American Horror Story Recap: Push It Real Good

Happy Halloween in AHS-ville! This week was just the first of a two-parter, so unfortunately we have to wait for the Bette to this episode’s Dot until next week. Speaking of Bette and Dot – if Sarah Paulson doesn’t win a long overdue Emmy for this season, I’m going to call the FBI and demand an investigation. (And then probably get arrested for bothering the FBI about things like Emmys for horror anthologies.)

Pluses, or, Hiding Inside Pumpkins Is Adorable
Plus a million points for the World’s Smallest Woman hiding inside a pumpkin and then getting tickled by the Tall Lady or whatever name is. That was legitimately my favorite part of the episode because AHS just never has moments that can accurately be described as “fucking adorable.”
Plus 5,000 points for the gorgeous shots in the trick-or-treat opening, which was fantastically creepy. I’m thinking particularly of the shot where Twisty is just barely visible across the street, watching and waiting. Kid, keep being afraid of clowns. You’ve got the right idea.
-You know what? Plus 600 points for Del having peen problems. It gave him something to DO for the first time since he showed up, and I guess he can’t be strong EVERYWHERE.
Plus 100,000 points for the obvious Mütter Museum knock-off in the beginning, which is a Philadelphia treasure that is devoted entirely to medical oddities! Represent! (Fun fact: I think they actually DO have Chang and Eng’s liver. They might have his skeleton, too. Don’t quote me, though.)
Plus 200 points for Emma Watson’s cute little Velma costume. She looks almost as good as Linda Cardellini.
Plus 3,000 points for Bette and Dot’s dream sequence – and, better yet, finding out that they have the same dreams. Yikes.
Plus a bucket of Halloween candy for Twisty finally kidnapping someone who deserved it. Mike was a huge dick.
-Speaking of huge dicks (heyooo!), HELLO, DENIS O’HARE. Plus one Viking sword.
Plus 2,000 points for two Dandy gems in a row: “Curfew is for the poor people,” and “HOWDY DOOOOOOODEEEEEE!”, the latter of which was screamed in abject anguish. I love this show.
Plus 10,000 points for Seneca Crane having shaved his concept beard AND having grown an extra head. Definite improvement.
Plus 5 million points for Patti LaBelle, you guys. Sure, she’s playing a maid, and she inexplicably has yet to sing, even as Jessica Lange works her way through Lana del Rey’s entire catalogue, but somebody needed to handle Dandy, and who better than Patti motherfucking LaBelle?

Minuses, or, Not Another Goddamn Musical Number
-I’m giving myself minus 10 million points, however, for not noticing that Patti LaBelle was even on this show in the first place.
-Too much Ethel in this episode. Way, WAY too much. Like, don’t get me wrong. I love me some Kathy Bates. I want to bask in her crazy-ass glow forever. But Ethel is just the worst, and I’m furious that she didn’t die tonight only because I just cannot listen to that accent for another freaking second. Let’s hope for sooner rather than later – and don’t worry, Kathy. Ryan will throw you another LaLaurie-level script next season. Minus one thousand livers.
-And speaking of people related to Ethel, ENOUGH with angsty Jimmy already! Minus one million lobsterblasts!Has he smiled ONCE on this show? Screaming about dead freaks and letting everyone down and scowling into graves can, frankly, only take you so far. There’s a lot so far this season that needs fleshing out, but Jimmy is perhaps the neediest here.
Minus 50,000 points for those truly shitty Ethel and Del flashbacks, where the poor actors playing their younger selves had to grimace and grunt their way through a bunch of total nonsense. I hated this entire sequence, but perhaps the most puzzling part was why Ethel was giving birth leaning on a tree. You would think that angle might not be terribly crowd-friendly.
Minus 1,000 points for taking the legend of Edward Mordrake and making it extremely boring.
Minus 3,000 points for Emma Roberts proving, once and for all, that she’s just a terrible actor. Madison had a great script to work with, and she could draw from herself to an extent, but Esmerelda… oh, honey.
-And finally, worst of all, minus a million Ryan Murphys for these fucking MUSICAL NUMBERS. I couldn’t figure out, after last week, what was bugging me so much about them, and then my darling friend Rocky just absolutely nailed it – it feels like Glee. And not the good Glee, with Cory Monteith singing acapella in the pilot, but terrible Glee, where everyone just gets a quick memo that “we’re singing now!” and quickly gather into formation as the band gets going. The only comfort I can find in this is that Jessica Lange is a better lip-syncher than Lea Michele, who squints and gasps her way through basically everything. (I really just brought that up because it’s #TBT, you guys – never forget.)

Weekly Jessica Lange Words of Wisdom: “That bitch,” in reference to Marlene Dietrich. Never change, Elsa.

I’m feeling extremely incomplete about this arc until we see next week’s conclusion, which had better be good, because I was honestly prettttttty underwhelmed by Part 1. I’ll reserve judgement, but I’m feeling as meh as Lana right now. See you next week!

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