him and charges into a room where young Moira is sprawled on a couch, taking care of her own business, if you know what I mean.
What? Some people smoke. Some hit the vending machine. Break time is MY time.
I was very relieved Vivien didn’t walk in on old Moira doing this. Ben resists the temptation and exits the room, slamming the door in the process. And then he proceeds to go jerk off in peace. Nothing breaks up a good private session with little Ben better than peering out of the window and seeing some guy dressed all in black with a mutilated face looking up at his window. Ben races out after him, but the guy is gone. Vivien comes home from shopping and is startled that someone has been in the house, opening cabinets and the refrigerator and hears the giggling of Adelaide, Constance’s special needs daughter. She starts yelling at Addy. Addy is just laughing and laughing and then we get to see the dead boys from the first scene standing behind Violet.
What??? Is it my hair? Something in my teeth?? Are those dead gingers standing behind me again?
So, now Constance, Addy, Vivien and Ben are all gathered in her kitchen and Vivien wants an apology from Addy. Addy just wants to pet their dog. Vivien tells her no and she wants her to stay out of the house and opening up things and telling her that she is going to die. Ben says, “She said that?” Constance just starts laughing. Constance says she says that to everybody. Addy denies doing anything, saying it was the twins. Addy again asks to pet the dog and Viv kind of loses her cool, grabbing Addy in the face and telling her she must promise not to come in the house.
One more time…my name is Chubba. My Momma Chubba…
Addy finally promises and then when she goes to finally pet the dog, it tries to bite her. Addy says “she shouldn’t have done that.” Now listen, I don’t care so much about the random vandals getting axed in this show, but I will absolutely put my foot down if dogs start getting attacked. This scene ends with Constance’s exit, with the threat to Viv never to lay a hand on her daughter again. Now we see Ben on the phone unsuccessfully trying to report Tate as a threat to his school. As he is put on hold, young Moira enters the room and although he tries to dismiss her, she starts her seduction. She unbuttons her blouse and touches herself and she taunts him. Your wife isn’t home. I won’t tell. Normal seduction stuff. Violet peers through the open door and sees old Moira trying to straddle her Dad. Yep, they’re going to need more razor blades in this house after that. Ben runs out to try and talk to his daughter.
Violet’s life just keeps getting better and better as we now see her ass getting kicked by the mean girls in the cafeteria at school. She retaliates by burning the main mean girl’s hand with a lit cigarette. At home, Viv is still uncovering the murals in the music room when Ben walks in and comments how the murals are pretty bizarre and blathers on about what painting means. Viv blows off his psycho babble and then Ben really starts turning on the charm and then shit. gets. real. Everything comes out in their jacked up relationship. They had the horrible miscarriage, but it was her that had to carry their dead son. He wants to know how long she is going to punish him. He had sex with one of his students and he wants to have sex with her now! He blames all that on the fact that instead of coming to him after losing their baby, she got a dog.
You got a 21 year old and I got a dog and that’s how it is!
WTF are you doing with that dog???
They yell and scream and she starts slapping him and then they had angry sex. Yay, breakthroughs!!
Violet comes home from school, with her cafeteria war wounds and Vivien has a nice sit down with her. She tells her daughter she can move schools. Violet insists she’s not going to run away from her problems. Violet asks her Mom why they don’t just divorced if they are so miserable and Vivien responds they still love each other. They’ve been through a lot together and have a lot of history. She’s not going to give up on that. So, it was a pleasant little Maxwell House kind of scene where Dad is a shithead and there you have it.
Now Violet is talking to psycho Tate about what she is going to do with her mean girl problem. Tate says that short of actually killing her, she needs to scare the crap out of her in order to get her off her back. So he devises a plan. Violet approaches Mean Girl and tells her she has drugs for her. I guess Mean Girl is a big ol’ coke head. Violet lays on a bunch of BS about how she has the best drugs in town and Mean Girl just needs to come over and get some. Easy Peasy. And actually it is. Mean Girl is apparently also Dumb Bitch Girl because why the hell would she fall for this? She has beaten the absolute crap out of this kid and gotten burned in the process. Why would she agree with this crazy plot? Well, it helps with the story naturally. Okay, thanks Mean Girl/Dumb Bitch! Tate’s plan is to terrify the crap out of her when she comes over for the drugs.
