Film and TV

American Horror Story: Dead Babies and Fun with Genitals

We should probably point out that those two things -- dead babies and fun with genitals -- are mutually exclusive. Even this show doesn't go quite that far...yet.

To be perfectly honest, a whole lot of exciting nothing happened this week on American Horror Story. The scares are light, though it remains a deeply unsettling show. The main thrust deals with the Harmon family attempting to sell the Murder House, and the Armenian man who sees it as prime real estate for condos. Initially, he's encouraged by the price and Moira (Alexandra Breckinridge) in her young sexy maid form, who proves that the way to a man's cooperation is through an expert blowjob. However, Constance (Jessica Lange) fears that the destruction of the house will ensure that she'll never see her dead children again.

That's right, children. We open with Constance's other son Beau chained to an attic bed. He is hideously deformed, somewhere between Victor Crowley from Hatchet and Sloth from The Goonies. At some point she got Larry, who we just realized is, under his burn makeup, Russell Edgington from True Blood, to smother the boy in his sleep. His reward is the death of his wife and daughters as well as his horrific scars after he announces that he wants his family to leave the Murder House so he can live with Constance and his wife sets fire to the nursery in revenge.

Anyway, back to the Armenian...He gets his penis gnawed off by Moira. It's weird to think that Showtime made Dario Argento cut that scene in Jenifer, but here it is right on network television on a Wednesday. We also get to watch Vivien (Connie Britton) masturbate to orgasm while actually holding a vibrator. Whether this is before or after the flashback to the house's original owners, an abortionist who resurrects his son in a hideous medical experiment only to die in a murder suicide with his wife, we can't recall.

Our point is this: Even in an episode that really does little to advance the plot, American Horror Story is breaking every rule of what is acceptable on television we've ever heard of. Think about those paragraphs above; all the sex and atrocity that would've made studio executives throw up their hands in horror is now simply flying by like a cat that just fell in the bathtub.

Not that we're complaining. The odd thing about each of these scenes is that they all work, they all serve their purpose perfectly within the concept of the show. It never feels like needless shock value, not even the castration we mentioned feels out of place. American Horror Story continues its amazing experiment, that of truly creating a serial theater of the macabre that haunts with every step, whether or not that step is along the true path or is merely a diversion down a tributary.

Next week we're promised the identity of the Rubberman, the kinky specter that is the true father of Vivien's twins. Our guess? The security officer that Vivien has been fantasizing about.

American Horror Story airs at 8/9 central on FX.

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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner