Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Which Witch is Witch

I don’t know will ultimately rise up and become the next Supreme tonight on the season finale of “American Horror Story: Coven.” I’m rooting for a “Chosen” kind of power-share. Are you ready to be strong, witches? But save that, I’m rooting for Misty or Cordelia. How could I not?

In looking at the scope of this season’s “American Horror Story,” I am both thrilled and disappointed. It’s a Ryan Murphy show, you were expecting more? I have unquestionably enjoyed this season more than last. The total mind-fuck of psychological (and physical – because of course) torture to befall the characters in “AHS: Asylum” was almost too stomach churning to watch. Sure, “Coven” folks have had to endure dismemberment, disembowelment and self-inflicted garden shears to the eyes. But it doesn’t feel as torturous, somehow.

What I’ve loved all along is two-fold. One, it’s absolutely lights-out female cast. (Jessica and Kathy and Angela and Sarah and Lily and Frances and Gabourey and Emma and Taissa and Patti, OH MY!) I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – this is hands down the biggest gathering of female talent on TV this season. And, goodness, how they’ve flexed their collective muscle.

But what I haven’t loved, in fact hated, is that a series all about female power would be fixated on the wrong kind of power struggle. Instead of Witches vs. The World, “Coven” is Witches vs. Witches. Like women can only fight and destroy each other. Sure, there can be infighting, but does it ALL have to be infighting? Ugh, whatever Ryan Murphy.

I also have some not insignificant quibbles with the way the show has portrayed its African-American characters as motivated almost exclusively by vengeance. That and they tragically underused Marie Laveau. (Really, Benadryl takes down the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans? Really?) The show’s insulting insistence on keeping its focus on the stereotypical cat-fight dynamic robbed us of more of an opportunity to see Jessica Lange and Angela Bassett acting with each other, instead of against each other.

Oh, and then there’s the show’s reliance on tropes for what motivates women: fear of aging, want of a baby, jealousy over a boyfriend, et al.

Still, in spite of it all, I remain grateful for the ridiculous bounty of female talent who got to be on my TV together each week. And however it turns out, they should feel pride in how – despite the often subpar material – they’ve utterly bewitched us.


Carol A said...

I agree with you, it's been great. I do, however, think Asylum was far better.
Don't you dare spoil the ending tomorrow, some of us have to "acquire" it the next day ;)

Anonymous said...

SPOILER ALERT (through last week's episode): In a season that was FILLED with powerful, capable women gunning to kill off Fiona, in the end she was killed by a man. This irked me. A lot.

egghead said...

Yeah, gay men. Sheesh. They can be the worst for women. Plus, no hope of lesbian interplay at all whatsoever, of course, thank you very much Murphy-dudette.

Also, I thought the entire Coven thing was awash with complete and utter neurotic mayhem. What was the fucking plot? I suppose it was a story about a mother and a daughter. It's all Murphy's neurosis playing out really.

Ultimately though? A lot of nice, aesthetic, eccentric images. But somehow someway Mr. Murphy you have to tie it together, idiot!!

(s'cuse my rant)

egghead said...

Yet again, if Myrtle Snow were to get her own show, all would not be lost Mr. Murphy. But you would not ever recognize that little piece of genius if it bit you in the ASSSSSS!!