[American Horror Story: Hotel](tag:3561561) broke viewer records early on in the season by becoming the second most watched AHS premiere since the show debuted in 2011. Not only did it manage to rake in over 9 million viewers, it became FX's second most watched telecast in the channel's history. Freak Show still holds the record with an average of 10 million viewers per episode.
Pretty big deal, eh?
Well, unfortunately the momentum was very short lived. In the eight weeks since Hotel premiered, the ratings went from record breaking to consistently dropping below the previous week's viewers rating. The ratings have continued to drop even after FX renewed the show for a sixth season. Episode 8 was the first episode since the premiere to not fall behind the previous week's numbers. Any fan of American Horror Story, or any television show, can admit its faults. You may enjoy the show as a whole and love the actors, but there comes a time when even the most die hard fans can admit that something just isn't working. But what is it about Hotel that is pushing viewers away?
We have a couple of theories as to why this show is declining. You might agree or disagree with them, but this is coming from two people who have watched AHS since the beginning and have noticed the decline since Coven aired in 2013. This is becoming a pattern and the drop in viewers is proof that existing viewers, as well as new viewers, have caught onto this pattern.
There is way too much going on
We have always had more than one storyline in AHS, but the over abundance of subplots first came into play with Coven a few years ago. You have a main story with the main characters, but you also have a bunch of side characters with their own plots and it all eventually, and hopefully, ties together in the end. What we learned with Coven, and continued to learn with Freak Show, is this model doesn't necessarily work. You wind up having too many characters, too many events, too many plots to keep track of, and they don't always tie into each other the way they should.
However, it would seem as though Ryan Murphy didn't learn with us because Hotel is no exception. After eight episodes we have yet to find out exactly where this season is going. We don't know what the main plot is, why some events or characters were even introduced, why our characters are important, etc. The season is infested with bad writing, weak characters, and an overall lack of direction. Eventually they will do what they did with Freak Show and the characters and subplots will be crammed together in 1-2 episodes and will leave us with nothing but plot holes and frustration.
The season is unnecessarily sexual
There's no denying that sexuality and AHS have always gone hand in hand. Even back in season one we were introduced to thematic elements such as rape, lust, infidelity, and heartbreak. It's one thing to have these elements present in the season. It's another thing to have the story be needlessly sexual and that's exactly what Hotel is. Starting back at the season premiere, we were introduced to the tone of the characters with a bloody orgy, as well as anal rape via giant metal corkscrew, and the sexuality hasn't eased up at all.
You could argue that shows like True Blood and Game of Thrones also have a level of explicit sexuality and although that may be true, that doesn't always make it necessary or relevant to the story being told. AHS has done just fine without bloody orgies and Gaga's wild, gender bending sexual fantasies played out on screen. Obviously the viewers feel the same way because the over-sexualized nature of Hotel has already flooded the internet with criticism. Specific groups have even called for a boycott of the show.
The similarity between Hotel and Murder House is staggering
We previously collaborated on an article about this on Jenika's main Moviepilot page. You should just go read it here.
The absence of Jessica Lange
Face it, Jessica Lange kind of made the show what it was. When it was announced that Freak Show was going to be her last season, many fans vowed to stick with the show for at least one more season to see how it fared without its leading lady. That number dwindled a little bit when it was revealed that Lady Gaga was taking her place. Now that we have gotten halfway through an already failing season, it would seem that people who tried to stick it out just couldn't do it.
People tuned in just to see Lady Gaga and wound up not liking the show
It was expected that a massive number of Lady Gaga fans who had never watched AHS would tune in just to see her. Well, it can also be expected that a decent number of these "AHS virgins" have flocked away from the show because they didn't like it. Between the wild sexuality, the lack of a decent or solid storyline, confusing character arcs, and flat out bazaar events, I don't blame people for leaving the Hotel Cortez before things really got off the ground.
On top of people flocking to the show just to see her, a lot of people no doubt have realized that putting the future of AHS in this woman's hands was a mistake. She is a performer and is musically talented, but she is inexperienced as far as professional acting goes and it shows. She is struggling to find her character and it's difficult for her to connect to the audience. Her overall gimmick has also just gotten old. If she would have been part of this show three years ago it no doubt would have ridden on her fame more than it is now. She wasn't what the show needed and we are hoping she is a one and done actress as far as this show goes.