I just finished watching “American Horror Story: Freak Show” and I only have one question: Who comes up with this ish? Seriously. It really is a freak show! A scary-looking killer clown who makes Pennywise look saintly, a tween who enjoys biting off the heads of live hens and a bearded woman (Kathy Bates) whose adult son (Evan Peters) has lobster claw-shaped hands that he uses to help local housewives reach orgasmic states (O_o) doesn’t begin to describe the oddities that I spied in “AHS’s” season 4 premiere. (NOTE: The images in the opening credits are frightful but I’m glad the theme song has been slightly altered.) Faithful viewers of this anthology TV series know that “AHS” relishes in all things squirm-inducing. Despite the shockers, we just deal.
Where “American Horror Story: Coven” focused on witches in New Orleans (and incorporate historical figures from the 1800s), “Freak Show” is set in 1952 in Jupiter, Fla. and follows the members of one of the last remaining freak shows from that time. The central figure is the carnival’s manipulative owner Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange), a German immigrant who hopes that the freak show will help launch her Hollywood career (she sings a rendition of David Bowie’s “Life on Mars?” Yeah, it’s kind of sad). At the episode’s conclusion, we learn that Elsa has more in common with the other members than initially believed. Now, we see right away that Elsa is a trip but you know who has her beat? Dot and Bette Tattler, the conjoined twins played by Sarah Paulson. One sister is more free-spirited than the other, something they struggle with mentally (they communicate telepathically) and physically (one stabbed the other). Their physical condition and relationship symbolizes the conflict some people have within themselves. You know, the good girl who really wants to be bad but hates that she has that desire. At least that’s my take on it.
We didn’t see her yet but Angela Bassett, who guest starred as Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau on “Coven,” is part of the “Freak Show” cast. She stars as Desiree Dupree, who I think she has three boobs! Michael Chiklis will star as her hubby Dell Toledo. Gabourey Sidibe, who also guest starred in “Coven,” returns and music icon Patti LaBelle will join her. Yay! I look forward to seeing how Miss Patti fits in with the freaks (typing that feels so politically incorrect especially considering that most of them are just people with disabilities or birth defects). Remember, Stevie Nicks turned out to be a witch on “Coven” so who knows. I think Patti’s role could be meatier than Stevie’s since she;s no stranger to TV. I loved Patti as Dwayne Wayne’s mother on “The Cosby Show'” spin-off “A Different World.” I also remember when she starred in her own NBC show “Out All Night” for one season in the early ’90s. I have feeling her character Nora will be wicked.
"Freak Show" has my attention so far and is intriguing enough for me to tune in next week. Will you? It airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX. Watch the "Freak Show" premiere below.
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