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American Horror Story - Pros and Cons

Updated on August 6, 2013

American Horror Story: Are You Sold?

The truth is, I was a Lost fan--I'm talking, major Lostie. I was rivetted to every episode from the first time Jack's eyes opened to the day they finally closed. And since then, nothing seems as good. I've tried Caprica, Grimm, Terra Nova, Once Upon a Time, Sanctuary and Falling Skies. None of them worked for me. I enjoyed Stargate Universe, but that suffered an early demise.

Enter, American Horror Story.

If the commercials concerning it have confused you enough that you haven't taken a look at it, I'll offer a quick synopsis, hopefully without revealing too many spoilers.

American Horror Story Synopsis

So the Harmon's, the family the story revolves around, are dealing with some baggage. Vivian, the mother, has suffered a miscarriage. Shortly afterwards, she finds her husband, Ben, is having an affair with one of his students, a young girl named Hayden. Rather then end the marriage, and further destroy their depressive teen daughter Violet, they decide on a change of scenery. This brings them to their new Gothic style mansion, which they purchased at a low-low-price, because all of the house's former owners suffered horrible deaths, on the premises, and it just may be they never left.

The last part of that synopsis may be a bit of a spoiler, but hey, it's a horror story--the supernatural is involved.

American Horror Story Pros

1. The Characters - Each of the characters of the show are extremely deep, and emotional baggage is aplenty.

  • Vivian, the central character, is dealing with a miscarriage, a moody teen daughter, and trust issues with her husband.
  • Ben, is a Psychiatrist, who doesn't have much of a relationship with either of the two ladies in his family, and his business isn't going very well either.
  • Violet, the moody teen daughter, who's able to see things others don't.
  • The maid comes with the house. Isn't that odd?
  • Constance, is the next door neighbor from hell. She's an old style lady who can string together dialog that incorporates all possible emotions. It's incredible.
  • Tate...I'm not giving up anything on him. You'll have to watch the show to find out about him.

2. The Pace - The episodes move at break-neck speeds. I'm never bored, from the opening music, which sounds like a piano falling down the steps, backdropped by lifeless things kept in jars, all the way to the closing credits. Nothing is wasted on any scene. The final word of a dialog in one scene cuts right to the first word of the next, and the camera flips quickly.

3. Lines are Crossed - Many lines are crossed that aren't normally on television, such as infidelity, miscarriages, abortions, teen sex, teen violence and mutilation. It's not that these are wonderful things to watch, but it is refreshing to see a show that tackles these issues.

American Horror Story Cons

1. The Pace - I know I alluded earlier to the break-neck pace being part of its allure, and it is on an individual episode basis. However, in terms of the story arc, I routinely feel like I wish I could remember certain previous episodes better, so that I could put the pieces together more easily. Now that several weeks of shows have gone by, I think back to conversations that I believe had something to do with the current episodes action, but I stuggle to remember the exact details. The day after each show, I always hit the internet for clues, and better details to try and get the big picture.

2. Certain Lines Being Cross Can Make Conversations Tricky - Along with lines being crossed, there is gore. I struggle to talk to people at work the next day about previous episodes, because certain things in the show are inappropriate for the workplace. I find myself skirting certain words, or even full events, hoping everyone in the conversation will understand my innuendos.

The show involves brutal murders and mutilations, abortions, homosexuality and a latex suit. If any of these things seem too disturbing for you, the show is not watchable.

3. Law Enforcement - My final problem with the show is the law enforcement--it seems nearly non-existent, or at least incompetent. People are being killed in the show all the time. Horrible crimes are routinely committed, but the police and security seem very much like, "Oh, well."

The lack of law enforcement doesn't detract from the show, as it's not central to the plot, but it is odd.


I love the show, and I'm hooked, but it's definitely for a niche market. I couldn't discuss the show with either my mother or my son.

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