American Horror Story: Spooky Little Girl

Posted on December 01, 2011

One thing we can’t figure out about this show (cue the peanut gallery: “ONE thing?!?”) is how the hell the creators think they can keep this going semi-indefinitely. Haunted house stories typically have endings and they’re typically reached within a few hours of the beginning of the story. Trying to tell a haunted house story over an entire television season doesn’t even seem to make much sense on the face of it, let alone trying to continue the story over several seasons. After all, how many times can the Harmons be faced with evil presences in their house before they snap out of it and say “Fuck escrow, I’m bailing?”

There were indications and rumors at the start of this series that the creators originally planned to move a new family into the house each season and spend the season following their story. They have since said that they abandoned this idea but we wonder if that’s true. How on earth can the story of the Harmon family continue past this season when so much has already happened to them? Vivian got raped, Ben assisted in the murder of his pregnant girlfriend and buried her in the backyard, Vivian got pregnant (twice!), shot Ben and got sent to an institution (because apparently, that’s how simple it is to get institutionalized in California; wave a gun around and mention a rape), Violet slit her wrists and probably died, then she had sex with the ghost that raped and impregnated her mom. We’re at EPISODE NINE, people.

It seems to us, especially after last night’s episode, that the only possible way to sustain the story is to just keep adding more ghosts to the house. We didn’t say such a plan was going to work in keeping the story interesting; just that this was one way to keep the story going. Of course, they could drive a clown car onto the lawn and force us to spend 40 minutes watching pratfalls and juggling as a way to stretch things out too. Both methods have largely the same chance of success, although the former has some real comedy teeth to it.

Imagine halfway through season 4 of American Horror Story, just after we meet the sexed-up ghosts of Lee Harvey Oswald, Susan Smith, and Nicole Brown Simpson, when the writers realize the unliving population of that house is now larger than that of the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area and the Harmons are forced to sell off all their furniture just to make room for the city of oversexed dead people living in the house, trying to fuck and kill them all. Maybe they could spend a season building an addition on the house to accommodate them – a nursery for dead babies might be nice – and then we can watch an endless line of workmen get seduced and then killed by Moira, Hayden, the White Dahlia, and whatever other pissed-off sexy female ghosts have accumulated in the house (like barnacles) by then. Then all the dead doctors in the house (for there will surely be dozens revealed by then) can all get together in the basement, stroke their chins thoughtfully, and then chop up the bodies for disposal. It’ll all be streamlined by then; people will walk in the front door, get seduced and killed by one of the horny females, dragged down to the basement, chopped up, and then carted out by one of the house’s many living allies (Burned Larry and Constance will have an entire secret society of helpers by this point). The whole thing could take no more than an hour and if the ghosts work very hard and take no breaks, they can manage to add about 20 or so new dead people to the house a day. Before long they’ll be holding elections. If they can manage to stop fucking and killing for long enough, that is.

It frightens us a little that the preceding paragraph may give Ryan Murphy ideas if he happens to read it.

We’d give you a recap of last night’s episode but there wasn’t much to recap. Hayden (who’s number one with a bullet on T Lo’s list of favorite ghosts) sexes up Constance’s boyfriend then kills him. Also, The White Dahlia shows up and tries to have sex with Ben by having faux-sex with Moira. Hayden keeps trying to break up Viv and Ben, Ben visits Viv and says awful things to her even though he’s the piece of shit who cheated on her, then Ben tells Hayden he doesn’t love her and accuses the guy from the security company of sleeping with his wife. Meanwhile, Constance is all atwitter over her demonic grandchild, plotting to somehow snatch it right out of Viv’s womb but then running into a roadblock because it turns out her little bundle of joy is destined to bring about the END OF THE WORLD! Seriously! There’s a pope and everything!

Thankfully, Ben starts to believe that maybe Vivian isn’t so crazy after all, which causes him to see Moira as an old lady, which in turn causes the little turtle head to permanently retreat into its shell (although this occurs off camera).

It’s kind of funny how we said there was nothing to recap and then listed a dozen completely insane plot developments. We’re getting a little spoiled here.

