WOW! Was the fifth incarnation of American Horror Story awful! I suppose that casting Lady Gaga was intended to substitute for a massively weak, unoriginal concept. The creators totally phoned this bitch in this time, resting on their laurels from previous seasons and tossing in a Alexander McQueen doused Gaga to guarantee a sure thing. Let's face it. Making a series is like cooking a fine cuisine for a discriminating pallet. If you rush it, you have to quickly compensate for the foul by overloading it with filler ingredients in hopes it will mask the fucked up flavor. So, along with Gaga, toss in fap material for your embedded gay audience; Shocking gratuitous sex for those who will be preoccupied by it; Mix a few lazy formulas like the embattled, gritty detective chasing a game-playing serial killer (Se7en, anyone?), vacant-eyed children lingering in hallways of an empty hotel (The Shining, anyone?) and wealthy, bloodthirsty Vampires whom, despite their haute couture fashions, pale in comparison to Anne Rice's elegant manifestations- or even the distinctive, suspense inducing classic depictions of them, dating all the way back to the iconic Nosferatu. Instead, all AHS did was draw the typical, cheap, paperback novel approach to a "Vampire." Nothing new. Nothing fresh.
I believe there was a concerted effort here (I use that term loosely) to achieve a sort of noir drama. Unfortunately, all the fish-eyed lenses, sepia color grading and Gatsby inspired art deco in the world couldn't save this from the stiff performances of every single actor- with the exception of Sarah Paulson. Somehow, she managed to make you feel something for her character- you don't know what it is, of course. But, her weeping tears as she asked a man who had just been- literally- fucked to death by a faceless, oily, C.H.U.D. monster with a metal spike strap-on was somehow the only thing that saved the entire scene from being reduced to absolute comedy. Frankly? A lot of the shows forced sexuality has been pretty camp- No. Camp is the wrong word. Camp is at least remotely entertaining. I'll say it was bland. The Twilighty vamps heading to an outdoor screening of Nosferatu in a park, picking up another couple by exchanging come-hither looks across the sea of picnic blankets to take back to their lair for a gory orgy was more reminiscent of a long forgotten 1970's B-Movie than anything else.
I guess the rumors are true, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk benefited far more from Jessica Lange's creative input than they hoped anyone would realize. Her departure isn't only felt due to her absence on screen, but off screen as well as sort of a guiding shepherd. Although she had not been credited in the past for anything other than her roles, the series creators were vocal about her substantial creative input.
As expected, after 9 months of Hype since the close of the fourth season, and the reveal of Lady Gaga's participation in the fifth, [American Horror Story: Hotel](tag:3561561) debuted to over 5.81 million viewers - a staggering success, but still a lower figure than that of last years Freak Show, which holds the record and was Lange's magnum opus. The concept of AHS: Freak Show was Lange's idea, after all.
Naturally, with the grandiose centerpiece of the successful series taking an exit, Murphy and Falchuk had to devise a plan. Rather than be creative, they leveraged the global (Little) Monster fanbase as an early PR Machine to do their work for them. In terms of business, a smart move. Creatively, they dropped the ball. They placed Gaga in a role specifically written for her in one you would expect. They made every scene look like it was lifted off the cutting room floor of one of her creepy, gothic-like videos (Bad Romance, Alejandro) and at any moment you expect masked, latex clad hip-hop dancers to have a Hotel Lobby flash mob. It's not a departure for Gaga. This is what her entire career has been built on- being bizarre. Being aloof. Craving raw-meat so much she wears it to high profile events. One of her On-Tour antics is to shower herself in blood while wearing a corset and writhing on stage like a salted slug. She is the epitome of psycho-eleganza. So, is her character. The creators never bothered reaching to take her anywhere but where she's already been. This isn't really Gaga playing a role. This is Gaga being Gaga. Her fans will love it. American Horror Story fans will get bored quickly.