American Horror Story is back for its 7th season and this time, they’re taking the show’s title as literally as possible. ‘AHS: Cult’ premiered last night with an opener that introduced the 2016 presidential election results as the epicenter of the storyline. This, of course, created so many opportunities for satirical gold; opportunities that were taken and hopefully will continue to be taken for the remainder of the season. Come for the killer clowns (I know, I’m kind of over that too) and stay for the Evan Peters (because who wouldn’t).
Like any semi-digestible horror story, this one starts with origins: the night of November 8th, when Donald Trump became President-Elect. I personally love the concept for this season because it means that I must now tactically tip-toe around every controversial political issue being alluded to during these episodes in order to please my diverse readership (the three of you and your cat). The easy way out is to talk about Kai Anderson (Evan Peters) simulating sex with his television screen after Trump’s victory. I hope you’re happy (I know you’re happy).
The first 5 minutes of the episode are spent in a back-and-forth montage of Kai and Ally Mayfair-Richards (Sarah Paulson)’s reactions to the election results from their respective households; Ally—and her wife Ivy (Alison Pill)—being of the far left persuasion and Kai being…blue haired and terrifyingly insane. Kai, who has an intense love of fear, is ecstatic about the win, while Ally is caught up doing something called “Cookie Breathing” and losing her head.
Cookie Breathing. Cookie Breathing.
Right off the bat, it’s obvious that the showrunners are trying their best to play off of the current ideological stereotypes in American politics; the sensitive liberal white feminist lesbian whose wife has a short boyish haircut (“this is television, [insert reader name here]! Lesbians don’t have long hair on television! Or at all!) and the manic, sociopathic alt-right person who wants to watch the world burn. And as I sit here, reaching for the last crumb in my box of discount-brand cheese crackers, I tell you the truth: I’m living for this. Let the satirical death match begin.
The fact that Kai, in celebration of Donald Trump’s triumph, smeared his face with crushed cheese puffs (FREAKING CHEESE PUFFS) as tribute to the Commander in Cheeto himself was enough to put me to bed (the same way that Ally and Ivy’s son is always being put to bed in every scene he’s in. Every single one). With his face draped in processed cheez snack, Kai confronts his sister Winter (Billie Lourd) who appears to be upset about the results, although willing to make a deal to terrorize the public with her brother by stirring up the already present post-election fear.
The episode continues with Ally’s many different run ins with clowns that nobody can see but her (aw shit! Here we go y’all! Another annoying horror trope! Let’s go son!), all of which are always having some sort of sex when she encounters them. Why? I have no idea. It appears the kinky clowns are all only a mental glitch of Ally’s until the end of the episode when her son spots a group of clowns murdering the next door neighbors (one of which didn’t get to the polls in time to vote). It’s also worth mentioning that this happens after Winter is hired as his new babysitter and attempts to numb his mind using the dark web.
Other things you might have missed but should still be thinking about are:
-Ally’s many triggers that have just now developed after the election.
-Ally voted for Jill Stein.
-Kai threatened one of the neighbors before his (the neighbor) death when he was at the town council meeting.
-Ally ran out of that grocery store almost as fast as I run away from a friend after they ask me to go to the gym with them.
-Kai is instigating racial tension and using it to his advantage. This sounds all too familiar and could get interesting.
Will this season live up to the best of AHS (meaning not last season or the season before that or before that or…)? That’s yet to be determined. Will I continue to watch and berate it for online attention? You bet your sweet ass.