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  • Sobaika Mirza

    I hate when Biblical events are introduced as plot points. I just don’t find it remotely scary or interesting, maybe because I’m not Catholic or even Christian. The End of Days being brought in just doesn’t hold the same weight, seems like a tired theme in the Horror genre.

    • There are several new horror elements introduced every week.  It’s like a checklist of every paranoid phobia anyone has ever had, you know, the ones where you say to yourself, “Why am I obsessing on this?  Stuff like that never happens except in horror movies!”

    • Anonymous

      Agrreeeeed. I think it can be creepy but is just really lame how they did it in the show. An interview with Ryan Murphy says that the psychic may be full of it, so maybe they won’t go down this path. If they do I’ll be disappointed.

    • Anonymous

      Come on, it’s *American Horror Story*.  Every week has tropes from famous horror movies, so this week we get a little bit of Omen.

      • Anonymous

        Some references are better than others. Just because a trope is used doesn’t mean its used well or is even necessary.

        Besides, if the Pope and the End of the World and all that becomes legit plot stuff I’m going to get out of this show while I still can. Until now everything was House-centric, Apocalyptic is a whole other thing.

        • I agree on the “antichrist” stuff being dumb. That stuff never works for me in movies, because *first* you have to buy into a whole set of Catholic-centered religiosity and a Christ/Bible-centered belief system that defies reason and common sense … way, way more than sexy shape-shifting ghost maids do, even.

          • Terence Ng

            Exactly. And why is the Apocalypse and the nature of the Antichrist a great mystery? It’s spelled out just as plausibly and descriptively in the Book of Revelation. This paper just says it’s a ghost-human hybrid. Revelation gives a lot more information. They already have a clue. For a Catholic, that would be enough. Now, if the paper printed the Antichrist’s image, birth date, and address, that’d be another thing.

            How about the “Ultimate Mystery” being something a Catholic actual doesn’t have in the Bible, like what God looks like, or the exact date that Jesus is returning or something?

    • Terence Ng

      I was just disappointed that the isolated evil/horror was immediately expanded to Buffy levels of apocalyptic threats. The story is so much more interesting in the context of the house and the house alone. One little house with a lot of crazy shit going down within. When you introduce a “Great Mystery”, an entity like “the Church”, and the Apocalypse, all from a ghost baby, you’d think the Vatican would be keeping paranormal tabs on locations where ghosts manifest, which brings it to ridiculous levels.

      Given all the sex that’s been happening in that house with ghosts since day one, it’s a total shark jump to suggest that THIS is the one time the threat was made manifest (especially since Travis was dumping an unprotected load in Hayden at least twice; apparently ghost sperm are potent, ghost eggs are not.)

  • Well, there are PLENTY of ways they could keep going with this is they expand from just the haunted house horror into further horror elements. I mean, they could have Viv and Ben move with their new baby, getting away from the haunted house but further tormented by their demonic child and the hordes of hellbeasts that one would assume would show up around the demonic baby…

  • Anonymous

    Murder House? They are going to have to start calling it Full House. Honestly, why don’t the Harmons just sublet the damn place to all the ghosts? Their money troubles would disappear in a flash. If ghosts can have sex with the living, chop up dead bodies, appear at will whenever they want, murder at the drop of a hat, and even impregnate with the Antichrist, they can surely find some cash to help pay the mortgage.

    I hated last night’s episode with a vengeance. It’s getting to be an overcrowded tenement in the basement of that house and I am beginning to think the writers all suffer from ADD sincet hey can’t stick to a reasonable number of characters or plot lines if their lives depended on it. And all these “wink, wink” homages–throw in a little Rosemary’s Baby, a little Omen, a slash of Sentinel, even a little Da Vinci Code Secrets of the Catholic church–it’s all making my head spin. As a bonus, we get some Real Life, True Crime thrown in the mix last night.(BTW, are they trying to make the point that LA is full of crazy doctors? If so, Duhhhh…) 

    More isn’t necessarily better. And with little difference between the living and the dead, the show is becoming a cheesy soap opera with a few kinky/gruesome touches. I began with high hopes, but I am sorely disappointed. 

