American Horror Story: Constance Craving

If you’ve been in as many fights as I have while wearing nothing but a towel, you know that by the time your opponent throws you across the room into a bookshelf, the towel is probably going to slip. Not so for Dylan McDermott in this week’s episode of American Horror Story, who made it through a three-round skirmish with the rubber-clad ghost boyfriend of his daughter (and father of his wife’s unborn antichrist baby) and somehow managed to keep his towel intact. This is confusing for a couple of reasons, neither of which have to do with the issue of human/ghost conception: 1) Even the most secure wrap and tuck could hardly withstand such a rigorous back and forth onslaught; and 2) Dylan spent most of the pilot naked, so what’s the big deal? Drop the towel, oil up, and wrestle with the rubber man!

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t been covering American Horror Story, you’re not alone. I spoke to several site members at Bent-Con last weekend who wanted to know what I thought about the whole Violet thing. Even the hotel staff stopped by to ask what was up with Violet and why was I wearing a towel and starting fights in the bar?

The truth is that after the first and second episodes, I really didn’t think I’d still be watching this series. I am not a horror fan. I do not like scary things. I like happy things. Funny things. Dramatic things. But scary things? Forget it. There was just no way I was going to watch a scary TV show every week about a haunted house and the stupid white people who live there, especially since I just moved into a new place, and every creak in the night has me lunging for my light saber.

But then there’s Jessica Lange. Dylan’s hairy chest couldn’t convince me to stay, but Jessica’s nutball Constance did the trick. I’ve decided that I’d like Jessica Lange to play me in the story of my life, which is somewhat closer to the Southern nutball she plays in Streetcar than the Southern nutballs she plays in Hush and AHS. I’m not Southern, but I am gay, so only minor adjustments are required.

In the span of an hour, Constance mourned her boyfriend, threatened Larry’s genitals, made racist comments to an African-American cop, evaded arrest and still managed to put a nice ham on the table. She is totally insane, vulgar, hypocritical, murderous, and yet I adore her. I can’t wait for her to appear on screen, and yet I also long for her to get some sort of comeuppance. Losing her kids one by one doesn’t appear to have any sort of long-lasting effect on her behavior. Why the ghosts haven’t ganged up to kill her, I don’t know. Unless they need her for something…

My early concern about the series was how they were going to keep the stupid white people in the house, because even stupid white people have their limits. Honestly, I’ve been begrudgingly impressed with what they’ve come up with. Though they’ve had solid reasons for staying (i.e., financial stress, real estate issues, etc.), I still think I’d rather live in my storage unit than deal with the crazies in and around that house. By sacrificing Violet, they pretty much assure that the parents can’t just pack up and leave. How could they? They brought their daughter to the murder house. How can they just leave her there, even in ghost form, for all eternity? To free themselves, they now have to free their daughter somehow, and in the process, potentially free all the other souls in the house.

A bigger issue, though, is how long Violet will remain ignorant of Tate‘s attack on Vivien. I foresee a lot of denial and door-slamming coming our way, if and when she finds out. I was so proud of her in this week’s episode for trying to run away from crazy-ass Tate. Hopefully, she’ll retain some of that intelligence and side with her parents when the time comes.

Meanwhile, everyone in the house, alive and dead, has baby fever. Who will get to raise the antichrist? I’m voting for Constance, since she has such a great track record with children. Plus, I’d love to see her called to the principal’s office to discuss little Damien’s anti-social behavior in future seasons. I can’t wait for her barely-contained crazy to unleash itself upon the PTA.

As for Vivien, you know, the actual mother of whatever the stork is bringing, I’d recommend she just stay in the loony bin. She has a nice room to herself. Peace and quiet. Time to read. In fact, it all sounds rather inviting, doesn’t it? I told Long-Suffering Boyfriend about Vivien’s crazytown vacation and that I might like to be committed. He said he’d already downloaded the paperwork.

Finally, I’d like to tell you a little something about Hollywood, and why it’s such a great backdrop for horror. For every dream that comes true in Tinseltown, about a zillion others go unfulfilled. Hollywood is a town built on top of decades of broken dreams and crushed spirits. The fact that so many characters on this show had aspirations to be famous is no coincidence. There’s the gloss and the glamour, and then there’s what’s behind it. And more often than not, what’s behind it is dark, tragic and macabre. You may think of historical New England or Southern Gothic when you think of American horror, but what could be more American (or horrific) than the tragic consequences of a Hollywood dream deferred?

And now I’ve gone and scared myself again.

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