Wednesday, September 20, 2017

TV: What we have to lose

AMERICAN HORROR STORY is an FX staple.  Season seven kicked off earlier this month but did so with lower ratings and more negative criticism than ever before.

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CULT is the name of season seven.

GROUP THINK or even FEAR might make for better titles.

It's true that this season is lacking in some details -- there's no attractive guy like DylanMcDermott wandering around onscreen naked.  Add in Cheyenne Jackson's strange haircut for this season and that any season without Jessica Lange will always feel like a let down.  (Emmy winner Lange left the series after the end of season four.)

That said, season seven is a strong one and potentially the strongest of the series.

It's not using any supernatural threat, nor does it need one.

Sarah Paulson is the lead character Ally and she's run with everything the scripts have provided.  She should be up for an Emmy this time next year -- a well deserved nomination.  The rest of the cast is doing a strong job as well -- especially Billy Eichner, Billie Lourd and Cheyenne Jackson.

The characters, each and every one, are the threat.

More to the point, their fears are the threat.

Ally, for example, shoots Pedro (Jorge-Luis Pallo) dead.

She knows Pedro.  He works at the restaurant she and her wife Ivy (Alison Pill) own and operate.

He's driven by fear -- as evidenced by his responding to rude remarks in the kitchen by grabbing a butcher knife and holding it as a weapon.

But no one's more driven by fear than Ally.

Like some Americans, she's gripped by the 2016 election.

It's all so very personal to her.

As though no American president ever alarmed anyone before?

As though the United States (and other countries) haven't had leaders that reflected something other than the high road.

It's an election.

It's one person.

Get over it.

Instead, Ally wallows in it.

She takes normal fears and turns them into paralyzing moments.

She needs it, she lives off of it.

So when the lights go out and her neighbor tells her it's all over, that rioting is going to take place, that it may be ISIS, she grabs her son and plans to run outside in it (no, that doesn't make sense, but fear rarely does) and, seeing someone outside, she shoots.

She shoots to kill in fact.

She doesn't shoot the male in the leg so she and her son can get away, she shoots him dead.

He turns out to be Pedro.  Ivy sent him from the restaurant to check on Ally, give her a phone charger and other items.

And he's dead.

All he was doing was walking up to the porch to knock on the door.

And he's dead.

Because of fear.

And her neighbors across the street insist it's because she's a racist.  They throw Taco Bell coupons at her.  They tell her that she's not a "progressive."

She's referred to as the "lesbian George Zimmerman" on the news.

It's one piece of hate piled on another as the fear increases and increases.

Early in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, there's a run on the bank when people panic and fear rules.

What's worse is when we're all ruled by fear and that appears to be the story of season seven.

Some, out of fear, will form allegiances they shouldn't.

Ally was right to be repulsed by Kai (Evan Peters) initially.  But now that everyone has turned on her, she appears to be wavering.

Fear can make you do awful things.

Fear is not the emotion to operate from.

Fear was the manipulation used after 9/11, fear is what allowed the Iraq War to start.

FDR, a great person we can still learn so much from, once argued, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

But the last months -- for far too many -- have been about little more than fear with some sour grapes squeezed in.

Hillary Clinton is not president.

She can go on NPR and claim to Terry Gross that she might challenge the results if she wants.

She just like an idiot and a sore loser because she can't challenge it.

The electoral college voted.  The time to challenge would have been before that.  She has no legal standing to challenge anything now.

Grasp that.

The electoral college was not infected by 'Russian influence.'

We don't believe the general electorate was either but we'll set that aside for a moment.

The electors gathered and they voted in Donald Trump.

There is nothing in the court of law or the Constitution that allows a US presidential election to be overturned.


Impeachment delivers Mike Pence (the Vice President) to the presidency.  It doesn't deliver Hillary Clinton to the White House.

Impeach Pence too?

The line of succession would then mean Speaker of the House Paul Ryan becomes President.  After him?  Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch.  Then? Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.  Then?  Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnchin.   Now you can keep going down the list as long as you want -- you can even pull in the doomsday scenario of DESIGNATED SURVIVOR -- but grasp that on no list will you find Hillary Clinton's name.

Her day is over.

Fantasies are for children.  When it comes to adults, fantasies belong in the bedroom.

Delusions and fear do not oust Donald Trump nor do they make him a one term president.

Delusions and fear lead to violence and panic and everything but change and progress.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY season seven is showing exactly what happens when we operate from fear.  In doing so, it's offering one of their strongest storylines yet.

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