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What We Learned From The Sloppy Little Witch B*tches In Last Night's 'American Horror Story: Coven'

By Joanna Robinson | TV Reviews | October 10, 2013 | Comments ()


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Now That’s A Cold Ass Honky Open: Ryan Murphy’s new chapter in the American Horror Story series opened as strong as it possibly could with a batsh*t, racist, vicious Kathy Bates torturing slaves and, yaknow, smearing their blood on her face. Like you do. The character of Madame LaLaurie is based on a real life batsh*t, racist, vicious slave owner. Though sources are fuzzy as to whether or not she, too, was a Greek mythology nerd.
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She’s Gone Rogue: Then we flash to present day and meet Zoe played coltishly, mane-flickingly by Taissa Farmiga. Farmiga was fantastic in the first season of American Horror Story and was sorely missed last year. Poor Zoe Benson bones her boyfriend to death, just like the lovely Anna Paquin in X-Men.
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And before you can say “you’re a wizard ‘Arry,” Frances Conroy shows up sporting an unbelievable wig and an even less believable accent to whisk Zoe away to New Orleans. I really can’t get enough of whatever it is Conroy is doing here as Myrtle Snow. It’s terrible and divine.
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Welcome To Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters Miss Robichaux’s Academy For Exceptional Young Ladies: Part of the point of Ryan Murphy’s gory little anthology series is to send up and pay homage the tropes of certain horror subgenres. So it’s impossible to watch this show and not be reminded of other, more famous plots. But in the end, Murphy has created something that can stand on its own without being merely pastiche. That being said, we’re totally at Hogwarts, y’all. Zoe Benson took the Hogwarts Death By Sexpress to get there.
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The Human Voodoo Doll And The Clairvoyant: We meet the other girls including Gabourey Sidibe’s Queenie and Jamie Brewer’s Nan. Sidibe’s human voodoo doll trick was fantastic. This is going to get super disgusting before it gets better. But does that mean she’s impervious? Or just impervious to self-harm? Brewer was also great. Even better than she was in Season 1.
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That’s Prize Tuna Right There: The fourth student is, of course, Madison. A movie star from, what, nineteen aught-five? What movie was she working on here?!?
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Anyway, Murphy did a clever thing with Emma Roberts. I would argue he did something similar with Chloe Sevigny last year. Both Sevigny and Roberts have less than favorable reputations with the public whether due to perceived pretentious hipsteria (Sevigny) or perceived nepotism (Roberts). So Murphy casts them as unlikable characters and immediately makes them victims. Turning the lens on us and the way in which we root for their downfall. Madison’s gang rape by a group of animalistic frat boys was ripped from the headlines and though you would be right to argue that her bus flip revenge was disproportionate, it feeds into the female fantasy of power in scenario that’s all about female impotence.
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Mommy Dearest: How excited are we to watch these two play mother and daughter? Though Sarah Paulson’s playing it nice as the Miss Honey to Farmiga’s Matilda, I would not at all be surprised to see Cordelia Foxx tap into some of that wasted potential her mother Fiona was hounding her about.
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Just Like Romeo And Juliet: Yeah Murphy and company manipulated the hell out of us here. Repairing Farmiga and Peters (who were so adorably gothic and dire together in Season 1) only to kill Peters off in the first episode? Dirty pool. Also, nice DiCaprio/Danes fish tank moment, Murph.
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But yeah, Peters is back as puppy dog frat boy Kyle who gets killed off in a bus crash. Did you notice he was still sort of using his BAAAAHSTAAAAHN accent from last year? Why? Didn’t he say his mom was from the Ninth Waaahrd? Anyway, surely that’s not the last we’ll see of him. But how could they possibly do the ghost story AGAIN? Ah, right. We’re in New Orleans. Zombie country. Added bonus for poor Zoe and her murderous vagina. You can’t bone the undead to death.
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Talk About Cajun Style: Lily Rabe’s Misty Day got fricasseed in this first episode. But that’s certainly not the last we’ve seen of Rabe who was a stand-out in Season 2. Let’s hope that when she comes back for her charcoaled revenge, she brings Sister Mary Eunice’s red lace nightie.
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The B*tch Is Back: Let’s be honest, American Horror Story wouldn’t be half the fun without Jessica Lange. It’s nice to see her get back to her Supremely b*tchy roots this season. I could watch her do that coked out kiss of death thing all day.
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But Let’s Be Clear Who The Real Supreme Is: I’m sorry, Angela Bassett is goddamn glorious. I really wish I had waited to do that 9 New TV Actors I Most Want To Bang Like A Screen Door because good god damn, Marie Laveau.
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