Ryan Murphy is no stranger to controversy. His projects span dark drama (Nip/Tuck, American Crime Story) to playful comedy (Glee, Popular). And of course, he’s made horror a popular broadcast staple again with American Horror Story and Scream Queens. His shows have dominated the awards categories in recent years and redefined the television anthology. So his recent announcement about Season 7 of American Horror Story has some scratching their heads.
The Scariest Thing Ever: Politicians
On Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Murphy declared that the new season of the acclaimed horror show will revolve around the 2016 United States election. While his tone was serious, there’s mixed feeling about his intentions. Watch What Happens Live is a late-night comedy and jokes fly fast and furious.
Murphy has not shied away from politics in the past. Plotlines for American Horror Story frequently discuss race relations, LGBTQ issues, disability culture, and they’re not afraid to make jokes to a political end. A first season episode of Scream Queens featured Jamie Lee Curtis’ Dean Munch facing off against an intruder in an Antonin Scalia mask, and pummeling the assailant with kicks and comments about the Supreme Court justice’s rulings. A classic episode of American Horror Story: Coven features the severed head of Kathy Bates’ immortal slave-owner Delphine LaLaurie singing Dixie in lament after learning that 2015’s U.S. President Barack Obama was black. And American Horror Story: Asylum’s primary inmates were imprisoned largely due to their interracial and lesbian relationships.
That said, the idea of covering the election would not be in line with the few clues we have had about Season 7. The finale of Season 6, typically the place where such clues would be planted, featured a watery scene. This leads many to believe the plot would focus on a nautical journey or a coastal village. So, this could simply be a misdirection on Murphy’s part or he’s changed his mind completely as to the direction to take.
Will the Fans Like This?
Will he abandon parts of the audience? While conventional wisdom would suggest that the audience of AHS skews to the liberal side, it’s entirely possible that he’s willing to part with fans on the right for the new narrative. AHS is not going anywhere, and Seasons 7 through 9 are greenlit by parent FX Networks. So, ratings and keeping viewers may not be a factor with the show’s golden ticket. Some may even tune in just to see his take on the Trump campaign or administration.
Will Denis O’Hare play a fictionalized version of Trump? Will Sarah Paulson give us her take on Hillary Clinton? These questions and more will have to be answered as more details unfold. The show’s production has stated that unlike the mysterious Season 6, we’ll have more information prior to launch. In the meantime, we’re keeping our eyes and ears open. Want to join the discussion? Check out the American Horror Story wiki for more reactions on this and other American Horror Story news.