Inconsistency hurts 'American Horror'
Published: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Updated: Sunday, February 9, 2014 21:02
You can call it whatever you want, but “American Horror Story” has been on a decline since its perfect first season. The first season of FX’s horror anthology told the story of a troubled New England family moving into a haunted house in Los Angeles. Filled with disturbing sequences, memorable characters and legitimate thrills, the season was one of the most original and terrifying shows to come about in some time. The second season was a bit convoluted with too many characters and plot arcs to follow. The writers, of course, made it gorier, more disturbing and weirder, but it lacked the real terror that made season one so memorable. Overall, it was still enjoyable. The show appears to have finally hit rock bottom in its third season which is no longer scary, entertaining or even disturbing. In fact, it’s hardly watchable.
Season three got off to a great start in its season premiere. We met a lot of interesting characters and were given a rather original premise. Unfortunately, the season did not follow. Let’s begin with the characters. As if it weren’t bad enough that they are inconsistent and poorly written, not a single character is likeable. The only woman you can somewhat root for is Cordelia, but the writers have made her to be a weak, poor female role model. I found myself upset with her character and unable to like her.
The male characters are all poorly developed and lack motivation for most of their actions. Both male and female characters on the show fall victim to what I call poor writing. None of them are their own people with beliefs, feelings, values or personality. They merely change and act however the plot needs them to in order to progress. As if this weren’t bad enough, most of them are poorly acted with awkward screen presence.
While the characters frequently annoy and the plot is poorly developed, the show manages to remain watchable and somewhat entertaining throughout most of its season. There is a feeling that it is building up to a big climax. Unfortunately, this never happens. The last three episodes feel as if the writers are merely moving down their checklist of loose ends to wrap up. Big characters and plot arcs end abruptly and anticlimactically considering how much time was spent on them all season. It is all rather predictable too. For example, we wait all season to see what Kathy Bates is going to do when she escapes and can have her revenge. She finally does and what happens? We see her run around town for five minutes before somebody figures out a way to kill her. I suppose after the negative backlash from fans that came from last season’s unanswered questions the writers felt pressured to wrap everything up, but it is done so poorly and rushed that it hardly feels as if your hours spent all season paid off.
I’ve already mentioned it, but the biggest problem all season and in the finale is the inconsistency present in every aspect of the show. Sometimes, we get a glimpse into a character and then we never find out much more about them. Sometimes, the writers expect us to feel sympathy for certain characters, which is impossible given their poor development and their un-likability. The last two seasons had the problem of sitting in the first season’s shadow. The fourth season should be amazing as it only has to live up to this one.