Wikipedia describes FX’S American Horror Story as an “anthology series, each season is conceived as a self-contained miniseries, following a disparate set of characters and settings, and a storyline with its own beginning, middle, and end.” We’ve seen murder houses, crazy asylums, Cajun covens, and now we get Floridian Freaks and Killer Clowns. That’s right, folks. Those with clown issues, you will probably shit your pants.
The writers have clearly done their homework here. After a little research, I discovered that parts of Florida, where the fourth season is set, have been winter homes to many circuses and sideshows five or six decades ago. Set in Jupiter in the 1950’s, our story centers on Elsa Mars, (Jessica Lange in her supposed last season) a German expatriate who runs Fraulein Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities, a sideshow that has every single oddity you can imagine. And probably some you cant. As is usually the case with “carnies” the group takes on familial qualities and Elsa is their den mother.
Most of last year’s cast seems to have returned (thankfully). Kathy Bates plays Ethel Darling, aka the bearded lady. Sarah Paulson sort of pulls double duty as Bette and Dot Tattler, the Siamese sisters, the cabinet’s newest members. Evan Peters is Jimmy Darling, son of Ethel and the resident lobster boy. Seriously folks, I’m not kidding. We haven’t met everyone yet and I for one can’t wait to see the rest. I only hope that the writers aren’t solely relying on the idea of well-known actors playing against type to get them to the finish line. There have been some detractors who’ve said that the show has consistently lost a step in each of the subsequent seasons and that they rely too heavily on the actors’ parts. I don’t agree with that entirely, but not every season has been as good as others. But one thing this show has is originality when it comes to structure. Each one is like a season long episode of the Twilight Zone.
If what I saw this evening with Twisty the Clown is how this season is going to play out, then we could have a real doozy on our hands. They could be sticking with an actual horror story of murder set in a world of freaks. Now that’s something I’ll stay up late for with a tub full of popcorn and all the lights in the house turned off.
The show’s pedigree earns it a Season PASS