The reason for the taking-to-task was that apparently the show went "too far" in featuring such a starkly realistic and reality-based event. The author of the piece, who goes by the nome de blogue of Paris Dior Chanel, felt that it hit far too close to home, and was just too heavy for a show of this nature. Ms. Chanel believes that reality and horror really shouldn't mix, which immediately pegs her as someone who is just not very familiar with the horror genre. Particularly, she seems to find the show to be campy, silly fun which shouldn't get bogged down in real life:
American Horror Story is, despite all of its silliness and overly manufactured mood, an undeniably entertaining show. It's campy and creepy and doesn't seem to take itself too seriously, as it shouldn't. It's not the kind of horror thing that demands we imagine ourselves in the situation in order to be scared, which would require the show to exist at least somewhat within the bounds of the real... It's fun!Now, I know "fun" horror. In fact, it's become my preference in recent years. I do not find American Horror Story to be "fun". Nor do I find it to be campy. In fact, I'd say one would have to be decidedly jaded and/or cynical to interpret the show in that fashion. Chanel seems to dismiss the show as disposable cotton candy entertainment.
In my estimation, American Horror Story is the best-written horror TV show to come down the pike in years. It's smart and thrillingly executed, filled with brilliant characterizations and real depth of feeling. It's the kind of horror show that is so well-written, in fact, that I think it would still work and be entertaining even if all the horror elements were removed. It is sinister, dark and challenging. True Blood is campy. AHS is not. Yes, Jessica Lange's Constance character does enter into camp territory in the grand tradition of former leading-women playing crazy old ladies in horror films (think Bette Davis and Piper Laurie), but that's about it. I think there may be some preconceived notions here on the author's part, perhaps owing to the fact that the show comes from the creators of Glee?
AHS is gritty, unflinching horror that delves into the human psyche and goes places we're not necessarily comfortable going. That's what it's supposed to do. It's not The Munsters. As such, it is will within the realm of acceptability for Ryan Murphy and company to incorporate real-life tragedy into the mix. As opposed to what Chanel asserts:
Was last night's opening scary? Of course. It was tense and awful. But it wasn't the right kind of scary for this dopey show. The chief (if perhaps initially unintentional on the creators' part) product of this show should be laughter... That's the kind of silly, ultimately empty scare that American Horror Story is best at. A school shooting is not that. That's far too real, far too much of a downer for a dumb Wednesday night.Clearly, Chanel is viewing the show from a very different perspective from mine. So her opinion of the shooting storyline obviously draws from a very dismissive opinion of the show. If one considers AHS to be silly and dopey, than I suppose I can see how it would be out of sorts for truly disturbing material to be included. Yet I, and many others, find the show to be anything but silly, and its scares to certainly be anything but empty.
There's nothing dopey about botched abortions, mutilated babies, people burned alive and hit-and-run accidents. How about the home invasion and torture depicted in the opening of episode 2? Why did that fit Chanel's limited view of AHS, and not this? As for the scares, they come from places deep and dark; places like parents' fears over protecting their children, the anguish of secrets that won't stay hidden, and existential angst and insecurities common to us all. Empty? Campy fun? Are we watching the same show?
American Horror Story was well within its domain featuring a school shooting. Not only should Murphy and the gang not shy away from such subject matter, but I urge them to keep it coming. I can appreciate light-hearted horror, but that's not what AHS is. The show should remain true to itself, and keep challenging us. If I wanted silliness, I'd have gone to see the Abercrombie & Fitch vampires and werewolves at the movies last weekend.