    • Anonymous

      I am ridiculously taken with the idea of collecting horrendously inflated rent from ghosts.

      • Terence Ng

        I dunno. I think Ben and the ghosts would be just as happy paying by fucking one another.

    • Anonymous

      Full House! Now I want Uncle Jessie to show up. 

      • YES!  Uncle Jessie would make this show complete!

    • Anonymous

      A FEW kinky/gruesome touches? If only.

  • I find this show insanely fun to watch because it hits on every single horror movie trope and personal irrational paranoia you might have.  This week was dentist horror, under anesthesia horror, end of days/Anti-Christ horror, and dismemberment horror.  I kind of love it.

    Question: is Tate supposed to be the Devil in this anti-Christ conception scenario?  Possessed by the Devil?  Or is it the mere fact that a ghost impregnated a live woman that by definition makes the offspring the anti-Christ, with the Devil as facilitator but not actual impregnator?  Do we know WHY Tate raped Viv?  And if Tate can impregnate Vivian, can he impregnate Violet?  Can Hayden get pregnant too?  Does anything go?  And if so, WHY?

    I’m notice a pattern in my torrent of questions…

    • Sobaika Mirza

      He raped Vivian the first time to give Nora a baby. He raped her a second time (this was shot all weird and she was drugged so it is was confusing as to whether it happened) to get her out of the house so she didn’t take Violet away.

      This show has Glee-like tendencies of shifting characters and motivations around to suit the plot.

      • I know the reason that the story ostensibly gives, but why WOULD he do that?  It seems out of character to me for a kid who is depicted as a melancholic romantic misunderstood bad boy who finds true love.  I just don’t buy it, I guess.  Surely there is another male ghost they could have gotten to do the deed.  Why Tate?  Why is he such a slave to the house’s id? 

        Also, I don’t think Tate did actually rape Vivian the second time.  The second time was a sexual assault but was there penetration?  Not that it really matters.

        Had to mention that Ben is a flaming asshole of epic proportions.  How could he condemn Viv when he did exactly what he is accusing her of doing?  Also, notice that Luke didn’t deny he had sex with Viv, just that he was the father of Thing 2.

        • Sobaika Mirza

          Oh God. Ben is disgusting. I actually threw something at the television when he visited Vivian at the institution. I get having a ‘flawed’ character but there is not a single redeeming quality behind him at all.

          Intentionally leaves his wife in an institution
          Neglects to notice his daughter is probably dead and sleeping with a murderer
          Sleeps with an impressionable young woman, impregnates her, abandons her, says he will support her through an abortion, abandons her again, shunts her away as she tries to deal with the situation at hand, watches her get beaten with a shovel, watches as she gets buried in his backyard by his stalker, builds a gazebo over her grave, doesn’t question anything with a heightened version of her pops back up, attempts to break it off with her but takes her at face value when she lies about his wife’s fidelity.
          Worst therapist ever

          • Anonymous

            Ben is such an ass that you have to wonder why any woman, dead or alive, would want to spend eternity–or the length of a marriage–with him.

          • Maybe this show is kind of like The Shining: the house is evil, but the real villain is Ben, just as it was Jack in King’s story.  The house merely acts on the monstrous evil that was latent inside of him, bringing it to its fullest fruition.  There’s really no excuse for his many hypocrisies and acts of cruelty and neglect.  This seems true of all the men who have been shown to have lived in the house: Dr. Montgomery, the dentist, Constance’s husband, Tate, Larry, Chad, now Ben.  Not that the women are saintly, but the men seem the main drivers of the evil there.  Hmmm.

          • Anonymous

            Ben is such a douche.

          • Totally agree, but … cute, though. Amirightladies?

  • Despite the fact that the dahlia she wore was white, Elizabeth Short is known as the Black Dahlia because of her raven locks and tendency to wear only black clothing.

    I think Moira is the only one of the ghosts in the house that isn’t batshit insane.  She doesn’t think much of men in general (with good reason, she was killed because of a man) and assumed Ben would be like every other man she’d dealt with.  It seems like she actually tries to help the house owners but, she is also willing to help out the crazy ghosts when they kill someone.  I think this is because she still hopes her body will be found and if the true number of murders that have taken place in that house were known, someone would just bulldoze it and she’ll be stuck there forever.

