Super casual post here, but can anyone tell me why I’m watching American Horror Story?
Because it’s not like I have a problem with dark (aren’t I always talking about the receptor sites I don’t have for happy shiny things?), and it’s not like the show isn’t structurally masterful.
The parallels in 1.02 with nurse-murders and the abortion alone are worthy of one essay, and there’s certainly another to be found in “I don’t believe there’s any door beauty can’t open” when linked with the bad girl mirror closet and the broader body of Ryan Murphy’s work (honestly, I should Netflix all his stuff and write that for a journal, because awesome).
But I’m not a horror fan, and I’m more than a little resistant to shows with a guess-the-mystery structure.
Patty, however, is a horror fan, and she’s on board. But I’m like “Why are we watching this grisly murder? Why did we need this level of detail? Why do I feel like this show is trying to make this titillating as we identify with the victims? Is the horror not what happens but how I the viewer experience the horror? Please explain this genre to me, I don’t get it.”
I, in a single sentence, asked this same question on Tumblr last night, and the answers I go ran the gamut from “best show ever” to “because it’s awful.” And certainly, American Horror Story does seem to be, in part, explicitly about rubbernecking other people’s bad choices; much like fandom often seems to be about rubbernecking what’s wrong with stuff we actually love.
But all of this is besides the point. I just want to know why I’m watching this thing and what the purpose of the revulsion I feel is.
Do I just not get the genre? Does it just not matter if I’m miserable and uncomfortable with the content if I am (and I really am) turned on by its structure and winking fourth-wall mocking in-jokes instead? And can I love a show if my experience of it is completely divorced from any character empathy or long-term curiosity about the narrative?
Because I think I might, and, well, that’s strange.
For those of you making your way through this thing (or who have given up on it), what’s your relationship with it?