More often than not, I am confused. The world brims with innumerable agents of confusion, and do these agents ever have my personal number. I wake up every morning, think, “what’s going on here?” and by the time I’ve arrived at the husk of an answer I’m back in my bed sleeping, forgetting. Every day provides a host of new confusions that defy resolution to the point of frustration and, ultimately, unconscious dismissal. This was how it was for as long as I recall it being how it was. Yet, for the past two weeks, this hasn’t been the case. A new, persisting nexus of confusion had rooted itself deep in my gray matter. Removal has proved impossible. It is there, in me, and there it intends to stay, a geist clinging to the terrestrial. I am a victim of possession, and the only means of exorcism is to understand and through that understanding undo my demon. I must strive to comprehend American Horror Story. Only then can I be free.
Technically, American Horror Story is a television show. New episodes air Wednesdays at 10 P.M. EST on FX. For a period of time, FX got the movies. Presently, FX has the movies. What this formalization means is as lost to me as the intentions behind American Horror Story. Personally, the inverse proves true when considering the show. Carmen has AHS, but in no way has he got it, because there is too much to get. No show in recent memory has transported its audience to a realm of such total unknowing as this show has. Whereas we’re usually given the thread that, after varying amounts of tugging, unravels the metaphorical sweater, American Horror Story presents only the sweater, and it’s a sweater whose color and pattern change on a second-to-second basis, and the sweater is masturbating and crying simultaneously.
This is a show whose sole consistency is confusion. Paradoxically, I’m never confused as to what’s happening with respect to the narrative of the show. I understand the prescient mongoloid. I understand the variable perceptions of the geriatric housekeeper. My trouble doesn’t rest in the logistics, but in the execution and intention of the show, because, in essentially every sense in the limited television production sensory spectrum, American Horror Story is one of the worst shows ever conceived and potentially the worst shows ever produced.
From what has transpired in the first two episodes, not a single viewer of this show continues to watch due to any emotional investment in the characters, the novelty of the situation, or the satirical rendering of the horror genre. Everyone that watches this show watches to see what moronic, baffling, random act of faux-horror, neutered violence, or artificial creepiness will transpire next. As stated, this is very confusing, and if television reality has taught me anything, it’s that American audiences hate confusion more than smoke monsters. In the case of this show, absolutely no one seems to care in the least about the exorbitant amounts of incertitude, the utter chaos of the plot and flimsiness of everything contained within. American audiences don’t care, and in that not caring I find my answer, my freedom.
In the past, I comprehended why most people watched shows I didn’t watch and why I watched shows that most people didn’t watch. People watched American Idol and Dancing with the Stars because of the manipulative natures of spectacle, music, celebrity, competition, and having nothing better to do on weekday nights after work. I was not one of these people, but I could understand how many people could be, and I chose consciously not to be. These people had their shows and I had Breaking Bad and Deadwood and I could explain why I watched those shows for long stretches of time and make the conscious decision to watch them for considerably longer stretches of time. With American Horror Story, I cannot understand why people watch, and I cannot understand why I watch, and people continue to watch, and I continue to watch, confused about everything save one thing: that I want to continue watching understanding my failure to understand.
This is a conundrum, not because I don’t know, but because I know all too well. I know all too well that this show is but another demon in the litany of demons that have come to occupy my person. If one cannot exercise the demon, one must learn to live with the demon. Let there be no confusion when I say, plead: may its life or my life be a short one.
R.I.P. John from Cincinnati.