American Horror Story: Asylum – Premiere

American Horror Story has returned for a second season, err, mini-series. And of course BTYM’s here to discuss the ins and outs. Just a reminder of how we do this: Two fans go back and forth making observations, asking questions, and chastising Ryan Murphy. It’s free-form and meant to be fun. We do really love it, after all. Oh, and the bold text is one writer, while non-bold is the other.

P.S. Sorry for the lack of content this week; BTYM was affected by the storm, and we’ll be coming back online next week. Which is to say, this is free.

Before we discuss anything, I think we need to address the first five minutes, in which we learn that Adam Levine and his new bride are traveling across the country having sex in America’s most haunted places. At one point, the wife says, “You can totally put it in my ass.” It’s like a Pinterest board come to life. Magical. Welcome to season 2, everybody.

How do we feel about Adam Levine? Adam Levine as an actor? I was pretty much gunning for his gruesome death from scene one. No matter. I was happy to hear the old intro music with the new visuals. The lack of babies in jars was disheartening, but I liked the smirking marble Virgin Mary at the end. It was vaguely Doctor Who.

I think it remains to be seen whether Adam Levine can act. I mean, all he had to do was have sex and get his arm chopped (bitten?) off. One of those things he is extremely familiar with, so I don’t think it required much effort. I loved when he was like, “Am I bleeding out?” Was it worth it, Adam? Was it? I too miss the old intro, and the Exorcist-style walking backbend down the stairs is totally played out.


I was just getting used to “Kit’s” new look, when WHAMZISSLE: aliens! How do we feel about this new direction? I for one am excited. It’s the 60’s. Let’s do this. I’m hoping for time-travel.

Ugh, whenever they introduce aliens into something like this, I’m disappointed. Did you see the last Indiana Jones? Yikes. I was hoping that the alien thing would all be Kit’s psychosis. If they’re going to do it, at least I hope they do it well.

That’s a good point I hadn’t considered. Maybe he really did skin his wife alive. It wasn’t really brought up in the first episode, but you gotta think there are going to be lots of “Is this real…or is THIS real?” moments peppered throughout.


Oy, I wasn’t of course not expecting Ryan Murphy to not include a child with special needs in the first episode. It’s a staple, after all. But damn…I had to look a few times before believing that, um, face, wasn’t CGI. Was the ponytail necessary?

Yeah, Murphy was serving some Diane Arbus realness right there.



I loved the reporter’s notes: “HIDING SOMETHING?” But then I was reminded of the ridiculous serial killer character’s name: “BLOODY FACE” We can do better.

Oh my God, I cackled! Why would you possibly need to write that down. Like, later that week, she thinks, “Where are my notes? I can’t remember what happened at the creepy asylum. Oh…right, that nun was TOTALLY hiding something.”

I also think we skirted the whole bakery angle too quickly. “You women, you always get me! Stick to talking about lady bid’ness, and leave the heavy stuff to us men,” is how I imagined her gruff editor assigning her this article. A renowned bakery in an insane asylum…someone needs to check out those mince-meat pies.

Bloody Face: I can’t even. Are they going for more humor this time? I feel like last season did this amazing tight-rope walk of total camp and legitimate fear, and so far this season is skewing toward the former. We need the balance restored: Where is Connie Britton when you need her?

I know seriously. She’s on Nashville, a totally not terrible show about the behind the scenes of making music. You may have heard of it when it was called Smash. But seriously, and I address this later on, but I think it almost would have been better to go total camp/ridiculous.


I’m interested in seeing how the Scary Sister / Evil Doctor (Lange / Cromwell) dynamic progresses. The pilot goes to great lengths to establish how fearsome Sister is, and when we finally meet the Doctor, it’s clear they’re on even if somewhat different ground.

Yes; I totally agree. Also they are two actors on equal footing, so I think it will produce some serious scenery chomping.

James Cromwell is in 65% of all movies, but all I can picture is his role as the inventor of the warp drive in Star Trek: First Contact. There, I said it.


I’m not sure how yet to address the Hounds, or whatever they are, because we don’t have enough information. So let’s wildly speculate! They are…some sort of mutant former mental patients. They are…leftover characters from old Ryan Murphy shows.

They are…leftover characters from old Ryan Murphy shows. –Amazing.


Clearly the Lesbian Reporter was destined to be committed to the hospital at some point. Or her girlfriend. Or both?  I was a little confused by how freely she was able to wander the grounds and then later the facility. By herself. Scary Sister very quickly determines she’s a dyke. Which, OK. Sister seems to be very in touch with her own sexuality, so I can buy that.

Yes, I thought that part was too contrived. They should have carried that out with her snooping around for an additional episode or two. Also, if you are casting someone to play “crying scared lesbian,” it’s gonna be Clea Duvall.

Can we all agree there was a serious Girl Interrupted missed opportunity here?


Overall, I think the second season holds promise, but it began with a healthy dose of schlock, and it relied heavily on established sci-fi horror traditions.

I was excited to see Joseph Fiennes cast this season, though he looks way better with facial hair. I thought the scene with Scary Sister fantasizing about his…Coq au vin was pretty great. I think they could potentially do interesting things with his character, sort of in the Dylan McDermott Mulroney vein from last season: not-so-good good guy goes bad, makes peace with it.

Oh, I totally agree about Fiennes, and that cooking/seductive scene was maybe the only one to do the foreshadowing/private time editing well. My only worry is that his motivation is to become the Pope. Um, could we start off a little realistically first?


Also, do you think Bloody Face is played by Burney Face from last season?

YES GIRL. Please make it so. Although, I hope Dennis O’Hare is getting work where his face is visible.

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