    Ben’s an asshole though.

    • Anonymous

      Elizabeth Short is buried in the cemetery right up the street from me.   I walked past her grave twice this week.  Really.

  • Anonymous

    So the show takes a large left turn into Rosemary’s Baby territory. Really, hasn’t this been done to death? Yawn.
    I much preferred ghost of the week.

    • Terence Ng

      I think they said the show was particularly inspired by Rosemary’s Baby and The Shining.

  • TLo, you realize that was supposed to be the ghost of the actual Black Dahlia, right? She introduced herself as Elizabeth Short.

    Oh my god, was that…continuity? Last week, Violet called out Ben for macking on “creepy old women with feather dusters,” and this week he actually saw Old Moira!

    I was hoping there’d be more to the Pope sequence than what was shown in the teaser, but nope.

    Is anyone else psyched about what that poor pest control guy is probably going to find in the crawlspace next week?

    • Anonymous

      “Oh my god, was that…continuity?”

      Made me laugh out loud.  But don’t worry, I’m sure it was accidental, unintentional, and won’t happen again.

    • Terence Ng

      I was disappointed by Luke’s suddenly callous attitude of Vivien when she wasn’t in the room. It felt like an Old Boy’s Club.

  • Anonymous

    Some of the plot lines are laughable, but the show is so different from anything on TV.  I SOOOOOO LOVE Dylan McDermott, especially as this creepy Ben character.  Oh, and Jessica Lange as the now totally alcoholic neighbor…Constance right?…so great!  As long as Viv is out of the house, then the demons that want her babies (at least one of them), will continue to pursue her, so I could see it going that way.  Ben and Viv do move out of the house, still pursued by the resident demons, and new owners come in, and the demons start up with them.  Hope they can keep this going…I really look forward to watching it in all it’s wackiness.

  • Anonymous

    This is the only show I know of where it actually enhances the late watching by having read your hilarious recap and bitter kitten musings first. Spoilers be damned!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve got to catch up on a couple episodes, but when it is said that Tate raped Vivian twice, is the first instance when she had sex with then then-unknown person in the rubber suit?

  • Mary McClelland

    I’m a little sick of this show. I don’t even remember a single thing about last night’s epi except that Hayden kills Constance’s boyfriend and Moira turned into an old lady for Ben. I personally think Hayden’s days are numbered after that little episode and Constance is going to come up with a real important reason for needing to diiiig uuuup that aawfull gazeeebow and remove Hayden from the premises. Even if Moira has to go in the process.

    There are TOO MANY EFFING GHOSTS at this point. And it’s ridiculous that the police have only been snooping around once in light of all the death recently associated with Murder House.

    And Ryna Murphy = who keeps hiring this joker? He can’t keep his head on straight and all his scrips end up totally bedazzled and full of fluff. I wish they would do a six feet under thing and have a bunch of different writers/directors contribute to the story to keep it sane and interesting. I totally agree they abosulutly 100% need to get a new family every season for the integrity of the show and also lose some ghosts some how.  It’d be interesting if Hayden becomes Moira in a few years or something.

    I hope the creators are just pretending we’ll be seeing Harmons part deux next season to throw us off scent when in reality they plan for a new family/person in habits the house.

    • If you check out the “You’re gonna die in there” site you’ll find plenty of deaths / murders / suicides that haven’t been touched on yet.

    • Mariah J

      The ghosts don’t leave because their dead bodies are removed, most of the ghosts in the house have had their bodies disposed of somewhere else already.

      • Anonymous

        This is what I don’t understand.  If dead people whose bodies are removed remain ghosts, why does Moira think having her body discovered will allow her to “cross over”?  She told Constance that Constance would go to jail if Moira’s body was discovered, so then I thought maybe if the ghosts had “closure” on their deaths they could leave.  But I think Maria and Gladys, the nurse ghosts, must have had some sort of closure with their killer being caught since the home invaders knew all the details of how he committed the murders.  So now I have no idea how any ghost is supposed to be able to leave.  Of course, there’s a good chance I’m overthinking this silly show.

