Send in the clowns…NOT!
Well, not if they’re the clowns of FX’s horrific “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” which premieres tonight.
Having gotten a glimpse of the first two episodes of the new season of the insanely popular anthology series, the name 'Freak Show' is apt and, well, it's just as fun and crazy as we've come to desire in the series. But one thing I wasn't expecting is that there's actually some good storytelling going on in the season, something I've had a problem with in past seasons. Thus far, I've come to care about characters and want to follow their stories instead of being frustrated with the tendency for the stories to be told in an erratic fashion.
But who’s who in this Freak Show and are there any LGBT characters? (Knowing the worlds that Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk create, there’s bound to be a few, right?)
Sarah Paulson as Bette and Dot Tattler: I honestly don’t think there are too many actors who could play a two-headed character with such finesse. Not only does the out Paulson make both Bette (more extroverted of the two) and Dot (the introvert) distinct in both personality and mannerisms, she’s completely convincing partly thanks to the fantastic special effects. Bette and Dot want a purpose in the show but will they find one? (One of my favorite scenes is in the second episode when the sisters get a chance to perform.)
Jessica Lange as Elsa Mars: Whether she’s channeling Marlene Dietrich or any tough-as-nails German, Lange is bound to win another Emmy for her portrayal of the leader of the freak show. She’ll do anything for her ‘monsters’ and is a business woman at heart but we get the feeling she’s seen a lot in her life and hopefully we’ll get to find out more about her as the season plays out.
Evan Peters as Jimmy Darling: The son of Kathy Bates' character with deformed hands that get him into the freak show but makes it hard for him with the ladies. Peters does a tremendous job playing Jimmy's angst especially after events that happen in the first episodes.
Finn Wittrock as Dandy Mott : The spoiled rich kid is an adult but pouts like a child at his mother (Frances Conroy), who just wants him to meet a nice girl and have a baby and be happy but, well, Dandy isn’t interested in any of that. “Babies are more boring than anything. I want to be a thespian but you keep ruining it,” he says to her in the second episode over a meal in their lavish home (where Patti LaBelle is the maid!). But is Dandy into other pursuits out of sheer boredom or is there something else driving his desires? But, since he proudly knows the entire Cole Porter canon, it seems we may have at least one gay character in the series.
Kathy Bates as Ethel Darling: The award-winning actress plays the bearded lady with butch bravado…but she’s got a past with some new arrivals that should make things interesting moving forward.
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Michael Chiklis as Dell Toledo & Angela Bassett as Desiree Dupree: The twosome show up in the second episode after some trouble in Chicago involving…well, let’s just say Desiree has a way of helping gay men who want to “change their stripes.” Dell is Desiree’s husband (and the Strongman in the show) and Dell also has a past with one of our freak show residents and also seems to like to run things, which could put him in opposition with Lange’s Elsa.
The cast also includes out actor Denis O’Hare and Emma Roberts, who will show up later in the series. From these first two episodes, I’ll be sticking around to see what’s next.
“American Horror Story: Freak Show” airs Wednesdays at 10pm on FX.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.