Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie
Who: “American Horror Story” airs on cable TV, specifically on FX, Fall Wednesdays at 10:00 PM, though it is currently on hiatus (but is ongoing).
What: “American Horror Story,” a horror drama created by Ryan Murphy (Glee, Nip/Tuck) that tells a new horror story each season while featuring recurring actors and ensemble players. This season is retroactively and colloquially subtitled “Murder House” and centers on a haunted house.
“Murder House” takes place during the year 2011 and focuses on a family that moves into a house haunted by its deceased former occupants. The Harmon family is psychiatrist Ben (Dylan McDermott), his wife Vivien (Connie Britton), and their teenage daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga). They move from Boston to Los Angeles after Vivien has a miscarriage, and Ben has an affair. The Harmons move into a restored mansion and soon encounter the home’s former residents. These residents include the Langdons, including matriarch Constance (Jessica Lange); two of her four children, Tate (Evan Peters) and Addie (Jamie Brewer); and her ex-husband, the disfigured Larry Harvey (Denis O’Hare). Ben and Vivien try to rekindle their relationship, as Violet, suffering from depression, finds comfort with Tate. The Langdons and Larry frequently influence the Harmons’ lives, as the family discovers that the home is haunted by the ghosts of anyone who has ever died on the property. The season is primarily set in the modern day, with flashbacks to the 1920s, 1940s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.
When: Season One aired from October 5, 2011, to December 21, 2011, on FX.
Where: Each season focuses on a different locale. This season, the action is set largely in Los Angeles, California, with some flashbacks set in Boston, Massachusetts.
Why: Nick and Sarah, two CPU! regulars, proposed that CPU! publish an American Horror Story podcast series, being big fans of the show, and your Chief CP, who has previously covered this program on the CPU! blog and enjoys the show quite a bit, agreed wholeheartedly to the idea. Thus, welcome to our new CPU! series revolving around AHS, with each episode in the series focusing on one season of the show. The series will start at the beginning and will be ongoing as long as AHS stays on the air!
How – as in How Much Do We Love this Show?!
American Horror Story is a groundbreaking horror anthology series that airs on FX. Not only did this program render the horror genre mainstream television fare, it also propelled anthology formats to popularity. The show is widely watched and a tent pole for FX, becoming a Halloween/fall-time cable staple of disturbing imagery and grotesque scares.
Two of CPU!’s frequent panelists, and one of our resident married couples, Nick and Sarah, are big fans of the show and, as noted above, proposed that CPU! start a series discussing AHS throughout its seasons. Thus, herein we offer the first episode of this new series covering Season One, retroactively known as “Murder House.” Your Chief CP, per usual, serves as main moderator, but as the seasons are discussed and published, moderation duties will rotate among the members of our small but robust AHS panel. We will cover all aired seasons, from “Murder House” to “Hotel,” and continue the series as long as new seasons of the show are created. After all, though common cast members may return from season to season, the season story arcs are always, by design, different, and CPU! is nothing if not thorough when it comes to TV adulation! In this episode, then, we discuss our favorite and least favorite moments within the “Murder House” season and our general impressions of the season’s success.
This podcast was recorded in July 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the “Murder House” season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!
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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, we’ll be around the water cooler discussing season 6 of Game of Thrones – belatedly but with gusto! Stay tuned!
American Horror Story is recommended to anyone who loves horror, to fans of Jessica Lange, and to fans of any of the AHS repertory of repeat players. As we discuss in the podcast, this season is widely regarded as the series’ best (Nick and Kylie certainly vote this season their favorite, at least); it sets the tone for the other seasons to follow, even as the stories differ from season to season. American Horror Story is groundbreaking for its successful use of the anthology format, though its horror premises are not necessarily boundary pushing; indeed, most if not all of the seasons pay significant homage to horror films of yesteryear, but the panelists regard this quality as part of the show’s charm. If you haven’t yet caught up on AHS and have a hearty stomach for the gruesome and grisly, the entire series is available at all of the streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Horror genre fans who seek more scares on TV would be remiss to miss this show!
Our next episode in this series will cover season two, “Asylum,” and will be published in September in advance of the AHS season 6 premiere. Stay tuned!