        • i’m still confused about Constance though. i though she was dead too, but now it seems she isn’t?

          • Terence Ng

            She was never dead, and I never got that impression. Was there something you saw that made you think she was?

          • Terence Ng

            She was never dead, and I never got that impression. Was there something you saw that made you think she was?

          • I think i just figured they were ALL dead. but thinking about it now, it makes sense that she is and has been alive. there was just so much mindfuckery that the detail escaped me.

          • Terence Ng

            Oh phew. i was worried I missed some crucial element.

    • Terence Ng

      You’re right. i feel like I’m in Glee Season 2 and it’s only the second half of Season 1.

    • Terence Ng

      You’re right. i feel like I’m in Glee Season 2 and it’s only the second half of Season 1.

  • Jessica Rowe

    Almost every decade since the house was built has been covered… except for (I think) the 30s and 50s. So maybe we’ll get two more ghosts?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for saving me the trouble of watching this show. The whole idea seems ludicrous. The five minutes or so I just spent reading your summary is probably too much time to spend on this mess.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone notice that the bigger Ryan Murphy gets, the more his shows start to unravel?

    It was two seasons before Nip/Tuck went off the deep end.
    It was only one season for Glee and then all this shittery started happening.
    And about 7 episodes for American Horror Story lol

    There’s just too much going on here. I’m hoping there’s some massive deus ex machina that brings it all together but right now there are too many references (ripoffs) of other (better) horrors, too many real life instances fictionalized as if that were clever, too many plots, too many characters, too many ghosts.

    I’ll say one thing: JESSICA LANGE IS GETTING IT. Awards already have her name carved into them.

  • Amy

    So what is the dealio with this whole “anti-christ” plot? Because Ryan Murphy…some things are too big even for YOU to take on.
     Does the child have to be born and grow up to then end the world? Does it even matter what the pope says about this because it’s a show and thus they will twist it? Is this even going to develop into a long term plot?

  • I thought that throwing in the real-life Black Dahlia murder was a bit over the top- though not to badly done.

    • Re: “though not too badly done”–yeah, at the very least I thought it offered a better explanation for the mutilation of her body than the movie from a few years ago did… :-

      • also, i didn’t understand the reasoning behind her death. she OFFERED to have sex with the dentist. why would said dentist then RAPE her and accidentally kill her instead of having NORMAL CONSENSUAL SEX like a NORMAL PERSON? it just struck me as so odd….

        • Anonymous

          Too repressed for normal consensual sex with the woman looking at him and everything.

        • Sobaika Mirza

          The dentist did not strike me as a normal person. I think he needed to have a woman passed in order to get it up.

        • Anonymous

          Unless he’s a bit of a sicko.   It isn’t that shocking considering he’s a) already ethically challenged by making “arrangements” in exchange for dental care and b) lives/works in a house that drives its occupants crazy.

        • Anonymous

          Because he liked to have sex with his patients when they were knocked out. That’s his little game, how he gets his rocks off. If they are asleep, they aren’t “giving consent”, which is why he pretended to not know what she was talking about. Then he accidently gave her a little too much gas.

    The “Pope” teaser was completely stupid and pointless as played out in the latest episode.  Bored now.
    I think the thing the exterminator finds in the crawlspace is….violet’s decomposing bod.  I’d even be willing to lay money on it, and….why is Travis not royally POd about being offed?
    show.hurts.brain.  But I think I’ll stick with it to the bitter, gooey, sicky end…
    T and Lo, I miss your random non-sequiturs, please bring them back

    • Anonymous

      If Travis were easy to piss off there’d be flames coming out of his ears all the time from living with Constance.

      Anyway, none of the ghosts seem too horrified. He’s just like the others there.

  • MilaXX

    I tried, but I guess I have to turn in my couch potato badge cause I can’t with this show. I know I’m in the minority but this show bores me silly. Every new ghost just makes me roll my eyes. After starting to nod off mid way last night, I turned. As far as I can see the house is already a clown car for ghost and other than Constance every living human who comes in contact with it is just a walking idiot.