In Vivien’s bedroom, the mysterious (must be the gay guys’) rubber/leather costume rears its ugly head and while Vivien assumes it is Ben making the moves on her in a kinky (HETEROSEXUAL) way, I think we all know differently.
Taking safe sex to an extreme, we present Mr. Rubber Man
So, she has sex with rubber dude. Just another normal Wednesday in the Harmon household. Meanwhile, not rubber Ben is downstairs in the kitchen playing Jiffy Pop with his hands over the burners. So, while Viv’s getting her groove back (twice in one day) and imagining in her mind that it is Ben, the real Ben is hearing the voices again and is about to put his hands right on the burners, when Constance (???) stops him. Does this woman ever knock? She mysteriously tells Ben, “Now is not your time.” Hmmm…And she tells him to enjoy the house and go back to bed. He does and Vivien’s already asleep. Or no, she’s kind of freaked out. Does she know it maybe wasn’t a normal tryst with her rubber clad husband??? Or is she just in shock from his middle aged twice a day prowess?
So now Mean Girl/Dumb Bitch is being led down to the creepy basement to where the non-existent coke stash is. Is this girl really this much of a moron? Then once again, things start going a little nuts. The best way to describe this scene is: Holy Shit.
Drugs are bad, kids.
See, it looked like Tate was attacking Mean Girl/Dumb Bitch, but then his image kept changing to monster type faces. Violet flipped the light back on, but not before Mean Girl/Dumb Bitch had a big cut on her face and Tate was sitting calmly in his chair. Mean Girl/Dumb Bitch runs screaming out of the basement.. Naturally Violet was scared out of her mind, asking what the hell was that? And Tate responds, “Nothing, she must have hit a wall or something.” Violet knows that is NOT what happened and she saw a bunch of stuff. When Tate doesn’t agree, she kicks him out of the house. But not before Tate screams, “I THOUGHT YOU WEREN’T AFRAID OF ANYTHING!”. And to think, this is only their second date. Ah, young love.
Now we see Ben jogging in the morning and notices a car is following him. He goes off on a path, because a deserted path is EXACTLY where you want to be when someone is obviously following you. He realizes it is the same guy in black with the messed up face and decides to just confront him. He jumps on the guy and the guy tells him, “You’re family is in danger!” So, Ben decides to take a break from his jogging to find out what this guy is talking about. The guy tells him he was in prison for killing his family in that very house. They let him out because he has an inoperable brain tumor. He said it started with the sleepwalking and hearing voices.
So this one time…at the Overlook…
He tells him his name is Larry Harvey and asks if it has started happening to Ben yet. The sleepwalking, the voices, the making of the Jiffy Pop using only his digits. Then he burned his two kids and wife while they slept–hence the burn wounds on his own body. Cue: David Byrne (okay, not really). The voices told him what to do. Ben freaks out and denies anything bad is going on with his family in that house. Larry yells at him to look at his case! Ben pushes him off and tells him to leave him and his family alone.
Constance is opening a jewelry box which is obviously not hers since Old Moira busts her. Constance is in Ben and Viv’s bedroom trying on earrings.. Old Moira tells her they don’t belong to her; they belong to madam. It is her house, not Constance’s. Constance calls her an old whore. Constance then tells her she needs to watch her back. When things go missing, people tend to blame the new maid. She warns her to move, but then the coup de grace on this scene is when Constance tells Moira, “Don’t make me kill you again.” Whhaaaaa? Juicy….
Ben is at home when Viv arrives and they discuss what they want for dinner. As if nothing jacked up has happened at all that day, Ben calmly responds, “Whatever you want.” Well, she wants Indian food. Odd, he thinks. She only likes Indian food when she’s pregnant. Rut-Roh. Can you say, “Rosemary’s Baby”? Yep, she’s pregnant. By Ben or rubber man??? And what the hell is the time line here? I assume days have gone by between all these events, but it is never explained.
Yeah, I’m sure that was him in the rubber suit. Right?? Right??
I’m going to have to buy more gasoline
The closing credits include a glimpse of rubber man watching the exchange. So, okay wow. This show is like a little bit “The Shining”, a little bit “Rosemary’s Baby” (most likely) and a lot fascinating. What did you think?
Thanks for joining me!