Guilty Pleasure TV Round Up: "American Horror Story" vs. "Revenge"
“Guilty Pleasure TV Round Up” is a new feature covering two of the trashiest shows on television: “Revenge” and “American Horror Story.” I love them, you love them. Let’s be out and proud about it, shall we? We’ll give you a rundown of the highlights each week and provide a forum for you to talk about your favorite parts and cracked out theories in the comments. Talk about one or both, we don’t care. This isn’t a proper recap, but there are spoilers so, you know, you’ve been warned, etc. etc. It’s soap (“Revenge”) vs. camp (“American Horror Story”) and, so far, everyone’s a winner.
“American Horror Story” — “Halloween Part 2”: I Painted It Black. I Know How You Don’t Like Normal Things
Things We Learned:
-Tate is Constance’s son…and ran track in high school.
-Ghosts can’t get boners? Possibly? Or is this a Tate specific ailment? If not, does that mean The Gimp is not a ghost? I’m half-convinced everyone’s a ghost at this point.
-Speaking of which, Tate is absolutely dead (right?!) and has no idea. How very Dr. Malcolm Crowe of him.
-About 16 years ago (1995?), after spending a really long time painting his face, Tate seems to have gone on a murdering spree at Westfield High, targeting jocks, goths, and A+ Amirs alike. (Poor Amir, unable to enunciate for the rest of his afterlife.)
-When you look like Connie Britton and a sexy Heirloom Security Guard shows an overzealous concern for your “pumpkin patch,” odds are he’s not talking about your Halloween decorations.
-According to Old Timey Ghost Nora Montgomery, the mission for the season is “Save The
Cheerleader Baby, Save The World.”
-If you die on the grounds of The Murder House, you’re trapped there for all eternity (except for Halloween…or until the half-Gimp Ghost Baby Savior is born).
-A few tomatoes. (Cause of Death: The popcorn setting.)
-Countless pumpkins. (Cause of Death: Amazing Zachary Quinto hissy fit.)
-Ghostly Hand Under The Bed
-“Nice costumes. What are you the dead Breakfast Club?”
Nice episode and overall great two-parter. Halloween is, of course, this genre’s wheelhouse. There were several revelations in this week’s episode and, ultimately, a more sympathetic plot than any we’ve seen thus far. Writer Tim Minnear (“Angel” alum) did a bang-up job humanizing our cast of ghosts and ghouls. Jessica Lange continues to act circles around everyone (that morgue/tea drinking scene killed me), Evan Peters is doing a magnificent job as Tate and I, for one, will be clapping with glee every time this image appears on my TV screen.
“Revenge” — “Charade”: I Don’t Panic
Things We Learned:
-Sometimes a clever writer can make it seem like Shakespeare is talking about Madeline Stowe’s plastic surgery. e.g. “God has given you one face and you make yourself another”
-Big Ed is a magnificent name for a bodyguard.
-They took the gay subtext of Gabriel Mann’s James Spader-esque Nolan Ross and Ashton Taylor’s scheming Tyler and made it, well, text.
-But stopped just short of showing two dudes kissing. THIS IS STILL BASIC CABLE, PEOPLE.
-When Amanda/Emily said she doesn’t panic, she wasn’t kidding. Homegirl got to her emergency cell inside her Top Secret Infinity Revenge Box underneath a trap door in under ten seconds.
-Warden Sharon Stiles (played by the amazing CCH Pounder) serves as some sort of Revenge Guru for Amandily.
-Tyler’s family was ruined and now he’s some sort of ambiguously gay hustler. Aw, he’s the 99%, you guys!
-So is working class hero Declan Porter. What’s that? You forgot? Don’t worry, he’ll have another working class hissy fit next episode I’m sure.
-Daniel told Emily he loved her. While sitting on poor Jack Porter’s Porch Swing Of Dashed Romantic Hopes no less.
-Frank. (Cause of death: The Stripper. In the Parking Lot. With the Tire Iron.)
Soap Opera Cliches:
-Mildly incestuous or at least inappropriately intimate mother/son martini and lingering embrace.
-Girl Fight! In Prison!
Best Double Entendre Accompanied By Bitchface
“How extraordinarily crafty of you.”
“I’m about 3 on the Kinsey scale myself.”
The Gist: A pretty decent episode. Every episode I love Gabriel Mann’s Nolan Ross just a little more. His seduce and destroy act coupled with that bright lemony popped collar won a lot of points this week. I enjoy Emily VanCamp’s restrained performance and hope that’s actually a performance and not a lack of depth. I’m super excited for the arrival of Emily Thorne (Stripper By Night, Murderer By Later That Night) but Madeline Stowe’s Bitchface and I agree that Declan Porter and Charlotte Grayson could fall off the nearest lobster boat and drown for all we care.
Joanna Robinson could write her entire life and never come up with something as good as Alan Sepinwall’s “Smells Like Teen Spirits” recap title for this week’s “American Horror Story.”