    Guess I’ll just follow the recaps.

  • Tom

    Black Dahlia….Not White

  • Charles Purdy

    If you just watch it as a series of unrelated or lightly related scenes or “tableaux,” AHS is much more enjoyable. It’s all spooky/sexy atmosphere and Jessica “Bow the Fuck Down” Lang. No plot necessary.

  • Anonymous

    I have stopped watching.

    This is EXACTLY the kind of show that should just get axed by episode 3.

    How long is this supposed to go on?! It’s ridiculous.

  • I’m still watching but, as of last night’s episode, I think I’ll retain what little sanity I have left by pretending its all satire and folly a a “Scary Movie”.

  • Stick a fork in it-it’s done.  I gave up after last week’s episode.  Too much of “throw everything at the wall & see what sticks” writing for me.  I’m not intrigued enough to want to find out what happens.  Sorry, Jessica!

  • Anonymous

    Other things to consider re: how this show is going to sustain its plot:
    1. I’m pretty sure this isn’t running for a traditional season, right? Like it’s going to be 12 episodes or something, not 22.
    2. So yeah, the family could die/move away and a new family could come in.
    3. The next season could focus on a new house (or other haunted location) altogether.
    4. it was all a dream connie

    • Anonymous

      “IT WAS ALL A DREAM Violet had, while sleeping in the car ON THE WAY TO THE BRAND NEW HOUSE THEY’RE MOVING INTO!!!”

      Oh my God, I almost hope they do that. It would be *hysterical.*

      • if they do that i’ll punch RM for jerking me around all season.

      • Terence Ng

        Welcome to Season 2: The REAL adventure begins…

        • sweetlilvoice

          I vote for the autistic snow globe dream myself.

      • Terence Ng

        Welcome to Season 2: The REAL adventure begins…

  • Anonymous

    Why in some episodes is Violet just completely missing? Do most of you think that she’s already dead? I mean, how long would it take her parents to notice anyway.

  • Leonardo Alves

    This show is reminding me of Charmed. After some seasons, there was nothing bigger they could pose to the mighty witches… But at least it took Charmed some seasons to get there, not 9 episode

  • Anonymous

    The premise of the show seems to be that anything can happen — and so it does — every 10 or 15 minutes.  Would be great to watch stoned.  Unstoned it’s kind of boring precisely because there are no limitations.  It’s like watching children play out their fantasies — cute to begin with and then enough already. And Dylan is so unappealing.

  • I don’t know where I got this idea, but I was under the impression that they were going to do a new story every year, kind of like a horror anthology. So one year we’d get Murder House and another year we’d get vampires and then another year we’d get, I don’t know, mummies or something. I’ve been enjoying the what-the-fuckery and the rip-snorting pace because I thought they had to get through everything before the end of the season.

    The thought that they might spin this out indefinitely is rather troubling. Oh Ryan Murphy, why can’t you plot anything?

    • Terence Ng

      I swear to God if there are mummies…

      But how big are mummies as a threat in the age of explosive weaponry? A mummy’s not a scary deathless threat when it’s a pile of living granola.

  • I read your review last night after watching the episode and let me just say, you had me giggling and smiling! Your humor and informed recaps are unmatched in my opinion.

  • Anonymous

    One way to sustain the Harmons in the house is for them to discover that Violet is dead.  As parents, they wouldn’t want to be away from her.  That would be an emotional ending of the series – leaving their daughter behind.  But I don’t think this show is that deep.

  • Anonymous

    Why does every doomsday story always come back to the Catholic Church?  For once, couldn’t the kid be something other than the anti-Christ?  Like the return of L. Ron Hubbard maybe or Joseph Smith?  At least it would be different.

  • Daniel Hoerner

    “…which in turn causes the little turtle head to permanently retreat into its shell (although this occurs off camera).”

    I love you guys.

    • Comments like those just makes you want to have afternoon tea with them, no?  Actually tea with them plus Kathy Griffin, oh the laughs will be non stop.

  • Anonymous

    T Lo, your review was far more entertaining than this episode was. 

  • Stop trying to figure out where the show is going and just ride along!  That’s what makes this so fun.