FX premiered the fifth installment of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story franchise, Hotel, last night. As is generally the case this early in the season, what exactly the fuck is going on is as yet unclear. What is clear is it takes place at Los Angeles’s Hotel Cortez, Wes Bentley and his generous eyebrows have been perfectly cast to brood, and Lady Gaga is in it. She’s really the centerpiece of the whole thing, and much of the pre-season promo has centered on her (she was, for example, the first guest on Tuesday’s episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon).
Halloween-themed TV episodes, like Halloween, can be sexy, silly, or scary, all three, or more, which is sometimes what happens when you realize that a lot of the actors on The Twilight Zone were very attractive. The tradition of such specials is long, broad, and deep, going back as far as the history of television itself. Long-running series (ER, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody) often produced them annually—and, in that glut, various episodes can be forgotten. Here are seven that you should remember, for seven different reasons.
Two shocking deaths, two pre-pedophiliac dwarves, one failed suicide, and a Weimar Republic-era snuff film—this has been a relatively sleepy, Sirkian season of American Horror Story. But not last night. We learned: What is Elsa's deal, what is Twisty's deal, and how long puppy play has been a thing, basically.
In the new season of American Horror Story, Freak Show, by far the scariest thing is the swamp-dwelling monster with a half-mask face, Twisty the Clown. He stabs with scissors, does mean little dances, and he keeps prisoners in his scary school bus. But clowns in the real world have fucking had enough of that.
American Horror Story makes its fourth debut on FX tonight, in a special 90-minute premiere. Once the skepticism wears off and everybody decides this is going to be a good season of American Horror Story, that's when you start taking bets as to when we'll collectively flip the script again and disavow ever having enjoyed it. That moment—when you start placing bets—you'll think back to this humble roundup of preview and non-spoiler information, and start checking things off.
As any dedicated viewer of the American Horror Story anthology series knows, the credits each season provide innumerable clues to the entirety of the season. Thanks to the dedication to plot, consistency, and overall story arc that are the show's storytelling hallmarks, a viewer with a quick eye for detail can usually nail down what will happen in the show's final episodes.
Let us remember, 10 years later on this day, that it must have seemed like such a perfect idea to give Joey Tribbiani his own spin-off of Friends, just the perfect way to extend the brand loyalty that had helped make NBC into America's No. 1 network. Because Joey, starring Joey, could not be anything but. Instead, the show was an absolute abject fucking failure from which no one involved has ever fully recovered, because that's how the logic must have gone: Successful sitcoms are bright and silly and heartfelt, and should star bright, silly, heartfelt characters.